We’re still arguing about abortion over at Blue Collar Muse’s place. It’s a tense discussion, but not very heated, so it’s still interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing.
It’s one of those discussions that has broken down along gender lines, where the men are arguing against abortion and the women are arguing for it. I’m back over here because a commenter, Sam Pierce, said something that I’ve seen a million times, but today hit me like a ton of bricks.
I wonder how many supporters of this butchery have seen a sonagram, in which they could see and hear the beating heart. I wonder how many have seen the baby move his hands or his feet during a sonogram. I would ask those that have, how they can assert that this baby is less than human. If they do not assert that this baby is less than human, I would ask them how they justify killing this innocent human.
Y’all, I have to say something that I’m hesitant to say, because, in general, I’m not a gender essentialist. I don’t believe that there’s some great divide between men and women that makes us so different that we can just continue to tumble through history basically strangers to each other.
But it’s exactly that kind of comment that makes it so damn difficult for me to discuss abortion with men.
Pardon me while I rant.
See? You want me to see a sonogram? Do you not fucking get it? It’s my body. I don’t have to see a sonogram to know that, where there once was just room in my body, there is now another life. I am the one who stopped bleeding. I’m the one whose skin and hair are changing texture. I’m the one whose shape is changing, whose joints are aching, whose vision is clearer, whose smell is sharper, whose taste is changed.
And yet, you act like we don’t know. That we don’t understand. And so you work to ensure that we’re told–by doctors, by anti-abortion advocates, by legislators–that what we’re experiencing is just the logical result of a choice we made to have sex.
Not that we’re undergoing a necessary metamorphosis in order to knit life together out of unlife.
But that this is just some easily understood, easily medicalized, easily preventable, and easily brought abut temporary state that can be legislated with justice and fairness.
You, who have never reached between your legs and prayed to find blood; you who have never reached between your legs and gasped in horror and grief to find it; you who have never had to feel life stirring inside of you and still had to ask yourself if you can bring it to term; and you who have never prayed to feel that stir inside you; just how dare you reduce our great and terrifying mystery to “it’s a baby; it’s sacred”?
No, the process is sacred–in both the holy and cursed sense of the word–and you don’t respect that.
You don’t respect that this is a terrifying, dangerous thing we’re doing here and that folks die–babies, women, fetuses. You don’t respect that we’re making hard decisions based on factors you can’t know. And you certainly don’t respect that we have the right to make difficult decisions we might come to regret later.
I’m sorry. I have these discussions over and over again and I just cannot help but see them as men trying to exert control over a process they can’t realistically have any control over. So many of them seem shocked and confused that there should be this thing–the ability to make life–that women can do that is so awesome and important and that they, after the sex, have little part in. This just seems to me like a way for them to horn in on and exert control over something that’s really not under their control and make it seem as if it is. “Oh, you’re not doing anything special. It was a baby the second I fertilized your egg. You’re just carrying something that I did. And because I did it, I get to make laws telling you what you can do with yourself while you’re carrying the baby I made.”
I don’t know how to talk to folks who think that way.