Reproductive Rights

From my May 6th post to the Facebook page (because not everyone wants to be on Facebook):

This will not sit well with some, but I'm going to put it out there anyway, even though, thanks to protections in place in the State of Maine, this issue won't have an immediate or direct impact on Maine's residents.

I am not pro-abortion. From what I've read, it's horrible to go through, and it's obviously horrible to be in a position where one is needed for whatever reason. It is frequently traumatic for the mother, and it goes without saying that it is destructive to the unborn fetus. It is impossible to know what could have been an aborted child's life, though we have clues as to how many of those lives would have gone.

I don't know what the cutoff should be during a pregnancy beyond which abortions should not be allowed - that debate is for different times. Right now with the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade, the issue becomes whether abortions are legal across the country or not, and the overturning of fifty years of legal precedent in the name of "states' rights." (Of course, to make it sound more genuine it's framed in the interest of protecting the lives of the unborn.)

Yet that same fervor for protecting the unborn, evaporates once the birth canal is traversed. The same individuals who cry for every fetus to be delivered breathing to the world will shrug responsibility when it comes to ensuring that the child is raised in a healthy, capable, supportive environment. Instead, many of those children are shunted directly into lives of destitution, physical, sexual, drug, and alcohol abuse, gang violence, foster care, medical infirmity, and early death.

We often have woefully poor sex education for young individuals because somehow, teaching about sex is going to make kids have more of it. We're supposed to ignore the facts that kids have always had sex, and that they don't need public education to learn how to do it or tantalize them - they have the Internet for that. Preaching abstinence has never worked; teaching about and ensuring affordable and convenient access to the tools to avoid pregnancy so that those who do have sex, can do so more safely, does. But no, shield them and pretend it's not going to happen.

The majority of abortions are performed on young (early twenties) economically unstable or disadvantaged women who acknowledge that having a child at that point in their life is not good for them and consequently, also not good for the child. We should listen to their instincts.

People make mistakes. Sometimes it's the mother, sometimes it's the father, and sometimes things are just beyond a person's control and yet the problem (and the blame) always ends up with the one who carries the child. I cannot pretend to know what it is like to be in a situation where I need to make a decision between aborting a pregnancy and carrying it to term. What I do know is that medical reasons aside, the only person qualified to make the decision of whether or not aborting a pregnancy is appropriate for an individual, is the one who is pregnant.

I have, and will continue to support every person's right to make medical decisions for themselves and resist attempts to co-opt that right. Today, that means women and their right to choose whether or not to bring a child into the world, as opposed to being forced to function as walking incubators or violate the laws compelling them to such. And "states' rights"? The greatest "states' rights" movement in American history happened 161 years ago. It wasn't over abortion, but it certainly was about who had sovereignty over their own bodies.