Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Let’s Tiptoe Into the Subject of Abortion…

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This time around, I want to just vent a bit about the piece written by Eleanor Cooney, “The Way It Was.” I know this wasn’t a segment that was included in our assigned reading–in fact, I’m not even certain that this may be in everyone’s book. I purchased my own book from a past edition to save a bit of money. On the off-chance that this isn’t included in the most recent edition, Cooney describes in vivid detail her experience with seeking an abortion in the 1960s. This is something I’ve actually been struggling with on my own for a while (my moral stance on abortion, not the act itself). I have always considered myself very strongly pro-choice. I’m in a relationship with someone who is very pro-life. Neither of us want children. While we take our precautions to avoid pregnancy, the fear is always lingering in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I am unable to thoroughly enjoy myself or trust my partner during intercourse, because I am too afraid to be caught off-guard, to be unaware of my consequences. This makes sex a burden, more than the blessing that I wish it could be. This has nothing to do with our being unmarried or our religious values–even if we were married, my fear lies in my lack of desire to raise a child, not in guilt or feelings of wrong-doing. The thought of being a mother is something that makes me cringe, perhaps this has something to do with the tragedy that was my own childhood. That’s another story for an entirely different day. My story couldn’t be crammed into its own blog post even if I summarized.

The sad part is that there is no way to guarantee that you cannot become pregnant. Doctors won’t consider permanent forms of birth control until a woman has conceived at least once, or has reached the age limit for safe conception. No other birth control is as assured. That’s another issue of choice. Why can’t I choose against motherhood? Women can choose to BE mothers at a young age and have regrets. Yet, I can’t make the opposite choice at a young age? If it’s the wrong choice, I live with those regrets–those consequences. That is no doctor’s decision. The decision is mine. I’d like to keep it that way.

How could we ever eliminate the option for abortion, if young women aren’t allowed to be 100% certain not to get pregnant? I don’t want children. I shouldn’t have to shy away from sex. This goes back to my opinion on marriage. I don’t want children. Not now–not when I’m married. Why shouldn’t I be able to consummate my husband’s and my relationship with perfect assurance that we will not become pregnant? It’s my regret to have–my decision to make. 

Anyhow, Cooney is eighteen when she discovers that she is pregnant. She goes on to say that the conception was not out of love, or even rape, but simply out of the mutual boredom of two “horny teenagers.” She goes on to describe the various “clinics–” more like underground facilities–she visits in an effort to alleviate herself of carrying a child. The scenario is sad, desperate, and very real. Cooney even goes on to describe how she is molested by a “doctor” who does little to aid in her situation, merely taking her money only to sexually assault her. Later, she goes into the details of the legalities of abortion. 

My favorite part of the whole essay? The ending.

“…When a woman does not want to be pregnant, the drive to become unpregnant can turn into a force equal to the nature that wants her to stay pregnant. And then she will look for an abortion, whether it’s legal or illegal, clean or filthy, safe or riddled with danger. This is simply a fact, whatever our opinion of it. And whether we like it or not, humans, married and unmarried, will continue to have sex–wisely, foolishly, violently, nicely, hostilely, pleasantly, dangerously, responsibly, carelessly, sordidly, exaltedly–and there will be pregnancies: wanted, unwanted, partly wanted, partly unwanted. ” 

Yes, I do believe that abortion is a sort of “Get Out Of Jail Free” Pass. 

My boyfriend believes that responsibility is owning up to making a mistake and dealing with the consequences. I believe the same thing. If I chose to have an abortion, I would own up to my making a mistake, and I would deal with the consequences. I just would choose my poison a little differently. We all have our sufferings. We all choose how to suffer. 

I’m human. I make mistakes. And as a woman, I want the right to fix my mistakes. I want that right for myself, for my friends, for fellow women. We deserve to be able to choose how we want to take responsibility.

Breathing a sigh of relief, 



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