Friday, September 26, 2008

Babies, sex-ed, abortion and life

I'll be honest I don't really like Miss Palin. There are several reasons, aside from her lack of experience, and that she sounds like a high schooler running for student government when giving speeches... sorry was that a personal attack? :) I do love her hair, a lot. Like, I want it.

Honestly I am having some problems with the abortion issues in this election. Here are my thoughts and how this involves me not thinking Sarah is all that educated on this issue (although lately her TV interviews make her sound uneducated on many issues).

For starters I hate abortion as a method to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Science has long proved that life begins as conception. Last week the Discovery Channel did a series on the human body, it started with conception and showed 8 week old fetuses having the ability to feel heat, touch and move away from lights and others invasive feelings (most states allow abortion up to 18-24 weeks). So we know that the way a baby is extracted from the uterus for an abortion is incredibly painful to this little human. The other problem I have with abortion is that the baby only has rights if it is wanted. Here is what I'm trying to get at, if a woman is carrying a wanted pregnancy and is murdered than the killer is charged with 2 homicides, however a baby unwanted and aborted is not considered to have the same rights as the baby murdered. Hmmm not sure how that is fair?

Here is my struggle, I want women to have choice when it comes to their bodies. I have never been in the position to make the choice of keeping an unwanted pregnancy, I have no idea what that is like to walk in the shoes of a woman finding out she is pregnant and does not want to be. I cannot grapple with the idea of forcing anyone to have a baby, to become a parent. Of course some would say "well no one forced them to have unprotected sex and get pregnant." Yes that is true, but life is not that black and white. When it comes to this area there is so much gray its not even funny.

Here is what bothers me about Sarah Palin and others who agree with her. She is not only against abortion but she is also against comprehensive sex education and she is completely against any form of birth control. She believes in abstinence only school educational programs. Here is the problem with abstinence only programs, they don't work. The states who have chosen to go this route have the some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy's, STI's (sexually transmitted infections) and teen abortion. So here is the problem, not only is she against giving teens the resources to prevent pregnancy (over 50% of high school teens report having sex before graduating) but she is also ignorant to the fact that they are going to have sex, and if you don't offer education about how to protect from unwanted pregnancies than they will get pregnant! I'm just being practical, kids in love with raging hormones make dumb decisions, and people we are not just talking about kids here, we are talking about college age people and adults. Teens are not the only people having unprotected sex. This issue is so much bigger than that, I realize, but I just want people to understand that our mentality must change. We cannot believe that every family sits down with their kids and tells them how babies are made and how to prevent it, and we cannot believe that everyone is out there teaching their children how to respect each other and protect women from unwanted pregnancies. Not every little boy is going to be raised with the understanding that they can prevent STI's and pregnancy by respecting a woman enough to use protection or abstaining. I recently heard that over 40% of teens wished they had abstained until later in life, hind-sight is always 20/20 (See Family Album recource below). We cannot sit around in our little middle-class homes with our protected children believing that every child they encounter is going to be given everything ours have. This is a really scarry world for some (many actually) children, they are abused, abandoned, neglected, and exposed to way too much inhumanity than any little human should ever have to endure.

Here is what I want: the Republican (pro-lifers) and the Democrats (pro-choicers) to sit down and come up with a practical plan to just prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. Its not about giving women more choices, and its not about just teaching abstinence, its about comprehensive education that teaches how things work, how things happen, how to keep things from happening and how to respect one another. I'm not bashing the Republican party only, it totally pisses me off to hear a pro-choice advocate talking about the need for partial-birth abortion (or infant euthanasia--I'm glad Europe had the guts to call it what it is). I will say that there has been a Republican dominance in government leadership for a while and nothing has been done to over turn Roe vs. Wade. Not only are the Republicans in office not fighting against it but they are not even trying to reduce the amount of abortions. (Please read this article on Jim Wallis' blog about someone actually doing something to reduce abortion rates: here)

Here's my issue in a nutshell, the pro-lifers fight for the life of the unborn baby... but once its born the buck stops there, they have no plan as to help these women support their babies (and Palin has no plan to help them prevent further pregnancies!). Its like the Republican party says, "we really care about unborn babies, but screw the rest of humanity" like what about health care, who is going to pay for the birth of the baby, a single person can only be in welfare for 2 years so once that baby is two if the mother has no other income what then? What about women who have no support system. This is often not thought of because those of us making decisions/laws have support systems. Sarah Palin's daughter (who is 5 months pregnant) has a mother who will care for her when she gives birth, not just financially but also emotionally and physically. But there are about 800,000 teens (just teens not counting adults) out there who will or have already become pregnant this year. Not all of them will have support. In fact being pregnant might cause them to become even less supported than they already are. On the other side I want the pro-choicers to come up with plans to help prevent the pregnancies all together so that a woman does not have to go through the pain of even having an abortion, or making the decision of what she is going to do with an unwanted pregnancy. How about instead of pushing for more and more rights for the mother, we push for more and more programs to support women and education that will prevent unwanted pregnancy all together.

I truly believe that we cannot begin to expect teens to stay abstanate across the board if we simply tell them "sex is hands off, that's all you need to know for now" and expect them to be content. Also we cannot expect women to choose birthing a child when many of them will have no resources after the child is born. I personally know what it is like to go through a pregnancy without maternity insurance and the fear of what will happen if I birth a sick baby. It is completly terrifying. I still clearly remember the day (at 34 weeks) we were approved for insurance coverage of my pregnancy and how hard I cried because I was so thankful. How do we expect to reduce the rates of abortion if we cannot give these women the care and support they will need, and I'm not talking about "here's ten bucks and a sack of used baby cloths". Life is not as tidy as we would like to think it is, or ought to be.

Family Album number 98, 110
Discovery:From Conception to Birth
Center on Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy and Parenting

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