A comment on one of my posts has haunted me for several months. Since I greatly value the intellect and sensitivity of the person who left the comment, I slapped my finger off the reply button. I wanted to avoid a pat, knee-jerk response to a comment written with absolute sincerity. I wanted to question myself, my motivations, and the issue raised by the author of the comment. The comment deserves more than a simple comment reply. It deserves a head-on disclosure of my belief structure, which explains why I found wry humor where others may find abhorrence.
Several months ago, I reblogged a post that I found sublimely ironic. For a quick summation of my post for those who don’t wish to click back and read or review it, the issue was a bill proposed by an Idaho State Senator that would require all women seeking a medical abortion to undergo an ultrasound examination, whether the procedure was deemed medically necessary or not. The alleged purpose of this bill was to ensure that women have all the information necessary to make this most important decision.
The ironic twist to the post was a tongue-in-cheek counter proposal. This counter proposal, born of frustration with the male-dominated power system which sponsored the ultrasound legislation, was roughly as follows: To ensure that men have all the information necessary before taking potentially dangerous erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs, they be required to undergo testing to ensure that they are, indeed, experiencing ED.
The commenter took issue with the comparison of ED medication to an unborn human life. “The issue is not regulating the woman’s body. The issue is regulating the treatment of the separate life that is growing inside of the woman’s body.”
Well, I respectfully disagree. The life that is growing inside a woman’s body during the first trimester is not a separate life. It is a part of her body. It is a collection of cells, dividing and reproducing as quickly as a cancer. It is a group of cells that is as dependent upon the woman for survival, as a parasite is dependent upon its host for survival. Indeed, that tiny little bundle has the potential of separate life and I respect that potential and the miraculous events that led up to it and will, if allowed, continue to grow toward viability. But at this stage of life, if that little parasite is doing harm or will in the future do harm to the host organism (yes, the pregnant woman) I see no logic in putting its not-yet-here life on a plane above the life that is already here. Trust me, the life of a teenaged, unmarried girl will be greatly effected (usually detrimentally) by the birth of a child.
This planet is already filled with homeless, parentless, and unwanted children who produce more of the same. American prisons are filled with criminals who are victims of an unloved life of poverty and misery. It makes no reasonable sense to foster more of them, when an alternative is available. I value the lives I see before my very eyes. I advocate for informed family planning, a multitude of affordable and easily obtainable birth control options, early and abundant sex education, adoption advocacy, drug-use prevention outreach, support for families so they can adequately feed and care for the children who are already here, and support for eldercare. In the State of Idaho each of these humane causes is poorly funded. What funding is available for the good of our social fabric is fought for with steely determination. For that matter, if life is so sacred, why is the State of Idaho forging ahead with the death penalty? So an embryo/early fetus has more value than a grown man or woman who may have led an impoverished, uneducated life that led to a path of destruction?
I have not even gotten into the nitty-gritty of all the reasons why Senator Winder’s proposed law is demeaning to women or interferes with proper doctor-patient communication. That would require another post entirely and since the law was thankfully defeated, I’m not going to waste our time going there.
I realize that my views may be shocking, bold, and heinous to some readers. But I’m not asking them to have an abortion or to take ED drugs or to take birth control. I’m not asking them to believe what I believe. I’m simply saying: live your life as your own social conscience demands and allow me to live my life and make decisions about my body as my social conscience demands. We both value life, but we see it quite differently.