Saturday, April 26, 2014

Entitled to sexual activity

Tuesday's edition of the Chronicle Herald in Halifax, NS features a letter from a woman who had an abortion. The editor kept her name secret to prevent any reprisals against this woman and so she should.

You can read the letter here.

The woman feels guilty and says that she felt she was living a double life while waiting to get her abortion appointment. As the title of the piece indicates, she is struggling with why she feels this guilt and shame and is appealing to the reader's empathy to agree with her that she shouldn't feel these things.

Guilt used to be the way one's conscience informed one that a wrong had been committed. But in today's universe of ethical relativism, guilt has no place. The choices one makes are simply that, choices, and they have no moral value to them.

The human heart says that this is not so.

This young woman' abortion is very recent. It will take some time before she faces the consequences of her choice. And it is true that for some women, they never do seem to have any consequences. 

However, the studies done on women who have had abortions indicate that the majority do have consequences. Suicidal thoughts are more common amongst post-abortive women; substance abuse is much higher (as much as 6 times); women often enter into serial relationships without commitment and this becomes a pattern of behaviour. There are many other after-effects of abortion, you can read more here.
I can tell you right off the bat that the father was someone I slept with one time. At that, we didn’t have much contact in my daily life. Nor was he the man I wanted to create a family with. And yes, we used a condom.

Doesn't anyone else have a problem with this statement? Why would this woman sleep with a man with whom she didn't have much contact otherwise? Is the sexual encounter simply an instinctual response to sexual needs that must be satisfied? I think that we human beings should act better than this; this type of behaviour puts us right down there with dogs and cats who can't control their impulses when they are in heat.

I am reminded of Jennifer Fulwiler's article some years ago when she realised why she had been pro-choice. The light-bulb moment came when she saw that her generation thought they were entitled to sexual activity and that the result, conceived babies, was a consequence they shouldn't even have to  consider. 

The contraceptive mentality results in being pro-choice. When you disassociate sex from babies, then it is a small step from using contraception to having it fail and then using abortion to clean up the "consequence" (in this case, a new human organism). 

Because of my deep distress at hearing of things like this, I found it really irritating when pro-lifers would refer to abortion as “killing babies.” Obviously, nobody around here is in favor of killing babies – and to imply that those of us who were pro-choice would advocate for that was an insult to the babies throughout history who actually were killed by their insane societies. We weren’t in favor of killing anything. We simply felt like women had the right to stop the growth process of a fetus if she faced an unwanted pregnancy. It was unfortunate, yes, because fetuses had potential to be babies one day. But that was a sacrifice that had to be made in the name of not making women slaves to the trauma of unwanted pregnancies.

 In sex ed class we learned not that sex creates babies, but that unprotected sex creates babies. After we were done putting condoms on bananas, our teacher counseled us that we should carefully decide when we might be ready to have sex based on important concerns like whether or not we were in committed relationships, whether or not we had access to contraception, how our girlfriends or boyfriends treated us, whether we wanted to wait until marriage, etc. I do not recall hearing readiness to have a baby being part of a single discussion about deciding when to have sex, whether it was from teachers or parents or society in general. Not once.
 The message I’d heard loud and clear was that the purpose of sex was for pleasure and bonding, that its potential for creating life was purely tangential, almost to the point of being forgotten about altogether. This mindset laid the foundation of my views on abortion. Because I saw sex as being closed to the possibility to life by default, I thought of pregnancies that weren’t planned as akin to being struck by lightning while walking down the street — something totally unpredictable, undeserved, that happened to people living normal lives.

Unless we start to talk about sex that includes the possibility of conception, we are going to have more young women think life is terribly unfair to them when they get pregnant. We are going to have young men jumping in and out of relationships, fathering children they don't even know about, and considering sexual activity their right.

All actions have consequences. Unfortunately, the advent of the birth control pill has made western society think that sexual activity should have no consequences. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Try telling that to the woman who is mired in post-abortive depression or the woman who is told she is infertile because of the scar tissue left from an abortion. Or to the man or woman who has acquired an STI that is not curable by antibiotics, as so many of those infections are not.

The care-free days of the sexual liberation are drawing to a close. And both women and men need to realise that all actions have consequences, even those actions done while intoxicated or under the urge of the moment. We need to face up to these consequences and take responsibility for our own lives and for the lives of those we procreate. 

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