Abortion foes claim they believe a fertilized egg is the same as a full-term baby, but when I miscarried at eight weeks no one acted like I’d lost a baby. There were no flowers, cards, casseroles, or time off work. You can buy cards for loss of the family pet, but not for a miscarriage. It did not matter to others that I lost it because I didn’t have enough progesterone, and that it might have been healthy. Common sense says we do not experience an early fetus the same as a full-term baby. Losing an embryo the size of a pomegranate seed is losing a possibility, not a baby.
If I had lost a baby at 8 months, it would have been different. There would have been an outpouring of sympathy. This is also common sense. No country allows a last trimester abortion for any except serious medical complications, and they are less than 0.08% of abortions. Ninety percent of abortions occur in the first trimester.
If most of us feel that first trimester fetus is not a baby, why the political movement to prevent abortion? Is it because not being able to choose when to have their families keeps women down? When I grew up in the 1960s, we had no access to birth control and there were very few women doctors or lawyers. Now because being able to plan our pregnancies leveled the playing field, women are well represented in all professions. Is this why some who vote against aid to families want to ban abortion?
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There are others who seem to be motivated to hold females responsible for having sex. But sex that resulted in a 13-year-old being pregnant was not consensual and was certainly not the child’s fault. Sadly one female in seven loses her virginity by rape.
Growing up with parents that are not ready nurture them is bad for children. Steven Levitt and his colleagues found that states with the highest abortion rates after Roe v. Wade experienced a 30 percent greater drop in crime by 1997 when this cohort were young adults compared with states with the lowest rates of abortions, perhaps because fewer children grew up aliented from society because they had been neglected or abused by parents who resented their existence?”
The ability to plan when to have their children has allowed girls and women all over the world to get an education. Literate women have more resources to pull their families out of poverty and they choose to have fewer children.
Common sense also tells us there are already too many of us for the carrying capacity of the planet. The human population has doubled since 1970 and it is continuing to grow. Hundreds of thousands of plant and animal species will become extinct and greenhouse gasses already released into the atmosphere will continue to heat the earth for thousands of years, with unpredictable multiplicative effects.
Imagine a world where all females could decide when to have their babies. This would promote fuller equality for girls and women, give every new child the best chance for a good life, and slow population growth and global warming. Win, win, win.
Shan Guisinger, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and has practiced in Missoula for 38 years.