Sisters Talking On. . .Abortion Rights

Point for Discussion:

Of course all life matters.  The issue of reproductive rights is a different issue.  It is about the right of women (or as a family) to decide whether or not to have a baby or to have a baby right now.  This is not an issue to be legislated, but that’s what it took back in the ‘70s with Roe vs. Wade.  There was debate and there was a decision 40 years ago that should be upheld.  People can agree to disagree, but having the right to choose should be a given.

Our Points of View:

(Laurie)

I live in the Atlanta area where Governor Kemp just signed “the heartbeat bill,” which makes an abortion illegal once a heartbeat is heard, at about 6 weeks – when it may still be too early for some women to know they are pregnant.  GA is just one state of several for which reproductive rights has become a legislative issue.  Why now?  What is it about the current environment that makes us revisit this personal right?  Some issues should not be politicized.

What makes this bill, and others like it, even more concerning is that there are no exceptions to the proposed ban other than if the mother’s life is at risk.  Pregnancy in the case of rape or incest is not exempted from an abortion.  Wow.   Why should a woman be reminded every day of the abuse she endured?  In some cases, by her choice, she may decide to have and love that child, as many do.  That’s her choice.  That’s the point.

I also think about the many children who are abused or neglected by their parents – the rates are alarming and the abuse is heart-wrenching – and these may be parents who had the right to choose (and may or may not have had the means, which is another issue). If we objectively think about the consequences of forced birth and put these prospective children first, is forcing them to be born to parents who do not want them, or who are unprepared to care for them, the best solution? Do we want to then force these prospective children into the foster care system after they have been neglected or abused?  The choice of whether or not to have a child has implications well beyond the point of conception.

Back in Georgia, there has been a backlash to this legislation by many. In addition to local community protests, the impact has been farther-reaching.  For example, in this state, which has built up tv and film production to represent nearly $10 billion a year (comparable to Hollywood), companies have or are contemplating pulling out of many planned tv and film productions as a form of “boycott” (e.g.,  Tiffany Haddish is just one who has declined appearing in GA).  This is just one of the negative implications on the economy, but more importantly, this decision will also negatively affect opinions about the state of Georgia and its leaders.

As I think about this topic, I think about how history has built America, and how this is one example, among others, where we are turning back the clock and turning our backs on what’s best for women and prospective children.  So much emotional energy is being expended on a previously made decision upon which all people will never fully agree.  It seems like there are newer and more pressing issues to be addressed so that we can move forward as a Country (like saving the planet.)

 

(Lynn)

We were raised in a pretty traditional household.  Our parents believed that girls should prepare themselves for taking care of a house and children because that’s just what women did.  From a very early age, I rebelled against the traditional stereotypes.  I never understood why women had to acquiesce to this sort of forced servitude.

In the end, we girls (there are actually three of us) all went to college, received masters degrees and some level of professional certification.  We are Baby Boomers who grew up between the generation raised to serve their husbands and the generation that never believed that there was anything to hold them back from achieving their goals.

Was this easy? Not really, but it was worth every bit of effort.  Laws have come a long way toward treating women with dignity, but we are still miles away from where we need to be.

I feel badly about my generalizations regarding male domination of women in this country but whenever I feel I’m being unfair, I am reminded that men still want to be in charge and foist their poorly conceived “protections” upon the female population.  In some countries, women struggle to get an education or drive. They are held back by the men in their countries, forced into a life of servitude and made to feel grateful for whatever small moments of joy they can find.

While I am clearly aware that women are treated better than that in the US, there is currently a movement afoot to turn back the clock 40 years or so, and push some unreasonable changes to abortion rights in this country through the Supreme Court of the US.  Four states have recently passed laws restricting abortion rights by reducing the current legal definition of viability from 24 weeks to as few as 6 weeks while removing exceptions in the case of rape or incest.

The proponents of these changes claim to be pro-life and insist that all life is precious and all children deserve to be born, regardless of how they were conceived.  The only exception would be to protect the life of the mother.  While many of these laws have been passed and signed into law by state governors, they have all been challenged and are working their way through the courts.  This will take some time, but many believe that the more conservative Supreme Court will support some of these laws, potentially going so far as to overturn Roe v. Wade.  If this were to happen, it would be a huge blow to women’s reproductive rights and it would drive abortion back into dark alleys and basements where it was before.  Rest assured, if a woman is looking for this procedure, she will find a way to get it.  It would be dangerous, and lives will be lost as a result.

So maybe we need to take a look at why the issue is so polarizing. There are strong viewpoints on both sides of this issue, but there is more to it than terminating a potential future life.  The current conservative administration clearly has very little respect for women.  Past history, on video no less, has shown this disrespect.  Shockingly, many in this country are not troubled by this.  Perhaps they need to remember that 51 percent of the population is female, and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  Take note, the #metoo movement has changed the way citizens view many issues, and there will be no holding back those that have been harmed in the past.

I strongly believe that women are smart enough to make their own choices in life.  No woman I know would choose to end a potential life without carefully considering all aspects of the decision.  It is not a form of birth control. It is a painful decision that leaves significant trauma behind.  Each of these choices is made for very personal reasons, none of which should be legislated by a group of people that are not personally involved in the decision being made.  The Supreme Court set precedent in the 1970’s when ruling on Roe v. Wade.  Why go to the trouble of putting the nation through this yet again.

I understand that many are opposed to this.  On a personal level, unless my pregnancy was caused through violence, I would not consider terminating the pregnancy.  But that’s MY choice.  All women have their own right to make this personal decision, and no one should be able to take that choice away from them.

The United States considers itself progressive on many fronts, but if you look closely, you will see this for the illusion it truly is.  There continues to be a large portion of the population that feels superior for some reason I will never understand.   Perhaps they should try listening with a little bit of compassion.  We all have personal issues that we’re dealing with that drive our personal decision-making process.  Who are they to decide what’s right for anyone but themselves?

Our Question for You:

Do you think reproductive/abortion rights should be re-evaluated, and if so, by whom (e.g., state, federal, or individual families)?

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