Sunday, February 28, 2010

I am totally Torn Apart by the Abortion Issue and I have no Resolution

Abortion is a very strong and volatile issue in America. In some ways, I think it is tearing our country apart. I have been thinking about my view of Abortion for a few months. I do not believe in Abortions for myself. I believe children are precious and give our lives meaning. They are a gift from God. However, I also have to step outside myself and think of other women. I cannot make choices for other women. I also do not believe in owning a gun, but I support anyone who owns a gun because it is their constitional right to own one.

Because of all the controversy/discussion about abortion, I have been reading the statistics. Since the seventies, there have been an average of 1 million abortions performed in the USA each year. Since Roe v Wade, we are talking about 30Million babies. When I looked up the reasons women are having abortions(see below), the reasons given indicate they are having them more as a convenience vs Health Issues.

Over the years, I only knew two people who had abortions and admitted to them. At the times of their decisions, both were young, confused, of the 70's Love Child generation and unmarried or between marriages. The only way I could reconcile their actions (not that they were asking for my reconciliation) was by thinking their children would not have been properly cared for and who was I to judge anyway. Today, both are divorced and live alone. The children they did have are adults now and have their own lives. No one talks about their decisions. I don't believe their own children know. I believe they regret their decision and blame their decisions on misspent youth. I do believe they had several abortions. I don't believe they would have had abortions if they were not legal.

While I am a strong supporter of Women's Rights, I have to say that I am strongly against Abortion for me and my children/my immediate family. I believe Abortion is ending a life. I cannot support it any more than I could support Euthanasia for the elderly. However, I cannot make choices for other people. This entire issue tears my heart apart. As I say this, do not confuse my view with the anti-abortion view. I do not condone the anger, the violence, the murders/attacks on abortion clinics. Those actions must be stopped.

The most significant issue is, the vast majority of abortions are performed on unmarried women (94%). Most live in poverty. Most do not properly use birth control. The highest ratio of abortions are performed on single, black, unmarried women (three times more than white women); however black women have a third more pregnancies. The abortion rate of women living below the poverty level is four times that of women above the poverty level. This is partly due to the rate of unintended pregnancies for women living below the poverty level also being four times that of women above the poverty level. (e.g.: Young, Unmarried, Poor, Uneducated, Unintended, No proper use of Birth Control) (note: one additional factor. Those that have abortions often have multiple abortions)

Unintended Pregnancies:
White: 40% Black: 69% Hispanics: 54%

Reasons given: (Only 6% of pregnancies by married women ended in abortion)
25.5% Want to postpone childbearing
21.3% Cannot afford a baby
14.1% Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy
12.2% Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy
10.8% Having a child will disrupt education or job
7.9% Want no (more) children
6.1% Risk to fetal health; Risk to Maternal Health
2.1% Other


Abortions By ethnicity:
White: 55% (167 per 1,000 live births; 10 per 1,000 women)
Black: 35% (503 per 1000 live births; 30 per 1,000 women)
Hispanic/Other: 10%

Pregnancy Rates in lifetime:
White: 2.7 pregnancies; 69% live births (12% abortion rate)
Blacks: 4.2 pregnancies; 50% live births (37% abortion rate)
Hispanics: 4.2 pregnancies; 67% live births (19% abortion rate)
References:
Abortions in the US
Abortion Statistics
Age and Family Structure, by Race/Ethnicity and Place of Residence
CDC Report - More Unmarried Women in their 20s are having Babies
Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would just like to remind everyone that Roe v. Wade stated that the abortion could only take place during the first trimester.

Welcome the paradigm of life. My personal favorite is that most that are against abortion are for the death penalty......

Maegan la Mala said...

Dee, I really need to jump in here. You talk about respecting other women's choices but then talk about how most women who have abortions have done it because they are promiscuous or because it is convenient.

That doesn't come off as too respectful.

You can add me to the list of women that you know that have had an abortion and I am not appreciative of how you discuss my choice.

Have you been to a country like Chile where abortion is illegal and talked to young college students who have had to go to underground clinics? And you don't even raise the issues of health or horrible situations like rape or incest.

Dee said...

Maegan,
Thank you for joining this discussion. I want to have a thoughtful discussion on this issue because I believe the Conservatives are going to bring this issue to a forefront very soon and make this a race discussion. (see next comment) Let's talk about abortion now. Educate people like me on this issue on why it is important to keep "Womens' Choice."

Pardon my ignorance on this matter. I do not mean to be disrespectful. I only know what I see, hear, read, here in the USA. I have never been to Chile or beyond the USA / border towns.

Regarding the reasons listed for abortions, these are the reasons listed on the studies completed by the
Guttmacher Institute
. This was evidence from 27 countries. I've listed the references at the bottom of this post.

Anonymous said...

What is there to resolve? Stick to your own convictions and that is that abortion is wrong. Saying that even though it is wrong that women should still have a choice is like saying I wouldn't murder anyone but I reserve the right for other's to do so.

It is taking a human life and in only remote circumstances should an abortion be performed on a woman. I can't imagine anyone who is Catholic could even be trying to "resolve" it in their own mind. By the way, this isn't a conservative vs liberal issue it is about the taking of a human life. It is about God's laws and they aren't up for debate or making it a political issue.

Dee said...

Maegan,
The reason I decided to write this post to begin with is because I have been seeing some articles written about a comment made by Rep. Trent Franks. Trent said, "Far more of the African American community is being devastated by teh policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery." On the surface this is a very stupid and racist comments. How can any rationale person compare Slavery to a Woman's Choice??

When I read these comments, I thought Franks was a raving lunatic, frothing at the mouth with a racist, KKK attitude.

There were articles in Think Progress, Phoenix New Times, youtube, media matters and elsewhere all demonizing Franks.

Then I cam upon this article in the NY Times. It is titled
To Court Blacks, Foes of Abortion Make Racial Case
. There is a group of Conservatives (right wing extremists) that are in the process of making the Abortion discussion a Racial discussion. Why? Due to the rate of Abortions in the Black Community. The rate is three times the rate of whites.

Republicans/Conservatives are attempting to split the minority vote and this is going to be one of their leading talking points.

We have to talk about it among ourselves.

I myself am split on this issue. That is why it is tearing me apart. I do not believe in abortions for myself, but I do believe in a Woman's right to choose.

Dee said...

Prior to Roe v Wade many women died due to backroom abortions.

But has the "unwed mother" stigma been diminished? Isn't it ok now to be unmarried with child? (vs the 1950s)

Dee said...

And yes. We can have this discussion without using the word "promiscuous." I've removed it from the main article.

Dee said...

Anon,
It already is a political issue, Conservative issue, and people like Trent Franks keep it a republican vs democratic issue.

Why is it that the same republicans/conservatives who are ANTI Abortion -- why do they support the Death Penalty? Why do they support the right to bear arms?

If they believe in LIFE, as God's Law, then surely they should reject the Death Penalty and support Gun Control.

Dee said...

The Church does not believe in any form of Birth Control. They do not believe in birth control pills or IUDs or condoms for birth control prevention. They definitely do not believe in a woman having her tubes tied.

Many/most people do not take the Bible that literally. This includes "when is it a baby". Is it at the time of conception? Or after the 1st trimester?

Anonymous said...

If it is a conservative political issue is is because "most" conservatives are opposed to abortion based on morality and nothing else. Do you have a problem with that? I would think you would be applauding them rather than bringing up some fringe conservative's political views on this. I can't speak for "some" conservatives who are also pro-death penalty but as I said what do you care about them anyway? Why not focus on the morality issue of this which is what most conservatives are basing their views on.

What has the right to bear arms have to do with the abortion issue? Most people don't kill just for the fun of it. If it is in self-protection...kill or be killed it is an entirely different scenario and not morally wrong.

The Catholic Church's stance on birth control is antiquated and has no scriptural back up for their views. Preventing pregnancy is not immoral as there is no life formed yet.

Dee said...

I think the answer may be in supporting the women in poverty stricken environments. Their abortion rates are four times that of other women.

I wonder how many of these women lack medical insurance, access to doctors, have a family doctor, and access to birth control.

Most upper income women have insurance, a family doctor, use birth control, or can pay for IUDs or long term BC. Or their mom's pay for them.

Anonymous said...

Dee,

What is the context of this statement: "Trent said, 'Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery.' " ?

I don't know anything about Trent nor do I know the context in which he spoke.

I don't know about the masses being torn up about abortion, maybe that's because I've had just one conversation with just one woman about abortion some years ago.

At that time, she was in her mid forties and was my live in girlfriend who's biological clock was ticking (not my long term till death sweetie Elena). She wanted me to reverse a vasectomy so she could have a child, and I believe she wanted to be married too but I'm a one time offender concerning marriage. One marriage and divorce is enough for me.

I will add that she is genuinely a nice woman with a good heart.

She had been pregnant (unwed then as well) in her early twenties, and got an abortion. She felt eternally guilty about it from that time on.

I believe it weighed on her quite heavily. I believe it still does.

And, I don't believe that she has felt secure enough to become pregnant again. Married twice to the same man, a few boyfriends before, between, and after; a woman successful in a career.

But I suspect it's not the life she really wanted.

ilbegone.

Dee said...

Ilbegone,
Franks was referencing the high rate of abortion in the black community. He inflated the actual percentage to 50% and said this rate of abortions (= death) and was a worse atrocity than slavery.

There is an entire group of anti abortion extremists who are taking this approach to combat a woman's right to choose. I provided the link to the article that references this group in my earlier comment.

I think the anti abortionists and right wing extremists are going to use this approach to fight the Dems and attempt to reverse roe v wade.

here's the url again:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27
/us/27race.html

Dee said...

Ilbegone,
Your former live in girlfriend's experience sounds similar to one of the women I knew who had abortion(s). At the time of her abortion(s) she was in her teens/twenties, living the 70's/80's party time lifestyle, finding herself, who she wanted to be, then pregnant. Abortion was there and available. Had it not been there legally, I don't believe she would have had any and instead, perhaps three more children. She did have two children and she struggled, extremely. She was married several times and none of her marriages worked out (so far).

Today, she opposes abortion. If she had life to do all over again, I don't think she would have had any. Her kids are grown. She lives alone but spends lots of time with one of her daughters and her one grandson.

The other person I know lived the party and drug life. She had several abortions. She didn't care who knew. She was married/divorced twice. Lived with several men. Had a breakdown. The children she did have had a very, very rough childhood. Now she is alone. She is close to her kids who visit or live with her off and on. She has no regrets about the abortions. Hard to say if she had any regrets about her life.

I cannot judge either one. I grew up in those same times. We all came from lower income families. We all wanted to be career women. We were all sexually active. Though I did meet husband when we were teenagers, perhaps I was not as fertile as the two women were. Because I wasn't, I was able to start my career, go to school, wait to get married and pregnant. I know I would not have chosen abortion. However, I often wonder what would have happened if I was as fertile as they were and I had ten children (like my mother did).

You ask about birth control? The pill, especially back then, was not as reliable. Condoms were infrequently used then. AIDS wasn't a factor yet. I think they used creams, the sponge. I think a lot of it has to do with a woman's fertility.

So as far as today is concerned, why do we still have a high rate of abortions? Actually we have less than the 80s. Back then, the US averaged over a million abortions a year. Today, it's around 800,000.

Most of the abortions are happening in the lower income/poverty areas.
Sexual Activity is still happening across all groups, high, medium, low income. However, in the low income community, there is limited access to healthcare, limited family doctors, limited doctor/parent providing birth control/sexual activity counseling. For some reason, the sexually active youth are not finding the Planned Parenthood clinics until they are looking for an abortion.

Indigenous Xicano said...

Dee,

Thank you for having the courage to write about your thoughts, feelings, and convictions on this issue. It is a tough topic to cover without insulting or angering some people on all sides of the political spectrum. But by writing about it, it gives you a chance to further delve into your self-introspection on the issue.

Obviously, abortion is a tough issue. From a spiritual (not a religious) standpoint I am against it-for myself, but I will never be in a position where it will ever personally impact my body.

I cannot advocate the taking away of choice for a woman to be in control of her body. I also think that in cases of incest and rape, that abortion should always be an option for the women victimized by these crimes.

From my spiritual perspective,if the development of the fetus is left alone, in most cases, the fetus will one day become a separate human apart from its mother. Spiritually, I cannot resolve the truth that abortion terminates this path of life. But I strongly believe that spiritual beliefs cannot dictate secular policies that impact all the people in the nation.

My personal spiritual beliefs, I hope, will always be the compass that guides my life. I will not attempt to force others to follow the same compass.

My wife was pregnant at the age of 42. Her doctor advised her of the perils of giving birth at her age, and suggested that she have an abortion. The doctor told her that the chances of having a baby born with down syndrome was greatly increased with age. She said that my wife would be robbing her other children the chance to have a mother if she gave birth to a child with down syndrome since all her time and energy would be spent on caring for her new child.

My wife would hear none of it. She even refused the invasive procedure of amniocentesis which tests for chromosomal abnormalities but increases the risk of miscarriage.

But the choice was hers. I would hope that I would have supported her regardless of her choice, but we share the same belief that life begins at conception.

I believe in maintaining the legality of choice. The world we live in is not a simplistic black-and-white existence. We do not live in a perfect world. There is incest. There is rape. There are a myriad of legitimate reasons why a woman would consider abortion as a viable option. It is a difficult, personal decision. I am certain that it is not without emotional struggles.

To make that choice illegal would endanger the life of women.

Just talking about it opens up an almost unlimited array of points and counterpoints. I applaud you for talking about it, especially when your belief may go against the grain of many of those who share passion with your advocacy for immigration reform.

Dee said...

IX,
Thank you.
I posted this blog about Abortion because of the numerous articles I have been reading. The republicans are using this issue as a wedge issue to divide the dems and minorities. This should not be a political issue.

If we talk about it, then perhaps we can make it non-political and leave it a spiritual issue as you suggested.

Anonymous said...

It is NOT true that Roe v. Wade stated that the abortion could ONLY take place during the first trimester. If that was true, there would be no abortions past the first trimester which, of course, is not true.

The Supreme Court has, thankfully, outlawed partial birth abortion (where the baby's head is delivered and then it is killed while the rest of the baby is left in the mother). Unfortunately, LATE term abortions are still legal unless banned by individual states. Thankfully, many states have banned late term abortions unless the mother's life is in danger.

But, to your point, Dee, I can understand your feelings. It's a moral challenge. My daughter had an abortion years ago and I drove her to the clinic to have it done. I believe I sinned and I have asked God to forgive me. I assisted in the killing of my own grandchild. Some day I expect to pay a price for that. God was good to me and gave me two more grandchildren, but I believe what I did was worse than what my daughter did.

People change their mind on things over time and I have come to realize how very wrong I was. I had a lot of reasons for doing what I did but I know none of them were good enough.

I'm going to sign this off as anon today because I am embarrassed and ashamed, but I am one of your regular commentators.

Anon-az said...

"The republicans are using this issue as a wedge issue to divide the dems and minorities."

Actually, this became a "conservative issue" around 1992 or so when the Republicans started aligning themselves with 'Christian values'.

It was a horrible idea in my opinion. As Bill Maher put it:
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved to a mental hospital."

I have always believed in the separation of State and Superstition.

ultima said...

When I was running for public office, I was questioned intensely by my conservative supporters. I told them that I believed education to be one of the keys and that abortion should never be a birth control mechanism.

Women who feel they must have an abortion must also take steps to see that it doesn't happen again. I would even favor health care coverage for abortions provided each abortion so funded also includes a package deal for tubal ligation so that it doesn't happen again. Once burned shame on you if you don't do something about it. There is something criminal about multiple abortions from an ethical and religious point of view.

ultima said...

There is nothing respectful or to be respected about promiscuous, unprotected sex. Surely folks are not so dumb that they don't realize what they are doing. It is less moral to assume that sex will not be on the table, than it would be to assume that it always will be and prepare before the fact accordingly.

Youngsters probably don't give much thought to this hence the necessity for sex education, especially as regards how to avoid unwanted pregancies and the consequences if they occur.

Dee said...

Ultima,
I agree that contraception should be available for anyone who is sexually active. I think it is. However, the young/poor are still having unplanned pregnancies. I think most young people nowadays are sexually active. Those with higher incomes have more access to healthcare/family doctors/counseling.

Dee said...

I remember seeing "Splendor in the Grass" and Natalie Wood whispering "Bud...."

The hormones. The tension.

I say Blame it on Men for pressuring poor women!

Anonymous said...

"I say Blame it on Men for pressuring poor women!"



It takes two to tango, and all those women's magazines at the supermarket checkout counter with cover stories about "How to get banged the way you want it" tend to sell very well.

The genuinely poor? in some cases, it's the only entertainment they can afford.

Also, I used to know a woman who tended bar at the male strip club Chippendale's. She said the most out of control women in the crowd were the older grandmas.

ilbegone

Dee said...

ilbegone,
i think they call them cougars. At least you don't have to worry about babies or abortions from them.

Vicente Duque said...

I am Pro-Choice.

It is a matter of political expediency that I am a little pro-Republican, so that Obama and the Democrats are not defeated by Hypocrisy and Moralism. I say do not pass a legislation that offends millions of Americans that are Pro-Life.

A healthcare reform bill with publicly funded abortions causes more divisions in a country where there should be more solidarity with the poor.

"Women should have the choice of abortion" - I agree. But the country needs unity in a time of Grave Divisions and Losing Two Wars.

Iraq and Afghanistan are not going to love the United States in the future. Even if there is a Great Show of Bravery, Courage, Valor, Toughness, Hardness, Cowboyness, Machism, etc from Americans.

Even if America kills the last "Taliban", "Al-Qaeda", "Rebel", "Jihadist", the two Wars are already lost in the Hearts and Minds of all Islamic Nations, World Opinion and Moral Opinion.

That is why Mr Obama should be tame and meek before Republicans, and get some support from those of them that have a minimum of Intelligence.

"America is the Greatest Country", I agree, but it is in a cliff and many Americans are pushing for the fall. Those that want more Wars ( with Iran, Somalia, Yemen, etc ... ) and more Divisions in Health Care, Immigration, etc ...

Forget about Immigration for the time being, it is too divisive.


Youth, Minorities, Politics :

Milenials.com

Vicente Duque

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