Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fetal Position

I was reading an article on the Huffington Post yesterday regarding some apparent possible hospitals in the US being able to refuse performing abortions (I am too tired to go find the link right now, but it was passed around on FB). But what interested me were some of the comments people posted on it. Of course there was the usual tussle over at what stage an unborn child should be considered a human, others saying right from conception, others responding that an abortion is not the killing/taking of human life because it's not born yet and hasnt taken a breath, the usual comments about how an embryo and a fetus are not called 'humans' so therefore based on those terms, it is not murder, etc.

One woman commented something that made me laugh my head off and I wondered why I never thought to look it up before. She took the word fetus, that most were throwing around to say it is not human, and presented it's meaning. At it's roots in Latin and Greek, fetus means "offspring, bringing forth, hatching of young". And in other roots it means "suckling" and "to come into being". For those who believe that abortions after 12 weeks (say 12 to 20 weeks, before fetal viability) are okay, stating that a fetus is not a human - I ask where they got that information from. The roots of the word dating back hundreds and thousands of years have always appeared to mean 'life' in some form or another. Not 'mass of cells' or 'bundle of cells' like I have seen MANY people using over the years. Even for an embryo, the 'mass of cells' part doesnt last very long. I had an ultrasound at 5.5 weeks with my daughter and was shocked to see a stumpy little head (like a tadpole, big and bulky compared to the rest of the body) and little stumpy legs and a round belly. Didn't look like a mass of cells to me, but hey, that's my opinion.

Anyway I just found that interesting. Then I was reading through more comments saying that the fetus is not a human until it takes a breath. Who said that? Is that a scientific thing? I saw one man post something about how a fetus is not called a human in any science book and women don't walk around saying 'I am pregnant, I am having a human". Ya - he is right. That's not something people walk around saying. But they also do not refer to each other as humans very often. Maybe that guy should think about that. He does not walk down the street and say 'hello, fellow human' or "I have 3 human children". How ridiculous would that sound? If he does not refer to others as a human most of the time, why should he worry about if a fetus should be called a human. I dont say 'I just had a human!' when I give birth. I say 'wooo it's a boy' or 'I just had my baby'.

As Ive posted before, my last child was born very premature. It bothers me to think that the man writing those comments would think that 5 miliseconds before my son's birth, he was not in fact human. But somehow magically when they pulled him out, he took a breath and TA-DA, it's a human! Yay!!! Phew I was worried there for a minute. I thought they were going to say I gave birth to some other species. Thank you for telling me it's human!!

No. People do not talk like that.

This could go on and on and people will forever have this argument but the ones I hear most hold the least weight, the least power. It makes them feel better to say that whatever is growing inside the woman is not human. I'm not quite sure what other species it could be if it's not a human until birth, but 'fetus' and 'embryo' are NOT terms used to name a species. They are terms used to define the stages of development of whatever species is involved. Last time I checked, if a woman had something growing inside her womb, it would be a HUMAN embryo, a HUMAN fetus. So those arguments don't really fly with me.

If you are going to debate this, be real with it. It IS a human being growing in there, and it IS alive (dependant on the mother, but then again an infant is completely 100% dependant on others after it is born as well or it will postively die). It IS a human being in early developmental stage (or late, depending on what your current gestational limit belief is), and it IS alive, and you believe it is perfectly okay to end it's development and life. Be real with what you are supporting. Maybe I would respect other's arguments for this issue if they would just face up to the absolute fact that they are in fact supporting the ending of humans in their developmental embryotic or fetal stage. I rarely see anyone use those terms at all. They skip over that and start talking about the mother's rights to her own body. That's fine. That could be a real argument there - but if it is not okay for a mother to smother her crying infant at 1 day old, why would it have been okay for her to get an abortion 2 days earlier? What is the actual difference there? The born child has rights apparently, but the unborn child does not. If you believe that, then explain it in real terms. Do not keep walking around flapping about how an unborn child is not a human. If it isnt, then please explain what species it is. If it's not a 'person', then please explain what a person is. Is a person only one who has taken a breath? Then why do we bother putting infants who were stillborn into little caskets and naming them and burying them? Surely they are not humans so parents should not need to obtain a death certificate. Afterall, their infant did not take a breath.

If someone injures a pregnant woman. the fetus dies, and the person gets charged with the murder of the unborn child, you should be up in arms about that and protesting his arrest. You should be screaming from the rooftops that he did not kill a human being at all and should not go to prison for that. But most of you aren't. Why not? You would say that this mother wanted that child. How do you know? How do you know she wasn't booked for an abortion the following week and just didnt tell anyone after all the media blitz surrounding her unborn child's death. You can't know for certain that she wasnt wanting or planning an abortion.

All of those kinds of arguments drive me bonkers. I want someone to be real about it. Talk about what really happens in a termination procedure at various clinics and explain why you think that is okay. Explain what species this woman is carrying in her womb if it's not human. Don't use catch phrases that everyone else likes to use. Study the stages of development and learn about when the brain develops and is active (ie tests on fetal dreaming patterns), study when the heart and lung systems start up, when the eyes form, when daddy's dimples take shape on the cheeks or mommy's long second toe shows up, and then match that with your personal belief for when an abortion can be performed by. Etc etc. Educate yourself on everything and then come and talk to me about it.

And please, oh please, do not throw in all the extra hot topics like the mother's life is in danger, or rape/incest. I happen to think that it would be crazy to force a woman to go through trauma like that (or die) if she didn't want to. We agree on that, but probably for differing reasons. But we can agree, so let's just hear about the other kinds. The 'oops I forgot to take the pill' or 'oops i didnt know that my medication could make my pill ineffective' or the 'oops i didnt think i could get pregnant my first time' or 'im too poor', etc. The ones that make up the vast bulk of abortions. I know a lot of women who have had children, and I only know ONE that had an abortion because the pregnancy was literally killing her (she went septic and turned green, it was pretty scary), and I only know ONE that had an abortion for medical reasons of the infant (extreme case of spina bifida that was so harsh, the infant would not have survived). In both of those cases, the mothers were completely distraught and still are to this day. It was traumatic and horrific and my heart goes out to them for having to make such tough decisions. But that's it - just two. Out of lord only knows how many. The bulk of abortions are convenience (or inconvenience) of the mother. So let's talk about those.


  1. Great post!

    Unfortunately, the "my body, my choice" crowd, will not understand any of your points. Don't confuse them by stating that a baby in the womb is human, they know it, they just don't want to hear it, because then, they would be murdering their babies, not blobs of mass. Then they might have to grow a conscious, and feel bad about what they did.

    They are in denial.

  2. until women can get pregnant by any other species than man i'm guessing the thing in her womb is a developing child.

  3. As I write this I am waiting for news from a friend who has headed to Montreal, where her daughter is about to give birth. THis baby girl will need open heart surgery asap after birth.
    They have know this for months but made the decision to have the baby rather than an abortion.
    They tried to make arrangements to have this operation in AB but no hospital could guarantee they could do it. So, they moved to Montreal where all systems are go.
    They know they are having a human.
    My response to arguments re not a human is,
    how many women have given birth to an animal or fish, and when does this fetus turn into a human from said non human bunch of blob.
    Mary T

  4. Mary I sincerely hope everything will be okay with your friend's grandchild xxx I cannot imagine what that would be like and can only guess, but I think I would feel I was doing the right thing by giving the baby a chance. If I didnt, I would always wonder if the baby would have been okay and I think that would really effect me badly in years to come. It's so sad that even with our brand new children's hospital in Calgary, they had to move but there are some top ace children's hospitals in Montreal and Toronto so I am sure they will do there best. xxx

  5. One other thing I wanted to write about in the main post, but it was way too long already, was what some supports DON'T know. I had the pleasure of debating a young man for days and even into weeks about this issue on a forum. We talked endlessly, respectfully, but countless back-and-forth posts where he kept saying over and over that an abortion should be completely legal and remain so.

    It wasn't until maybe 100 posts were written that he floored me by saying that abortions are not carried out after the first trimester, so he didn't understand why I kept talking about a fetus and it's developmental stages. I was totally dumb-struck. This kid told me that he had been learning and listening for years because the topic came up a lot in high school.

    It took me quite awhile to get my head around his lack of knowledge! No, it is not as common, but he didn't know that yes in fact, you can get an abortion right up until the due date in some places. In fact, Canada has not had a federal limit on gestational age for a very long time - I think since the 80s? It's just that you cannot always find a doctor willing to perform the abortion after a certain stage. Some refuse after 12, some after 20, some after 24. Some will only perform one after those stages if it is a life and death situation for the mother. But even up here in lovey dovey peaceful Canada, you can try to have an abortion at a much later date if you can find someone willing to do it, and you will not get in trouble from the feds.

    I posted the links to some recent stories in various states where doctors were in trouble for performing late term abortions (two at 36 weeks!!! that is considered full term, if you didn't know) because the abortions were botched and the child was born alive and then was killed after it was actually born.

    I posted links to articles concerning the manner in which some of these 'fetuses' are killed - labour is induced and when the head is in the birth canal, the doctor jabs at the spinal cord with a pair of surgical scissors, killing the child mere minutes before birth. Or some where the child enters the birth canal and a suction tube is pushed into the skull and the brain is literally sucked out and the child is killed. Or an interesting combination of the two. These are late term 'fetuses'. Not 12 weekers or 8 weekers or even 20. We are talking big babies older than my son was when he was born.

    This kid had no idea. If he had a special interest in this topic, as he claimed, how did he miss those internationally broadcast stories? One woman in particular was so traumatized after her child was born BEFORE the doc arrived to complete the abortion and then it was killed afterward (I believe he bashed the baby's head right in the same room), she is suing him. Malpractice is one thing but ummmm... how about murder?? That was one of the over 30 weeks babies - I think 36 weeks. I do not condone the woman for wanting an abortion so late, but wow she has some serious mental scars to bear from that LEGAL experience.

    So the kid who was gung-ho about women's rights and their body, their choice, etc etc quickly changed his tune to say it should never be allowed after 12 weeks. He didn't seem to notice that by saying so, he was in effect denying every woman's right to her own body. Many women don't even find out they are pregnant until they are more than 12 weeks, or pretty darn close to 12 weeks. Too close to manage to get into a doctor and discuss choices. What if she was 15 weeks - this kid now says she should not be allowed to have an abortion, so he is still interfering with the rights of the mother just the same as he said I was... but apparently he sees himself as different.

  6. And one final note is the relentless references to Roe vs Wade (Supreme Court stuff). I heard about that before i even really understood the matter in the slightest. But anyway - that was back in the what - 70s? Those of you born well after that have grown up with a multitude of choices for birth control and ads up the ying yang, taught about safe sex in school and on television, etc. That barely existed back in the 70s and prior. Some pills were out but they were pretty harsh and didn't work near as well as they do nowadays.

    So, women back then had far fewer choices and even fewer amounts of teaching, exposure to information, support, etc. When Roe vs Wade came up, life was very different. Cripes even condoms didn't come in zillions of sizes and sold right at the front counter in stores. Sexual freedom was exposed more in the late 60s but still not at the level it is today - but shortly after that came Roe vs Wade. In those days, women had a lot more chances of getting pregnant and fewer ways to stop it before it happened. Sex was a taboo subject as well. And a lot of women were trying home remedies for abortion or those dreaded back alley abortions. Get out the coat hangers -- ew. But that's what they did and a lot of women were injured or died. As they have been for thousands of years. Nasty stuff.

    But today - you can get free condoms at health clinics and even in schools. You can learn about sexual health almost anywhere. You can get a prescription for the pill - and you can even get it free in many places. You can do the patch, the implants, etc. It's so confusing to me to go to the doc and try to figure out what birth control method I want to use because there are SO SO SO many. Oh I forgot the shot too. Lots of things. There is also a bigger support system if you do get pregnant and need help. If you are single, you can get money thrown at you from every direction - and you won't get sent to a home for unwed mothers to quietly birth your child and return to the family after 'a long trip'. You can get all sorts of adoption support and few people with tsk tsk you like in the past (pre Roe Vs Wade, remember).

  7. But even with all of this going on, it seems from reports that more women are getting abortions now than ever before - even if you try to factor in a guesstimate of back alley abortions from the past. Why? We have all this birth control stuff hanging over our heads, we learn about it several times in school, we have the internet to check things out, tv ads for umpteen zillion kinds of contraception, etc. But more women getting pregnant. More teen pregnancies. And more abortions.

    I'm sorry but that makes little sense to me. I think it's time to throw out the Roe Vs Wade arguments because they do not fit in society today. If you read it, you will find that pretty much all of the reasons for the decision are now moot. They do not reflect what women have available to them today and I think it should be filed away in the books of stupid laws - like where you find that in your town, you are not supposed to wash with a bar of soap on Saturdays, or other such impertinent laws that are still stuck on the books from many many years ago. It's just not the same anymore.

    In the UK, their teen pregnancy rate has sky rocketed repeatedly, and even if it goes down for a period of time, it is still astronomically higher than decades ago --- but you can get contraception for FREE there, or very low cost. When I lived in England, women only had to pay the tiny Dispensary Fee on all contraception. I got the pill and then the depo provera shot for about $5 a month (pill) and $5 every 3 months for the shot. Even the poorest teen can set aside that amount every month if they really want to try to avoid a pregnancy. Or they can hop on into any clinic, dispensary, or health unit and get free condoms. I know the one in my current city has a big basket full and you could take the whole darn lot if you wanted to, they just refill it. Free.

    So why are the numbers going up and not down? Why are abortions numbering about 60 million in the US over the past, what, 20 years, since Roe vs Wade. Holy crap. I don't even know what to say about that number. It's mind boggling.



These are my views and opinions. If you don't agree or think I am sadly misguided, that is your view. Feel free to share your thoughts but I also reserve my right to moderate content (IE foul language, excessive flaming, etc).