Abortion is about autonomy. Autonomy is a core value.
By Lauren Sabina Kneisly, written in response to this article.

Well, this is my first, and potentially last diary entry here on Daily Kos.

It's always painful when places you thought might be one of the last few outposts of sanity's owner and other readers decide they're willing to trade your life away, and the lives of others away, and ultimately their own lives away, because for some reason, they genuinely don't understand what's at stake. Words are important, and so tonight, at Daily Kos, I as one of the written off, am going to write a diary for the first time, raise my voice, and once AGAIN tell so called 'friends' how much they're hurting the people next to them. To say nothing of how much they're cutting their own throats in the process.

Sorry Markos, but "abortion" IS the whole ball of wax. It is, for those of you who've read their "Art of War" our "dying ground," it is one of the 'must defends' if we're going to survive. Why? Because far from some cute little women's issue deserving lip service and to be refiled under some more palatable heading, abortion is autonomy. We lose abortion, and we've lost the most basic ownership of our own bodies and lives, no matter what gender you happen to be.

Perhaps no one has ever concretely, and theoretically explained strategically, why abortion, and abortion providers, and women who have abortions must be stood beside and actively supported if you have any intention of living anywhere other than a fascist snitch culture of State-ist and vigilante control.

I am a woman 'of childbearing age'. Essentially, what that means, for those of you who do not happen to own a cunt of their very own, is that unless, and sometimes even if, women like myself take drastic measures EVERY single time we have sex there's a pretty high likelihood of becoming pregnant at least once at some point during those fertile years. Without effort, and sometimes even with efforts to prevent pregnancy we women find ourselves pregnant, often against our consent. We become hostages in our own bodies, to a process we for the most part, are unable to end all by ourselves should we want to.

Some portion of women, will find themselves in an unintended pregnancy at some point during those 'childbearing years'. And further, some of those women, who find themselves unintentionally pregnant, are going to have an abortion (regardless of legality).

Many people make the mistake of thinking only very few (or perhaps very bad/stupid/fallen) women have abortions. That's where they'd be wrong. One of the little known realities is that abortion, in America, is all around you. The Kaiser Family Foundation came up with one approximation: "It is estimated that 43 percent of women in the U.S. will have an abortion by age 45 and that more than 30 million have had an abortion since the procedure was legalized in 1973 (based on 1992 rates.)" (Fact Sheet: Abortion in the U.S., October 2002)

That's an estimate that 43% of American women will have an abortion by age 45.

Abortion, far from being rare or some isolated event, is a very real and NORMAL part of a large portion of American women's health care.

[As an aside, by comparison, and sequentially different in time (as this relates to women who have given birth, not those pregnant) easily less than 3%, some calculate as little as 1%, of women who were unintentionally pregnant here domestically, will pass those eventual children into an adoption by someone other than family members, and even this may or may not happen with the pregnant woman's full consent. (Don't even begin to babble adoption at me, I'm a Bastard myself, and I've seen too much.)]

Once a woman is pregnant, she has all of TWO options (potentially under her control, barring miscarriage etc), 1. continue the pregnancy or 2. try to end it. Then contemplate the number of women who don't manage to get an abortion but wanted one, and the number rises from that 43% to another far less quantifiable number.

Those women wanting to end a pregnancy, who have already lost a measure of their own autonomy, unfortunately must rely on and turn to others to try to regain control over our own bodies, via abortion. Thus abortion and abortion providers become crucial to the maintenance of women having consent and ability to regain autonomy over our own lives. If that gets labeled "selfish" it is due to the criticism emanating from those who have no concept of autonomy, who view any genuine control over one's own life (gender not withstanding) as heresy and rebellion against one's maker and master.

Of those women desiring abortion, some will be successful; others will be thwarted through state interference, financial realities, or street level harassment by thugs.

I reiterate abortion is not an aberration among women; it is a NORMATIVE facet of women's experience and medical needs, period. To deny women abortions is to deny women autonomy. Once you can deny that large a portion of any population autonomy guess that may mean for the rest of a population?

But further, to label abortion "horrible" is to also label those who provide, assist with, or seek, participate in, or experience abortion as "horrible". PEOPLE are those targeted within, but hidden by the language of 'this form of medical care is horrible'. As people who are part of that form of medical care are inseparable from and essential parts of that action.

Rather than adding to the stigmatization and isolation of those who relate to abortion, instead realize WHO you're talking about.

These same women and people are all around you every day, yet relegated to invisibility. To support women who have had abortions is to support perhaps your mother, your sister, your friend, or your wife, and yes, to support women who read daily Kos. Do not assume they'd have told you, not in this climate, where they are being labeled 'horrible' by proxy. Where to have had an abortion is to be equated to a murderess.

To say "abortion is horrible" like it or not, is to continue the silence, and self imposed silence born of fear, of those same women, and people who are otherwise participants in abortion.

To try to separate women who have had abortions from the labeled "horrible" act of abortion smacks of 'loving the sinner and hating the sin' or 'loving the person, but hating their queer behavior'. Where have I heard that before?

There is no word in the English language for women who have had an abortion. There is no political identity simplified down to a label. There are 'only' women who have had abortions, and even those who have don't realize how much company they're in.  Abortion, has been made isolated and isolating, even as it is normative, by people who continue to insist on using words that equate PEOPLE who relate to abortion to something bad.

Over the past 20 years I've spent a large portion of my adult life trying to ensure access to abortion, and all that entails, from childcare, to funding, to transportation, to places to spend the night as women endure state mandated  harassment of 24 hour waiting periods, to the bricks and mortar of clinics, and the often overlooked basic necessity that there be real live abortion providers, doctors, P.A.s, nurses, clinic staff, receptionists, you know, all those people who put their lives on the line every single day and sometimes get killed for what they do.

I have defended clinics, putting my body between women trying to access basic healthcare and other people dead set on preventing that. I have spent time with the victims of attacks against clinics that are borne of language like 'abortion is horrible'. I've worked with abortion providers and clinic defenders around the country, and you know what? What we don't need is 'friends' telling us abortion is "horrible", needs to be "rare" or eradicated, or that to so much as mention the word makes you a traitor and helping 'the other side'.

The past few months have seen NARAL pushing some bullshit demand for purity that all unintended pregnancies can just be dealt with via education and contraceptives (besides being impossible, ignoring contraception failure, etc., this is a little like closing the barn door after the horses escaped, as the woman is ALREADY pregnant and no amount of condoms is going to change that simple fact.)

Lakoff telling us that to say the word abortion is to help the other side.

Dean telling us he'd rather it all just goes away, never have to mention it again.

And tonight, reading on Kos, you telling women it's "horrible".

Shall I even point out, as so many already have, that construct, was constructed and comes directly from 30 years of wingnuts 'seeding' and 'loading' the culture, and language, and the very ability to think about abortion with their images, definitions, particular uses of terminology, etc (Go study Francis Schaeffer or R. J. Rushdoony, or Billy Graham, and their uses of abortion to enable their broader goals of a society governed by an oligarchy of 'godly men') to the point that even those who claim to be abortion supportive can't get beyond false memes such as "no woman wants an abortion". Women do want abortions. Women and yes men too, risk their lives every single day to get or to provide abortions.

Abortion is not some 'dirty' word. Abortion is an autonomist word. It translates to 'maintaining the fundamental ability to own and control our own lives'.

Well you know what? I think all of your treatment of women and our most basic ability to control our own lives is pretty horrible.

Abortion is necessary, it is lifesaving, it is normal, and you know what? I'll go ahead and say it in my out loud voice,

Abortion is good.

You know why? Because as anyone who has spent an hour early some Thursday morning defending any given clinic can tell you, abortion isn't just some piddly little "women's issue".

Those who oppose abortion will gladly quote the following:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (New International Version)

19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

...at you, as it is the central core of their argument, that you do not own even your own body, their god (and therefore his earthly human proxies) does/do. That you can't do what you want with your life, or even you body, as its property owned by another, and as such, you have to do what the owner wants you to; i.e. this is slavery. Which Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ founder, gladly admitted to over and over, self identifying as a 'slave to jesus' and admonishing others to become likewise.

These people at their core do not believe in an autonomist definition of the word freedom, they believe only that all humanity lives as slaves, the only distinction being slaves to jesus or slaves of satan. On this continuum, there is no self based freedom, only a "choice" of masters. Thus freedom in their lexicon is the "freedom in slavery to christ". This is also the "Freedom" Bush offers via missionaries tied to AIDS programs and foreign aid or at gunpoint.

That has implications for all of humanity, not just some little pat it on the head, give it lip service, and tuck it alongside other 'values' on some laundry list of issues.

This essential control over our own lives, (regardless of gender) autonomy, is what is at stake.

Which leads also to another question, if the people who think abortion is horrible, and others such as George Lakoff who demands "zero tolerance for unwanted pregnancies" prevail, and abortion does become inaccessible to many, what are the consequences to the individual, and how will enforcement be carried out?

But let's back up for one moment, Lakoff, ironically, despite be a critic of those who use language to hide information, resorted to exactly that in his latest abortion related piece, "The Foreign Language of Choice". While I agree, and have written about the fact that the term "choice" as a tactic is a failed, consumerist, strategic piece of shit (come up with by a marketing firm in Sausalito by the way), Lakoff also argues we must (after 30 years of wingnuts working at it) cede the word "abortion". He too equates "abort" to "failure", rather than the other meaning abort takes on in our culture; abort, for instance to a space launch may be absolutely necessary to prevent harm and for the greater good. I.E. the mission may itself be saved by aborting, even several times on the launch pad, prior to 'getting it right' and having a launch and mission success.

But ultimately Lakoff, perhaps without even realizing it, has built his own hyperrealistic system; a system in which the word "abortion" cannot be spoken. ("The medical procedure that dare not speak its name", anyone?) A system where those who use such terminology only help their foes. So much for anyone inhabiting the real and trying to maintain abortion access; apparently we're the `problem'. Perhaps Lakoff thinks we'd be better off if we should return to an era of euphemisms, such as begging a doctor, after the positive pregnancy test if he can 'help me out'? This is degrading, and shame based unhealthy 'health care'.

Most importantly Lakoff advocates "zero tolerance for unwanted pregnancies" and this is the dead give away that he inhabits a person and individual denying hyperreality.

Behind every so called "unwanted pregnancy" (nowhere in his essay does he define wanted by who's definition? The pregnant woman? Potential adoptive parents? The state? The church?) is a woman. And to say unwanted pregnancies are bad is to say women who HAVE unwanted pregnancies are bad. (Again you can't 'hate the sin without hating the sinner' as well.)

There are people, women in particular, who are hidden in his rhetoric, and his strategy to go forward will run right over us, our lives, and our bodies.

So in each of these cases, each of these alleged 'progressive' organizations or venues, we see again and again the PEOPLE being hidden, being chastised, being wished away, and being demonized. All because the central question of what is abortion and how does it relate to autonomy and a human centered worldview as opposed to a religious slavery dichotomy centered worldview continues to go unasked and unanswered.

Further, what are the stakes and the implications if the human centered worldview that values individuals is eclipsed?

Will we become a "cult of life" that imprisons women trapped in undesired pregnancies? (As usual 'desired' or wanted by whom is never defined, and again, her autonomy is hidden by these terms.) Will women endure 24 hour surveillance and restraints so as to prevent attempts to self abort? Or will we just become a society that executes those women caught attempting to abort as some who claim to be in favor of "life" wish?

What happens should we become a society bent on 'ending abortion'/having "zero tolerance" for "unwanted" pregnancy? What are the precedents, the consequences to women, and then ultimately to everyone?

Fine Markos, go ahead, and ramble on about how "horrible" abortion is; then live for one moment in a non-consensual pregnancy, in a country that fosters a 'culture of life' by force where individual consent means nothing, and to even ask for what you want or need brands you a potential murderer(ess).

Looks like empathy and compassion never made your values (issues) laundry list. Autonomy, consent, and valuing individuals themselves are also absent. Not the least bit surprising.

Posted 2005-06-13
Cross-posted at Daily Kos
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