On Choice

Ever had a miscarriage? Imagine being investigated during that time. Imagine, after already going through hell, being interrogated about what happened or what’s happening as it’s happening.

If you think, “Oh yes, that would be awful, but they’d know I didn’t intend it on purpose because I wanted the baby so badly,” you’d better hope and pray that you didn’t go for a run or carry your two-year-old up a flight of stairs before you started miscarrying, because maybe these activities would be considered as purposefully inducing a miscarriage. There are women who’ve been investigated in different states across our country, some of whom are in jail right now, for actions like this.

If you don’t think that laws can be used against you like this, that’s because it just hasn’t happened to you, likely because you have privilege enough that it may never. I’m like you, so far, anyways, in this regard. But laws have been used to criminalize what women go through when pregnant or losing a pregnancy for quite a while now. This happens today, even without the atrocious laws that are currently in the news in place, (which also means if this is just reaching you now, that’s because you’ve just been privileged enough not to have it affect you yet).

I know a woman who is anti-choice who had a D&C when she was five months pregnant because her baby died in utero. Laws like the ones in the news that are being passed in certain states may affect her if that should happen again. Should she live in a certain state, she will be investigated; her doctor will not be able to perform the D&C until talking with police. She could die while waiting for that to be sorted. (If you think, “Well, she won’t die during that time,” then you just haven’t had a medically scary miscarriage or pregnancy. Because time matters in any medical situation and she can most definitely die). If you’ve had a D&C and you’re anti-choice, you’d better know that your beliefs are in conflict currently. You’re not special and you don’t get to decide when the police get to investigate you if the laws are on the books. An investigation can lead to jail time really quickly, especially if you can’t post bail.

I know a couple who is vehemently anti-choice who had their babies using IVF. They claim their Catholicism forces them to take a stand on abortion, though Catholicism has been wrong on lots in the past (and in the present) and wouldn’t that same Catholicism prevent their babies from being here at all since it was IVF that helped them get here? Their beliefs are in conflict, but they’ve doubled down on their anti-choice stance. I don’t think they’ve considered, however: If embryos are given full legal status as fully born alive humans, what about all of the embryos being stored in IVF offices across the country? If you’re anti-choice and have stored embryos that you’re not sure what to do with (or that you’ve destroyed or donated to science), you’re in major conflict. And you, too, could be punished should these laws take effect.

I’m asking that if you’re anti-choice, you think about it. About what your preconceived notions are that have led you here. About what you do and don’t understand about women’s bodies, about science, about your own body, about medical decisions affecting women, about situations you may have never experienced, about situations you may never have to experience, about some time when you’ve needed medical care for something and how it would feel if you didn’t get to choose, about how confusing the choices can be because life is confusing.

The fact remains: If you don’t want to have an abortion, don’t have one. I carried two fetuses that my doctors told me were going to die just so I could see if my body could do its thing on its own, without intervention, because I’m so afraid of procedures. But, if ever my life had been in imminent danger, you’d better believe that I would have arrived to that D&C on time and with bells on. Luckily, I was able to make that choice with my doctor, and without any other legal concerns to think about.

Lastly, if you can’t develop empathy enough to understand that you shouldn’t get to decide what choices women need to have, I don’t know what to say other than there are thousands of kids across the United States alone that end up homeless or in jail every year when they age out of our foster care system. Many of them have had trauma far beyond what any child should ever experience and the fact that their future is as frustratingly bleak as their past is unconscionable. I don’t know if I should ask you to help them because they need major empathy and I’m not sure you’ve got that to give, but you should do something. Support them. Give them a job. Pay for their education. Pay for their medical bills. If you’re going to claim you care so much about human life that you want to affect a women’s right to her own life, then care about all of the fully living humans we have here together with us on this planet who have nothing and who need everything.

Here’s a website where you can search some of the foster care children who are in need of homes. Maybe you can start there somehow and leave women alone: https://www.adoptuskids.org/meet-the-children/search-for-children/search

There are also foster care homes across the country that operate similarly to orphanages of the past. They call them homes because it sounds better, but there are no major differences in what you’d see in an orphanage. See what you can donate. Experience life other than what you’ve known firsthand. It’ll open your mind in infinite ways.