I’ve flown before and will fly again. I used to think I was afraid of flying. We somehow fear anything we have not tried. It’s up to us to make this a phobia of great weight? density? displacement? I remember the explanation of how icebergs flaot in the sea. There are no clouds like icebergs, thankfully. No one who is unable to swim should get on a cruise ship.
When I was a child and my father and I were avid followers of NASA and the space agency’s progress to the moon, I learned that in every command capsule there was a rather conspicuous red button to push if the mission should need to be aborted on the launch pad. Less than a decade after this, the Supreme court majority decision in Roe versus Wade established a woman’s legal right to have an abortion, although no red button was forthcoming.Airplanes have parachutes; boats have life jackets. I assume planes have parachutes. Yes? No?We had too many discussions and not enough argument about a woman’s right to choose an abortion, a right I did not oppose, a right she had always had in spite of legislation to the contrary. To choose to end a pregnancy was a dilemma. If a woman had come to the point where she had to make a choice, at least after Roe versus Wade, she was not a criminal for choosing one way, and was expressing free-will if she should choose the other. The Right to choose also frees the woman who wants to have a baby. To have a baby or not to have a baby, another kind of to be or not to be. All women choose between having a child and aborting the pregnancy, although not quite as easily or safely as missions to space. There have always been ways to induce miscarriage, some of them frightening and almost concentration camp like in manner, others just dangerous, but choice is always elemental. The idea that an induced “miscarriage” has not always been an option is a mistake. The difference in a legally sanctioned abortion is the matter of safety. Presumably, under sanction of the law, a woman now has the option to safely end her pregnancy, where before she did not. Nonetheless, our medical establishment assures us of the safety involved, yet more women die annually from medical malpractice than from breast cancer.
Hamlet’s dilemma is to be or not to be, which is also any woman’s who has to decide if she is going to carry her pregnancy to term or not and thus choose to terminate it. As fore stated, even when a woman wants to have a baby, tries to have a baby, gets pregnant and has no dilemma before her, she has chosen not to abort. To bail out or not to bail out; the plane’s going down in flames, wouldn’t you want a parachute.
There was an argument that was passed around in college and it went as follows: You can’t tell me that a fifteen year old girl is ready, emotionally or psychologically to have a baby; that it might not be a stress in ways too much for her to handle. I understood this argument. I too felt the emotion behind it. I was sensitive to it, of course, as we were taught then to think that being a woman gave us a hotline to other women, and that we could understand women as men were never going to be able to understand them. And don’t ask me why fifteen year olds are having sex. They have sex because humans have sex. Eating, drinking, fucking and sleeping are perhaps the four most important things you or anyone can do, will do, do do; anyone who says otherwise is a fool, an idiot or a liar.
A pregnancy for a fifteen year old girl in any middle class home or community would be traumatic, perhaps as much, if not more, for her parents; at least some us argued as such. I’m not so sure it would be equally devastating for girls in other communities, but let us assume that bourgeois mentality and morality have pervaded, which is not to say that ethics and morality (and they are not synonyms) only exist among those of the American middle class. If there were no boy to marry, this would pose a problem for a girl who was of any religious or cultural tradition, or economic or educational status, but if there were a boy to marry and marriage ensued, I presume the parents would suffer less shock. I am not herein considering the psychopathic, whereby a woman’s, or a girl’s life or limb is in jeopardy from those who say they love her when she becomes pregnant without marriage.
Emotional trauma correspondent to the level of ostracizing a girl who would endure in her community would have to be measured separately. I make no assumptions for how progressive all of us are; history is anything but progressive.Now assuming the girl is of a bourgeois family–and by this I mean an upper or mid level middle class family, university educated–the expectations would be for her to go to college. A pregnancy, even if there were a boy to marry–and marriage here at this age would be as devastating for any bourgeois family as would the pregnancy–is an impediment to her going to college and then to graduate school. Of course, the economic aspirations of the girl’s family would be stunted, cut off, even; and this might be especially frightening to a family with bourgeois aspirations who are not yet bourgeois, or bourgeois by proxy through the social advancement of the daughter, who is now “with child.”
Under these circumstances, medically induced miscarriage would certainly be less traumatic in the long run, or so the middle class argument would go. Some of us back then favored this argument. The availability of safe medical procedure would go a long way in making this choice viable. Now safety was the bottom line because we understood that abortion had always been an option; the choice was always one of more or less dangerous.I am not arguing for or against a woman’s legal right to choose; how could I, but then we saw too many women, as we still do today, who argue against a woman have the option sanctioned by law which would insure safety first. Again a woman’s rights precede the law–they even supercede them, at least morally, ethically, metaphysically.
The law gives the guarantee that the right of the woman is protected and supported by the legal justice system; but it does not in fact give rights. The availability of a safe and antiseptic medical procedure in the form of an induced miscarriage seems the only sane solution to me for what some see as dilemma and others who see the choice as lacking in predicament, whether they are on the side of pro or con. But my question is this, and I feel that it is most important to present–do we think that a girl who might not be emotionally and psychologically fit to endure a pregnancy is able to an abortion.
If I am not mistaken, a pregnancy and a birth are both natural. I have not yet assumed that an abortion is also natural, unless that’s what we are saying, that the natural flip-side of pregnancy and birth is abortion. I don’t know. In the ways that biology and psychology are connected, , mutually influential, I’m not so sure. But I’m still a bit puzzled by anyone who can claim that abortion must be made available to a girl because we would be saving this girl emotional distress by doing so. I do not use this latest point as a way to argue against a woman’s right to choose, or against legislation to sanction abortion so that if it is chosen, it can be safe. It is not a rebuttal for abortion, but one against what others see as a crucial point in their argument. The best argument, though, is for legislation ensuring a woman has a safe choice and not a horrible dilemma.
The choice is between safe and unsafe abortion because abortion has been and will always remain an option for anyone so inclined.Dilemmas will always exist; problems can ensue. However, with the legal right to choose, abortion presumably won’t be the nightmare it was before Roe versus Wade. And before Roe versus Wade, the options before a woman, likely a girl, were nightmarish. Now if the Supreme Court case were a docudrama, I ask you, would the argument presented in the majority decision be weaker? Is the decision invalidated by certain facts that point to the case not worthy of Supreme Court consideration. Would the truth continued within it become false? Whether true or not in the most pedantic sense of trueness we can hold, the argument in Roe vs. Wade is just as strong whether the case was justified in being brought to trial based on its factual merits or not.
If every woman is macrocosmic to the universe of being as I hold to be a priori true, then every galaxy of argument for or against the legal right becomes irrelevant. She is. Her choice is. What happens, happens for her and to her and to no one else. All the women on either side do not countermand her, do not outweigh her. She is everything in this; every thought, every choice, every fear, every emotional pang, every anything else she might feel. No one can feel for her. All the arguments for or of the psychological effects are mute before her singular solitary irreducible voice. Only she faces this; only she can choose. This seems simple enough to say, but remains difficult for us to believe. But actions do speak louder than words.
Now back to lifeboats and parachutes . . . how is anti-abortion not letting steerage drown in the icy North Atlantic. The Titanic did not have enough lifeboats. Laws designed to protect Human Rights become our Titanic as soon as we assume that they are inviolable, and here I am speaking to anyone in the Liberal establishment who wishes to respect Human Rights.
The brute reality of a woman’s biology displaces me from ultimate considerations where her right to choose an abortion is the subject. She is what she is, irrespective of where she is, when she is, who she is, what class or religion or profession she belongs to. Woman is woman not man. I am not herein referring to the mandates of civil human discourse, but to decisions made in the final hour, and every decision to have or not to have an abortion is one made in the final hour.A woman’s integrity displaces me from the dark waters of her decision to have a baby or not to have a baby.
Everything is murky. I have not arrived at a place where an embryo is in itself a baby, nor is a fetus a baby. The argument of viability has its merits, but then I am sure that life begins at mitosis. Both are true; both need to be considered as variables in any abortion equation. There should be no equivocation on either side of this argument. There is too much intellectual ping-pong played. It’s not this or that but this, that and other, not this, not that, both, neither, everything, nothing, a completely different something.The darkness of these waters I refer to here is reflective of how deep the human soul is, and is not a reflection of any judgement placed on her decision. The ethics of her decision are hers and hers alone to manage, to live with. Convenient for a man, is it not?Yes, it is easy for me to talk; just as it is easy for any woman to talk in her defense. The woman faced with this “life-saving decision,” and it is a life saving decision because I do not think that any normal woman makes this choice flippantly, is not helped by any argument on either side. Most women faced with the dilemma of choosing an abortion are faced with fire–something is going down and about to crash in flames.
Abortion is a dilemma, even under the most pristine conditions, in the most favorable circumstances it is very, very difficult.In this choice she makes, she is beginning and end of everything. How can anyone intelligent or educated, as I had once believed university educated should make a person, consider otherwise. Democracy demands that everyone is entitled to have his opinion and has a right to express it; it does not demand that I entertain that opinion beyond its due, past its value, nor that I accept it. It is simple enough to say, but still hard for us to understand–I can’t live with her decision, only she can and will. I’ve said this before in other words, these words too in the same and in others, around and around I go, we go, another merry-go-round with women’s rights. The only reason we still debate this issue is because we still unsure if women have the same unalienable rights as men, or because we unconsciously insist that women are not other than modified men, thus need further modification.
I repeat myself, I know. Human Rights have their litanies. I believe in one Humanity . . . we went to Land’s End. Everything happens at Land’s End, of kind or another, Everyone’s on a precipice. The brink, the edge of the abyss; I looked into the abyss, I was certain.A woman is what, yes, what?What is she? Who is she? When, where, why, how is she?Woman is. To give attribute to her as woman is to subtract from her as woman. How many ways are there though, to know, to understand, to think, to see? How many methods of discovery are there?
To discover is to cover wrongly. What do we really uncover by discovering. Colonialism began with the age of discovery. Nothing historically was more aptly named. How much woman is she when she is, woman? Named or unnamed; the history of anonymous is the history of woman, women, all of them being in anonymity, how much is left unknown at the end of a relationship. A lover dies, a spouse is put in her tomb and who was she? No one was; the one who is is not who she will be when she becomes who she was. Women are . . . who are they? They, them, those people, women, we know no one, how could we know all.
Who is she, again the question gets asked, but how many of us avoid asking any question like this. Responses are not answers. There are plenty of responses, but the answers we seek–don’t answer a question with a question she used to say, but no question is an answer. It can be a response; to respond, again, is not to answer. There should be no equivocation for anyone sane enough to want to save a woman from the unnecessary horrors that existed before Roe versus Wade. There were horrors; curtain rods and all that sort of letting the air in.
There will be dilemmas even if aborting an embryo is legally sanctioned.To each person, her own psychology, experiences, reasons, rationalizations, level of education, job, income, home situation, relationship status, religion, et cetera. But the roller coaster she rides will be hers to ride when and where she chooses. To decide or not to decide should be her question and hers alone.Everything we think and say can be framed affirmatively or negatively. Who is she; who is she not? Who was she? Who wasn’t she? How, when, where, what, why, all of these too in frame; can, can’t, will, won’t and so on. I’d like to say that the color of her eyes is irrelevant, that the length of her hair, its texture, its softness or coarseness to the touch is also irrelevant. Her skin, how soft, how smooth, what color, how deep or light or dark, the tone, the texture, how it photographed, all of them or none of them equally irrelevant. Relevancy means what?
All things are not relative for if all things were, there wouldn’t be anything for any other thing to be relevant to, understand. Herein are those affirmatives and negatives, every yes and no, every do an don’t, we are desperate for brackets. Every bracket a brace, embrace me, I used to say to her. Fictional truths have as much valency as actual. I should say that veracity in fiction is deeper than verisimilitude; it carries metaphysical weight; it has epistemological density. But this is not solely the point. Hypotheses are presented all the time in politics and law; the Constitution of the United States when subject to ratification was a hypothesis subject to the most critical examinations. It took a great deal of intellectual effort to get The Constitution ratified. The majority ruling in the case does not become invalid; it remains valid in its thesis . . . we were taught how to construct theses, how to defend them, how to write in a variety of forms, we were taught rhetoric and grammar, not like today where students are taught neither.
If the Supreme Court case were a docudrama, would the majority ruling be weaker argumentatively? Would the truth of it, whether true or not in the most pedantic sense of trueness become other than? Roe versus Wade is just as strong in support of pro-choice whether or not the trial was justified on its factual merits. A trial is just that, an essay on a thesis, and whether it was factually justified does not undermine the debate. But I do understand that the law cannot fucntion entirely as I do intellectually or passionately, and the latter is different from emotion. Remember that it is the Passion of Christ, not the Emotion of Christ.
A woman is; her choice is. All consequences of her choice will happen to and for her and to no one else. Every person on either side does not countermand, nor outweigh, her. She is everything in this; all thoughts, choices, fears, and emotional pangs; and anything else she might experience. There has been documented depression after miscarriage, and that’s irrespective of wanting a baby or not, whether or not the miscarriage is welcome; but debates over the psychological effects are mute before her singular, solitary, irreducible voice. Only she faces this; only she should make this decision. This seems simple enough to say, but remains difficult for us to believe.