My mother once had, as Ani Difranco has said, "a fetus holding court in [her] gut". I always found that lyric interesting. I'll admit to being a male, so I can't say I know what it is to be pregnant. But from what I've heard from various pregnant women, the unborn baby is much like a tyrant, holding court in a kingdom which was once sovereign. A woman's body changes when she's pregnant. She starts producing . . . things . . . that she had never produced before. There is a whole other living being inside her, one that is sustained by what the woman ingests, one that draws life from the life of the woman.
I once thought that a woman would be incomplete without children. I no longer see this as the case. In our day and age, there are many ways for women to find fulfillment. I won't list them here; I don't want to be accused of trying to start something because I left something off the list or added something I should not have added. Suffice it to say, common women (and by "common" I mean women of any social standing or "class", not just the elite of society) have more freedom today than they've had at pretty much any time in history. Generally, women have the same employment opportunities as men. They have the same rights to free speach, to vote, to bear arms (or to bare them, for that matter), to religion (or the lack thereof), to live. We're talking basic human rights here.
There is a reason I opened this article the way I did. The fetus "holding court" in the gut of my mother was me. I am a human being. I am the end result of the act of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. I don't know if my parents used a condom, though I doubt it. I don't know if my mother was on birth control at the time, though I doubt it. I know my father had not yet had a vasectomy. The thing is, they had consensual sex. A sperm penetrated an egg and fertilized it. A human being was created. That's God's Will . . . or "Mother Nature at work", or the scientific nature of the reproductive organs of the male and female human bodies. Whatever. The point is, that's the way things work.
No one should ever be forced to have a child against their will. I am a firm believer that a man who is proven to have raped a woman should be castrated. And while I will never go so far as to say that a woman who is raped should be encouraged to have an abortion--yes, I'm that staunch an advocate of the right of an unborn child to live--I will say that I am more sympathetic to their plight than you will find many "pro-life" men to be. Women, I will actively defend your right to not have children, if that is your desire. I am "pro-choice", but not in the way that the term has come to be known.
I believe in a woman's right to choose. Under normal circumstances--rape not being a normal circumstance--a woman has a number of choices if she wishes to avoid participation in procreation. A woman can choose to abstain from sex, usually a certain method of contraception short of an immaculate conception. A woman can choose to use one of the various methods of feminine birth control; and should that protection fail, she and the male who inseminated her would have to deal with the consequences. A woman can choose to tell the male that he must wear some sort of male contraceptive device; and again, should that protection fail, she and the male who inseminated her would have to deal with the consequences. One or the other (or both) of the two consenting adults could choose to have a more permanent, surgical form of contraception perfomed. This would permanently preclude the possibility of children, short of what insurance companies would call "an act of God". I will actively defend your right to make any one of those choices. However, if a woman chooses to have sex, protected or otherwise, there are possible consequences. And one of the possible consequences is pregnancy.
Unfortunately, in our day and age a woman can also choose to have an abortion. However, a woman who makes this choice has made the same choice as Cain who slew his brother, David who ordered the death of Uriah the Hittite, or any other individual who has unjustly chosen to take the life from another human being. The government has chosen to ignore that truth. I would urge and beg you not to.
I'm glad my mother decided not to choose that last option. While there are undoubtedly those who would consider the possibility of a world without Alan Kornacki to be a good thing, I am a productive member of society. Whether you agree with my religious beliefs or not, I contribute to the betterment of society through my work. I have helped feed the hungry. I have counseled the grieving and depressed. I have made a difference. I could not have done that, had my mother chosen to end my life while I was yet in the womb. My mother chose to allow me to have the basic human right to live. I will be forever grateful for that, as I am that your mothers chose to allow you to have that same basic human right.
Women--You have options, and many of those options do not have to lead to pregnancy. I say it again: I will actively defend your right to choose any of those. However, I will not--indeed, I cannot--support your choice to have an abortion.