Wednesday, January 16, 2008

abort abort abort

as cheeky as that sounds, i think i want to be talking about abortion today.

nobody wants to like abortion. it's kind of a freaky thing, to end a pregnancy. no matter how you feel about the process, something dies that could have eventually drawn breath. and this is me talking, me who feels that you're not a person until you're born and breathing.

but at the same time, abortion is necessary. access to safe, hassle-free, medical abortions is the only way to knowingly address a huge societal imbalance, namely that we do not live in a sexually fair society. i don't care how much the anti-feminists want to rant and rave that we're overeacting and we have nothing to complain about and we're so aggressive and blah blah fishcakes. women don't get taken seriously as intellectual forces, women don't earn what men earn, women's contributions to society aren't given enough credit, and therefore women don't have the same social freedom that men do.

women and girls deserve a way to correct a situation that they don't want to be in. it doesn't matter if they enjoyed the sex or not, it doesn't matter if they were using birth control or not, * it doesn't matter if they were in a steady committed relationship or the school slut or divinely turkey-bastered with the holy sperm of the flying spaghetti monster. ending one's pregnancy is, for a lot of women, the solution that lets them keep their lives the way they were; in other words, it's what we consider the best possible outcome when we make a mistake or get into an accident. of any kind. thank goodness, no one got hurt, we learned something, let's put this behind us.

and this is why it worries me that abortion is undergoing a re-demonization in popular culture.

it is bad enough that you have your bible-thumpers and militant pro-lifers picketing clinics instead of handing out condoms or engaging in dialogue. but at least that's upfront, out there, understandable. when abortion becomes something that's not even an option in pop culture, it adds another taboo to what's already difficult enough to come to terms with getting. consider:

- miranda's decision in season five of "sex and the city" to go through with her pregnancy. (for all the show's a satire, it was really well done, though; they'd established miranda's mixed feelings about wanting to have a child early on)
- "saved," where a teenage christian goes through with her pregnancy in spite of the social ostracism that goes with it (again, kind of understandable. she's a christian!)
- "knocked up," where abortion isn't really an option, and
-"juno," ditto.

one of the fine ladies at BUST posted photos of lilly allen and jaime lynn spears on the magazine's blog, under the heading "i'm sorry, but haven't any of these people heard of abortions?" . not pc, for sure, maybe a bit insensitive? perhaps. but relevant? for heaven's sake, yes. if i were sixteen or twenty-one and just starting to get a career established and dating a) a nineteen year old who didn't want to be a dad or b) some guy fifteen years older than i - FOR THREE MONTHS, i'd damn well be thinking about it! and i should be, because for all that ideas of morality are relative and subjective, ideas about social realities aren't. being a single mother is hard. being a young mother is hard. being the child of a young, single mother is setting you up to be poor.

not hating on young parents, people. or single parents, or people who decide not to have abortions. i am hating on the idea that abortion can be dismissed out of hand as something that only the heartless can do.

abortion is an option. and it's a personal one that will affect each person differently. we have no right to dictate how someone should feel about it, if they should be crying tears of blood and lighting candles every year on the anniversary of their proceedure or whatnot. when we attach such angsty emotional baggage to it, someone who can walk away from an abortion, still functional and even relieved, becomes a frigid unnatural maneating bitch.

which is hurtful.

and unfair.

and funnily enough, directed towards women.

it took so long to get here, even here, even to this imperfect place. i don't want to go back.

* in my opinion, not using birth control when you don't want to get pregnant = stupid. HOWEVER. does that make it right or fair or smart to say, "stupid little girl, you got pregnant. now you can't have an abortion because you don't want to be stupid AND EVIL, do you?" AND with the megastupid idea of teaching abstinence-only sex education in schools, we're raising a whole generation of deliberately-kept stupids, as opposed to the i-know-better-but-i'm-lazy kind of stupid. and anyway, the contraception thing could fuel a whole other rant, believe me.


Chris said...

I agree with the sentiments - don't get me wrong. However, playing Devil's Advocate for a minute - consider how "Knocked Up" or "Juno" would have ended if the female lead chose abortion:

Five minutes in - "Awww crap, that one night stand actually got me pregnant. What should I do?"

Six minutes in - Credits roll.

I know the return comment is that the movie 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days is a movie that does exactly what I have said. The character chooses abortion and a movie is made, not a short-film. However, Hollywood is not ready for that level of realism yet.

You won't see Katherine Heigl portraying the brave, yet scared woman going for an abortion.

Should that be the case? Nope, not even close, but it is. It's hard to make a Romcom about abortion - however, (after typing out a whole paragraph and then thinking a little bit more and deleting everything I was about to say) I also think it can be done.

I think a Romcom can totally be done about abortion and should. I also think it should be directed by Joss Whedon - but that's because he is awesome and would do it well (yes, yes, yes, I know and apologize for letting my Fanboy feelings get in the way here). We need to stop this idea that abortion is not an option in the same way we need to stop abstinence-only sex ed.

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