How my miscarriages made me more pro-choice

I waited a bit after the “scandalous” Planned Parenthood videos came out in order to streamline my reading about what was obviously bullshit.  You’d have a hard time turning me against an organization that provides free/low cost healthcare to women. I think the beginning and the end of this whole story is that there is no evidence whatsoever of illegal activity.  Regardless of how distasteful you find it for PP to hand over embryos/fetuses in exchange for the costs associated with providing abortions, it’s not illegal, so there is no scandal.

I don’t even want to legitimize this horseshit by expanding on this, but as usual, I’m happy to talk about myself.

My own experience with PP was extremely positive.  I decided to go on the birth control pill before I became sexually active during my freshman year of college, but I was terrified of my parents finding out, so getting it from our doctor wasn’t an option.  I went to the PP that was a 20-30 minute walk from my dorm.  I think I paid $60 for an annual gynecological exam.  I don’t remember how much my pills were, but it was very reasonable.  I think they did have a sliding-scale fee schedule for people who needed it, but I was a middle-class kid whose parents were paying for college while I worked just for spending money; this was very affordable.

If I had gotten pregnant, would I have had an abortion?  I have no idea.

I was raised to be pro-life.  I was raised in a southern baptist church that forbid drinking but allowed dancing. I didn’t find it to be oppressive/shoved down my throat; it was my parents–not hell–that frightened me. I guess I accepted a lot of what the church taught, but I didn’t necessarily feel passionately about it.  I remember one of my best friends in high school suggesting we go to a pro-life rally in DC, and while I guess i was pro-life, no way did I feel strongly enough to go to that.

By the time I was sexually active, my plan was “use birth control consistently so I hopefully won’t have to deal with it.”  I could afford to take that stance because I had access to birth control and information on how to prevent pregnancy.

I got married a few years after college, and although I didn’t know if I ever wanted kids, I probably would have kept the pregnancy if birth control failed.

My sister had tremendous difficulty getting pregnant.  It took years, multiple IVFs paid out of pocket, a miscarriage, a very complicated pregnancy, and a stillbirth in order for her to get her children.  I remember thinking at one point about how much more pro-life my sister must be, and how she might feel to hear that someone aborted an unwanted pregnancy when that was all she wanted for years.

I was firmly “pro choice” by that point, but I wouldn’t argue against her viewpoint.

I spent much of the first 6 years of my marriage not wanting kids, but worried that I’d change my mind and it would be too late (either because of my age or because I had infertility issues).  When I was 32, I attended a friend’s baby shower, and I found myself crying in the car on the way home.  I assumed that I was just being a big baby who was jealous of the attention, but I basically rolled out of bed the next day ready to make a baby.

I didn’t have trouble getting pregnant–I just couldn’t stay pregnant.  It took four pregnancies in order for me to get my daughter, and even the fourth one ended early (at 32 weeks).

It sucked, and it was traumatic, but it actually had a paradoxical affect on my views on abortion by making me more staunchly pro-choice.  I wanted my kid more than anything–and parenthood (especially infancy) was so incredibly difficult. I had a supportive partner, and I barely survived it.  I cannot imagine doing it alone.  I cannot imagine doing it when you don’t want or don’t have the means to support a child.  I cannot imagine it’s in anyone’s best interest to force women to serve their “punishment” for having sex outside of marriage in a way that involves an innocent human.  I don’t necessarily think it’s better for the child to be born and adopted; I really don’t know.

I didn’t know much about late-term abortions until I read through some of the stories of Dr. Tiller’s patients–I think I actually avoided it because I didn’t want to deal with a “grey” area, but I became curious after my own losses.  I think I have enough understanding of it–the process, and the kinds of cases that are referred to the few late-term abortion clinics in the country–to support it.  It’s a painful, difficult, traumatic process that someone does not undertake because they didn’t get their shit together.  If I’m wrong about that, and some people who “slip through the cracks,” then so be it: I still don’t think that someone should be forced to carry to term a baby that isn’t going to live, or is only going to live a short time.  Once the baby is born, they’re alive, and no one can argue that they can feel it.  If the mother thinks the right thing for them is to terminate, then they should be allowed to do so.

I had three miscarriages.  One of them I went through naturally (and my body didn’t get the “memo,” so it took weeks to get started, but I did see all of the “products” of miscarriage), and I had D&Cs–the same procedure as a surgical abortion–for the others.  The former got flushed/thrown out; the latter was probably incinerated by the hospital.  I don’t have any feelings about the disposal of my embryos because they weren’t alive.  The PP videos didn’t arouse any kind of feelings in me, because we’re not talking about sentient beings.

My feelings on this extend to actual corpses, too.  I know it makes me an outlier to just view the body as a “thing” (best disposed of through natural burial, which is not super accessible, so my plan is direct cremation in a cardboard box.  No embalming) rather than a person.  I totally understand someone wanting a burial for a baby that they lost through stillbirth. But, honestly, I don’t think that there is anything un-Christian about my stance (the soul/personality as separable from the body).  Once the former is off to a better place, a body really is just a “thing.”

If the remains can be used to better medicine, I think that’s wonderful.  If I found out now that the products of my pregnancy losses could have been used for medical research, I would support it 100%.  I would love to feel that something good came out of those experiences, because, personally, I got nothin’.  Maybe they made me appreciate my daughter all the more, but I’d rather be stupid and happy.

So, in sum: the PP stuff is invalid because they did nothing illegal, I’m pro-choice from conception to term, and I’m unmoved by people not talking about things that aren’t alive as if they are.

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