Friday, April 24, 2009

A Body

I am well familiar with the arguments in favor of abortion rights; I (obviously) move in lefty circles, and have heard them over and over again - controlling her fertility is a basic right women must not be denied; women have a right to determine what happens with her body; it is about a woman's right to self-determination and autonomy - I understand the arguments.

But years ago, I was at the home of a friend whose daughter was a meth addict (I've lived an interesting life...) and the daughter had discovered that she was pregnant - and did nothing for 4 months. She eventually went to a clinic for an abortion - her mother and I learned of this when daughter screamed for her mother from the bathroom.

I won't go into any detail about what happened next, but I will say that what ended up on her bathroom floor rendered irrelevant any consideration of her daughter "controlling her body" - there on the bathroom floor -- tiny, vulnerable, and dead -- was the...aftermath of a 4-months-along abortion.

When I hear women say "I have a right to control my body," I agree with them - control of one's body is one of the most basic rights there is, and that is what is so heinous about crimes like torture and rape.

And it is true that women have been controlled by abusive husbands throughout history by being impregnated -- with the specific purpose of complicating her escape from the abuse. This is an appalling offense in my view, and abortion is used to destroy the effectiveness of that particular tactic. Any legal restrictions on abortion ought to be accompanied by some other legal means to make the price of that particular form of abuse something that would make Faust blanch.

But what was on that bathroom floor that day had no role in any of that history. It was not a "means of oppression," it was not a "part of her body," at least not in the same way her liver, or even uterus, is; it (she, actually) was undeniably a Being in her own right, and she was tiny, vulnerable, and dead. For me, that will always be the inescapable reality of what abortion is. For me, that trumps any claim that the abortion issue is all about the woman's body. There is another body to account for.

No comments:

Post a Comment