reproductive coercion

anonymous asked:

Regarding men who force their girlfriends/spouses to get pregnant, wouldn't it have been better if the doctor just called the police to get the women out of the relationship? I know it's be hard to convince them but that's better for them mentally than just giving the contraceptives

TW/// Abusive relationships, reproductive coercion 

Not everyone has the ability to be open about their abusive situation and ask for help - especially from someone (the doctor) who could be a stranger to them. A person who is pregnant by an abuser and is seeking an abortion or birth control isn’t required to tell the truth to their doctor about why they need to prevent pregnancy, why they are pregnant, or why they are having their abortion. 

If someone does confide in their doctor about their abusive relationship, I’m sure the doctor in question has been trained on how to help in the best way possible, which definitely might not be immediately just calling the police. Intervening in such a way can potentially make their situation more dangerous, since it is very likely that their abuser will be released if they are even arrested in the first place. [x] Escaping an abuser is extremely difficult and intervening without the consent of the person you are trying to help could be detrimental to them, even if your heart is in the right place.

We need to trust the pregnant person and their decisions. We should do everything possible to help people in abusive situations, but denying them something that could help them and is exactly what they are asking for (whether it is an abortion or birth control) isn’t a very good way to help.

FYI on coerced abortion/pregnancy

If someone is trying to force you to have an abortion, a clinic is going to be the best place you can go.  If you tell a doctor at the clinic someone is trying to force you to have an abortion and you need help, there are ways that the doctors and staff can help you.  If you tell them you fear for your safety, they can help you.  Same thing with a coerced pregnancy.  

Doctors will talk to you alone.  They WILL NOT allow someone else to come back to speak for you (unless that person is a medical translator) while you are talking to the doctor.  The doctor is there to help you. Be honest about your fears and desires.  If you feel afraid of your partner, tell the doctor.  

ok so maybe i’m like. hyperaware of this shit b/c of what I do, but…

friend’s mother wants her to get an IUD. Friend is notoriously bad @ taking pills, so traditional BC pills are out. Friend is 21, engaged to a (frankly deadbeat, but that’s another issue) 30 year old. 

30 year old is trying to convince her to not get an IUD, because he wants children right away, even before they are married/have a house. He hasn’t gone to college, does not have a home, and is jobless. She hasn’t finished undergrad yet. He said, and I quote, “Don’t text me before you get it done, I’ll only try to convince you not to.” 

like. am i the only one who’s getting major red flag vibes??? like i don’t wanna jump to reproductive coercion but the easiest way to anchor a girl to you is to get a young, not-yet-graduated girl (with a slew of mental health and abandonment issues) knocked up. 

and i just. i feel like we need an intervention. but maybe i’m overreacting? ofc people can be in this position and have great lives and all, and there’s no need for a ~traditional family~ but…every single study shows that the closer a woman is to 30, the better outcome for her children. 

Friend doesn’t know what she wants, just knows she doesn’t want to “bend to her mother’s will” and I just…ARGH

anonymous asked:

Ok but I'm pretty sure in some places reproductive coercion is considered rape because one person changed the agreed upon circumstances in a sexual encounter and didn't get consent from the other person involved.

That’s what I thought too🤔
Rose🌹

Honestly, feel free to show me any evidence that affluent white trans women are in any kind of danger on the basis of their being trans. Tell me Jenner or the fucking Wachowskis have the same kind of risk/experience as poor TWOC. 

When pressed the good little genderists will cry “intersectionality!”, realizing neither that this term does not apply to white males nor that women experience misogynist violence regardless of race or class. 

(This isn’t to say, of course, that race or class don’t play a part in women’s experiences, just that the source of women’s oppression–reproductive coercion–is maintained even in affluent white women.)

How To Recognize An Abusive Caregiver: A Guide By a Little Survivor

More often than not, our caregivers love us unconditionally, and would do anything within their power to protect us from harm, but sometimes a little falls into the hands of someone who is genuinely unworthy of their love and devotion. Abusers masquerading as caregivers are all too common in the CG/l community. Abuse comes in many forms. You can be abused emotionally, physically, sexually, financially,and psychologically. While the threat of physical violence is terrifying, the emotional and psychological effects of every kind of abuse are long-lasting and can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation. The key to avoiding these things is to know what to look for.

First, if someone has a history of abusing other people, they will likely tell you. Listen to how they talk about their former partners. If there seems to be a disproportionate number of “crazy exes” in their history, that’s a red flag. Abusers often project, making others responsible for their feelings and actions, and vilifying their victims. Always remember that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

How to Spot an Abuser:

Although every case is different, there are a lot of characteristics that most abusers share. An abuser might be:

  • Emotionally intense and codependent
  • Charming, well liked, talented and charismatic
  • Unreasonably possessive or jealous
  • Explosive, constantly irritable, or prone to wild mood swings
  • Judgmental, inflexible, and hypercritical.

Physical Abuse:

Physical abuse is often a cycle. There is the trigger, something that sets your partner off, the escalation, often a verbal argument - or in most cases verbal beratement of the victim by the abuser - that leads up to the attack, the attack itself, and then after the attack there is sometimes what’s called the “honeymoon period,” where the abuser will often shower the victim with affection and gifts, begging for forgiveness. After the honeymoon period, there is a period of calm, where both parties usually pretend that the attack never happened or that everything is okay, until the next time the abuser is triggered. 

Physical abuse includes but is not limited to:

  • Punching, shoving, slapping, kicking, pulling your hair, biting, choking or otherwise striking you, including with an object.
  • Threatening you with or using a weapon on you.
  • Stranding you in strange places.
  • Breaking your things or things in your home. (Example: Smashing your tablet, breaking dishes, punching walls, etc.)
  • Forcing you to drink alcohol or take drugs against your will.

Sexual Abuse:

Sexual abuse is a hairy, nasty beast that shreds through all parts of your life. Sexual abuse is not always forcible or violent, and in most cases is present in the form of sexual coercion, or bullying you into consenting to acts you otherwise would not consent to. It also includes reproductive coercion, which could be impregnating you without your consent or knowledge, even if you have consented to sex, forcing you to take birth control or terminate a pregnancy, or even leading you to believe that they themselves are on birth control and tricking you into impregnating them. 

Sexual abusers will often:

  • Guilt you into agreeing to sex, claiming “blue balls” or the like.
  • Get you drunk with the intent to have sex with you after you are too drunk to consent.
  • Purposefully give you an STI.
  • Film you without your consent.
  • Show you pornographic material against your will.
  • Control the way you dress, non-consensual “bimbofication.”


Financial abuse:

Financial abuse occurs when one partner controls the spending habits of the other, steals from them, controls their money altogether, moves into their home and does not contribute in any way to the household, does not allow them to have a job, or withholds money necessary for things like food or prescriptions. Ruining someone’s credit history by taking cards out in their name or stealing their cards and using them is also financial abuse.


Emotional abuse:

Emotional abuse is especially nasty because often neither party has any idea that abuse is going on. Emotional abuse is sometimes neither party’s fault, either. Emotional abuse is, unfortunately, pervasive among those with mental illness. Unlike with the other forms of abuse, where the abuser is very aware that what they are doing is wrong, emotionally abusive partners are sometimes worth working with. Emotionally abusive behaviors can be identified with the help of a therapist, and changes can then be made.

Emotional abuse includes but is not limited to:

  • Name calling
  • Screaming
  • Sexual neglect
  • Blaming everything on you, refusing to take responsibility for their actions or feelings
  • Isolating you from friends and/or family
  • Guilting you
  • Intentionally ignoring you or excluding you
  • Embarrassing you on purpose
  • Constantly criticizing you
  • Cheating on you/breaking the rules of your relationship
  • Withdrawing affection
  • Extreme moodiness, irritability, making you feel like you have to “walk on eggshells.”
  • Flirting or other provocative behaviors with other people, with the intent to make you jealous
  • Constant use of sarcasm or unkind tone of voice
  • Calling or texting you constantly while you’re not with them
  • Mean jokes, teasing
  • Refusing to communicate with you
  • Threatening suicide if you leave.
  • Gaslighting - THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that leads to the abused questioning their own sanity. If your partner legitimately upsets you, and then tells you that you’re being silly, irrational, or stupid, that is gaslighting.

It is always important to remember that abuse is absolutely not your fault, no matter what the abuser says. They may try to convince you that no one else will love you or that you’re not worthy of better treatment, but neither of those things is true. You didn’t make them this way, and abusers seldom change without therapy. Sometimes, the abrupt wake-up call of a partner leaving for these reasons will be what they need to get help, but your number one priority should be your own mental health. Sometimes leaving is the only option.

Stay safe, beautiful littles!

I’m probably way too optimistic, but - most of the people I hear talking about the social justice/feminism culture wars talk about them like they’re really intractably bad, no middle ground anywhere, no safe way to opt out, destined to end with one side crushing the other entirely, lives and livelihoods constantly being destroyed in the meantime.

And, actually, this set of culture wars strikes me as the least zero-sum of all the ones I know of. The big culture wars issues of the last generation were abortion and school prayer. Abortion’s very zero-sum. Either you think it’s murder and want it illegal or you think that’s like grabbing people and demanding they donate their livers to save clumps of cells, right now, you’re a murderer otherwise. School prayer I have a hard time engaging with seriously as a culture war battlefield, even though I know it was one, but it’s also pretty zero-sum: one side getting what they want necessarily entails the other side not getting that. 

All possible compromises were pretty tangential: can’t we all agree on more adoptions? sure, great. can’t we all agree that schools can give students a moment for reflective meditation? sure, great. At best these whittle at the edges of the culture war; at worst they satisfy no one and leave you exactly where you started, and I get the sense that’s usually what happened.

But whenever I try to engage with people in the SJ/anti-SJ debate I get this sense of astonishing vistas of unnoticed common ground. There are extremists on both sides who literally can’t arrive at a positive-sum compromise because the success of the other side is precisely the thing they’re upset about, but they’re minorities. Most people are scared and agree with half the other side’s goals but none of their rhetoric and are afraid if they achieve even their good goals they’ll use that as momentum to achieve their bad ones. Most people aren’t even clear on what the other side wants and it’s not that hard to describe it in terms that make them say, suspiciously, “oh, well, if that were really what they wanted then that’d be all right.”

Male birth control and more awareness that reproductive coercion is a form of domestic abuse? Positive-sum. Both sides want that. No more draft, even symbolically or as an irrelevant result of institutional inertia? Yup, please. Fewer people in prison, even though that means not sending some people there who really deserve it? Both sides want that (except when reminded that that means people who they really really think deserve it won’t be in prison.) People being less afraid of getting fired for things about their private life that have no bearing on their job? Positive-sum. Abusive behavior not being tolerated, and being characterized better so that people can recognize it, but also not being handled by callout posts and public fights? Positive sum. An end to the war on drugs? Positive sum. People are speaking incredibly different languages, but once you translate for them they want a lot of the same stuff.

And so I feel like we can win the culture wars. Not in the ‘my tribe tramples yours and salts the fields’ sense, in the ‘explain stuff well enough that people agree they want it, build enough trust that they accept that their enemies want it too, render irrelevant the people who are intractably opposed to their enemies being happy’ sense. I think it should be easier than achieving it would have been for the culture wars of thirty years ago. (I think it will still be really hard.)

anonymous asked:

google "men sabotaging birth control" and "reproductive coercion". Google "survey in which men admit to having raped women in the past without using the word 'rape'"

Both men and women have sabotaged birth control, and both men and women have engaged in reproductive coercion. I’m not really interested in searching for that particular survey, because I am already aware of those things occurring, and I’m certain that women are guilty of doing the same thing to men.

People can be shitty. Having a Y chromosome isn’t a prerequisite for that.

Oh look, it's reality o'clock

People do not use abortion as a first-response method of contraception. People might not be able to use the birth control method of their choice, might forget or not have sufficient sex education to know what options exist, or be experiencing reproductive coercion, or any number of things which are not “blithely planning on getting an abortion a few times a year.”

See, abortion sucks. Not because a precious ickle life is being snuffed out, but because it sucks for the person getting the abortion. It hurts a fuck ton (ask me how I know), it can be expensive, people might harass you outside the clinic, if you’re not a cis woman, you’ll probably be misgendered to fuck, you’ll feel shitty anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks. Anyway you slice it, it’s a lousy experience. I’ve taken the morning after pill quite a few times, what with one thing and another, and had to get an abortion once. Guess which experience I’d choose to repeat.

The idea that abortion is something that people do regularly cause they don’t feel like using a condom is so ridiculously divorced from reality as to be laughable – or it would be if it weren’t the source for hatefueled legislations and attacks on the personhood of women and the reproductive rights of people who can get pregnant.

People should have access to abortion under any circumstance under which they ask for one, but let’s try to get a clue: nobody does it for funsies.

like I feel like a big part of eugenics is coercing people into not having disabled kids, and how that happens now is by making the resources that disabled kids need totally inaccessible to all but a VERY select few, if that

like if someone has access to all the support and resources they’d need to provide a disabled kid with a healthy, supportive home and they chose not to have a disabled kid because they think disability is yucky, that’s obviously ableism. But what if someone wants to have and raise a disabled kid and they look around and the support and resources just aren’t there for them? That’s a form of reproductive coercion imo that’s like, specifically designed to curb the disabled population, that’s eugenics.

I just want to make @get-yr-social-work-rage-on’s reply into its own post bc I know more ppl will read it that way.

It’s not like any of us disagree on anything fundamentally, like she says–even though at a core level I don’t understand why all these people I know would rather spend thousands on IVF &c, I also agree that being that focused on “their own child” would make them devastating adoptive parents, like that other woman I know who adopted and then got pregnant and publicly declared she’d “never loved anyone like this before” or wtf she said.

Just, this also explains why I think adoption is really really important currently.

Hey-o, I got the bat signal.

Adoption is a complicated beast. The idea of using adoption to solve the problem of a child who needs a family is a fairly good one. But what complicates it is that adoption gets used as the solution to many other problems that have deeper roots and horrifying contexts and consequences, and it’s a poor, poor solution to those things.

Adoption does not solve poverty. It does not solve colonialism. It does not solve racism. It does not solve the child welfare crisis. It is not a substitute for adequate physical and mental health care. It does not solve child abuse. It does not solve reproductive injustice and coercion. Instead, it’s co-opted by the same systematic forces that created and maintained those issues and becomes a propaganda piece for furthering those inequalities. Even though at the same time, the base idea, the good idea, the good solution, is also intended to occur. Which muddies the water significantly. You may have a child in the foster care system due to poverty, lack of reproductive options, domestic violence, lack of adequate health care for mental health or chemical dependency issues, and an entirely harmful and abusive child welfare system… but that child is going to be better off if we can get them into a family, and they also stand a decent chance of having a very positive experience of being in a family. That in no way justifies what came before, even though it will get used to justify what came before. But by the time you have that child in the foster care system, what came before has to become a concurrent fight, because that kid still needs to have permanent membership in a legal relationship with another human being. Entering into American adulthood without that permanent membership (to say nothing of the actual emotional and psychological importance of having a family and a sense of belonging) has so many enormously devastating consequences attached to it that it is ethically monstrous to let a child age out of care.

I think if you and I got down to the nitty gritty of all the horror and wrongness that leads to a child becoming available for adoption, you wouldn’t find we disagree on anything there. And that’s not a separate fight from adoption. The portrayal of adoption as an adequate solution and net positive and appropriate outcome to all those issues supports and bolsters and helps maintain those issues. The adoption industry can’t wall themselves off from the reasons for its existence and just focus on adoption, as if the pipeline that carries the kids to us is beyond our mortal ken. But at the same time, we need to get these kids into legal relationships. And I think here is where we might be running into some cultural differences.

The American foster system is brutal. Whether a child is cared for on an adequate level (has food to eat, has clothing, can attend school unimpeded, gets physical and mental health care, has a bed, is not physically or mentally or sexually abused) is mostly a matter of luck. Whether a child has a foster parent who is kind, who cares about them, who advocates for them and supports them and shows up to conferences and takes them out for ice cream, that’s a matter of tremendous luck. To give you a basic idea of how bad it is here, my state recently had to hire a person whose full time job is investigating child deaths in foster care. We literally are not even capable of keeping children in foster care alive. And if you think hiring that person implies accountability, it does not – that person’s job description is 75% public relations. Whether the foster home is county, corporate, or non-profit (because yes, America has corporate foster homes), there is no accountability. Homes where children have been beaten, raped, and killed are still open for business, still accepting new children. I don’t know what it would take to shut a foster home down. I have literally never seen it. What all this means is that getting children out of foster care and into permanent homes in America is a literal life or death crisis. It also means that this often takes priority over addressing the foster care system itself, or what brought the child there, which is a perpetual problem of manufactured scarcity. We already don’t have enough foster homes for the amount of children in foster care, which means many children are housed in shelters or psychiatric wards. Which is partly why shutting down abusive foster homes isn’t a priority – there would literally be nowhere for the children to sleep.

Another big issue in the American adoption industry is the stigmatization of children, which is why you got such a tremendous response for bringing that up. Our child welfare system perpetuates inequality and takes away children from marginalized populations at a higher rate. But it also does a terrible job of removing children who actually need to be removed. This gets compounded if there’s domestic violence or divorce and custody happening, because our Family Court system is a dystopian nightmare. Our front line workers are paid little, trained not at all, not supervised, and have a turnover rate of a year or less. Whether children are removed or not, or what outcomes happen, is essentially a numbers and blame game. If you can generate a data report that says you have done no wrong, what actually happens to the kids doesn’t matter. Suffice to say, my state has ALSO had to convene a special task force to address how many children have been getting murdered in their birth homes, even when they’re currently in the child welfare system.

So because of all that, kids who finally do enter foster care are more likely to have experienced a greater degree of trauma than they should have, if our system worked as intended. That makes things tougher, but in no way impossible. There is ample and adequate research that targeted interventions can regain most of what is lost or damaged in the brain by early childhood abuse and deprivation. But if we’re taking kids from abusive homes and putting them into abusive foster care, clearly that’s not going to happen. What instead happens is that kids adapt naturally and with great talent to the environment they’ve been placed in, because that is exactly what their brain is supposed to be doing during that developmental period. They become survivors who know that adults are not to be trusted, and that their inner sense of how wrong this all is will always be used against them. If you or I had to experience what foster kids do, even as adults, we would develop the same coping skills. But as adults, we would have the privilege of explaining those as coping skills (instead of behaviors or damage) and we would be believed and potentially empathized with. Children are diagnosed. We should diagnose them with “foster care,” but instead we diagnose them with RAD and ODD and CD and ADHD and BPD and APD. And then we dope them up. And put them in homes that might abuse them or kill them. And then talk about how they’re clearly unadoptable – after all, look at all those behaviors!

I’m not saying kids who have experienced a lifetime of abuse in foster care aren’t difficult sometimes. But I am saying that progressive people have a strong tendency to get very up in arms over any insinuation that nobody would ever want to partner with a rape or DV victim ever again because they’re so traumatized and broken, but then turn around and say exactly the same victim-blaming things about foster children. Can you imagine if an adult rape victim suddenly had guardianship put over them, and a team of professionals got to decide whether they were “ready” to date again? That’s what we do to foster children. Their birth parents abuse them, the system abuses them, and because of what was done to them, they no longer have the right to forge permanent relationships with other human beings. Not until they’re “ready” (i.e. become compliant or dissociate enough to appear to no longer have symptoms). And if foster children try on their own to have these relationships, by contacting their birth family, by dating, by forging friendships other adults don’t like, they’ll be punished. Imagine if a rape victim had a committee and a therapist deciding if they were allowed to ever date again, and then fell in love with their friend and started to date them without clearing it first. That committee would have the right to move the victim to a new city, a new home, and a new job. They would have the right to erase their phone and Facebook profile and read all letters to ensure they could not have contact with their lover. The therapist would have the right to commit them. And all of that power rides on the immutable belief that the rape victim’s trauma is so strong, so monstrous, so intense, that this level of oversight is necessary, that the victim cannot be trusted or allowed unmonitored contact with the world. When we stigmatize foster children, we provide more fuel for that victim-blaming fire, and bolster the entire reasoning behind why the child welfare system (broken and horrific as it is) and adoption industry work the way they work.

I work all day with foster care and adoption and child welfare professionals. And every day I have to argue, yet again, with statements like “why can’t they just stay in foster care” or “I don’t think they’ll ever be ready for a family.” And again, all I hear is “if you were raped as a child, I would think you never deserved to have a mother again.” All I hear is, “If you were beaten as a child, I would think you deserved to be homeless when you turned eighteen.” And of course not all abused children ended up in foster care, so they’re saying these things around grown adults who still had the privilege of legal protection in a family despite abuse.

I don’t know what foster care is like in Australia, or what happens to kids when they age out. Here, when kids age out of foster care, they become homeless. Here, when they age out without being adopted, they have no legal connection to any human being in the whole world. Think of all the issues inherent in banning gay marriage, and you can get a sense of what that means. If a birth family member or a foster parent they loved ends up in the hospital, they have no right to visit them. Think of how many forms you have ever had to put your parents’ names on. They legally do not have parents they can write down. They have no legal right to visit their siblings, because legally they no longer have siblings. They have no inheritance. They have no health care plan they can stay on until 25. And, of course, there’s the logistical items that nobody thinks of when they have parents. Who do you call when you’re 18 and you blew your first tire and don’t know how to change it? Who do you call when you have a personal accomplishment? Who do you visit on holidays? Who do you tell you’re pregnant? Who do you ask for help with your taxes? Who taught you how to write a check or open a bank account? Who taught you how to drive and helped you get your license? Who taught you how to pack a suitcase? Who taught you how to grocery shop? Who taught you how to cook? Children who age out foster care have these skills only if they were very, very lucky.

And with IVF and the fertility industry, that shit gets sketchy, too. It again stratifies reproductive care along class and race lines – women with means can have children, but nobody else can. Women with means can ask women without means to carry children for them, or donate their own eggs. I will also say as a side note that people coming to adoption after many failed fertility treatments automatically have a red flag. It’s my firm opinion that nobody just wants to raise a child. People want to raise their own child or they want to adopt a child (or both!).Those are two different desires with two different motivations and goals and outcomes, and they don’t translate. Somebody who went through failed fertility treatments and comes to adoption still wanting their own child are already thinking of foster children as their failure plan. They need to want to adopt, not just resign themselves to not having a child of their own. Because former IVF couples who have resigned themselves inevitably abuse adopted children, because they did not actually want them, and they are a daily living, walking and needy reminder of their grief and anger. I also don’t understand the impulse behind multiple fertility treatments rather than adopting, but 1) I’m not that person – I want to adopt, and 2) having seen what those people do to adopted children, I’m happy for them to stay away from my kids.

And this post is too long already, so let’s not even get into the clusterfuck of international adoption and how it interacts with foster adoption (so many white people open-minded and colorblind enough for a Somali child but somehow not enough for a child from Chicago, anyway)

peak trans: boundary violation

Michfest. I was very pro-trans - “do what you gotta do to be happy! Live authentically! Love yourself for who you are!” The whole shebang.

Then I saw some pro-trans women and transwomen hating on lesbians because of the Michfest policy in the comments of a website I frequent. I gently asked why women shouldn’t have their own space and all hell broke loose. I stopped commenting there, added false emails to my profile, double checked to make sure it couldn’t be traced back to me.

Before I got out, I learned that women are super-duper privileged because we were born with female sex organs. Sure, being born woman has a few disadvantages (rape, assault, sexual slavery, arranged marriages, pay gap, state-sponsored reproductive coercion, etc) but that is NOTHING compared to having the wrong bits and a big jaw. I was even told that people are getting bored of ‘women’s issues’ because women spend too much time talking about them. Trans issues are more important, and they’re sexier!

“Sexier” issues. That was the final straw.

source

youtube

“She couldn’t afford the ultrasound at planned parenthood, she DID NOT want to adopt out the baby….but her mom, being very clever and smart and god-driven, found a crisis pregnancy center.  Christian based, but they don’t advertise that, they advertise ‘Hey, we’ll do the ultrasound for free, as long as you will listen to every option that there is’ ”. 

“We want to become a louder voice than Planned Parenthood” 

A louder, LYING voice than PP you mean. 

These people are so excited to describe the manipulation used on this person to “keep” her pregnancy.  They use soft music and every ounce of their “We are good Christian people” tokens to cover up that they LIED to this person.  They MANIPULATED her to get what they wanted.  

Christians have been manipulating folks for thousands of years. At least THAT part of what they are doing is consistent. 

I would really like to donate to an abortion fund in their names.  For all the women that couldn’t afford to have an abortion and were forced and manipulated to continue with a pregnancy that they didn’t want. 

anonymous asked:

Hello :D I was wondering your reasons for being pro-choice and why you feel it is incredibly important for the choice? Thank you.

I was raised in Pakistan where abortion is illegal. There’s a big market for illegal abortions there and as you can imagine, it’s horrific. But further more, I’ve witnessed the horrors that women are forced to go through when abortion is illegal. I know women who had upwards of 10 children that they couldn’t afford because contraception was (and still is in a way) looked down upon. I’ve met teenage girls that have absolutely no reproductive rights. Girls that are raped and get pregnant have no where to turn and their lives are ruined. They have to drop out of school, marry their rapist, and/or get sent away. Often these girls commit suicide. I’ve met girls who, like any teenager or young adult might do, fell in love and had sex.With no sex education available, these girls tend to get pregnant and not only is their character maligned but they’re basically left to the whim of their significant other and forced to live with something they chose to do as a teenager. My aunt is what we’d call a social worker in Pakistan. Her job is to educate women about contraception (there is a big push for access to contraception in Pakistan now) and she’s witnessed even more horrors– women dying from child birth, stillbirths, unwanted pregnancies. 

These are things that are just now getting attention in Pakistan. A few years ago a Pakistani film called Bol was released and it focused on a lot of issues but one of the main ones was reproductive coercion. A line from that film that always stuck out to me was “why is only killing a sin? Why isn’t giving birth one?” The killing they refer to in the film is infanticide and actual murder of an adult. They are referring to reproductive coercion when they talk about giving birth being a sin.

When you take away a woman’s right to her reproductive system you take away her dignity and diminish her to a second-rate citizen meant solely for sex and childbirth. Now, I know the United States isn’t Pakistan and American women don’t face the same struggles. But when you talk about reversing Roe v Wade you talk about setting women back and pushing them back into a pre-1973 society which is pretty reminiscent of everything I described above. Without the ability to control when or when not to become mothers, women lose their ability to maintain jobs and careers as well as access to higher education and a better way of life. When more importance is placed on the potential life of a fetus than the mother’s, you force women back into the role of simply being there to procreate and rear children and women are capable of a lot more than that and hell, some women want more than that. And that’s why this is so important to me.

As far as the life of the fetus is concerned, I personally do not think that its life or its value is ever more than the pregnant woman’s. It’s up to her whether to bring it into this world and as I’ve said before on this blog, without the woman and her body, there wouldn’t be a fetus or any potential life to begin with. 

I’m not pro-abortion as many pro-lifers would choose to describe. I’m pro-what the woman wants. A close friend of mine who is 24 and has been married for about 5 years now is pregnant. This is what she wanted; her pregnancy is wanted and I support her 100%. And if she had decided that she wasn’t ready for motherhood, I’d support that too. I support her right to choose motherhood when she’s ready for it. If any woman has a life threatening pregnancy, the only person that should decide whether she continues with it or not is her. She shouldn’t be forced either way because of someone elses sense of morality. And surely she shouldn’t be judged by me or anyone else regardless of the decision she makes. Her experiences and her choices are her own. 

Every story is different and every person is different. For some people contraception fails, others make the mistake of not using it, and others are victims of rape. Either way, they shouldn’t be confined to a certain life because of any of the above. You can call me selfish, you can call me a slut, you can call me immoral, or you can call me a murderer, I don’t care. I know what I’ve witnessed and I know what I’ve experienced and nothing will ever change my mind about this.