octubre 27, 2012
Like an ostrich, we can hide our head in the sand. We can look the other way. We can remain rooted in the belief that having an abortion is a ¨tramps only issues¨ ¨whore´s problems¨(problemas de putas). We might as well feel tempted to believe that these situations can only happen to ¨halfbreeds¨ (cabecitas negras) or white trash ( basura blanca) or a las negras…
We can falsely trust that this predicament will never knock at our door. We can preach and lecture, we can point fingers and harshly condemn others, forgetting Jesus´s teachings: ¨Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Denying the crude reality of abortion does not mean that we favor life. To deny a woman her right to decide whether to carry on a pregnancy does not translate into favoring life. On the contrary, it is to go against truth, it favors hypocrisy. To take the stance of punishing abortion is to favor the likelihood that many more women will die. It gives way to the birth of more children deprived of the minimum sanitary and nourishment conditions. It is to push children towards the embrace of those who reject them.
To be in favor of the right-to-decide is not to be in favor of abortion. Those of us who defend the right of a woman to decide do not want abortions. We do not stand for ¨murdering children.¨ We want a woman to become a mother and the child: a Son/Daughter. And for this to happen, a woman must be able to make a decision. To be pro-decision means not only to defend the right for any woman to make a decision to terminate the pregnancy( in the first 12 weeks of gestation) of a woman confronted with an unplanned pregnancy, but also to protect the life of the woman who cannot continue the gestation because by doing so, she places her own life at risk, and she has to make the decision to terminate her gestation in the midst of a tsunami of emotions. Penalizing abortion does not save lives. It condemns a woman to an unsafe and clandestine abortion, full of guilt, and singles her out for her sole condition of being a woman.
These same so called Pro-life supporters are against warranting women full access to contraceptive methods, not just for those who can afford to buy them, but for all. They are the same who oppose teaching Sexual Education in schools on grounds that ¨it would increase sexual promiscuity and awake the innocent.” These right-to-life are the same who vote against the universal health insurance that would provide coverage to everybody, and not just those who can pay for it. In doing so, they leave in a sort of limbo thousands of sick individuals without a diagnosis of their illnesses; individuals who could restore their health if these maladies were discovered and treated in due time. Right to life supporters are the same who, when an underprivileged woman ends up in a hospital, on the brink of losing her life, tell her lightly and without a second thought ¨Did you enjoy opening your legs? Now, screw you!¨They wash their hands of the problem of this child once born, many times sentencing him/her from the start to a life of poverty, misfortune.
Every single woman confronted with the decision of whether or not to carry on an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, be it because she is not able to care for another child, or because her life is threatened, to save her traduces necessarily into terminating the gestation, is always as Klein says, a violent decision.
A law warranting access to safe medical abortion would demand implementing sexual education policies that educate both men and women not just on the biological aspects but the importance of a healthy sexuality for the full development of our personality. A sexual education that does not sanction our right to pleasure but helps us to feel safe, fulfilled, vital and proud of our body in preparation for the moment when will be psychologically mature for the encounter with the other. Sexual education that would allow us to say: ¨No, not now,” ¨This is not the right moment.” A sexual education that teaches us to love ourselves, to care for ourselves, by using contraceptive methods of birth control and those to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Sexual education policies that teach males to be responsible, to use condoms under every circumstance and without excuses; anD not to take women as discharge vessels. Men with high self-esteem placing that same high-esteem in a woman, as a human being, not just as an object to be used and discarded.
In an ideal world abortions would not exist, but we do not live in Utopia. Many women live immersed in a cruel reality that is generally violent, unforgiving, unrelenting.
( This excerpt was written as part of the conclusion chapter in my Doctoral Dissertation: Pro decision or Pro clandestine abortion: The reality of abortion in Argentina)
Dr. Silvina Belmonte. PhD, LMHC
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