You will know them by their love

Wendy Davis has become a house hold name for her epic filibuster.

On Friday, Senators convened to debate the Texas Abortion Bill. But one thing missing? The objections this time were simply ignored.

The Texas Abortion bill is a religious bill. I don’t think anyone is a fan of abortion. It is a medical procedure. Most sensible humans aren’t having one for “lolz”. Yes there are some people who abuse it but frankly there are people who abuse chocolate and we don’t legislate that and chocolate is infinitely deadlier than abortions (People die from diabetes and cardio-vascular issues more regularly than abortions after all).

Abortion is a fundamental part of women’s health. To deny it to people is to deny them a vital tool for the control of their own health. The only thing that has occurred when abortions are banned is the proliferation of unsafe abortion. In fact the British Abortion acts were put in place mainly to save  women’s lives. Abortions are going to happen. You may as well make them safe.

Senator Davis is no stranger to this. Her first filibuster was to protect schools from reckless cuts. After that she was removed from the Education Committee. Because children are important. Unless they are poor.

The irony of the declaration that rights of foetuses are important then not caring about them after their born is not lost on me. The Christian Right who care so much about abortion that they would deny women access to it are also unwilling too fund proper sex education, contraception, pre-natal check ups and made such a big fuss about Universal Healthcare that you would have assumed that Obama was planning to sell their children’s organs to zoos for meat. These are the same people who deny poor people a living wage and who are so impressed by the sanctity of children’s lives that they wish for children to never grow up and so deny them the education that they desperately need.

I know of mothers who threw themselves down stairs and out of windows to abort their “baby”. Abortions are not done lightly and the ultimate irony is that many pro-lifers have found themselves on the opposite side of the doors of an abortion clinic when it’s them or their kids who need the procedure.

If you really cared about children you would allow abortions. Children are great. I don’t personally get along well with them but they get along well with me. But here is the thing. I don’t want half a dozen of them. I got enough things to worry about without that many of them.

Middle Child Syndrome is a real thing. See the first child gets care because he is the oldest. The cutting edge. The youngest child needs care because he is young. The one in the middle? Generally has lower healthcare outcomes. Money is spent on the oldest, time on the youngest. He lies in the zone where neither time nor money is available and so suffers.

At the edge of existence and for the poor, this is especially felt. We encourage mothers to have fewer children and space those they have out so that each child has the optimum time and resources to grow.

To take a step back from this level of service and return back to the natural restrictions on birth is madness.

It’s simple. If you are pro-life then don’t get an abortion. No one is forcing you to get one. Senator Davis is not going to chase you about with a speculum. Do what you wish with it. Raise it yourself, give it away for adoption… whatever.

But don’t tell other people to make the same choices as you do. It’s not yours to make.

An abortion is not a happy medical procedure. It is a stressful one and ensuring it goes as smoothly as possible is vital for the prolonged health of the mother to be. To throw up unnecessary obstacles solely to satisfy your god is just pointless. The Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t accept blood. They don’t force you to not get a transfusion.

Ultimately those who are harmed the most are the women. But you tell the women who support pro-life arguments that they cannot be real women unless they love babies and do this. So they think that those women who want the choice and access to abortions just hate babies. It is easy to portray your opponents as one dimensional baby/woman haters but the reality of the situation is that there is a driving force.

In this case it is blatantly religion. We know it’s religious, we have seen pro-life arguments. None of it is based on scientific evidence and the least religious of it boils down to the extremely childish “How can you kill a Baby” argument because in their minds there is no difference from the bunch of cells and a fully formed adult.

Whether it goes through a second time or not is still up in the air. But if it does, it’s only a victory for the coathanger lobby. Everyone else loses.


  1. TGAP Dad says

    It always amazes me how familiar you, an Indian brit working in India, are with US politics.

  2. opposablethumbs says

    Well said, Avi. But when you say that

    I don’t think anyone is a fan of abortion. It is a medical procedure.

    I’d just like to substitute any other procedure you care to name … “I don’t think anyone is a fan of debridement / of cataract surgery / of appendectomy / of setting broken bones”. There can’t be a single medical procedure people actually enjoy for its own sake (barring a few exceptional individuals, perhaps) but we bloody love the fact they can be, are, have been done when we need them to be done. I suspect that any negative feelings people may have about abortions (over and above the nervousness or discomfort one might experience with getting a wisdom tooth extracted or anything else like that, for example) are due to the anti-choice propaganda one unconsciously absorbs because it’s all around us.

    I had two IUD failures when I was younger, and two abortions – safe, swift and free of charge, thank you NHS – and from the perspective of being on the receiving end abortions are wonderful! Just as wonderful as getting my daughter’s broken wrist set, or as wonderful as my son getting treated within less than an hour for suspected meningitis.

    I just think that when we say abortions are sad or regrettable but necessary we are falling into the trap of categorising them as somehow different from any other needed medical procedure. It ain’t so; any needed medical procedure is as sad/regrettable/wonderful/welcome as any other. We’d rather any procedure wasn’t needed in the first place, but if it is then it’s bloody wonderful to get it!

    Oh, and thank you, Avi, for being who you are and doing what you do.

  3. firsttimereader says

    Yes this is a well written piece, and somewhat echo’s my own views. I’m not religious, and a secular discussion around how abortion services work legally and medically, is much preferred.

    I’m a man, and will never experience an abortion, so the people with lived experience should be listened to, like the commenter above. I have spoken to family members who have considered an abortion, as it wasn’t a good time for them to have a baby, and they choose to give birth, as they do view the fetus in the same way as a baby, even during the early stages. I’m never going to be in that position, so I couldn’t even begin to comment on whether they are right of wrong.

    I thought it might be that some women might suffer harmful mental effects after abortion. The ones I have seen seem to be born again Christians, who experience powerful feelings of regret and shame.

    I did a little reading around, and the general consensus is that on those rare occasions that women suffer harmful psychological effects, it’s more to do with associated issues such as feelings of abandonment and lack of support during a stressful period in their lives. The following comes from a pro-choice site, to save time I didn’t seek the original report.
    “Russo and Dabul reported their conclusions of an eight-year study in Professional Psychology:

    Although an intensive examination of the data was conducted, controlling for numerous variables and including comparisons of Black women versus White women, Catholic women versus non-Catholic women, and women who had abortions versus other women, the findings are consistent: The experience of having an abortion plays a negligible, if any, independent role in women’s well-being over time, regardless of race or religion.”

    Society need to make sure that women who have abortions have been looked after properly, and that they are going into it with a good understanding of all the issues. More than with, for example, a procedure to fix a wrist. Women are people after all, and people don’t always make cool calm balanced decisions and need independent advice sometimes.

    Having never had an abortion, I don’t know the quality of the “counseling” if that’s the right word, in the UK or other places, but I hope that the people who experience it, will make their views known if it doesn’t come up to scratch.

    I can’t see a movement to change the way counseling works. (Well there is a movement to change it in the UK, but that comes from anti-abortionists who clearly have an agenda).

    There was a scandal a few years ago, where some UK clinics were bypassing the need for two doctors to sign off on a procedure, (I guess to make sure the patient is of sound mind and such) but it wasn’t happening, and doctors were just signing off without talking to the patients. The fact that 2 doctors need to sign off indicates that the procedure is currently treated more seriously than others.

    I suspect this kind of requirement might happen in other places, and came about as a result of some sort of political compromise with people who opposed the the pro choice laws originally. I read an interview with the guy who introduced legislation in the UK in the 1960’s and that’s the impression I got.

    Also, recent statistics show that there is a small minority (and it really is a small minority) of women have had several or more abortions in UK, some of them still quite young, so maybe some extra attention needs to be paid to this group. I suspect these women may be at the lower end of the social scales and maybe aren’t able to control their contraception (or even their lives) very well for whatever reason.

    One other point is that in a socialized healthcare system, there are always going to be those people who resent abortions being performed in the same way that they oppose obese people having several several heart operations, or smokers who need lung transplants. That way of thinking goes against my morality.

    There is a wealth of easy to digest information about UK abortion that one may refer to when arguing with a pro lifer….it’s pretty relevant to Ireland also as it is well known that large number of women cross the sea to receive procedures in the UK. I’m guessing the same kind of thing happens across state borders in the US?

  4. Samsara says

    I went to a Christian high school in the US.
    I visited several of my high school pals last Xmas when visiting the US.
    I was absolutely amazed at how many of these Christian pals proudly voted for Mitt Romney solely based on his anti abortion stance! Most of these folks were working class whites & Hispanics- not the folks who are going to benefit in any other way by a Pres. Romney.

    “I’m guessing the same kind of thing happens across state borders in the US?”
    Not really.
    I did my most of my OB/GYN rotations in Texas & California.
    Up to 11 weeks it’s fairly easy easy to get an i’n clinic abortion’- Planned Parenthood of America has clinics in every state that do ‘in clinic abortions’ on a sliding fee scale. You aren’t going to find any federal or state funding available in most cases despite demonstrated financial need of the patient. Many US physicians do abortions & bill them a bit fraudulently as D&C’s. Quite frankly a lot of the US physicians doing abortions are creepy sleazebags that don’t think much of their patients & have crappy reputations to boot.
    Mind you I have never figured out WHY PP required patients undergoing ‘in clinic abortions’ were required to give their social security numbers- a bit weird & ‘Big Brotherish’.
    Please be aware that when performing an abortion for whatever reason it is mandated by US federal law that the physician must give the patient this scripted 20 minute GORY lecture in VIVID detail on how an abortion is done – i.e. including such details as breaking the skull into bits etc.- AND the patient must then sign a form stating that she is aware of all these gory aspects & has understood the implications. I think this is just MEAN.
    This is REQUIRED even in cases where there is ‘no fetal heartbeat’ (the fetus is dead) & the fetal tissue must be surgically removed. I had to give this GRAPHICALLY detailed federally mandated screed to numerous women absolutely in tears & sobbing hysterically over hearing the news of ‘no fetal heartbeat’ before surgically removing the deceased fetal tissue. Cruel & unusual punishment if you ask me.
    That’s life in the United States of Moronicans!

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