I have been on the internet actively spreading my wacky political opinions since I was 13. I have learned many things over those 13 years. I have learned that people on one side will not ever actually change the minds of people on the opposite side. People cannot generally change minds. Only life can.
I have seen people tear one another apart over their opinions, as well. I have seen people call one another names. I have even taken part in some of this. I have seen girls who think one way call girls of another way “dumb”. I have been called a murderer for opinions. I have been called naive. I have been called stupid. I have been called racist. I have been compared to Hitler or Stalin or other people of horrific pasts. Names have only encouraged me to stand my ground.
If you ever assume that I do not research a topic before I make a statement, you are most likely wrong. On abortion, I have spent years learning about topics from sites that are both pro-choice and pro-life, and some that are just informative. I have learned the reasons behind them. I have learned the problems that can happen because of them, and I have learned what can happen if they aren’t done.
I have read articles about girls excommunicated from churches because they’ve gotten pregnant at 9 years old from a rape. I have seen a young woman (in my life) caring for her own baby that she became pregnant with at the age of 10 or 11. I have read the histories where women have died from complications of childbirth. I have read stories of women with varying mental illnesses that have killed all of their children—ones where the women got pregnant of their own choosing and ones where the women were in relationships where they were controlled by men who knew that these women were not well enough to endure pregnancies. I have had a cousin born prematurely. I have purchased medications for my own gynecological issues and noticed the disparity that exists between genders. I have seen rich, powerful men making decisions about my life, my safety, my health, and have heard these men say that they have more of a right to determine what goes on in my body than I do.
Do I respect people who are pro-life? Some yes. Some no. Do I respect people who are pro-choice? Some yes. Some no. Do I think it is fair to be called “dumb” or “selfish” or “pro-abortion” or (the funniest of all) “slut” for my point-of-view? No.
Do I value my life over that of other people? That depends. I do believe that I have a right to survive, and I believe that I have a right to determine the course of my life. It is called self-determination.
If I had an abortion, then it would be based upon quality of life and determination to survive. If I were to get pregnant, I would have to determine the value of my life vs. that of the fetus. That would take into account if I could survive 40 weeks sans anti-depressants (that I’ve been on for almost 10 years straight and that I’d taken at one point 13 years ago) or any other drug I might have to take to survive. (Most medications that I have to take are in Category C—they are potentially harmful.) I would have to take into account my immune system as well. (I have always been prone to complications from simple bacterial/viral infections; if you also factor in autoimmunity, esp. with Sjögren’s potential causing heart block for newborns.) I would have to take into account my family’s history, economic status, access to food, etc. I would have to determine if I could live with the repercussions of either having a child or aborting it, morally, religiously, etc. These are all things that would be unique to me. These are all things that a politician who lives in another place and family could never understand.
On the internet, we like to pretend like the world is black and white, plain and simple, easy and hard, good and bad, etc. It’s not that simple. My life has contributed to my beliefs, and my life will impact my choices. And it is my belief that, just as another person cannot force a religious belief on me or a physical/sexual/emotional attraction on me, another person cannot force my hand on a personal decision. A person who does not live my life cannot make my choices.