Free Speech 4/12/11

Control your body

Dear Ms. Stanley,
I wanted to comment on your recent column regarding efforts to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood.
First, I disagree with your assertion that abortion is, or should be, a private matter. Contrary to what abortion rights advocates say, this is not strictly about a woman’s body and a woman’s life.  There is another life involved, which of course is that of the unborn child. I think we should no more consider abortion a private matter to be left to individuals than we consider life and death for an infant, toddler or elderly person to be a private decision. There are people living amongst us who cannot fend for themselves and who could be considered a burden, but we don’t (and shouldn’t) stand by while another person decides they should die. I realize that abortion rights folks don’t want to acknowledge that a fetus is a human life, but the facts aren’t changed by convenient interpretation – it’s a child; take no action against it and see what comes out.
As for the “control their own bodies” argument, I actually think that is an excellent idea. Pregnancy is not an inevitable or mysterious outcome. If one has intercourse, pregnancy may result. You can alter the odds by employing reliable birth control or by not using it. What adult doesn’t know that? An excellent way that women can control their own bodies is by making wise decisions: To have intercourse or not; to use birth control, reliably or haphazardly, or not at all;  to get sterilized or not;  to carry a pregnancy to term, or to abort it; to keep the child when it is born, or allow someone to adopt it. There are all sorts of decisions the woman can make, and most do not involve abortion. So, yes, by all means women should take control and act in a manner that minimizes, if not eliminates, the “need” for abortion.
Of course, women and women’s groups are quick to ask, “But what about the man?”  Well, what about him? Men don’t get to make very many decisions in this: To have intercourse or not (same as with women);  to use a condom or not; to get sterilized or not (as women can choose to use their own birth control or get sterilized).  But once conception occurs, the man doesn’t really have a say. If the woman chooses abortion, he cannot stop her. He can say, “I want the child, please don’t kill it!” but if the woman chooses abortion, he cannot do anything to prevent it.  Conversely, if he wanted her to abort the child, he cannot keep her from giving birth, and then he is on the tab to help support a child he did not want (or he can choose to go on the run and have law enforcement looking for him). If the mother decides to put the child up for adoption, the father has a small window of time (assuming he even knows that a child is his – many don’t) to come forth and claim the child or lose his parental rights forever. Many times, men don’t find out about their children until it is too late.
Since women hold most of the decision-making power when it comes to birthing children, society is right to demand more responsible decisions from them. And, let’s face it, it is women who become pregnant, and it is young women who mature faster than young men. Any parent who is not telling their daughters that THEY must be the ones to make wise choices and to protect themselves is shirking their parental duties. One needn’t be religious to think this is how it should be. Given the numbers of childless couples that long for a child to complete their family, it is small inconvenience for a pregnant woman to postpone her life for a few months so that others can have joy for a lifetime.
As for the problems with our U.S. economy,   the reality is that the American consumer has contributed greatly to the current mess. Yes, we were duped into thinking free global trade was a smart move (it wasn’t). Yes, we were provided with cheap foreign-made goods and they looked like a good deal (they weren’t).
Well before 2008, Americans could see that cheap, foreign-made goods were eliminating American jobs and forcing American companies to relocate production outside the U.S., but that did not prevent us from buying those cheap goods.  We took “advantage” of the housing bubble to load up on cheap goods – to live what we thought was the high life – but now the tab comes due. At the very time that we are faced with the impending retirement of the large baby boomer generation (of which you and I are both members), we have gutted America’s manufacturing capacities and, along with it, the American tax base. Yes, the “needless wars” didn’t help, but a large portion of the federal budget is, and will continue to be, the entitlements: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

– Robert Troxell

[Re: Debate Forum Left: 3/29/11, by Marianne Stanley]

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