A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO LIVE – Marilyn Armstrong

One-Liner Wednesday — Women’s Rights

I remember the awful days before legalized abortion. When women’s jobs were listed separately in the paper. When the first question you got asked on a job interview was “How fast can you type,” and the second was “Who will take care of your child if he or she is sick?”

When contraception was nearly impossible and a lot of it hadn’t even been invented, so no matter how hard you tried, you could end up pregnant anyway. We fought a lonely battle to retain control over our own bodies.

We won. I was sure we won, didn’t we?

Roe V. Wade put an end to getting abortions in a back room somewhere. Right?

pro-choice-advert

I remember backroom abortions performed with chlorine bleach, coat hangers, and turkey basters. When sepsis or perforation of your uterus was not an unusual price to pay to end a pregnancy and as likely as not ended in death for both the fetus and you. When young women, unable to obtain an abortion threw themselves off bridges rather than have an unwanted baby, or tried to abort themselves, with terminal results for mother and child.

Despite conservative backlash and brainwashing on this issue, and despite the current frenzy in Washington DC, having an abortion was not and is not a sign one is irresponsible or anti-life. It’s a choice to have a good life when the alternative is at its best, bleak. These frenzy has been going on for my entire life. I’m 72 and women have been fighting this battle since before I was born.

suffragettes

Women have abortions for all kinds of reasons, including a desire to be more than a mother.

Physical health. The welfare of living children. The basic need to survive. A career that leaves no time to properly care for a child. The lack of a career that makes it possible to bear and raise children in a life that is not squalor.

Meanwhile, these so-called men are trying to stop a woman’s access to abortion are simultaneously determined to keep women from getting effective birth control, a weird set of beliefs that no matter how hard I try to make sense of it, doesn’t make any sense. And the worst part of the “pro-life” movement is that these same people care nothing about what kind of life this not-yet-a-person will lead following birth. They only care about being born, not about living. Squalor is fine, abortion or even birth control is not.


This is not “pro-life.” On every level, it is “anti-woman.”

This has little to do with preserving life. It’s about power. Isn’t it always?

Getting women back to their position of subjugation so old white men can own the world. They already control most of its assets, so let’s finally get those pesky women back where they belong.

It has always been about that.

So many women my age went through an abortion. Were we happy about it? No, but we weighed our options, then did what we felt was our best (only) choice.


The most significant gains in personal freedom women
have won are at risk. If we don’t speak up, speak out,
and stand together, we will lose it all.

I never imagined that I would have to fight this battle AGAIN. I remember my friends looking for someone to perform an abortion, terrified of the consequences, but even more terrified of what their lives would become should they be required to go full term with pregnancy.

I am many years past child-bearing. This is about women. All women. Whether or not we are fully equal in this world, this nation — and have the right to decide what happens or is done to our bodies.

If there is a right to life involved, how about the right of women to have a good life, to bear the number of children we want from none to many.


No one wants an abortion, but sometimes, you need one.

No woman should be forced to bear children.

This is a position I have held since I was very young and before I’d ever had sex. If you don’t own a uterus (and never did), you have no right to be part of this conversation. As a person who will never carry or bear a child– or even be responsible for those you had a part in creating, what right have you to speak on the matter? Old, childless men who want to force women to be baby machines are particularly loathsome.

I had an abortion. It wasn’t a “real” abortion because it was too early to even be sure it was a fetus. That was before tests made it possible to determine whether or not you were pregnant until pregnancy at least 8 weeks advanced. I had a husband in the hospital with cancer, a young child, a career just getting off the ground, and issues in the marriage that would later end with divorce. There was no way we could survive a new baby. Not to mention significant genetic issues that still haunt the family into new generations.

I am horrified by these people and their cruelty. Disgusted, revolted and sickened. I do not care who knows it.

#1linerWeds – One-Liner Wednesday and yes, this is way too long, but this is a big issue for me and always has been. I cannot keep this funny. It isn’t funny.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

31 thoughts on “A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO LIVE – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Good post. I agree with you. Opposition to abortions makes no sense .

    I don’t believe Roe will be overturned. But that is just my opinion, whatever that may be worth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. By the time I was old enough to have an informed opinion on this subject, ‘safe’ abortions were available. The stigma attached to the women who got one was rampant. The one clinic in Salt Lake City where they did them was terrorized, long before any ‘war on terrorism” was even thought of. I had a good friend when I was 19 who tried the old trick of trapping her married boyfriend into marriage by getting pregnant. He immediately dumped her. Her family was staunch Catholic and if Mormons (and most other religions) are anti-abortion, Catholics have a reputation for being really harsh on unwed mothers. So my friend got an abortion. The mental and emotional trauma of that single event ended our friendship. I didn’t have any ‘side’ in the issue, but I thought she was really weak after the fact because she had a nervous breakdown. Later I answered the phones for that clinic and I became very ‘pro-life’, not because I thought the issue through and didn’t have scares of my own (thankfully I never had to choose); but because of the women who inevitably called the clinic in the middle of the night (I was the midnight shift operator at the answering service that clinic used) bawling and whining. It infuriated me on some level, because these women had chosen their bed and I felt they must lie in it. Later still I went to work for Clinic Genetics at the University of Utah and I at long last was educated about why abortion is sometimes necessary. For all the reasons you listed and more. The only time I’m ever judgy about abortion is when I know of a case where someone is using that option as birth control. To me that’s untenable and the woman in question should just get a hysterectomy or tubal ligation if she really doesn’t want children. It’s not the child’s fault it was conceived by bad judgment. But I also see your side of the issue and if some old fart of a man had ever tried to tell me I ‘couldn’t’, I’m not sure what I’d have done. It is MY body and my choice. God will sort out the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not know a single woman who used abortion as birth control. That’s one of those “beliefs” that people have that is simply untrue. Not only is abortion painful and significantly more expensive than birth control, the concept makes no sense. WHY would anyone who has access to birth control prefer surgery?

      NO ONE prefers abortion to birth control, but in a lot of states, getting birth control is extremely difficult. So, women try everything else because that’s what they have available. There are some very young women who have never been taught exactly HOW babies are made have some weird ideas the “you can’t get pregnant if you have your period” (you can) or “you can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex” (you sure can), or “you can’t get pregnant if you are nursing” (oh yes you can). They are ignorant and KEPT ignorant by the laws of the state in which they live.

      And by the way, most women looking for an abortion are married, poor, and already have too many kids and don’t want another. They can’t afford to feed the ones they have.

      Meanwhile, one of the most bizarre things about this battle is that the same people who think woman are baby machines also oppose birth control. Go figure.

      And finally — even the best birth control can fail including IUDs, pills, and everything else. “Withdrawal” is the LEAST effective as is “timing.” In a state where you have to run the hurdles to get birth control pills, how easy do you think it is to get a tubal ligation — which, by the way, is major surgery.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Actually I personally met two women who used abortion as birth control…one said she didn’t like using contraception because it dampened her ardor (and yeah, the fact that she might procreate was far more frightening. That’s the dumbest damned thing I’ve ever heard before or since); and the second was a prostitute who was in the waiting room at the clinic when my friend was having her procedure. So those sorts of people exist, I just don’t think they’re numerous.

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        1. I think they are pretty rare. I got accidentally pregnant because an IUD failed. It also caused a massive infection, which I didn’t yet know about. I am very dubious these days about IUDs. So many of them cause infections.

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  3. Thank you for your post. I agreed with everything you have posted.

    Some of the most anti-choice/pro-life proponents I knew have been other women. I suspect it has to do with their own personal issues. Therefore it’s taken out on others in spite. Although they will never admit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Couldn’t agree more. I was raised to believe abortion was wrong on every level, but when I became an adult and realized the consequences to those who were at worst raped and became pregnant and others who were simply used as baby making machines, I decided that the rights of your body and what happens to it and how you respond are entirely yours! Should be yours! You have to live with the consequences, not someone else, and certainly not men who never have to face the ordeal.

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    1. I’m not blaming ALL men. I’m blaming a very specific group of men and some women. I think they lack souls. Mostly, I FOUGHT THIS BATTLE. I thought this was the one thing we WON! How is it that we are fighting it again? I don’t get it.

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  5. “…stop a woman’s access to abortion are simultaneously determined to keep women from getting effective birth control….” That has never made any sense to me, either.

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      1. I wrote this in a post from March: https://fivedotoh.com/2019/03/04/the-life-and-death-paradox/

        “I don’t understand why those who oppose abortion also often oppose contraception. It seems rather paradoxical to me.

        “Contraception prevents unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, and women who choose to have abortions do so, to a large extent, because of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. So doesn’t it follow that advocating the use of contraceptives and promoting their availability would reduce the demand for abortions?

        “But that logic seems to be beyond what many religious and social conservatives can grasp, so they continue to follow the paradox of being opposed to both abortion and contraception.”

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  6. Perfectly state, Marilyn. As one woman’s sign at the DC Women’s March said, ‘I can’t believe I’m still marching to protest this shit.” This time, I think they underestimate the power of women who have been freed and who will NOT GO BACK.

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      1. Personally, I am finished with both big corporate parties. Oh, I will no doubt vote D in 2020, but I am working with the group “For a People’s Party.” Sick of big money and bigger egos.

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        1. Money corrupts. I’ve been reading a lot about Rome recently. Funny, but money corrupted government there too. Probably before then. The problem is that we create parties that are supposed “free” of corruption, but corruption always shows up, sooner rather than later. Has there EVERY been a non-corrupt political system that lasted more than a decade?

          I read a lot of history and I have yet to see one. Maybe the early years of Rome were as good as it got, but that didn’t last, either. In the end, they become the epitome of ultimate corruption — and they were the same people

          Maybe it’s MONEY we ought to ban.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. When I was a lot younger, i had a lot of problems with abortion. Yes, raised conservative christian here, I admit, and that colored my view. But even at that point, if there was a petition going around to sign that was about opposing abortion restrictions except in cases of rape or incest, I’d still sign the petition without hesitation. I did that because, though i didn’t like the idea of it, i knew enough to know that abortion had to be an option.

    I saw this because of the amount of religious liberty loopholes out there, and the rise in pharmacists and others who didn’t believe in abortion or birth control who would deliberately limit a woman’s access to it. I felt that as long as these people were around and actively sabotaging women, then abortion has to stay an option.

    I hated their “all or none” mentality: no abortion for any reason. You want that? Then make birth control affordable and easily accessible for women. Make it as widespread as condoms and dispensers. Make it show up in every place possible.
    And definitely make Plan B more accessible while you’re at it.

    I hate how they think they can have it both ways and there won’t be a problem. And I really hate the term “pro-life.” “Pro-birth” is more accurate, because once the cluster of cells that became a child comes out of mom, the anti-abortion folks don’t give a damn about them. They seem to like theoretical humans more than the real thing.

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    1. Yup. That’s what we have ALL commented on over the years that this battle has never ended. As soon as birth has occurred, the baby can starve in the streets and no one gives a rat’s ass.

      IF you are pro-LIFE than those cells need to not only be born but also have a reasonable shot at life. Support children. Make sure they and their family have medical care. Provide the infant’s family with sufficient money to buy food and have a place to live with basic facilities — like a roof, heat, and air.

      Don’t force women to become baby-making machines while men who are, after all, half the baby’s DNA, get off as if nothing happened.

      I don’t know who did it, but someone suggested that men who get “clipped” go to prison for life, too. After all, they have removed their ability to produce infants and are equally guilty of being anti-life. Send men who refuse to pay child support to Federal prison and pay the mother while he rots with the other bastards.

      Funny how there isn’t a single law that places ANY responsibility on sperm donors.

      I keep saying it and I’m far from alone. This isn’t about babies or life. It’s about power and keeping women where they belong. In the house, cooking, cleaning, raising as many children as her man feels like creating. This way, she isn’t going to “take a job away from a man” or (egads!) run for office.

      It’s a power play, pure and simple.

      If you support life, SUPPORT the living. Make sure everyone has free medical care, a decent education, sufficient income to feed babies and parents, and a nurturing environment in which to raise children. As it stands, we can force women to have babies, but nothing stops them from hating the kid after he is born. It’s ruthless, cruel, and frankly, shocking.

      Without the opportunity to grow into a real person, it’s not about life.

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      1. I forgot who said it, but somebody had a theory as to why a cluster of cells meant more than a woman and her life. His theory was that these anti-abortion protesters love God and theoretical people more than actual human beings.

        As far as “clipping” men, I wondered why some people who go to the extreme and insist an egg and a sperm are where it starts don’t go after men who masturbate. After all, wasn’t that a potential life you flushed down the toilet (or wherever you did what you did)? Nobody would try to legislate that–we’d have to quadruple the prisons or block off entire states to turn them into penal colonies.
        No pun intended.

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