Friday, August 28, 2009

Abortion (or something I should probably never blog about, but will anyway)

It is a very personal choice that many people face; whether to terminate a pregnancy or not. But, it is a choice. Regardless of whether it is legal or not, people still make that choice. When it is illegal, women may choose risky and unsafe conditions that ultimately lead to their own untimely deaths. When it is legal, women, their partners and families can spend more time focusing on how their emotional health will be affected by their decisions.

Thank goodness that there are people in Nebraska who recognize the difficulty of such a decision and have the strength to allow women a safe and supportive environment to make such a decision.

I've driven past this clinic several times, and I hope that Dr. Carhart and all of his staff remain safe this weekend during the protests.

What would I do...what would I choose? I think the answer is illuminating: I haven't had to make the choice. I was taught early and with candor about sex and contraception, from both sides of my family. I understood how babies were made at a very young age (it helps when you have a doctor and a nurse as grandparents). When I was older, but still young, I think around 10 or 11, I remember watching some trashy talk show with my mom about very young girls 11-14 who were pregnant or just had babies alongside their parents. My mom told me that if I were ever in that situation she would be disappointed...but she would still love me, and we talked about what situations these girls must have been in. A year or two later, she told me that if I was not yet able to talk to a doctor about contraception and sex, and I was too embarrassed to buy condoms at the grocery store in town, then I wasn't ready to have sex.

She was right.

I am a full supporter of comprehensive sex education, including both contraception as well as the consequences of getting pregnant at a young age (physically, emotionally, mentally). From my personal experience, I think that knowing about the sexual organs of both genders, about sex and making sex a personal choice, rather than simply declaring it off limits, helps teens and even younger children realize what a big responsibility it is. By demystifying the reproductive biology of both sexes, illuminating the consequences of unprotected sex, and what one must do to engage in responsible sex, children and teens feel empowered, not rebellious.

Then, the question of choice is (for a large portion of the population) moot. If unwanted pregnancies can be avoided, then so can emotional and potentially physical trauma.

I always wonder why the same people who fight for the anti-choice position are also anti-education. If all the money poured into advertisements and all the time from demonstrators were put to good use educating the public about ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy, I wonder how much distress, medical expense, and counseling could be avoided.

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