I trust people with the capacity for pregnancy
January 25, 2022 12:25 PM   Subscribe

You Are Not Owed a Reason for Somebody's Abortion Caitlin Cruz writes about writing about reproductive rights: "No one owes us their reasons for having an abortion, and it is not our job to convey relief, give praise, or recoil at certain reasons for abortion if we do learn them."

"Maybe you are one of those people who wanted an abortion. I’m here to tell you that making a decision for your own well-being is good. Choosing yourself is okay. And you owe no one an explanation of your reason."
posted by RobinofFrocksley (9 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
SO much this! Having both worked at an abortion clinic and been an escort for many years, it is nobody else's business why any woman chooses reproductive freedom—whether that choice is to have children or not.
posted by Scout405 at 1:21 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]

I don't agree with her assessment of "safe, legal and rare". I think it's about the medical reality: abortions can be painful and are not risk free. So we want to support birth control and make it so effective, cheap and available that we can make abortions rare. Abortion rights are important, but so is really great access to birth control (including plan b).
posted by jb at 1:32 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]

Yeah I can support "rare" as a kind of societal stretch goal where it's rare because

-birth control is so great and advanced that most people who need it can tolerate it well.
-birth control is entirely free of charge* so anyone who needs it can get it
-sex ed is so universal and comprehensive that anyone who can get pregnant knows as much as they can possibly know about it
-gender equality is so well advanced that all people who can get pregnant can comfortably feel able to assert their will about sexual contact resulting in pregnancy and know that their preferences re: pregnancy prevention will be honored

*including the doctor appointment to have it prescribed, which would also ideally not be mandatory

Since none of those things is even remotely close to true I have absolutely zero opinions on the "correct" frequency of abortions. Safe, Legal, and ON DEMAND out here in the real actual world.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:50 PM on January 25 [50 favorites]

I would like to point out that the linked article does not use gendered terms about people who have abortions. Throughout the article, the writer is careful to use the term "people", not "women".

It would be good if commenters could follow suit and recognize that not everyone who is capable of getting pregnant or who may need an abortion is a woman.
posted by Lexica at 2:09 PM on January 25 [27 favorites]

We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese: absolutely!

But while these things don't currently exist, thinking of abortion as an important, but not risk-less medical intervention means that your overall reproductive rights platform needs to always incorporate birth control and sex education as essential planks (which I know that Planned Parenthood, etc., do). And free, widely available birth control isn't impossible: the UK, for example, is far from a perfect place - but birth control, including hormonal IUDs, is free there (or was in 2006) and easily accessed.

Mostly, I think about this when I think of the utter stupidly/inconsistency of anti-abortion campaigners, who are often also against sex education and birth control. If they truly believed that abortion was wrong, they would act to make sure that almost no one needed to have an abortion. Maybe it's because I know someone who had medical damage from an abortion (from a long time ago), but it's always been something I thought of as necessary but not without risk, as with lots of medical interventions.
posted by jb at 3:10 PM on January 25

it's always been something I thought of as necessary but not without risk, as with lots of medical interventions.

And yet still wildly safer than carrying a pregnancy to term.
posted by suelac at 3:21 PM on January 25 [32 favorites]

Yeah abortion as a procedure is way, way safer than many other procedures, notably including carrying a pregnancy to term. Here's one comparative study on PubMed that compares mortality rates in the gestator; it doesn't even talk about the complications that can happen during and after pregnancy.
posted by librarina at 3:48 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]

The Conservative "nightmare" scenario that used to be trotted out back in the 00's, of abortion clinics at the mall beside every Starbucks, always seemed as senseless as using "taco trucks on every corner" as some kind of threat.

Bring. It. On.

I want to go to an abortion clinic.
I want to go to a taco truck.
I want to go to a combination abortion clinic and taco truck.
posted by MiraK at 4:16 AM on January 26 [14 favorites]

the UK, for example, is far from a perfect place - but birth control, including hormonal IUDs, is free there (or was in 2006) and easily accessed

Yes, all approved forms of contraception are free of charge from GPs and sexual health clinics, including combined and progesterone only pills, patches, rings, hormonal and non-hormonal coils, implants, vasectomy and tubal ligation. Available to anyone age 16 or over, and anyone under the age of 16 who is capable of providing informed consent (Gillick competence). If you cannot be bothered to go to your GP, you can also buy pills/patches/rings online for relatively low cost through very reputable online doctor/pharmacy combos. Condoms are available in some places for free, and you can buy them in supermarkets and pharmacies. You will only be prescribed a form of contraception that is medically appropriate, and there is a massive push for people who do not want to have children in the near future to use long-acting reversible methods such as the implant.

Also, abortion is provided free of charge on the NHS. Legally it is not on demand, but up to 24 weeks it is de facto on demand, after 24 weeks only for very limited reasons. Because it is free and we're small enough that no one is that far from a provider, there's not much desire to amend the time limit and there would be some pushback from the religious among us. The pandemic forced the loosening of restrictions on when/where medical abortions (ie with pills) could take place, with predictably no medical issues arising but a little handwringing. Abortion has not traditionally been a party political issue, MPs are free to vote in line with their consciences and I think typically the split tends to mirror the views in the population. But it's been a while since that was really tested.

I think making abortion less common because people are not having unwanted pregnancies in the first place is a reasonable goal. But abortions should always be sufficiently available that anyone who wants or needs one, should be able to have one.
posted by plonkee at 7:23 AM on January 26 [10 favorites]

« Older JWST@L2   |   On post-viral sequelae Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments