How to end abortion without making it illegal

I’m pro choice, but I would like to see abortion end.  I don’t know if it’s a life or not, in case it is, I would like to see abortion end.  I also know abortion takes a huge toll emotionally, physically and financially on the women who undergo the procedure.  No one should have to go through that, so I would like to see abortion end.  I also hate pushy, crazy pro life protesters who carry pictures of dead babies and do things that border on terrorist action (and sometimes cross right over), so I would like to see abortion end.

The thing is, I also know that if abortion were made illegal, it would still go on.  There would still be abortions, performed dangerously in back alleys, often killing or seriously injuring the desperate, scared women seeking them.  There would still be abortions, quietly in rich women’s doctor’s offices in exchange for large sums of money and/or political favors.  Outlawing abortion is a half assed attempt at treating a symptom.  If we want to put an end to abortion, we must treat the disease.

#1.  Teach family planning
There are many ways to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.  One of these ways, yes, is abstinence.  This is the most effective method, but it is the least used.  It’s not because of lack of knowledge, everyone knows about being a virgin.  We were all born virgins; most of us stay virgins for the majority of our childhood.  Being a virgin is pretty easy.  Other ways to prevent pregnancy include a vast variety of birth control methods and natural family planning methods.  Everyone (men and women) should have knowledge of all of their options and be able to make informed, scientifically accurate decisions.

#2.  Provide resources for single mothers
Unplanned pregnancies happen, even with birth control.  I was on birth control when I got pregnant.  Human error and malfunctions will never go away, nor will premarital sex.  Women would be more inclined to keep their children if they had resources to fall back on to help them, because parenting alone is hard work. 

#3.  Make fathers take responsibility
I’m not telling anyone to get married, but it takes two to tango, and fathers need to be responsible for just as much as mothers are.  Mother’s would need less support from outside sources (such as government aid programs) if they got more from the fathers of their children.

#5.  Stop men from impregnating more women than they can care for
This is just an idea, and I know its out there, but I don’t think it would be a bad thing if after a man has, say, two children by two different women for whom he cannot provide, he should be sterilized.  I am horrified at how often I hear about men who have five or six illegitimate children out there that he isn’t providing for.  What the hell?  I don’t think the threat of punishment is a deterrent; I just don’t want these dudes out there knocking up half their neighborhoods anymore.  If they provide for these children, that’s a different story, but if they aren’t providing for their kids, they’re just placing a bigger burden upon social programs that end up picking up their slack.

#6.  Open Adoption
Can you imagine carrying a baby to term and then just giving it away forever?  It would be really hard.  Open adoption is a program in which adoptive parents provide occasional updates on the child for the birth mother, so the birth mother can still feel some connection to the child.  It is a gift for both the adoptive parents and the birth mother.

#7.  Praise adoption
Women who give the gift of parenthood to a childless couple while at the same time placing a child who might otherwise be living in poverty into a good and stable home should be treated like heroes.  Nothing less.

#8.  Ban the stigma
If society were more understanding of women who get pregnant out of wedlock, it would be much easier for them to bring the pregnancy to term.  Pro lifers have to decide right now what’s more important to them, saving a fetus from abortion or shaming a woman for making what they consider to be a bad choice.  Abortion is a way of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy without experiencing shame.  If shame were not an issue, women would very likely seek alternative means of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, such as adoption.  I mean, seriously, once the woman is pregnant, the mistake has already been made.  Why rub her face in it?  It’s not going to change anything.  Instead, help her to correct the situation and find the best possible outcome for all parties involved, especially the child to be.  Shame solves nothing, but love and assistance will help the woman to learn what she needs to from her experience and make different choices in the future.  I think that’s what Jesus would do.

#9.  Give children a chance for a future
I don’t understand how pro lifers can be so concerned about a child’s rights and feelings before it is born, but after birth don’t want to provide it with the least amount of aid.  Children do not pick their parents, and no matter what you might feel about the mother, the child is innocent and incapable of taking care of itself.  It’s a child, not a punishment to the mother.  Children born to single mothers are often doomed to a life of poverty, which means bad schools and little chance for a college education.  Children who grow up in these situations rarely climb their way out because they are not afforded with the same kind of opportunities the children of dual parent households have.  Often they grow up to do the exact same things their parents did, because they never got an opportunity to do anything else.  We need to give all children the same opportunity for greatness.  The fact is that not all rich, dual parent household kids take what’s offered to them, and not all poor, single parent household children will either, but just as we still offer the same opportunities to all rich, dual parent household children, we should also offer those opportunities to all poor, single parent household children.  Children should all start out on the same level playing field, what they choose to do from there is their choice.

 

As it stands right now, society gives women who experience unplanned pregnancies plenty of reasons to get an abortion, but gives them very little reason to bring their pregnancies to term.  If we as a society really want to see abortions become a thing of the past, we need to first prevent the need for abortions from occurring, and then give women more reasons to bring a pregnancy to term than to terminate it.

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About Rockingthehomestead

Badass feminist environmentalist.
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16 Responses to How to end abortion without making it illegal

  1. Christina says:

    You have a lot of excellent ideas, but I would like you to keep in mind that legalizing abortion didn’t change who was doing it. It just reduced the penalties for screwing up.

    I know of three erstwhile criminal abortionists who had never been linked to any patient deaths, each of whom went on to kill two patients in his safe and legal abortion practice. Jesse Ketchum managed to kill Margaret Smith and Carole Schaner in just four months, doing hysterotomy abortions in his office on an outpatient basis. You can also Google Milan Vuitch and Benjamin Munson and look at what they did.

  2. jessimonster says:

    This may be true, but there are doctors in every area screwing up and killing patients. There are just as many, if not more, American OBs killing mothers and children by making careless mistakes or implementing interventions without need. This is a problem with our health care system, not with one specific medical practice.

  3. kim kim says:

    5 – err, yeah right, let’s just force people to be sterilized….

    6 – obviously you have never relinquished to adoption, if you had you wouldn’t have written this point nor number 7.

    I like the other suggestions you had though.

  4. Katy says:

    It amazes me that the same people who stand outside abortion clinics or have those pro-life bumber stickers are often the same people who open call children of un-wed mothers “basterds”. What is this? 1950?

    I think you have a lot of good ideas. What it comes down to really, is that if we want to have a society where there is no abortion, we need one where abortion isn’t needed. I think the first step of that is helping religious fenatics come to terms with the fact that sex happens. I know that they live in the dream world of “I’m sexually repressed so you should be too,” but the world has NEVER worked that way. It didn’t work that way 50 years ago, it didn’t even work that way when Jesus was a live.

    So if sex happens then we need to learn how to deal with it. We need to learn how to embrace one another despite our life choices and form a society that is more focused on dealing with life as it is rather than striving for some unrealistic ideal that never exsisted.

  5. jessimonster says:

    Kim kim – Yeah, forced sterilization is exactly what I’m talking about. If you can’t use your reproductive abilities responsibly, then they should be taken away. Oh, I know its unconstitutional and there are all sorts of ethical implications, its never going to happen anyhow. But I would like to see the criminalization of men who abandon their children. We do not, in this society, even punish men for child abandonment. We certainly punish women for child abandoment. A woman would be sentenced to prison for abandoning her child. If we’re not going to punish men, we might as well prevent. Sterilization prevents. As I said it is an extreme example, but if birth control and abortion were taken away from women, I think that forced sterilization for those who impregnate women without support would be completely fair. We live in a society where the idea of taking away a woman’s reproductive rights seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to consider, but taking a man’s away seems like a grave injustice. I’m just giving as good as I get.
    As for adoption, no, I have never given a child up for adoption, but I have known and worked with women who have, and have been told by women who have been through it and the experts at Lutheran Family Services, who work to arrange adoptions, that an open adoption situation is often an easier option for women looking to give children up for adoption. I can also imagine, having had a child, that it must be unbearably hard to give a child up for adoption. We as society should do what we can to make it an easier and more pleasant experience for women if we want them to consider adoption as an option for dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. It will never be easy, of course, but we can make improvements to how the system works currently.

  6. kim kim says:

    Make adoption an easier and more pleasant experience for women?

    Good luck.

  7. Christina says:

    jessimonster, it’s true that there is malpractice in all fields of medicine. I’m not saying there isn’t. But the argument is that legalization of abortion somehow protects women from quackery. I’ve not seen any evidence of that.

    If you looked at the data on abortion deaths in the 20th century, looking just at the trends, you’d think that abortion was legal at the start of the century, that restrictions started being put into place in the early 1950s, with a total ban in about 1955, and the laws struck down are abortion again legalized in about 1961. (See a chart for the second half of the century here.

    The biggest impact legalization seemed to have was on the lives of the abortionists themselves, who were no longer facing possible prison sentences, and certain loss of their medical license, if they screwed up and killed a patient.

  8. Christina says:

    Katy, there is a state in the US that has virtually eliminated abortion: IDAHO. Only 3 of every 1,000 Idaho women of childbearing age undergo abortions every year, compared to 30 per 1,000 women in New York City.

    Why are none of the people talking “prevention” asking, “What’s Idaho doing right?”

  9. Ric says:

    Jessi,

    I have to say that at moments what you say is rational, I particularly agree with your saying (which I think may pro-choice advocates would deny), “I don’t know if it’s a life or not, in case it is, I would like to see abortion end.”

    Several of your points make a lot of sense, in particular in making men fulfill their responsibilities. But what I don’t think you touch upon is that this is already handled by the legal system through Family Law. Marriage, Divorce, and even the fulfillment of responsibility of a Parent to their Child should be handled through the Court Systems, being treated as an agreement between two people (and this is how it’s handled currently). The biggest difference is that of enforcement, and the agreement between parents of a child should be treated no differently than any other form of Contract. What two people agree to, or are mediated to through a third party (the court systems), is what is enforcable by law.

    Several of your other points I have a very serious problem with because they are arbitrary uses of the force of government. Such as the sterilization of people, or ban the stigma, or what not. When you enter into these realms you sound just as wacky as the “religious fanatics” that you said you hate.

    The State using force, such as to force people to learn family planning, or banning stigmas, is just as bad as a religious fantatic using the State to make abortions illegal and put people in jail for not worshipping the proper god. Rather the State should leave it alone and let people make those decisions for themselves, and let whoever wants to teach family planning, or advocate against stigmas, do it if they so choose, but without the use of government force, which in and of itself should always be kept as low as possible – I would say that this should definately only apply in terms of education, but I think keeping the rationale that abortion is “possibly” ending a life, there should be hesitantancy to it’s legality (because murder, and the violation of a person’s basic right to life, should never be excusable).

  10. Ric says:

    By the way, Cristina, if you look at that graph carefully what reduced the numbers of death from abortion was advents in better medical care, such as penicillin or sulfa. Not your argument of “women being victims of Quackery”, which is quite assinine – being that abortion doctors, in their own interest, want to do a good job so that their “customers” will come back.

    I would also probably say that if you looked up numbers for illegal and legal deaths of abortions, they’d probably be pretty similar as to the numbers in the 1960s before the legalization of abortion, which would have made ALL abortions illegal (well probably with a downward trend line due to a further improvement in healthcare since then).

  11. jessimonster says:

    Woah, woah woah. I never said the government should be responsible for all of this. Governments make things illegal, I’m talking specifically about doing things the government can’t do, ending abortion without making it illegal. Of course some of these ideas, such as providing more and better aid through social programs for single mothers and for children, would have to be government run, but it takes voter action (individual action) makes those things happen. Ending a social stigma is certainly the responsibilities of individuals, if a pro lifer wants a woman to keep her child, maybe they should try not calling her a whore, and instead offering acceptance and support. An abortion is a way of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy in a way that no one will know about, and therefore not be called a whore.

    As for forced sterilization, I know (and said so) that it is an extreme and unconstitutional example, it will never happen and I’m not going to cry about it. But if a woman abandons her child as many men do, she is criminalized, charged with child abandonment. Men do not suffer the same criminalization. Since no one likes the idea of criminalizing, why not think about preventing? It was just food for thought.

    Christina, please do tell, what is Idaho doing? And I really hope it doesn’t have anything to do with disproportionate access to abortion, if thats the case then its not really fair to compare it to New York, where abortion is very easily acessible. Furthermore, if there are only two clinics in the state, you don’t really know how many abortions are actually taking place, because only official clinics would be reporting statistics. Women can still choose to patron back alley clinics and doctors who will do it on the sly for rich women.

    I also hope that it has nothing to do with an abundance of baby salesmen badgering women into adoptions they wouldn’t otherwise want, because that is just as hard and traumatic on a woman as a forced abortion.

    If we truely care about what’s best for children and women, we would focus first on giving women the confidence and resources to parent, then on providing alternatives if they truely don’t want to parent. Thats the whole point of this post.

  12. Ric says:

    “Of course some of these ideas, such as providing more and better aid through social programs for single mothers and for children, would have to be government run, but it takes voter action (individual action) makes those things happen.”

    Unfortunately when something is “government run” then it requires the force of government.

    Let’s assume that what you propose actually does get enacted and managed by the government. Well, I’m a religious fanatic and I don’t want to pay into this program because I completely disagree with it. So I refuse to pay my taxes in proportion to the cost of what your government program would cost me.

    Well, of course since I’m not paying my taxes, then the IRS will either audit me and forcefully take my money, or even worse break down my door and stick a gun in my face accusing me of being a criminal and throw me in jail.

    Additionally, I do agree with you that a man should fulfill his role to a child as much as a woman does, but I think you are twisting information here.

    If a man abandons his child to the mother, whom is able to take care of the child, and the courts determine that it is in the best interest of the child not to have the father around, then you are right, the man is not subject to criminal punishment.

    But there are also a TON of single fathers who are in almost the same exact situation! Of course not as much as single mothers. But as long as the child is cared for then there is no criminal punishment on the disappeared mother as well.

    There are even law’s being enacted across the country with the sole purpose of protecting mothers who abandon their babies, because of exactly what you’re talking about: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/grossman/20011009.html

  13. jessimonster says:

    Um, I’m not exactly sure what you’re getting at, Ric. Yes, if the government enacted a law it would probably be enforced. I suppose there are some laws that aren’t enforced, like the no driving black cars in Denver on a Sunday law, or the No listening in ok phone calls without a warrant law, but for the most part laws are enforced.

    I live in a country with a government that routinely enacts and enforces laws. Periodically, the people in this country have the opportunity to vote on what we think the laws should be, how we want them enforced, how we want our tax dollars to be spent, and who we want to represent us and our wishes. Though I’m not sure the 51% rules system is the best possible one, that is how my country works; simple majority rule. If you are in the minority and dont like how the majority voted, you of course have the right to protest as is defined by the constitution and face no legal consequences, or you can participate in an act of civil disobedience and risk facing legal consequences. All this is done in an attempt to gain sympathy for your cause and to sway the majority over to your side.

    If you want to discuss an imaginary land in which no laws are enforced, that’s cool, but I’m not sure my blog is the right place to do it. I am not an anarchist, I’m not even a libertarian. This is a blog about my experiences and ideas as a single mother, the child of a single mother, and a freaky, tree hugging Soldier in the Colorado Guard. I’m sure you can find a better venue to discuss why you think its wrong that the government enforces laws.

  14. bibik says:

    hot story! tnx!

  15. Ric says:

    Jessi,

    I think you need to go back and relearn what is protected and not protected by the constitution.

    Laws may be “enacted” by a 51% vote, but if those laws are not in accord with the Constitution of the United States of America then they will be repelled by the Supreme Court. After that the only way an amendment can be added to the Constitution, is after Congress “recommends” for a state vote, which requires a 2/3’s majority vote of Congress, after which it must be ratified by an acceptance of the states, which requires 3/4’s of the states must accept the amendment. (Or a method of recommendation through state assembly, which is a 2/3’s vote as well).

    Unfortunately, a major problem with the electorate in this country is exactly what you think, that “majority rules”, but this country is ABSOLUTELY not founded on majority rules in anyway whatsoever. The foundation of this country is on Individual Rights, Freedoms, and Liberty, as stated in the Constitution. And when the force of government is used against those principals, as you are recommending, then the foundations continue to be erode, and eventually we will fall into a tyranny (of the majority), or a dictatorship from “people who know whats right for others”.

  16. jessimonster says:

    Dude, no one is arguing all that. What I understood you were complaining about was the fact that if a law were made, it would be enforced. My response to that is, duh. Do you want an award for stating the obvious or something?

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