Monday, February 20, 2012

Dear Virginia, I'm Ashamed

Dear Virginia,

Recently, your government has been looking at a few bills that, if passed, would be an abominable injustice to women in your domain. I know, I know, everyone and their mother's been talking about this for the past few days. But I'm not sure that you've really thought this through. I mean, Virginia, you do realize that these bills would be hugely harmful, right? Both to the women whose rights would be infringed upon... and to the cause you're presumably trying to serve here.

At the end of the day, Virginia, restrictions on abortions only lead to more illegal abortions. There aren't any fewer "dead babies" in the end, but there are more injured, maimed, and dead women. I realize that maybe you don't find women as cuddly and cute as zygotes and fetuses, Virginia, but they're people too. In fact, they're much more people than any clump of cells with no personality, no memories, no independence. When you pass bills such as the Personhood and Informed Consent bills currently in the state Senate, the primary effect of your action doesn't protect those clumps of cells. The primary effect of such bills is to put women – women with personalities, women with memories, women who would have a good measure of independence if only the government would stay out of their bodies – in a situation where they will put themselves in serious danger to do something that should be easy. Not to mention legal.

Making abortion illegal or harder to access legally doesn't make it stop happening. It just makes it more dangerous.

And really, do you think that requiring a medically useless procedure that meets the state's definition of rape is a good idea? Really? I feel like this shouldn't have to be pointed out. Especially since some people want to, y'know, get an abortion because the pregnancy is a product of rape, and, well, turning that into double rape... Do you really need this spelled out for you?

Virginia, do you realize that women are people too? And that maybe, just maybe, they are capable of making moral, rational decisions on their own? Perhaps contrary to your beliefs, women don't just get abortions for shits and giggles. They have real reasons to do so, ranging from the medical to the situational to the, dare I say it, motherly.

Maybe, Virginia – and maybe, America – if you're so bothered by people killing "babies," you should focus on saving some actual babies. Make sure new mothers have access to nutritionally healthy and sufficient diets. Make sure childcare facilities are abundant, affordable, and safe. Hell, work to enact more laws like the Baby Doe Law (ensuring that babies born with Down's syndrome and an all-too-commonly-concurrent intestinal blockage aren't just allowed to die from an easily-repaired problem).

But don't rape women to shame them away from a legal procedure, and don't make women looking for a legal and safe and potentially life-saving procedure turn to a dangerous and deadly back-alley abortionist in desperation.

That's just common sense.

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