Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Why don't you..."

Ensure women are confident in the decisions they make about their problem pregnancies
Help women leave their abusive partners so they can have that baby
Combat domestic violence
Provide women with contraceptive services to avoid unplanned pregnancies
Find a job developing more effective forms of contraception
Prevent rape and sexual violence - so that "the innocent ones" don't have to have abortions, natch
Find counseling for assault victims
Throw them baby showers so they'll have "all the supplies they need"
Offer to adopt her children so she'll have time and energy for one more
Buy her kids the damn Christmas presents so she won't have to have the abortion (What?? Please work on distinguishing between a problem and its symptom, OK?)
Help her with the cost of a new baby
Pay their utility bills
Help them find safe cheap childcare...


Dear devoted denialist antis, regular know-it-alls, and well-meaning strangers/friends/family/bloggers who just think abortion "shouldn't be used so thoughtlessly": 

Thank you for your suggestions. We regretfully see that you consider yourselves geniuses for having hit on the one magic solution that no one has tried.

In order to keep this letter brief, I leave to your own heroic efforts the task of identifying which of these things we ALREADY DO that you just assumed we don't do, which of them we would NEVER DO because you are not adequately informed to dream up effective strategies ("tell her to Just Leave him!"), and which ones we would LOVE to do but lack the resources and/or magical patriarchy-busting power to do.

In fact the purpose of our reply is simply to ask you a question, since you brought it up.

Why don't you?

No, seriously. Why don't you do those things? Answer me, each of you, about your individual practices. And society-at-large, you answer me too. And when you've all answered why YOU don't do these things, I'll understand you a little better, and then one day maybe we can "discuss reasonable solutions" as you have proposed but are currently unprepared for.

We regret that we will not be working with you at this time but encourage you to submit future proposals that meet the minimum thoughtfulness standards.

Good luck,

Placenta Sandwich
VP of Irritated Blogging
The Abortioneers


  1. Anyone want to put money on how many thoughtful answers we actually get?

  2. I work at a crisis pregnancy center, and here are a few things that we do: we provide free pregnancy testing and ultrasounds performed by a RN or OBGYN. We help women enroll in Medicaid and WIC by providing essential paperwork to make that happen. We help remove women from dangerous domestic situations, finding emergency shelter for them and arranging police escorts and intervention when needed. We offer parenting and birthing classes that provide every baby supply a woman could need (from brand-new carseats to diapers to clothing to cribs.) We offer relationship classes that help people recognize unhealthy partners, become more self-confident, and even learn self defense. We provide male-mentors to counsel the partners who come in for appointments with our clients. We help find free/low cost professional counseling for assault victims and anyone else dealing with emotional trauma. We throw baby showers for our clients. We spend hours locating emergency shelter for desperate women, and even provide emergency housing for pregnant women with no other place to go. We give out free formula and diapers to anyone who needs them. We help find adoptive parents for clients seeking an adoption plan. We help women find afforable child care. We help women with their education. We offer after-school empowerment programs to middle and high school girls to help prevent teen pregnancy. We visit clients in the hospital after their babies are born. We attend 1st birthday parties. We call and write and keep in touch. We help. We really do. I hope you don't mind publishing this. :)

  3. SexLady, I don't mind publishing your comment. I appreciate that the staff at your CPC give way more support than any of the CPC staff I have met myself. Your work is positive and apparently rare. (I have seen "lifestyle counseling" that amounted to abstinence re-education, dressed up in fancier words for the donor pamphlets, and "couples counseling" that attempted to mollify an abusive partner.) What I want is more recognition of the realities women face in these situations. Addressing the challenges one at a time is a start, but the big picture is so much more.

    For example, in addition to cribs and car-seats, a list of "every baby supply a woman could need" would also include time, energy, and hope. It would include love for the baby -- and self-love too. It also includes a plan for the future, when the baby is a child or teenager and 'baby supplies' aren't going to cut it anymore. Being a mom is hard work, and requires so much that can't be donated or scavenged, even when we can provide the bare necessities. The sad thing is that some networks of CPCs (perhaps not yours) officially aim their support at so-called "abortion-minded" women and have downplayed their services when approached by women asking for assistance in carrying to term, especially as the economy takes its toll on everyone's budgets.

    For example, adoption is always difficult, and potentially devastating. So many people have lazily pointed out to me that "she could just adopt" and "now that we have open adoption" things are so much better. But these same people assure me that abortion leads to long-lasting trauma (even invoking the epidemiologically unvalidated invention "post-abortion stress syndrome"). They ignore or don't realize that long-lasting trauma is much more frequent for women who lose their children to adoption than women who have an abortion. Pregnant women seem to anticipate this viscerally, but the rest of the world acts as though it's nothing but love and wonder and heroic goodwill. Yet after the adoption, most birth mothers have been all but abandoned to their grief. So we should offer support for adoption but never act as though it's a no-brainer.

    For example, pregnancy is one of the most dangerous times to be with an abusive partner -- yet leaving her partner is one of the most dangerous times for a woman who's being abused. Pregnant women in an abusive relationship are in a catch-22 of epic proportions. Emergency shelter is only temporary and is currently in frequent shortage; and sadly, DV shelters often lack the resources to support pregnancy needs, even though they want to, let alone to support a newborn. Restraining orders are distressingly easy to violate. It's distressingly hard to get or keep a job when you lack a permanent address, are pregnant (even though discrimination is illegal), are hiding from an ex who may be stalking you at work, are in the hospital post-partum, have an infant and no caretaker, and/or are trying to breastfeed. On top of all that, it's a lot harder to cut legal ties with the father of your child than with an abusive ex you DON'T have kids with. Plus if he doesn't want to pursue you in the courts after the birth, he can always wait til you've run out of safe options and don't know what else to do but give up, go home and hope he only abuses you and not your child (statistically unlikely). This is not an invented confluence of unfortunate turns; the sequence is so common. So women who know all this and choose carry to term, risking everything, should have all the support we can give them; but our support cannot be a replacement for avoiding childbirth if they so choose.

  4. Sorry to ramble. Shorter version: these needs are too complex for anyone to wish away abortion with "better support," you know? Of course we need more support for women facing these challenges! But one doesn't replace the other. That's why I say that we DO engage in a lot of these activities, but they are stupid "answers" to the "problem" of abortion. If you've helped a woman out of danger, into security, into emotional stability and back to educational success, and she still chooses to have an abortion, it doesn't mean you FAILED. Just like if *I* manage to provide these things and she chooses NOT to have an abortion, it doesn't mean I've failed. We've both succeeded.

    My point is, people's brilliant suggestions, even those that are realistic or worthy in their own right, will never "replace" abortion. I appreciate that you do all these things to help women find their way to safety and fulfillment. Thanks for your earnest reply.

  5. Sex Lady -- Seriously, your CPC does seem like a diamond in the rough, and we do appreciate your feedback.

    Placenta - You are my hero. :)


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