Aug 22, 2012

Should Men Stay Silent?

Try as I may to stay off the latest hot button political topic, I just need to get somethings off my chest. Agree, disagree doesn't matter. Don't like what I have to say feel free to leave a respectful comment and I'll be happy to discuss it with you. 

So recently some idiot politician, who's political party in my opinion should make no difference, made a dumb comment about legitimate rape.  It has offended woman far and wide.  And to be honest, I really don't care.  This makes me feel like I should have my lady card revoked or something.  Maybe it's because I'm already totally jaded and don't think the money hungry fools in politics should have no control over what they have for dinner let alone my healthcare choices.  Or maybe it's because, as dumb as the comment was, and as much as I do TRULY get why it's offensive to many, I sort of GET what he's saying.  Do I think he's wrong about the biology that woman who are raped 'legitimately' can't get pregnant? Yes!  Do I get that a man even questioning the validity of rape hurts woman, especially those who have been victims? Yes!  Do I also know people who have in fact claimed rape to get out of 'trouble' or to punish a guy? Yes! So I DO believe there are case that are NOT legitimate. I don't however feel that those cases are frequent enough to justify the classification he made. It is hard enough for woman to come forward after such a personally traumitic experience and I don't think anyone, especially a male, should ever do or say anything that would inhimit a single woman from getting help after a rape!
However, yes pregnancies resulting from rape happen. I get this. And my heart literally breaks for everyone who would have to experience this.  But I also believe that he (and others who've spoken out since) are right in that EVERY child is a blessing or gift.  I don't know how anyone who has witnessed the birth of a child can consider it ANYTHING short of a miracle.  I mean a puddle of gross goo and a ridiculously small 'egg' somehow grew in a woman's body into a tiny little person! THAT is miraculous! If I were to get pregnant from a rape would I be able to carry and keep that child? I couldn't honestly say. I totally get why someone would chose not to. And I therefor get why the option for termination should be open for them.  But in the grand scheme of things, of the 42 MILLION abortions performed a year, those that were done because of rape are only 1%.  (Approximately 6% are for medical reasons) So I don't believe that these issues should be enough to always halt conversation on abortion.  The reality is that 93% of abortions are done for "social reasons."   
So yes, I think the comments made by this man came off all kinds of wrong.  But if we look at the heart of what this moron was saying, I'm not sure why we're arguing.  Is life NOT a gift?

Then today I read a post by another blogger who is boycotting a company because one of its employees (with the company name in his public profile) tweeted this:
         Answer can someone live with themselves after having an abortion?
Now I won't go into the professional side of this decision, that's for another day.  But my question is this, WHY are we so outraged at this question? Is it not a legitimate question?  I am a believer in acceptance. I may not always live it perfectly, but I try. Your choices are yours and if you can sleep at night, that's all that matters. BUT as a person who's HAD an abortion, let me just answer that question from my point of view. 

I couldn't. I couldn't live with myself after my abortion. I became clinically depressed and attempted suicide. I know my situation was different than others. I know that others have different rational and feel differently afterward. But I know a LOT of other woman who felt the same as I did. It's actually a fairly common reaction. So why are we enraged by the question? As someone who's been there, I don't feel convicted or angry at this person who asks. I feel compelled to tell my story and hopefully spare someone else from experiencing the hell I went through after I terminated a pregnancy. A second trimester pregnancy by the way. So I don't care how you slice it, in my mind, I chose to kill my first child.  And I'm ok with someone questioning how I can live with myself after that decision.

But a big part of me wonders, is all the drama simply because these are MEN making these statements? Are men simply not allowed to have, and certainly not express, an opinion on abortion?  Let me reiterate that I have ZERO faith in our government as it stands to make anything resembling an intelligent choice when it comes to any kind of healthcare issue but most notable abortion. I DO believe that reform is needed. I think our culture needs to do a total 180 on the thoughts on abortion.  But I don't believe our government is equipped to make those changes now. But maybe that's because somehow we've decided that this issue is only a woman's issue. My body my choice.  That's the law, right? Well I don't agree.  And I really don't think we are doing ourselves any favors by gagging our men on this topic. I think everyone, men and women, need to be able to ask the questions they have about it. We need to be encouraging an open and real conversation about this topic.  How is it that people are literally lighting up Facebook with posts about anti-abortion comments yet in my almost 20 years since having an abortion have not ONCE had someone tell me about their experience first.  One in three woman in the US have had an abortion, a disturbing percentage have had more than one, yet you would never know it. No one talks about it. No one knows what anyone's experience is.  So maybe instead of condemning anyone else for their views maybe we need to ask of ourselves what we want of them...acceptance, patience, etc. And then take the time to have an open and honest discussion. And please, don't write of a man's perspective, they may not experience it exactly the same as a woman but they DO experience pain and loss with an abortion too!


  1. Firstly, I want to commend you for posting this. It is a touchy topic for pretty much anyone and I appreciate your thoughts around abortion. I think men have a right to their opinion. Let me explain. I was always Pro Choice for as long as I could remember. That was until my husband and I tried to get pregnant. We tried and tried and tried. For 2.5 years we tried. We miscarried. It was devastating. By some miracle (seriously) we were able to get pregnant with our son who is now 4. Despite our deep desire to have a sibling for him, it is now out of our hands. I have stage 4 endometriosis (the kind that attacks and ruins your ovaries) and I am now unable to have children. Adoption has been on our minds, but with high costs and so much that could go wrong, we are hesitant. Every time we hear a story in the news about abusive parents or even think about the sheer number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions we think, "We would be such good parents to their baby." Thus, the beginning of my pro-life status. My husband too. So, yes, I think for many men, there is a justified reason for taking an anti-abortion stance. If we just give them half a chance to explain, maybe more people would understand where they are coming from.

    1. I totally agree. I can say I can't imagine handing over a baby I carried for nine months to someone else. BUT I think if that became to sociably acceptable norm it would be different. Instead of people pushing woman to 'fix' their situation, they offered realistic alternatives and supported those decisions fully, I think more people could happily adopt and young woman could feel better about the life they gave to the life starting inside them.

  2. I have not ever had an abortion. However I have been sexually assaulted and would have been raped if I wouldn't have fought my attacker off for over 5 hours. Sooooo I have good grounds to be pissed at the statement that was made. Even with only my sexual assault, I suffered from PTSD. Why don't I blog about it? Because my parents don't know. I never pressed charges because I wasn't sober at the time (well, I actually sobered up pretty quick once I realized what was going to happen) and it would have been his word against mine.

    The problem I have is this slippery slope this leads to. Akin is the same guy who wants to change the definition of rape to forcible rape which means incest and date rape would no longer be considered rape. Which means if you needed an abortion, your insurance wouldn't have to cover it.

    I also fall under the medical necessity. Since I had an ablation done, if I ever got pregnant, it would kill me (because the only place an implant could take place is in my fallopian tubes). I don't want a MAN (yes, I said it) deciding whether I live or die. And yes, there are lawmakers who make NO exceptions even in the case of health reasons of the mother.

    I am 100% prochoice. I also had problems getting pregnant and have suffered miscarriages. Still, it is my decision because for me, it is truly life and death.

    1. I agree with Lisa.

      I also have never had an abortion. After being raped I did use a morning after pill. And I am eternally grateful that I did not become/remain pregnant from that experience. I would have aborted that pregnancy with no hesitations.

      Not because I don't believe that the child that resulted would be unloveable. BUt because every single day for the rest of my life, I would have to look at the scars of what was done to me. My growing belly, my nausea, my stretch marks, my aching back, everything related to childbirth... you are forever changed by bringing a child into the world. And it takes the better part of a year.

      I would have killed myself if I had been forced to remain pregnant. And my rape? Akin wouldn't call it "legitimate," because it was date rape.

      Still, by the idea that an embryo is a human life, I have committed murder anyway. Because when my husband was going through chemotherapy for brain cancer, we used IVF to become pregnant. Although I wanted to find something else to do with our extra embryos, any option was far too expensive for us to afford- you would not believe the legal fees for "adopting" an embryo. So in the end we chose to destroy them.

      Are they not human lives if they're not inside a woman's body?

      And that's the thing- if it is not capable of surviving outside of the woman's body, is it a person? And is its unwanted presence inside of her not a kind of constant rape? An intrusion into her body that she neither asked for nor wanted?

      I can never be pregnant again. When I'm pregnant, I get cancer. And I have been so fortunate that in my two pregnancies, the cancers were easy to find and treat. Under these "personhood" laws, my medical issues wouldn't count. I wouldn't be under threat of "immediate" death. But pregnancy is a complicated medical condition, and I am indisputably a human life. A human being with responsibilities.

      Would you sooner see my children lose their mother and my husband lose his wife because we were not allowed to terminate a pregnancy that would lead to my death?

      This is always a more complicated issue than people want it to be. But I have been on many sides of it, and no matter how I look at it, I believe that it is essential to the freedom of women that they have the choice to keep their bodies as their own. Regardless of their reasons.

    2. It's such a complicated issue. I appreciate your sharing, and am sorry that you've had to endure anything that even touches on the topic. Its crazy all the possible senarios that can come in to play and this is the sole reason I have never been able to stand for any sort of legal change. Because I can't even clearly pinpoint my own line on what is right or wrong I don't want the government to do it. However in the 'typical' situation changes need to be made so there is a better chance of those who don't REALLY want to do it, feel they have another true option. And there needs to be more help for those after they do make the decision.
      And like I said I think there needs to be a societal ideology shift from it being the 'easy fix' because its really not.

  3. Great post and don't ever be afraid to use your voice. People will always disagree, but those you help will be worth it!

  4. Things have become so polarized lately that it's almost impossible to have a real conversation. Whether or not a statement is accurate carries less regard than whether or not it validates our beliefs. Our nation is engaged in noise-making, and whipping people into a frenzy. But that doesn't mean there's not point in being real and speaking the truth - it means it's more important that ever. If each of us could calmly tell our truths, whether pro or con, rather than resorting to soundbites, the landscape of our politics would look entirely different. Thank you for telling your truth.

  5. And another spin on this that will make you think -- 31 states allow for rapists to sue for parental rights

    1. oh my god! I didn't even know that! WOW! I love this discussion bec everyone is speaking from their heart and we are able to LEARN from one another, not yelling and screaming.

  6. You are so brave to write this, Lisa.

    A lot of pro-lifers are of a Christian bent. Or they come at it from a religious viewpoint.

    I am not Christian. I do not believe in any religion written in any book.

    That said, I do believe. That is not what this post is about, but I wanted it out there.

    I believe that Life begins at conception. That little bundle of cells? It's a human being. It has a soul. It has a purpose. So, in my opinion, abortion is wrong. In my heart, it is no different than terminating a pregnancy at 9 months.

    That said, I cannot see making abortion illegal. Though I cry and mourn for the children that will never be, I know that abortion will continue to exist. Women will find a way, for whatever reasons they may have, to abort. It needs to be available and safe.


    It needs to be more difficult to attain. "Why does this girl want to abort? Why does this woman feel that this is her only choice? Why would it be harder to give up a child at 9 months instead of 9 weeks? Why? Why? How do you feel about it? How will it feel afterwards? How will you live with this decision???" These questions need to be discussed before sex. During Sex Ed. During family conversations. Once a pregnancy has taken place. ALL THE TIME. A choice to abort should be something that is taken more seriously than I feel society gives it.

    I love you. I don't judge your decision. It is made and I am so sorry you had such a difficult time afterwards.

    1. yes yes yes
      I'm really with you. I can't find a hard line where it can be drawn for everyone this is acceptable, this isn't. I wish there was. But I think you're right on, it needs to be not so casual. It needs to not be looked at as the easy thing to do.


Thanks for leaving me a comment!!