Monday, May 20, 2019

Abortion is Heath Care

CW: topics include rape and incest
I think my stance that safe and legal abortion should be available to the folks that need it is clear. (If not, hi!)
One of the things that concerns me about recent discussions around the excessive abortion laws recently passed in several states have focused a lot on the timing of when they allow abortion, and the lack of exceptions for rape and incest. I agree that victims of rape and incest deserve utmost sympathy, and we should always look to those who have experienced the most harm when trying to craft good laws. But the choice to terminate a pregnancy isn't just about pregnancies that cannot survive, pregnancies that risk the parent's life, or pregnancies that might risk continuing a previous harm. 
Abortion is a medical procedure, and that choice should be made by the patient with any appropriate advice from various medical and health professionals. 
The sex ed class I teach operates under rules of secrecy. So I can't tell you things students have said. I can tell you one of the exercises on parenthood asks the students to make the choice from six sets of parents to place a hypothetical baby. The idea behind the exercise is to look at lots of different configurations of parents - couples and singles, rich and working class, gay and straight, differing education levels, and differing ages. And then rank them and discuss and defend (politely) their choices. None of the answers are wrong answers. But the idea is to think about what might make the best scenario for parenthood and to imagine alternatives. 
Because the overall idea, as with so much of sex ed, is that there are lots of choices you can make. Figuring out what you want helps you better express it to others. But also things change. And the critical thinking you do about issues now will also prepare you any time you need to reassess. 
We also cover contraceptives in our class. But the other reality is this. Sex is fun. People engage in sex for lots of reasons and pregnancy is only one of the reasons. So the idea that people who are pregnant and don't want to be have - unless assaulted - earned this is based on a misunderstanding of sex. Humans, unlike many other animals, can and do engage in sex when pregnancy is not possible. Because sex is not just about pregnancy. 
Parenthood is a big huge thing that not everyone is ready or even able to undertake. Sure, some will rise to the challenge. And some won't. And the pregnant person is in the best situation to assess their options. 
And if their option is, oh no, I couldn't possibly, then I want them to have the care they need for that. Just as if they say, well, okay new (or continuing) adventure, I want them to have the care and support they need for that too. 

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