A personal case for abortion — because life isn’t always a gift
He had heard her say, so many times, that a society that approved of making abortion illegal was a society that approved of violence against women; that making abortion illegal was simply a sanctimonious, self-righteous form of violence against women- it was just another way of legalizing violence against women, Nurse Caroline would say.
John Irving, The Cider House Rules
In the minds of my parents, they are the victims; I am the abuser.
These days, women’s reproductive freedom is being attacked on all sides — again. With the orange anencephalic in DC spewing his racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, homo- and transphobic poison, those who have resented women’s equality in any sense of the world haven’t just crawled out from under their rocks and rotten logs. They’ve come strutting out like featherless banty roosters who think they are the prime specimens of roosterhood, oblivious to the obvious rot that eats them from within and spews out to taint everything within range.
Georgia just passed a law making abortion a capital offense — for the woman. Any woman who even leaves the state in an effort to obtain one can be charged and anyone who helps can be imprisoned for conspiracy to commit murder — on a fetus so tiny that it resembles nothing more than a glob of mucus.
This glob of mucus, apparently, has more value to these conservative patriarchal evangelicals (male or female) than the package wrapped around it — the girl or woman who will be forced to bear every child put into her body. No matter how old she is. No matter the circumstances. No matter if the fetus is so malformed it cannot live or will have a life of unmitigated suffering. No matter to them at all.
Did I mention that these bastards are trying to ban birth control as well?
And have I said anything about how this is a state that does as little for its poor as it possibly can — knowing most of the poor are children?
If you haven’t figured out yet that this is about controlling women, our bodies, our fertility, our sexuality, then I suggest you reread the above, then go out and study. The information is everywhere in part because the assault on women’s freedom — reproductive or otherwise — is happening all over the country, particularly in the Bible Belt. I would also suggest you read this brutally truthful column by the amazing John Pavlovitz, a man who qualifies as one of the truly faithful: Dear Women, You Don’t Really Matter to the Men of the Christian Right.
Nailed it, didn’t he?
These people claim to be speaking for the unborn child. Not only are they not, they simply cannot. But I can. I believe I am in a unique position to opine about the issue, not because I had an abortion, but it would have been a reasonable choice for me to have been one.
I was born an unwanted, illegitimate baby, destined to be given away because I was, in the words of my adoptive father, my mother’s “deepest shame.” Not the birth. Not the circumstance. Me. I was her deepest shame. Me, as a person, in my entirety — doomed to be worthless from conception. One could question why he would want to adopt at all. And not to descend too much into turgid lamentations, the incredible amount of pain began right then and there — from the moment I made my presence known inside my biological mother’s young body. Studies have shown that a child carried by a mother in the depths of despair is harmed — emotions are chemical and the fetus is awash in the chemicals produced by the mother.
Imagine this for a moment. Imagine being left in an adoption nursery because they forgot to notify your adoptive parents. Babies die of loneliness — and they are permanently damaged by it. Think Romanian orphans. Even three weeks of that can change a psyche for life. Imagine being adopted by people who looked great on the surface but who had also been abused — and passed it on. First time I remember being hit, I was 16 months old. First time I wanted to commit suicide, I was six.
My parents disliked me. My brother despised me. Of the other relatives who actually really knew me, only one grandmother liked me. The rest believed what my parents did — that if they only didn’t have me, they would be a great family. (This excellent blog by Lise Winne — Scapegoat Healing — includes a chart at the bottom that absolutely nails how a narcissistic family chooses one kid as a scapegoat. That would’ve been me.)
It went on. I was loathed at school by administrators, teachers and fellow students. I actually knew a kid who liked to hang out with me and I quite seriously asked her why she would want to. I was sixteen. It had been proven to me that I was the worst kid alive — it made no sense that she liked me.
And that was hardly the end of it.
I was unable to make two husbands truly love me, any more than I could my parents. Nor any sweetie before or since. Not the kind of love where they wanted to treat me like I was worth anything, even though they protested they did — but actions speak louder than words. My daughters love me — but in small doses. Do you know what that does to an adoptee? I wasn’t good enough to keep and then, once given away, the unlucky recipients couldn’t stand me, either. Huzzah.
Of my 32 year working career, I was viciously bullied for probably 27 of them, all told — to the point where people commented on it and one manager who was over my supervisor all too briefly actually asked me what I wanted him to do about it.
This sort of consistency tends to make one believe one’s own bad press.
I am most lovable in print. In person, most people will dislike me in due time. My biological brothers did. They met me and rejected me, one with the succinct summation that I was essentially toxic waste. Ironically, I’m not mean. I just hurt so damned much and nobody wants to be around it.
In short — my life hurts All. The damned. Time. I fight suicidal ideation on a fairly constant basis, and its whispered enticement includes “nobody will miss you. In fact, they’ll be relieved.” And yes, I believe that. They might disagree, because they’re supposed to, but I think it would be a burden gone.
So, do tell me why my biological mother shouldn’t have aborted me? Yes, I’m grateful that my older daughter and granddaughter are in this world and no, they wouldn’t have been if I had never been born. My younger daughter is a gift from my ex-husband — and she’s truly my daughter, believe it — so she’d be here. And I hope my presence in her life has been more blessing than burden, but I’m not always so sure.
I have learned not to entirely trust love. You think you have it and then it’s pulled away and each time it is, the struggle to want to live increases, because you know it actually is your fault.
If I had been aborted, I would, of course, never have known it. Not been at all aware, especially if it had been a first trimester abortion. I studied embryology in premed. It takes a long time for the neural net to be established. I wouldn’t have felt pain. I wouldn’t have been afraid. I would have just — ended.
And 63 years of agony — interspersed with great joy, to be fair — would not have happened. The world would not have noticed and it would never have missed me. And I would have been spared a life so painful that when I gave a list of calamities to my therapist in order to ascertain if I had been exaggerating how bad it was, he shook his head and said that I had in no way underestimated it. At all.
These bastards think they’re doing these unwanted children a favor. And perhaps, sometimes, they are. But all too often, their birth is only the start of an existence that is more punishment than pleasure. And even though I have times of joy and days when I am glad to be here, for the most part, I think I would have preferred to have been spared the experience.