I find it insane

The worst, I think, is people who insist that they are not sexists, they are not misogynists, and then proceed to denigrate to women in general.

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I find it insane how quickly a conversation about abortion can turn into a misogynistic rant. The things people say about women sometimes astound me! I seriously think some people would rather see a woman dead than provide an abortion that would save her life, let alone protect the woman’s health.

The worst, I think, is people who insist that they are not sexists, they are not misogynists, and then proceed to denigrate to women in general. A recent conversation with a “pro-life” friend and his buddy turned sharply south when the friend intimated that only lazy and irresponsible women have abortions. I  pointed out that if abortion became illegal again, women would once again start dying unnecessarily from back-alley abortions, that abortion doesn’t just go away when it is illegal, and that illegal abortion presented a massive public health problem in cities all over the country – which was the primary reason for liberalization of the short-lived laws prohibiting abortion by a third of the United States starting with Colorado in 1967 even before Roe v. Wade was decided.*

For their part, this guy his buddy tried to convince me that abortion is never necessary to protect women’s health, abortion doesn’t save lives, women shouldn’t “open up ya legs”, women are irresponsible, women let men take the blame, women instigate and trap men into sex, women are dumb, women are selfish, women don’t need to enjoy a “frivolous and meaningless” sex life, a woman who has an abortion is a “hoe”, and finally, that I personally am ignorant and immature.

Way to go pro-life guys. You sure do make your comrades proud.

 

*Okay, I didn’t give them the history lesson. But I did point out the public health issues.

Author: NuclearGrrl

Nuclear engineer, afro queen, black mamba, feminist, clinic escort, beer aficionado and all around spectacular human being.

19 thoughts on “I find it insane”

  1. You’re repeating wrong stuff you heard from a biased source, he’s repeating wrong stuff he heard from a biased source. A view based on reality would be more helpful.

    “I pointed out that if abortion became illegal again, women would once again start dying unnecessarily from back-alley abortions, that abortion doesn’t just go away when it is illegal, and that illegal abortion presented a massive public health problem in cities all over the country”

    http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=401754

    39 women died from illegal abortions in the year before roe and wade. It went slightly up after than then continued on its downwards trend. It was never a large public health problem because women were mostly getting abortions from reputable doctors before legalization. A few did stupid stuff like try to have abortions by sticking knives in themselves or going to racial witches or wise men or or herbalists. Some still do stupid things like that.

    The main reason to get an abortion is for your career or education or money reasons, not health reasons. As such, a lot of women who get abortions are the more responsible and possessed people. The more lazy people are unlikely to put in the effort to walk all that way to an abortion clinic at a certain time, they just have babies. It’s smart women not having kids.

    They’re enjoying a frivolous and meaningless sex life because they are responsible and self possessed, and want to work in an office pressing buttons and moving paper for the next 30 or so years rather than have babies so they use it as an easy contraceptive method. Some are also doing so at the urging of their partners and family, as there’s a strong push for women to have jobs and an education.

    1. You are drinking from the illusory Koolaid dear reader. An estimated 19 million unsafe abortions occur worldwide each year, resulting in the deaths of about 68,000 women. Prior to Roe v. Wade, the United States was one of the contributors to that statistic. If illegal, unsafe abortion is not a public health issue, why does the World Health Organization include unsafe abortion as one of four main contributors to 80% of all maternal deaths?

      I assure you, the number of unsafe abortion deaths in America in “the year before roe and wade” was FAR higher than 39. Yours is a ridiculously low number. My own city had an entire ward set aside for women with abortion complications. They “lovingly” called it the “septic ward”. Thirty-nine is probably much closer to the number who died in my city ALONE that year from complications of unsafe abortion. The department of health in my state did not keep vital statistics related to maternal health in “the year before roe and wade”. (Even modern national vital statistics registration systems routinely under-count abortion-related deaths.) In addition, most women who died from unsafe abortion before Roe did not have “complications from abortion” listed as the cause of death on their death certificate. It was more likely hemorrhage or peritonitis. Your assertion that unsafe abortion was not a public health problem is ludicrous when held to the light of evidence.

      In response to your last point, I just have to say “Get bent!” I meet lots of women who get abortions. They talk to me outside and inside the clinic where I volunteer. Not one time has any woman’s reasoning to me been, “I just don’t want to stall my career” or “I am here because my family told me to get an abortion.” I really don’t care what their reason is for getting an abortion. And abortion is not an “easy contraceptive method.” It is literally the last contraceptive method most women seek.

      Women can and do decide for themselves whether to continue a pregnancy or not. Their reasons for doing so do not erase statistics or negate scientifically proven facts. Your assumptions about the reasons women get abortions and the need for safe abortion proves you are no better than the two guys I wrote about.

      1. WHO made those estimates (68000 deaths) by assuming that 13% of illegal abortions lead to deaths based on a guess. It was never that reliable an estimate and they no longer make an estimate. Regardless, improved medical care, increased access to antibiotics, and better education of women is more likely to be effective at reducing maternal death than legalizing abortion.

        WHO making up numbers isn’t a reliable policy guide. They don’t have good data on the countries, so they had to make up numbers, but it’s not an especially scientific thing to cite in a debate. We don’t know enough about maternal deaths to make a clear conclusion.

        The problem is, these countries have crappy health systems and people who can’t afford expensive healthcare. If you legalize abortions a lot of the abortions they’ll be having will be unsafe chemical ones because there’s not enough skilled doctors or medical supplies. It’s hardly certain this will reduce abortion deaths. It may well increase abortion deaths with free access to chemical abortions.

        Unless those doctors have access to antibioitcs, they can’t do a safe legal abortion.

        On septic wards, the majority of women in there probably weren’t people who had an abortion. They used the word abortion for miscarriages.

        Anyway, onto a case scenario.

        http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1164608

        They had a mortality rate of 3%, and they only reported 20 septic patients a year at one hospital (25% had done an abortion so five of those patients might have been abortion patients). I doubt 39 women were dying every year in your hospital. Doctors are pretty good at saving people’s lives. They’re trustworthy.

        http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf

        I wasn’t assuming I knew the reasons people have abortions, people have interviewed women in hospitals and clinics. 78% say they are having an abortion because it would radically change their life, and interrupt their education, job, or a previous child. It’s the biggest reason. Behind that, the biggest reason is not being able to afford a baby due to being single, a student, or unemployed.

        The guys were focusing on the second story. A woman who had sex while uncertain of a relationship. The first story is more common though. More women told the first story in their interviews.

      2. It is easy to claim someone else is “making up” numbers when you don’t have the data. But scientific facts are facts whether you believe them or not.

        I agree with you on the availability of quality health care in developing countries. Most often the health care problems facing these countries is availability and supply. Liberalizing abortion laws does no good if quality safe care is unavailable. (Such is what anti-choice lawmakers are trying to do in the United States.)

        I do not agree with you on the cause for women in septic wards. Many were there from complications of unsafe abortion. But that is not what made it onto their charts. I didn’t say 39 women died in hospitals in my city a year. I said that number was probably closer to the number of women who died in my city (as compared to the number nationwide). Many of them died outside of hospitals – in their homes, in hotel rooms. It wasn’t a question of doctors’ trustworthiness. Penicillin didn’t become widely available until after WWII. So prior to that, the mortality rate was very high.

        The reasons women have abortions are varied. I’ve spoken to many women about it, and it’s always touching to witness the clarity in their thoughts when they tell me why they are choosing abortion. I haven’t had anyone tell me they were having an abortion because their relationship was rocky. The reasons were related to health, economic situation, previous children or a combination of these and many other factors.

  2. Have you read the findings of the World Economic Forum 2009?

    They found that Ireland and Poland, two countries with the most conservative pro-life laws in the world have the lowest maternal mortality rates.

    In contrast countries such as the United States of America and Nepal, who have some of the most liberal on-demand-abortion laws in the world have the highest maternal mortality rates.

    It may help for you to do some research before you go making assumptions about what would happen if abortion was outlawed.

    1. I have done “some research”. Maybe you should not be so presumptuous when speaking to strangers.

      Ireland’s low maternal mortality rate should be attributed to their great health care system and their government’s faithful focus on reducing maternal mortality (in line with the WHO’s millennium goals). That’s not to mention the fact that for any woman living in Ireland it is just a scuttle jump ferry ride over to the UK to obtain it.

  3. “Ireland’s low maternal mortality rate should be attributed to their great health care system”. Does this line of reasoning suggest that abortion should be liberalised in countries with poor quality health care?

    Are you suggesting that ethics is determined by a countries ability to provide a certain quality of health care?

    Additionally, the prospect that criminalizing abortion _may_ drive those who will break the law and suffer harm as a result determine the ethics of whether abortion is right or wrong?

    Does the presence of theft and murder within a country mean that those practices should be decriminalised because those who make a choice to do so might suffer harm as a result of their actions?

    1. To the first question, my answer is yes. Liberalization of abortion laws would increase the health of women by decreasing maternal mortality.
      To your second question, no. Although, compassion and loyalty for one’s people could possibly be measured by the priorities set by the country with regard to population health.

  4. “But scientific facts are facts whether you believe them or not.”

    Well no, scientific facts are facts if they are objectively true, and the method used to determine these scientific facts is free of error and reproduced by many scientists across the world.

    As they say.

    “Abortion statistics are notoriously incomplete… As there are no feasible data collection methods that can reliably reflect the overall burden of unsafe abortion, one is left to work with incomplete information on incidence and mortality from community studies or hospitals… adjusted to correct for misreporting and under-reporting”

    Their methodology is far from flawless as they themselves admit, and has many assumptions and guesses which are not clearly accurate. I know that Lancet produced a similar study on maternal deaths and produced much lower numbers. They were pressured to suppress their results, another sign of the flawed science.

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2810%2960547-8/fulltext

    “Even before the paper by Hogan et al was submitted to us, we were invited to “delay” or “hold” publication. The justification for this concern was several fold: potential political damage to maternal advocacy campaigns; confusion among countries, policymakers, and the media, given the difference between this maternal mortality estimate and the previous UN number; undermining progress on global commitments to maternal health; and the risk of an unproductive academic debate while women continued to die. Although well-intentioned, these requests to slow the pace of scientific discussion for political considerations are likely to be far more damaging than fostering a serious debate about progress in reducing maternal mortality as and when new data appear. Is the global health community unable to accommodate diverse voices and sources of evidence? Is it unable to create constructive ways to bring scientists and policymakers together to reach agreement about the meaning of new research findings?”

    There’s lots of politics about polluting the science and giving weird results.

    “I do not agree with you on the cause for women in septic wards. Many were there from complications of unsafe abortion. ”

    Indeed, the study I suggested said 25% were from unsafe abortion, when they asked women.

    “Penicillin didn’t become widely available until after WWII. So prior to that, the mortality rate was very high.”

    As I noted, 90% or so of illegal abortions were already done by doctors. Those deaths you noted, before penicillin, they probably were not due to abortion being illegal but due to the limited medical care doctors could offer patients without cheap antibiotics to cure sepsis. When abortion was still illegal but after antibiotics became common, then the number of deaths per year went below 150 down to 39 just before legalization. I know prior to ww2 the official death rate was closer to 2000 a year.

    “I haven’t had anyone tell me they were having an abortion because their relationship was rocky.”

    A rocky relationship may well make any of the factors you note worse- children are harder to care for alone, economic things are harder to deal with as the partner may leave at any time, the danger of the relationship is stressful and bad for your health.

    1. I agree women choose abortion for many different reasons – most of the time a combination of factors influences this decision. The people I have spoken with didn’t cite rocky relations as their main factor. But it could have been a contributing factor. I think a lot of single women see themselves as lone players in reproduction. We all know that there is no guarantee that a man will stick around to take care of his child. And facing a pregnancy may force a women to be honest with herself about the health of the relationship. Everyone knows that we don’t always date the right kind of people. It’s easier to look past the fatal flaws in a significant other when the safety and security of a future child is not part of the equation.

      I do not to find your claim about illegal abortion to be credible. If 90% of illegal abortions were performed by doctors, septic wards would not be filled with septic patients. Sepsis results from the use of contaminated medical equipment and lack of hygeine. Basic medical knowledge and precautions minimize and can prevent these complications. To claim that doctors were responsible for 90% of illegal abortions (and the resulting complications) is to accuse the medical profession of grave misconduct.

      1. Women’s lives often need the best of many bad decisions.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1433765

        “Deaths from illegally induced abortion declined between 1940 and 1972 in part because of the introduction of antibiotics to manage sepsis and the widespread use of effective contraceptives. Deaths from legal abortion declined fivefold between 1973 and 1985 (from 3.3 deaths to 0.4 death per 100,000 procedures), reflecting increased physician education and skills, improvements in medical technology, and, notably, the earlier termination of pregnancy. ”

        Sepsis results from poor technique, poor skill, a lack of intensive care units, and a lack of antibiotics. They originally had to stick a sharp hook in women and scrape out the insides to get the baby out. Understandably, mistakes were made and sepsis happened a lot. Once they invented suction abortions they became a lot safer, though there was still some risk of piercing the uterine lining till the Karman cannula was developed in the 1970s.

        I know it’s popular to blame back alley abortions for female deaths, but it was never that big of an issue in the US. Women were smart enough to go to their doctors, bar the odd mentally ill one or foreign one.

      2. “Women’s lives often need the best of many bad decisions.”

        WHAT? I have no idea.

        Well we will just have to agree to disagree. You will undoubtedly find stories of women whose doctors would not help them as well as those whose did. If illegal abortion wasn’t such a big problem, then there is no explanation for why states that prohibited abortion finally turned around and liberalized it, there is no explanation for the disappearance of septic wards and there is no explanation for what a retired Pennsylvania coroner described as the almost overnight end to abortion-related bodies arriving in his morgue.

        In his words, “The deaths stopped overnight in 1973, and I never saw another abortion death in all the eighteen years after that until I retired. That ought to tell people something about keeping abortion legal.” (Testimonial of Coroner Fred, The Worst Of Times, 1993)

        One death is too many. Not even one woman should have to suffer.

      3. Illegal abortion deaths were never a major factor in the laws against abortions. It was doctors who catalysed the movement, with additional push from feminists and various others.

        http://www.prochoiceforum.org.uk/ocrabortlaw6.php

        Some doctors performed abortions on women with german measles, a condition that can lead to birth defects and faced firing over that. Doctors disliked the uncertainty of abortion laws and campaigned to have more freedom to protect women’s health. Once various states started legalizing them other states legalized them to show their support. Jumped on the bandwagon.

        It was nothing to do with illegal abortion deaths, which weren’t much of a problem after antibiotics were widely used. I suggest you read Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power. Reagen signed, I think, the second abortion legalization bill in America. It explains in detail the environment around that time and the issues that played on his mind. It should explain the reasoning behind the abortion legalization movement.

        The sepsis wards may have vanished as women started going to intensive care wards? They were generally better able to deal with issues. A single dedicated place with massive resources to deal with cuts. You have some anecdotes, culled from the book of an abortion activist, but i prefer relying on more scientific sources.

        “One death is too many. Not even one woman should have to suffer.”

        That attitude has lead to many people dying. People focus on relatively minor causes of death while ignoring major practical things that can be done to save women. There is not much evidence that legalizing abortion is an effective way to save people’s lives. There are easier and better ways to save women’s lives.

      4. Oh. And I sure am glad you are not a doctor with your deplorable acceptance of collateral damage. Most people would consider the loss of a young woman’s life for some other person’s religious conviction to be an unacceptable tragedy.

  5. Kudos on a great post and on your handling of the comments here. I am in awe of your calm rationality. If you decide to bottle that, let me know. I need some.

    1. Oh my goodness, thank you for the compliment! I am completely flattered. If I get around to bottling my knack for tact, I’ll be sure to post a bulletin!

  6. People spend billions promoting abortion because they want freedom for women and population control while ignoring basic healthcare. It’s a major annoyance of mine. Hundreds of women die with the vague hope to save one or two lives maybe from unsafe abortions. The UN has long directed resources to decreasing the number of children women bear, not to making delivery safe or even improving the safety of abortions

    I remember the recent UN rio document on improving maternal health didn’t even mention maternal medical care. Just talked a lot about population control and abortion. Some tragedies are clearly more acceptable than others.

    1. You obviously haven’t read the WHO Millennium Develpoment Goals. Maternal and infant health, and female agency are a major focus of UN improvement programs to meet the 2015 goals.

      See for yourself:

      Technical information

      MDG 1: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
      MDG 3: promote gender equality and empower women
      MDG 4: reduce child mortality
      MDG 5: improve maternal health
      MDG 6: combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
      MDG 7: ensure environmental sustainability
      MDG 8: develop a global partnership for development

      http://www.who.int/topics/millennium_development_goals/en/

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