I have personal feelings about abortion that I don’t want to say reflect the feelings of other bloggers on DoaW. They are my own. Other members of this blog can and may disagree, and that is entirely valid. Don’t presume I speak for anybody but myself, please. Here’s what it comes down to for me:
I think the world would be a better place if more people chose to use contraceptives and get abortions when necessary, and preferentially became foster or adoptive parents as a way to scratch that “I absolutely must be a parent” itch. I actually find it truly puzzling and a little disturbing that there are so many people who view adoption as a last resort or rule it out entirely, like for some reason they couldn’t love a child as much if they didn’t contribute genetic material.
However, I would never force anyone to get an abortion, nor would I advocate limiting access to fertility treatments or other resources for people who are pregnant or parents. Other people do not need to be living my choices; that’s what having separate lives is all about. I may disagree with a lot of people’s reproductive choices, but when it comes to someone else’s body I feel morally required to agree to disagree rather than impose my preferences. I will even protect people I disagree with from the impositions of those I agree with, because allowing others reproductive autonomy is more important to me than my evaluation of how others use it.
No forced sterilization or abortion. No limiting access to medical support for people who wish to get pregnant, continue a pregnancy, or have lots and lots of babies. However, by the same token, no forced conception or maternity. No limiting access to medical support for people who do not wish to get pregnant, continue a pregnancy, or have lots and lots of babies.
Given the state of the US foster system (and how little reason I have to believe other countries do it much better), I know for a fact that some truly disgusting people can nonetheless qualify as foster parents. The bar is very very low when it comes to who’s good enough for children who’ve already been discarded in states that are eager to pawn them off on someone in their turn.
I also know people who’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments. Tens of thousands of dollars. For context, that would’ve paid for a couple of years of my college at an expensive private university even in the USA where education is a costly commodity often preserved for the wealthy and white.
The contrast of these things makes me very uncomfortable and more than a little angry. I understated this as best I could in general because I don’t want other people to feel condemned for disagreeing with me, but I’ve given it some thought and I think it might actually do some good if I articulate as clearly as possible how against deliberate conception and how for widespread abortion I am, while remaining pro-choice.
In my heart I do feel that every deliberate conception thanks to the wonders of modern medicine is a theft of food and safety from a foster child who could have not only lived in that home but could have benefited from the dollars spent on fertility treatments, either for their health care or to buy them access to one of the last tools for upward mobility we still have left in the USA. People who spend thousands of dollars ensuring their personal genetic legacy are making a choice with an opportunity cost, and that cost will be paid by the children who are already here and in many cases already suffering.
When I hear that someone I know is trying to have a kid, these are the thoughts that go through my mind. This is the shadow on my heart, the judgment inside me on behalf of the children they’re leaving by the wayside because they don’t want to “settle” for an adoptee. I don’t believe in the soul. I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in karma. I don’t believe in the supernatural at all. I believe in compassion, and while I can think of many failures of compassion greater than robbing a child of safety and love because someone else contributed genetic material, I still find the decision extremely upsetting.
What I do not do is say this shit to people. What I do not do is say to my friends or to strangers, “I am disappointed in you as a morally-mature fellow inhabitant of the universe.” I do not say it in words and I would not try to say it with legislation either. Their body, their choice. Their body does not exist to please me in any way. This is why you will not see me outside of fertility clinics holding signs with pictures of miserable foster children, or trying to pressure legislators to curtail anybody’s freedom to reproduce as they see fit.
I use contraceptives and if I get pregnant, I will seek an abortion. If I decide to become a parent, I will seek to become a foster parent. Abortion for me is the compassionate choice, and I hope that I’ve made it clear just how strongly I feel morally compelled toward it. Having an abortion will be my way of being the best human being I can be, of leaving the world a little better than I found it. If I can feel this strongly and still want others to be able to follow their own conscience, those who are pro-life owe me the same.
I have no problem with pro-lifers. They are following their conscience and I can ask no more of any person. It’s only anti-choicers who wish to prevent me from following mine, and they are a moral disease that eats at the heart of any society which harbors and heeds them. In trying to prevent me from having an abortion I feel they are trying to prevent me from allocating my personal resources to the children who need them most, and it is no overstatement to say that as a result I consider them an enemy of civilization itself.