Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Legislative Rape

Scott Brown.  Mitt Romney.  Paul Ryan.  These three Republican candidates can't even agree on the abortion issue:

"Brown supports abortion rights, while Romney and Ryan oppose them. Romney would make an exception for rape and incest, but Ryan would do so only when the health of a mother would be jeopardized by a continued pregnancy."  

Abortion is such a divisive issue even self-identified conservatives can't agree what should be legal.  If these back-slapping Old Boy Republicans can't come to a consensus, I doubt we'll have much luck on my blog either.  But let's give it a try.  Please leave your questions and comments below.

My question for Ryan about his exception for the mother's health is, what about her mental health?  Is mental health, health?  Some Republicans running for office think rape is not always rape.  Maybe there are differing degrees of health and mental health is not "legitimate health"?  If a woman has been raped and becomes pregnant, what should she do if she is too mentally unstable to go through with a pregnancy?  Trust me, post-traumatic stress disorder makes pregnancy and childbirth challenging with its whole loss of control of your body all over again feeling.  And I was giving birth to the love of my life's baby.  I can't even imagine giving birth to my rapist's baby.  Which has happened to millions of women on our planet.  According to people who deal with facts, that is.

Other people think it's rare.  Like GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin.  Like a bad joke teller, I'm a bad paraphraser, so allow me show you his exact quote:

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare.  If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

That kind of ignorance would be laughable if it weren't so scary.  News flash:  When not using birth control, women (and, sadly, girls) can get pregnant by having sperm enter their vaginas whether the little swimmers were invited or not.  Even I know that and my job is not to decide the exact moment life begins.  Neither is it a politician's job even though so many of them make it one.  Biologists don't really even know.  I think Deepak Chopra has the best explanation of life:

We are "luminous stardust beams with self awareness" and "the universe looking at itself".  Aaaaaah, I love Deepak.  Oprah should not have turned down his marriage proposal. 

But when do we become that?  When do we end?  If energy can not be created nor destroyed, perhaps we always have been and always will be in some form or another.  And if so, should we scream and shout until people stay out of each other's bodies by learning that we are all interconnected?  Or should we take Deepak Chopra's advice to just be and let them figure it out through our example.  Bring back the Human Be-In! 

But seriously, for the first time in my life today I did not laugh once while reading a post from The Onion.  It's just too sad to be funny.  And what's even scarier than a Senate candidate from Missouri being so disappointingly ignorant about the basic facts of human reproduction is that one of the men running for president in November is pretty ignorant about lady parts too.  Remember this post?

Ignorance about reproduction brings unwanted children into this world.  As a person who has been attempting unsuccessfully to conceive another child with my husband for nearly six years, the fact that so many people have unwanted children each year really pisses me off.  And we're not even talking about children born from rape, but children born from ignorance of how babies are made and how we can stop it from happening when we're not ready.  Taking control of our own bodies.   

So now the GOP is proposing a Human Life Amendment that would "endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”  But who gets to decide when my clump of cells becomes an unborn child?  At six weeks when you can hear its heart beat?  When the sperm and egg have merged and the blastocyst has implanted into my uterus?  Or before that?  When the sperm and egg have combined to form a clump of cells that has yet to be implanted into my uterus?  You know, some people argue that birth control pills are forms of at-home abortion.

I don't think so.  I disagree with the "life begins at conception" crowd not because I'm a fan of abortion.  Ending a pregnancy is a horrifying thing.  I don't believe that life begins at conception because I believe life never ends.  It transforms.  People die.  Animals die.  Plants die.  Cells die.  But life doesn't end.  It's just transformed into something else, a decomposed body, soil, energy for other living things. 

In my case, being subfertile, I most likely have conceived lots of clumps of cells but they have failed to attach to my womb. Doctors say my hormones are out of whack. Spiritual guides say I don't pray enough. But either way, although I feel sad that I can't seem to have another baby, I don't feel guilty that my uterus isn't a good hostess to Will's and my clump of cells. I don't feel like I'm preventing a life from beginning. I'm just preventing a life from transforming inside me. It will transform elsewhere without me.

That clump of cells is life, whether or not it implants in my uterus or gets flushed down the toilet at the end of the month. It's disappointing to think about the lost chance of spending time with that clump of cellular
 life that doesn't stick around, but I don't feel like a death occurred.  Life just changed form. A clump of cells got flushed down the toilet where it most likely got digested by some detritivores who then transformed it into something else, water, gas, dirt, fish food whatever. And we eat the fish and poop it out and it starts all over again.

My point is not to show you how if you think about it we eat our own children. I'm interested in, and comforted by, the cycle of life. A leaf falls from a tree. Detritivores digest it and transform it into soil which then the tree absorbs energy from to produce another leaf which will eventually fall to the ground on and on and on. It's really beautiful, life. In all forms.   

Biology is the study of life.  I'm sorry, but I don't want lawmakers who don't even understand basic human biology to decide when my clump of cells becomes my child.  No one is allowed inside my body without my permission.  If they are, that's legitimate rape.  If they're wielding political power, that's l
egislative rape.

If we truly want to stop as many abortions from happening as possible, instead of allowing politicians to determine when life begins and forcing laws upon women's bodies, let's work to eliminate the ignorance about human reproduction that leads to unwanted pregnancies in the first place.