Thursday, May 04, 2006

Abortion, sex, duck and cover.

Following on from yesterday's tragic discovery of a dead and abandonded baby, questions must be asked. How in this day and age did this happen? What caused a woman to give birth in a filthy barn, swaddle her infant in a towel and blanket and then leave it there? Is this the outcome or solution to a crisis pregnancy? Was this her only option?
Unwanted or crisis pregnancy is a reality in Ireland, the statistics from the Irish Family Planning Centre point to the fact that over six thousand Irish women travel to the UK every year to avail of an abortion.
We are exporting our problem. How very Irish of us. Perhaps it is more palatable to us that way. A sort of 'once it doesn't happen under our nose it's okay' solution.
Well clearly, that's not the answer.
I have very mixed view on abortions. I believe that a foetus is a developing person and has rights. On the other hand I do fully support the morning after pill, as I do not believe at the moment of conception, voila a person is there.
I also believe a woman must have the right to decide what to do with her own body. Who am I to demand a person to live by my views?
Therein lies the crux for me.
I have a real issue with length of term, for me twenty-four week is leaving it too late. Others might argue what difference does it make, but if I'm honest for me a four month old foetus is very developed and I would be most squeamish about the thought off such a late term abortion.
But even as I type that I feel it would be easy for me to be judgemental, I am not young, poor, pregnant or alone. Circumstances shape everything.
It not just unwanted pergnancy that needs to be addressed.
A survey carried out and printed in The Sun today shows a remarkable casual attitude to sex and relationships in this country. The evidence is mounting that we, as a society, are both reckless with our sexual health and dismissive of the very real results of this recklessness. More and more people are having one night stands, affairs and last flings on stag and hen nights. STD's are rising across the board, people are not taking care. A sort of see no evil hear no evil approach to sex is prevalent. I'm not sure if this head in the sand attitude reflects a jaded culture or sheer stupidity, what would make people play Russian roulette with their health is this way?
We have come a long way in this country over the last ten years, but not far enough, as this week has shown, scratch the surface of prosperity and underneath you will find a terrified woman pushed her infant into a cold and unforgiving world.
It's time to lift the carpet and deal with what we have swepth beneath.

25 Comments:

Blogger Ms Ann Thrope said...

I have the utmost sympathy for that poor woman, having gone through a crisis pregnancy myself. There is no support for women like her in this county, beyond a very perfunctory crisis pregnancy counselling service. Pregnancy is only the beginning of a lifelong commitment, a fact which is conveniently ignored by policymakers and pro-lifers.
I'm not a proponent of abortion, but I know several women who have had terminations and I would never judge them for it. I do think that having a proper termination service in Ireland would not only help people like the woman who left her baby in the shed, it would also allow for an informed debate on crisis pregnancy, better counselling services, and probably less abortions in the long term.

11:34 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It's too easy to turn a blind eye in this country, but every so often something as upsetting and tragic as this case comes along and reminds us that all is not well in the land and there is a definite lack of a service. Is it true that the morning after pill must be prescribed by a doctor? and if so, why is it not available over the counter?

11:45 a.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

The morning after pill is available over the counter in the UK - but the pharmacist asks searching questions before doling it out. This is a very sad case indeed, especially as there are so many willing adoptive parents. If only she had left it in a church, or a public place. In a street near where I live there is a clinic which performs abortions and as I walk down it every day I am usually stopped at least one by a teenage girl asking for directions to it - they they are always Irish and Spanish girls. I remember reading about some country where they have a hatch where unwanted babies can be deposited, not sure where, maybe China - but it seems like an idea to have a sanctuary where a desperate mother can leave an unwanted baby with no questions asked.

12:04 p.m.  
Blogger Ms Ann Thrope said...

Yes, it is true. I think it's because it can cause complications with some existing conditions and isn't safe to be taken with some medications.

12:09 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Yes, but are those questions a chemist can answer? I think if the morning after pill was available over the counter in this country it would lessen the number of unwanted pergnancies. Especially to gain the advantage of the 24 hour period when it is as its most effective.
SB I saw that before, the babies are left in a warm insulated hatch and an alarm goes off once they are dropped in so that the people running the shelter are alerted immediately.

12:16 p.m.  
Anonymous Melinda said...

Birth control, birth control, birth control. Sex education, sex education, sex education. Under Bush we've had a massive rise in funding of 'faith-based' crisis pregnancy centers and abstinence-only sex education. Abstinence gets the job done, but of course we (us, not this living-in-fairy-land administration) know that it doesn't work. Rather, the result of abstinence-only education is that kids do indeed put off sexual contact for (just a little) longer than their peers, but they're much, much less likely to use anything for birth control/disease prevention. The teenage pregnancy rates in Texas are staggering. Coincidence?
As for the morning-after pill (we call it Plan B) it's simply a stronger dose of regular birth control pills. There are very few side effects except possibly nausea, and drug interactions would be the same as with the pill (antibiotics for example). Plan B was on track to be approved for over-the-counter use here but Bush appointed a sufficient number of evangelical anti-science idealogues to scuttle it.

1:23 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Welcome Melinda.
I believe abstinence only is what I call wishful thinking. I have regular dealings with a teenager and I remember being a teenager myself and while it's all good and well to wag your finger and say don't do it. Hormones and being naturally curious will rule out in the end.
The Bush strategy bothers me to no end and it is not dissimiliar to a lot if thinking here. He is against Plan B-a prevention to unwanted pregnancy, but he is also against abortion, the result of unwanted pergnancy. Anyone else see the paradox?

1:44 p.m.  
Anonymous tawdreyaudrey said...

An extremely difficult subject to make comment on. I thank the gods that be I never had to consider it. Iey did on the other hand distribute the right to information leaflets on O'Connell Bridge circa 1994

1:46 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It is a tricky one Missus, but I think I've sat on the fence a bit too long. I keep thinking about the women who travel to England and what happens to them when they come back, do they have after care? Support? I keep thinking about the woman who had that baby in the shed. I want to know why the morning after pill is not available over the counter in ths country? Who objects to it? Why do they object to it and- if the reasoning is specious- what can be done about it?

2:00 p.m.  
Blogger finn said...

the morning after pill only helps those who acknowledge the ramifications of sating their "quims afire." (cat, this image of yourn popped into my head in the middle of a gut-busting workout yesterday don't ask me why.) it does nothing for those in denial, or those who feel like they have no recourse -- which i'll bet is how your Barn & Blanket mom felt.

meanwhile, the religious right argues that fetuses have full human rights but offers SFA for support after birth. stupid fucks.

i have fewer moral compunctions about abortion than you and some of the other commenters -- because i believe, perhaps naively, that spirits get recycled, and you get more than one shot at entering the world.

plus, there's a practical argument for abortion: it may reduce crime.

tawdryaudry is right though -- this is such a charged subject that it, along with thots on our current pres, is putatively banned as a topic of conversation at the office. there's no need to hate your co-workers, even if they are idiots. sez me. :)

4:18 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Hey Miss Finn, I know, it's one of those conversations that can get heated really quickly.
The problem is nobody really debates abortion issues, everyone's ideas are entrenched and nobody wants to give an inch. You're right of course, the availability of the morning-after pill won't help every one, but it might help a few and I think it should be available over the counter.
I gut bustingly cycled my arse off today, 20k in 40 mins and am now -somewhat impatiently- awaiting for the old paramour to cook dinner. I asked a while ago 'what is it?'
'Don't worry you'll like it.'
'I see, but what is it?'
'Fish and rice in a red sauce, that's all I can tell you.'
'I'm not sure I-'
'You'll love it, now shoo.'

5:53 p.m.  
Blogger KnackeredKaz said...

You'll love it? The last time someone said that to me I couldn't walk for a week.

Beware FMC!

6:08 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

What the hell did they do to you? And did you love it, you filthy beast!

6:16 p.m.  
Anonymous Melinda said...

Thanks for the welcome--forgot to say I'd been lurking around here for a while and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I myself have tied my brain into knots trying to figure out the rationale of reducing access to both birth control AND abortion. The only common denominator is a woman and sex. These policies are designed to control women's sexuality. I wish I had the link to this program I saw recently on the spread of abstinence programs in the US. There's this one organization where girls, and I mean little girls like 7 or 8, go to a daddy-and-daughter ball and take pledges en masse. I mean, that's disturbing in and of itself. But the pledge is for the father to protect his daugher's virginity, and for the daughter to preserve her virginity until she's passed off to a husband. I'm not kidding. The sexuality that's defined in that sort of program is purely about the perceived necessity of a man to control a woman's sexuality. Dress it up in whatever "respecting women's bodies" claptrap they will, it's about control.
Rant over.

8:08 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I saw that over on Feministe or some where, creepy van peepy. All those littl Daddy-brides in white dancing and smiling and wearing their Chasity rings like brand marks. That reeks, what sort of parent is that interested in his teenager's chastity.
'say honey, good time at the cinema with Chad? Did you get up to anything, no titty action, no fingering? Good, you can tell daddy. Any hanky panky and you're going to the tower until you're pure again.'
Bleeeeeee.
When is the Son and Mommy wedding/dance being held? Will she be questioning him all about his activities? Will mom be checking through his wallet for the obligatory condom all boys carry in hope that one day they might get to use it. What piece of Jewellery will bind them I wonder?
Seriously though, raise your kids, raise them right and warn them of all the pitfalls, but wedding them to you? Again, bleeeeeee.

8:44 p.m.  
Blogger Boliath said...

Ooh you're wading into deep murky waters here fmc...jesus I remember debating this till I was blue in the face back in college, y'know back when I knew everything. It seemed simple back then an issue of choice, I declared myself pro-choice and stuck to it. Then I had a baby and oohed and aahed over the ultrasound pictures and the tiny beating heart and realised that in different circumstances these would not be welcome. I'm still pro-choice, but I wrestle with it. Ms Ann Thrope is right pregnancy is only the beginning of a life long commitment, even back when I thought I knew everything it pissed me off that so many pro-lifers were so concerned about foetuses but seemed to care fuck all about starving and neglected unwanted children all around them. "Every child a wanted child" was the chant back then, I'll stand by that. Better sex education, better support for crisis pregnancies, better information available to every man woman and child and perhaps abortion for non medical reasons would no longer be necessary, that's the fence I choose to park my arse on these days. Murky waters indeed.

1:15 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:12 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we all live very different lives and i think it is wrong for oepole to judge others on their decision to have abortions. nobody knows any ones situation and i see so many unwanted unloved kids and it makes me sad.I would never judge anybody that had an abortion and i admire people who choose to have the baby and love them the way the should.

9:33 p.m.  
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