Reproductive rights, reproductive responsibilities

1 Mar

I am at present fairly angry, so please do forgive the potential lack of clarity/focus. On this topic, mine is a kind of incoherent rage.

Over at the Smart Bitches, SBSarah posted a book rant about Nauti Temptress, one of Lora Leigh’s novels. (Awesome rant, by the way, and from this quote¹, entirely justified in all points.)

Then LSUReader² completely derailed the conversation:

I’m sorry you had to read a book you found so insulting. I sure wouldn’t read it. It sounds like both the hero and heroine are absolutely irresponsible–and the hero criminally so. Personally, I still find the killing of babies beyond insulting. Anyone who doesn’t believe a three-month old fetus is a person should look at an ultrasound image. Murder of any sort is a bad choice.

For the love of..!

Never mind that the conversation is about access to the morning after pill, which prevents conception NOT causes abortion of an already conceived baby.

Never mind that LSUReader knows this–why let sound facts get in the way of a good lecture, right? She goes on to say:

It gets difficult to consistently hear of women’s reproductive choices without also hearing of women’s reproductive responsibilities.

This absolutely makes me see red.

Because–as hapax articulates so well–the problem here is that women all over the world are denied the choice to be responsible. Someone else is always making the choice for them.

Once upon a time I lived in a country where, at 27 years of age, married and with two children, it was required that my then husband signed his consent so that I could have my tubes ligated.

And even once that was secured–after bitter battles, never mind the fact that the marriage was a fucking battlefield and he was in love with someone else, whom he eventually married–the doctor decided not to do it. Because I was “too young” and could “change my mind” later, or my husband could want more children, and then what?

And I  had no recourse.

I didn’t want more children, and my reasons are my business so don’t expect me to elaborate as to why. Should I have simply given up sex–even though I was married–so as to be certain there would be no children? Because condoms fail and even the pill or IUD aren’t one hundred percent effective.

Don’t fucking talk to me about responsible reproductive choices.

~ ~ * ~ ~

On a separate, yet somewhat related note, I wonder what is/would be LSUReader’s reaction to Daphne taking Simon’s choice away in Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I.³ Is it okay for Daphne to try to get pregnant against the potential father’s will? Is it a responsible choice? And if so, why?

Or, what about a failed vasectomy? A couple have sex secure in the knowledge that he can’t impregnate her, his soldiers find a way (much as the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park) and she does get pregnant. Are they irresponsible too? Should that baby–who is not wanted–be born nonetheless, regardless of any other circumstance in the life of its parents?

~ ~ * ~ ~

Update March 1st 2013: Ellielu posts an articulate comment from the point of view of someone who is obviously deeply and actively religious. She does make a number of assumptions–which seem consistent with her faith, from where I sit–but for me the crux of it is here:

To be pro-choice means to accept that the state offers a freedom to its citizens to act in a way that may be unacceptable to me personally. It means being respectful of the beliefs (or lack thereof) of others, even if I don’t share those beliefs. I’m also grateful to live in a society that allows me to freely practice my faith, and to conduct my own reproductive life as I see fit.

Separation of church and state–wish it were more than just text on a page. Because all too often, that’s all it is.

~ ~ * ~ ~

¹ “If you can’t respect me, Brogan, and see me as your equal, then I’ll be damned if you’re even in the running for my virginity.”


“My equal?” he asked. “Sweet pea, when you can work a ten-hour day in the freezing rain, take down four drug-crazed dealers intent on having your head, keep up with my daily workout, and show me you’ve grown a ten-inch dick at some point, then I will most gladly drop all my dominant, manipulating schemes to rid you of your virginity and will then consider you my equal.”

² For the record, I have never had any substantial interaction with her/him, though we have occasionally commented to the same blogs, such as The Book Binge, etc.

³ For those who haven’t read it, she wants to have a child, he has been using a somewhat iffy form of conception preventative because he most emphatically does  not want a child; she tricks him in order to circumvent his choice.

5 Responses to “Reproductive rights, reproductive responsibilities”

  1. Lori 01/03/2013 at 12:06 PM #

    I can’t. I just can’t. There’s too much rage.

  2. kaetrin 01/03/2013 at 10:29 PM #

    I missed that comment. So not the point of the review.

    Questions about reproductive rights and responsibilities are something, I think, which is a very individual choice. I just don’t think anyone can judge another’s choices – there is so much unknown and unknowable. It is so very easy to say a blanket “it’s wrong” such as LSUreader has said but she/he is not walking in the shoes of those who are faced with this situation. Even if she/he has been in such a situation (if he’s a man, his partner, of course), that situation was unique and cannot be used as a benchmark for others’ choices. Life is messy and complicated and one size does not fit all.

    Having said that, easy access to reliable birth control and proper sex education (not just abstinence-only) will reduce the abortion rate because it will prevent more unwanted pregnancies – so I don’t get why the anti-abortion people are not behind that either.

    • azteclady 01/03/2013 at 11:03 PM #

      On the first point: absolutely–it’s between the woman and her conscience. Only she knows her reasons for making the decision to terminate or carry to term.

      On the second point: I sincerely do not understand it myself.

      With so many unwanted and/or unloved children who end up victims of abuse, who get lost in the foster care system, who are murdered–either actively or through neglect–by their own biological parents…wouldn’t it be better for the sake of those babies, not to be born even if they are conceived?

      How can they not see this, when almost every other day there’s a story on the news (local news, mind you–I have no idea how many occur nationally per day) about murdered/abused children.

      It’s just beyond my comprehension.


  1. Ignorance is a bigger threat | Her Hands, My Hands - 09/03/2013

    […] Remember last week’s post about choice? […]

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