Instead, I found myself angry. I Tweeted this:
HCR = yay, but once again, women bear the largest burden of getting everyone to the table and acting like adults.
An old friend on Facebook wanted to know what I meant, so here's my answer. The anger here isn't directed at him.
I'm tired of this. I'm tired of my reproductive system being held hostage by people who are, you know, generally okay with treating people decently as long as they can still have a peep into my uterus whenever they feel like it. I'm tired of my autonomy being the price of getting anybody to do anything helpful politically. I'm tired of being the sacrifice for the common good.
This pregnancy thing; you know it kills people, don't you? It doesn't kill as many people as it used to, but women still die over this. Those who don't die are changed, sometimes drastically, sometimes permanently. There isn't a system of the body that isn't affected by pregnancy. If it didn't result in the continuation of the species, we'd be devoting unprecedented resources to finding a cure--despite our poor history addressing conditions that only affect women.
I have a great deal of respect for women who know what pregnancy entails and choose to go through it willingly. Forcing the unwilling, however, is barbaric. That includes the lies and coercion that make it impossible for a woman to make the choice for herself. It also includes the ignorance that is imposed on so many women by insufficient or misleading education on the subject.
Life doesn't begin at conception. Sperm and eggs are not dead things. They can't survive without a host, but neither can the products of their fusion. And a large percentage of those don't survive even with a host.
Neither the Bible nor any other holy book I'm aware of condemns abortion. Most of them do praise life, as do most people in general, whoever they think should get to make reproductive decisions. But aside from the Jains, most religions don't maintain a core belief that every bit of life must be preserved at all costs. Those messages come from those who don't have to bear the costs--neither of your pregnancy nor mine--and without them, women who have had abortions don't experience crushing regrets in this life either.
Of course, this isn't just about the women. It's also about the children. It's about what it's like to be unwanted, or to be "imperfect" in a world that still doesn't tolerate difference well. It's about going hungry amid too many grumbling bellies and starting out in the world too far behind to ever catch up and running wild because someone can work or spend time with you but not both. This too is barbaric.
And this is what we may not fix. This is what we're not allowed to change, the problem we must set aside every time we want to achieve any tiny step forward in the world. This is the currency with which we buy progress, and last night's progress is just one more example. The cost of human decency must apparently be human decency.
And it's pissing me off.