26 June 2013

Ah, so that's what filibuster means!

Strange morning. I woke up to lots of social media excitement about a Texan senator and the magnificent, marathon filibuster she had pulled off. I have to admit to 1) knowing nothing about it beforehand and 2) not being very sure of what a filibuster meant (I am not very politically aware).
So, I read the newspaper article and found myself crying about the achievement and the sheer amount of effort and determination Wendy Davis had put in. I am in awe of anyone who has the guts to stand up and be counted that way. I linked the article to my Facebook page to show my support.
But it made me think about my feelings on abortion. Which happen to be a bit complex. I absolutely believe a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body. I don't think, in a civilised society, we can justify a woman not being allowed to make the decision on whether she continues a pregnancy or not. However, I would never have one.
This is because I believe life starts at conception and that all life is sacred. Whilst pregnant with madam I was offered the standard testing for Down's Syndrome. It took me mere seconds to refuse it point blank. I know that, even if I had been given a positive result, I would have continued the pregnancy. It didn't even guarantee a 100% definitive answer and carried a risk of miscarriage. No thanks.

Madam's first photo :)

if you look at this one carefully, you'll see she's waving!

I should be grateful to the midwife for not even batting an eyelid at my decision and just moving on to the next thing we had to talk about. 
I then tried to explain it to K. Then realised I should have just left him in the dark, it only confused him. Learning disabilities are not something he had any awareness of.
I am not sure what I would have done if the 20 week scan had revealed serious, life limiting disability. I guess I would have dealt with it at the time. I read this amazing blog from Down Side Up earlier this month and was so moved by some of the frightening statistics it contained. It did make me wonder what options mother's are actually being given. Talk of eugenics will always be terrifying to me.

Again, I do not think that any woman should have their choice taken away though. I believe unnecessary distress to the mother should be avoided as much as possible during pregnancy! Part of the reason I chose not to know was so that I could enjoy my pregnancy in blissful ignorance.

Sadly, I think abortion has almost become another form of contraception to some areas of society but it still isn't a reason to remove the privilege.

My mother tells me that her nana could remember doctors would perform "little operations" on the Victorian ladies in their care who couldn't cope with yet another mouth to feed. This was highly illegal at the time, and obviously only open to the people who could pay for this treatment. But it probably saved some women their lives, childbirth was incredibly dangerous.

And then there are those ladies who are dying because of their unborn child. The case of Savita Halappanavars who died because of strict Irish anti-abortion laws was terrifyingly needless. There are so many more women like her around the world who live in countries where they don't even have the option that the idea of somewhere like Texas trying to take it away from the women of their state is horrifying.

Now, I know they weren't trying to criminalise it, but they were restricting access to it in a dramatic fashion by making it very difficult for women to access abortion services and limiting the ways in which it could be performed. And this is where Wendy Davis came in. She stood up for all the women of her state. She had massive public support (which was obviously being ignored by the Texas House) including that of Barak Obama. And she did it. She talked for almost 11 hours and ended up earning a 15 minute round of applause that disrupted the House the vote couldn't pass before it's deadline.

She is my new hero. Well done Wendy Davis.  

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