Sunday, February 26, 2006

And so it begins...

Pardon me a second while I set up the soapbox.

All right, let the rant begin...


South Dakota is looking to repeal the ability to have abortions. Now, I'll freely admit that I don't remember a world prior to Roe v. Wade. A world where women went in to back rooms and dirty alleys to have "procedures". Somehow, people think this would be safer - because let's not kid ourselves - people will get abortions.

Being a man, I may disagree with lots of assumptions around abortions. I disagree that the father should have no choice. I disagree that things should be kept so secret that the father does not even have to be notified beforehand (or at least that it is so easy to get around this rule). I disagree that there are enough other things to prevent unwanted pregnancies, or to convince women there are other choices. I disagree that there is not a percentage of women using abortions as birth control.

However, in the grand scheme of things, I still don't see how any of this changes the fact that pregnancy has the greatest effect on women. Being a man, I won't ever have to go through the hormone induced emotions of a pregnancy. I'll never have to have my body morph out of control for nine months. I'll never need to deal with stigmas related to being a single mother, or the definite impact of being responsible for a child I didn't want in the first place. I'll never have to face a decision which will impact me for the rest of my life - regardless of the choice. For me, it is frustrating not having a say - for a woman, it is extremely detrimental to not have this say.

Are there options short of abortion? Definitely. Women who don't want these babies can give them to the fathers or give them up for adoption. How many people actually feel that after carrying another being for nine months will be able to give that being away? Now, assuming they did, how many would still have a VERY profound problem dealing with it? Once you make that decision, it is every bit as final as abortion, and there are a lot more emotional attachments.

This leaves us with more people having kids they didn't want, and in many cases this will turn to anger or neglect being directed to the child eventually in my opinion. Is this better than abortion? Take a look at our society now. I strongly feel that our society has gotten away from caring enough about our kids. How many kids parents are both forced to work? How much of this causes them to not be around when their kids need guidance? Now add to that the numerous families which are single parent homes, which only makes the issue that much worse. Let's not even get into those homes where the parents are there, but instead of wanting to be parents, they want to be their kids best friends. Now that we understand this structure, we want to add thousands more kids into these situations?

This is my stance on abortion: I believe that if you choose to do the things which cause pregnancy, you need to be ready to make the decisions which go along with that choice. Every action has consequences and this is no different. For me, the choice was/is/always will be simple. It is one of the few things in my life that has always been black and white. For me, I could never propose an abortion. For me, that thought would be devastating. However, for me, the implications applied by society make this choice almost entirely financial. Big difference. For me, being a father was never going to be enough - when the choice came up, I knew I'd always be a Dad. Does this mean that I wouldn't support the choice for abortion? Absolutely not. Again, being male, it becomes more financial. For the women, the financial aspect is the afterthought. Regardless of decisions past having the baby, this decision is the most profound a woman will ever make - on her body, on her life, on her future.

While I would never choose abortion for myself or my family, I can see why people do. To remove this safe alternative, even while I don't agree with its use, would be abominable. As I've stated before, I think there are lots of things we as a society can do to help reduce abortion rates - which would be good. This does not imply though, that I feel abortion should not be an option. I am not in those women's shoes, needing to make such a profound decision on her body, life and future. If it were me in their shoes, I sure wouldn't be happy with someone else attempting to limit my choices in such a way. Not only do I think it would be wrong for the women, but I also think it would be wrong for the children and for society.


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