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Thank you for all of your support over the years! xo

Thursday, January 26, 2012

where vaginas and politics collide

Leave it to me to create a mess.

I don't typically like getting too political, whether it's here or on my Twitter and Facebook pages. I do like an occasional joke, and have told them at the expense at both political parties, but I also understand and respect the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

However, I do like to post articles that affect women's health - particularly in the areas of reproductive medicine and reproductive choice. Earlier in the week, I put up an article on my Facebook page that I couldn't NOT share. It was a story about Rick Santorum's stance on abortion in the case of rape.

The result of positing the article was initially what I expected - a bunch of women pissed off that yet more leaders in government are trying to make uninformed decisions about their bodies. Then came the posts from non-followers. Mostly men, I have no clue what lead them to my Facebook page in the first place. But there they were, getting into a full-fledged political argument all over my vagina monologues.

Was there ever a time when the line was clear? Was there ever a time when politics were only used to ensure equal and fair access to healthcare and did not cross over into personal reproductive choice? If there was, it certainly doesn't exist anymore. If it's not a debate about abortion, it's one about birth control. There is never shortage of debate about how and what women should do with their bodies. Yet, the argument for equality in women's healthcare compared to men, or in women's healthcare compared to other women (e.g. infertility coverage) is minimal. Politicians would rather tell me what I can and cannot do with my own body than give me equal access to medical services.

How did this happen? How did we, or politicians, mistake equality with ownership? And better yet, how do we draw the line in the sand?

Santorum believes that women who are raped should accept the hand they've been dealt and "make the best out of a bad situation." He says nothing about the psychological damage one can endure when carrying a child conceived by rape. There is no mention of how difficult it is to carry a child and then place him or her for adoption, regardless of how that conception occurred. And I am guessing he didn't take into consideration how difficult it can be for adoptive parents to raise a child who is the product of rape. It requires so much extra care that many adoption agencies classify these children as special needs.

I'm not pro-abortion. My view - perhaps enhanced by my experience with infertility - is that politics and vaginas don't mesh well together. We don't have the audacity to walk around telling men what to do with their penises. Or is it peni? At any rate, I don't feel as though they should do the same with my lady bits. Politicians don't belong in my panties. Not when it comes to personal choice, at least.

If I was the victim of the violent crime of rape, I would not want to hear from my husband or father, "accept this horribly created" child. Instead, I would expect to hear, "I will support you in whatever choice you make." I would expect no judgement. I would expect the freedom to make my own decisions based on my physical and mental well-being.

Too bad our lawmakers can't follow that lead.

46 comments:

waiting and wishing said...

Agreed. As usual, well said!

Kakunaa said...

That article absolutely HORRIFIED me. You spoke my mind very well here, as usual.

Kelly said...

So well said. No one should be allowed to tell anyone what to do with their body, it's just wrong.

KRISTI said...

AMEN!!!

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I wish you would run for president so I could vote for you.

C said...

So the child that is conceived as a result of rape should be murdered because of the dispicable act of its biological father?

Anonymous said...

I find your opinion heartless and agree with C above me. I will no longer be following your blog.

Personally, I don't think pro-abortion activists such as you are making yourself with your facebook and blog posts deserve children. Apparently, they are expendable to you. I hope you do not get the pleasure of adopting one. I will no longer be following your blog.

You say you don't like political discussions yet you choose to invite it on your blog.

Stephanie said...

Katie, ignore the 2 comments above me they are crazy. I'm sorry, but as a Christian and a Republican and a woman I'm going to go ahead and say that NO ONE should be telling anyone what they can and can't do with their bodies. And if the sanctimonious believe for 1 second that if they were raped or their daughter was raped that it would be a crystal clear right/wrong issue, they're insane. To each their own. Bravo for speaking your mind so beautifully as always!! :)

Katie said...

I simply believe that everyone should be able to make their own decisions. I don't see how that's heartless. In my opinion, it's equally heartless for someone to be forced against their will - forced to have sex with someone then forced to carry their child.

I'm sorry you feel as though you can no longer follow my blog because we differ on this point. I'm also sorry that you see me as a pro-abortion activist and unfit to adopt because I believe that women should be able to choose what happens to their own bodies.

Anonymous said...

When the issue is murder, no I can't agree to disagree or tolerate someone who I find to be repulsive.

shutterbugwife said...

To those who are calling Katie heartless and repulsive should be ashamed of themselves. I am about a pro-life as a person can get but I would never personally insult someone just because they don't agree with me.

Haven't you guys ever been called a name or insulted for your belief? I have. And guess what? It sucks and hurts and it definitely does NOT help someone understand your opinion. Instead of calling her names, why don't you try to calmly and rationally state your opinion? Or better yet, find some resources to prove your point. But please, stop with the anger and insults.

Honestly, I just don't understand why we can't be respectful of those that have opposite views. If I can do it (as a very vocal and passionate pro-lifer) you can certaintly do it as well.

C said...

I didn't call anyone a name. I simply posed a question. People think it's great to give women the choice to do as they please with their bodies. I'm all for that...except when that choice is either to kill or not kill the living being growing in their bodies. The baby that is growing is innocent. Even in the case of conception after rape...the baby is innocent. I don't claim to be high and mighty. If I or any future daughters I may have are put in the position of being pregnant after rape, I don't pretend it will be an easy decision. But at the end of the day, directly killing an innocent human being is not a choice I'm willing to say is okay.

C said...

And I do hope you become a parent someday. And I hope that when you look at your baby, the love you feel for that being will open your heart to be pro-life. Even for those who start out in less than ideal circumstances.

You will be in my prayers.

shutterbugwife said...

C - I actually wasn't referring to you since you did not insult Katie. And I agree with you. I don't view abortion as a woman's right because the baby has to have rights too. I could go on and on why I believe abortion is wrong. However, I struggle greatly with the case of rape. I'm honestly not sure what to say about that.

Stefanie Blakely said...

Struggling with infertility and becoming a parent (by whatever means) does not cause a person to change their position on women's choice. It didn't for me & I highly doubt it will for Katie.

If you believe that women have the right to choose, then you do so regardless of your current personal situation-- because you believe that all women should be able to choose what's right for them-- not what's right for you.

C said...

So, if it is right for them, you advocate that women can kill their innocent children growing in their wombs? That is the choice you are referring to?

How ever many euphemisms are created for this "choice", it is still the murder of an innocent living being.

Brittany said...

First off, what a coward to hide behind an anonymous comment. Secondly, everybody is entitled to their opinion and has the right to express that. Katie did so open & honestly, without attacking those who disagree with her. She deserves to be treated with the same respect. Just because you disagree with somebody does not give you the right to be so hateful.

With that said, I say AMEN, Katie. Well said & I agree with you. I don't believe anybody has the right to tell me what to do with my body. That choice, ESPECIALLY in a rape situation, should be mine & mine alone.

Excellent post!

amelia said...

I'm a regular reader, but first time commenter. This topic is very interesting and very sensitive. I've read the article when Rick Santorum gave his opinion about his matter. I must say that I applaud him for standing up on what he believes in, and I must say that I agree with him.

I think it is the government's duty to protect its citizens from harm and danger. Babies in the womb are citizens too, are they not? Don't they, the most cutest and vulnerable human beings, deserve the same protection as us? if the lawmakers are concerns about the safety and lives of the citizens, I think they should be more concern about the lives and safety of these babies, especially the ones who are in the womb. Yes, it is my body, but what about the baby's body?

I can't imagine the pain and struggle that the rape victims are going through, and if she has to carry the child, that would be a recipe for depression and maybe suicide, but the child is innocent.

My heart goes out to them. However, a life is a life no matter how small. A life is a life even it is conceived through the most horrific way. If I think that life is sacred and needs to be protected outside the womb, than life is sacred and needs to be protected inside the womb, especially inside the womb where the baby is in the most vulnerable condition and has no way to defend himself or herself. If I think that someone can't just come to my neighbor's house and kill my neighbor, then I don't think someone can go inside the womb and kill the baby. A house is supposed to be a safe place for someone. A womb is supposed to be a safe 'house' for a baby.

If the victim feels that it's too hard and hurtful for her to care for the child, adoption is still a loving option. I know it's not easy to make an adoption plan. I'm a birth mother myself, who made an adoption plan eight years ago, so I can tell you, it was and still is a heartache.It is hard to make the adoption plan for a baby who isn't conceived though rape, for the rape victim it must be double even triple hard, but it is not impossible. Doing the right thing is never easy.

As an adoptive mother myself, when I laid my eyes on our son, that was just it, I didn't and don't even care about how he was conceived, my love for him is real, and I will endure all the hardship to raise him and protect him because he is mine. I'm sure all adoptive parents will say the same, if not, maybe most of them will.

So, a baby is a baby, even the baby who was conceived through rape. The rape victim needs to be treated with much much compassion and dignity, and so must the baby.

A rape victim needs extra supports so she can have courage to heal from this terrible terrible thing. A rape victim with a child, needs super duper support so she can make the right choice for her AND the baby, by choosing life for the child, because no matter what, taking a life of an innocent baby is always the wrong choice.

I'm so sorry for the length of this comment, but thank you for reading it.

Kakunaa said...

To the anonymous commenters: I strongly believe that if you have the guts to post on someone's personal blog, using their name, in a public forum yet cannot leave your own name, then why bother?

And did you even read what she wrote? I mean REALLY read it? She is supporting women, not abortion. Pro-choice doesn not always equal pro-abortion. It means pro-woman. Not once did she state that she herself would terminate a pregnancy. I doubt that many of us could state that with absolute certainty until we wear those shoes, which I hope none of us do.

In fact, the challenge is to government, to what its limits should be. Our bodies should be hands-off territory. If you are pro-life, then so be it. If you are pro-choice, same deal. This wasn't about that. It was about who should be able to make that decision, and it sure as hell shouldn't be some politician in some office who has no inkling of what a woman may be going through.

Have the guts to post with your name.

Katie said...

This article was utterly disgusting. I truly believe that everyone is entitled to their beliefs no matter how terrible (ahem Rick)but your beliefs end where mine begin. He may believe that abortion is wrong but that doesn't give him the right to crawl into someone else's panties and tell them what to do. Your body, your choice.

Rita said...

I feel like it's far too easy to say what a hypothetical rape victim should do about a hypothetical pregnancy. The emotions you face when it happens to YOU (or your mother or your sister or your daughter) can't be imagined by someone not experiencing it themselves. Every individual is different and copes with the trauma differently. The rape survivor and her family--not you, me, and everybody else--should be the ones deciding how to deal with the aftermath of rape, whatever that may be, and how to best move forward with the healing process.

Erin said...

I remember having a discussion in college about having an abortion if the mother's life was in danger and something one of my roommates said to me was "if that woman's child was about to get hit by a bus- she certainly would jump in front of the bus and risk her life for her child. Why is it any different for an unborn baby?" And I think that applies to this situation as well. Most mothers are willing to go to hell and back to protect their child and give their child the best possible chance in love under all different kinds of circumstances. They suffer with and for their children. They put aside their emotional and physical needs for their children because their love for them runs that deep. I mean you can argue "but it's a product of rape- I didn't want that baby" but there's a chance you could adopt a child of rape and suddenly you love that child. Why suddenly is she unwilling to do all these things because the child was conceived in a horrible way? Now the woman is no longer putting her child first she is putting herself first and the end result is killing an innocent baby. I dunno. You can rip my theory apart, it's just what I thought about after reading this post.

mcvrxjen said...

I absolutely agree with Katie. I personally would not want to choose abortion after rape- I am 37 and childless due to infertility and know that God can turn anything into a blessing. However, not having been pregnant from a rape (or even more horrible, incest), I cant ever truly know that my "noble" ideals will hold up under such a horrible event. I may hate God after being brutally raped. I may hate the baby. I also never feel that MY ideals should be pushed onto other women. It sounds all great to support rape victims that are pregnant, but where is that support currently for women who choose abortion now for other reasons? And there is certainly not much support for single moms, teen moms, addict moms, moms in jail, and women who are pregnant that really just dont want to be moms. So who is going to offer such "support?" Certainly not our self-righteous society. I am a Christian, but I feel these politicians that feel they can intrude into my private life with decisions that they have absolutely no knowledge of are bordering on fascism. Well written blog.

Kakunaa said...

Cathy, I am talking about that very choice. Not everyone sees life beginning at conception. An embryo is not a breathing cognizant being. At least not as some see it. Not as medical science, or for that matter, the law see it. That is as it stands right now. Baby loss is tragic. But so is someone having to carry a child to term if all they feel is hatred and violation. And the question becomes whether or not someone in an office gets to make that decision. The question of embryonic rights is touchy. It brings into debate faith, religion vs. science. In a country born of a belief of both freedom of religion and a separation of church and state. A belief based on faith is fine. But I don't want my healthcare decisions based on faith in a deity. I want them to be based on science. And I want to make them. And for the record, I have 3 frozen embryos to which I feel a connection as a parent, but which I also recognize are a group of as-yet undefined cells with the POTENTIAL for life.

Would you want there to be a law to define your ability to access birth control or condoms, to dictate when you can procreate? To dictate how many children you can have? Probably not.

Another thing to consider is that access to choice means fewer deaths, and fewer complications. Women have sought ways to terminate pregnancies since the beginning of time, by any number of means. Safe access, choice, saves lives. so yes, I believe in that choice. I am pro-woman.

Katie said...

Cathy, I believe Kakunaa was calling out the other anonymous poster, not you, for the insults. Just to clear that up.

Melissa said...

what about the babies choice? The babies right to live? I always hear the argument that it's a woman's body and her choice....ok...what about the baby? I don't understand this argument because it make no sense. The woman has a choice but the innocent baby does not. to me all life is a gift, every sweet baby no matter how they are conceived. in a case of rape it would be hard, no doubt about it but that baby is innocent and I don't beleive that babies life should be ended because of how they were conceived. If I were to adopt a baby and find out that baby was conceived by rape it would in no way change my feelings towards that child.

missohkay said...

I cannot believe we've gone from a place where we're not even debating whether the average citizen who accidentally conceived can get one - we want to restrict it so much that even the victim of a horrible crime can't get one? A mother whose life is in danger can't get one? Because of the baby's innocence? The woman (or in the case of incest - even young girl!) is innocent too! The woman/girl is alive and worth protecting! She's not just a vessel. You may not like it, but she will always have a choice. Legal or illegal - abortion will exist. Curtailing access only makes it more dangerous. (I really admire those in the infertility community who support choice. It's not easy sometimes. Hugs, Katie.)

Jen said...

You spoke my mind well here as well. Nice work for having the guts.

Amy said...

As women, it is important for us all to respect one another as people. We may not always agree, but thats ok. The world would be a boring place if we were all on the same page.

I would imagine those posting with negative comments about Katie really do not know her. She is a young, strong and brave woman putting herself out to the world, and that can come with criticisms as well. Some of the ignorant postings are not surprising. However, Katie's desire to become a mother through adoption has nothing to do with being pro-choice or anti-abortion. I know her personally and know her struggles. Shame on you for making such disparaging comments.

C said...

Basic junior high biology text books say life begins at conception. We can throw stats and facts back and forth all night (I have plenty to refute what you claim Kakunaa), but when someone starts using euphemisms in a debate, I believe it's time to head out of the conversation.

A "potential" human being? Really? It's a living thing at conception right? It's not dead, correct? What will it become? A chair? No, it's a human being. A living growing human being...it just happens to be at its tiniest most vulnerable state.

You all will be in my prayers.

Stefanie Blakely said...

C said...

So, if it is right for them, you advocate that women can kill their innocent children growing in their wombs? That is the choice you are referring to?

I assume this was to me, since it was following my comment.

Yes, that is exactly what I'm advocating. That is the choice. I call it terminating a pregnancy, you call it murdering a child, but we are talking about the same action...we just see it very differently. I respect your opinion, I simply don't agree with it.

Marybeth said...

I have to admit that I did not read all of the comments above me, but I get the basic point of the argument. There are many things that disturb be about what RS has said, but I am also very disappointed in the overall pro-choice view too (not necessarily just on this post). I don't really care if that upsets anyone. I am just one person and my vote will be cast by my opinion & views. I'm glad to live in a country where I can have my vote. I think that abortion is a horrible act, but I know there will always be cases where it is needed, but I will never fall under the blanket of pro-choice ever again! Being infertile changed everything for me. It's not black and white, and I won't try to make it that way, but I just know that it infuriates me that women throw away the life they are given when so many like myself go without.

missohkay said...

As a person who devastatingly lost three pregnancies to miscarriage, I have to say that at conception they are "potential human beings." I deeply deeply mourn the loss of the lives they might have had, their "potential" if you will. But in biological terms, they were not ever going to be "babies." Two of them didn't develop enough to even form a fetal pole & never had heartbeats - the pregnancy was *always* a potential baby. The question as to when the "potential baby" turns to "baby" is complicated... pretending that it's obvious suggests that we're just cruel for supporting choice. It minimizes the debate and it demonizes us.

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that people say life begins at conception, yet they don't support me getting free progesterone to support that conception.

Good luck on your adoption search.

Rebecca said...

You speak my mind as well, Katie. I have no desire to jump into the fray of this debate -- these are the sorts of beliefs that people feel incredibly passionately about whichever way they believe. Name calling and wishing ill upon others has no point.

Bionic Baby Mama said...

it goes desperately against the grain for me not to get involved in a fight on the internet, but i'm going to try not to. just this once. (except i will say that i agree with you.)

however, as someone who has done some time studying the history of american health care, i can definitively say that no, there was never a time when politics was used to ensure equal access to care rather than to control people. (and not just in the reproductive realm.) as a wise and learned friend remarked to me, "the eugenic impulse in american thought is very strong." (a fine example comes in the first anonymous comment here: anti-choice yet says you don't deserve a child. a neatly twisted piece of philosophy.)

thanks for this post. it's an important thing to keep talking about. (i'm here from mel's roundup.)

eggsinarow said...

Thank you. I too hold back my political views but I am unabashedly pro-choice.

Geochick said...

Wow. And I had a little issue with adoption agencies classifying rape as special needs. Our agency does not do that, but it is a question on the medical checklist.

I tend to agree with your stance. I want the government to focus on issues other than what women should do with their uteruses (uteri?)

Michaela said...

Okay I did not read all of the comments because (of course) I got pissed off by Anonymous's comments. BUT I am going to address another aspect of Rick Santorum's interview for Anonymous to chew on!

Rick Santorum's believes in the death penalty and not abortion!

Isn't murder...murder!

Only one is allowed to judge and it's not you!

And I will leave Anonymous with this little line:

God forbid you ever have to walk a mile in their shoes...then you really might know what it's like....

Adele said...

It is INSANE. That's all I can say about it because otherwise I'm going to lose my nut completely. But the fact that such things are even being talked about...that birth control is even being vilified (can you hear me sputtering?) is utterly shocking to me. And anyone who thinks differently should go watch the film "4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days". Romania under Ceaucescu is a good example. That's what happens when people are denied choice, and anybody who thinks otherwise should have their freaking head examined.

Michaela said...

I thought I was done but then I read C's comment on basic junior high biology.

So C, basic junior high biology will also tell you that the 8 cells created when the sperm meets the egg can not live on it's own outside the human body...is this life if it can't survive on it's own???

What do you believe?

And you know what...God bless you...you have every right to believe whatever you want BUT do you have the RIGHT to push your beliefs on another and make it a law?

All I am saying is that I don't feel that I have the right to impose my beliefs on another.

Once again there is only one who should judge.

Michaela said...

Or Adele they can watch "If these walls could talk" and HBO movie!

Anonymous said...

I am posting anonymously - not because I intend to hide away from my comments, but because I am not strong enough to say my name at this time.

I just want to say that as a victim of rape, if I had conceived during what was a very traumatic experience as a teenager, I would have had an abortion.

I was a teenager, still in compulsory education. I wasn't taking contraception because I was not sexually active. I was innocent!

Whilst I respect that the unborn baby was not at fault for the way it was conceived, I think that saying that having the baby is a very simple answer.

That horrible evening was 15 years ago, and I still have nightmares. Knowing that I had had to endure a pregnancy and then the decision to place the child for adoption could only have made the emotional and physical pain much harder to bare.

I am a parent now, thanks to the miracle of IVF. I know the joy of pregnancy, the joy of parenthood and the love you feel the instant you know you are pregnant - with a much wanted baby!

I have also suffered a miscarriage. Again, this was a baby we desperately wanted, and the pain is horrific.

Despite this, I still think that the comments about the innocence of the baby, though I respect them and are valid in their experience, are based on the innocence of never having been in that position. For you all, I never wish you to be.

Katie said...

Anonymous: Thank you for your comment. It takes so much courage to share your story in such a public way. I am sad to hear that you were a victim of such a terrible crime, but I truly admire you for your bravery for speaking out. I am also happy to hear that you are experiencing the joys of motherhood after suffering a such a terrible loss in your miscarriage. You sound like one amazing woman and an equally amazing mother. (((hugs)))

Secret Sloper said...

This is a difficult debate. There was a long time when I would have considered myself staunchly "pro-life". And yet now, while my personal beliefs about the morality or immorality of the act have not changed, I would hesitate to use that term.

Because I firmly believe that if one is pro-life, one needs to truly support *all* vulnerable life, not just the unborn. I can't support politicians who protest abortion while advocating executions and war. I can't support politicians who want to force women in the worst of situations to bear a child and then cease to care completely about how that child is raised and fed and nurtured once it's born. That's not about life. I truly believe it is about the control of women's sexuality, because if it were about *life* the policies wouldn't end there.

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