Addressing misconceptions

I thought this was worth a re-post, not just a comment reply.  'Mary' commented on this post with the following:

Hi Debbie

Can I ask how your organisation would be “helping, supporting and encouraging” the patient when she has another life to look afar (esp if as in your example she’s made a pretty big mess of her own!) what services you provide (other then forcing her into adoption)

Writing “well worn” about all the rights and choices women now have is extremely disrespectful and shows the true colours of this website.

This website pertains to be about “real” choices and information but your main agenda is putting your nose in other people’s business isn’t it?

I love to get comments and questions that we can deal with directly.  My response to Mary below. 

Hi Mary, Thanks for your post and the opportunity to address some of your questions. I’d like to begin with my use of the term ‘well-worn’ and the idea that women are presented with so many different ‘choices’ today. I say ‘well-worn’ because the use of the word ‘choice’ in reproductive rights is actually quite misleading. There are still many in society who believe that all women who seek abortion are acting from a position of empowerment, acting with strength and autonomy. We know this is not true. The vast majority of women who undertake abortion are suffering a lack of choice. They do not have enough money, enough relational support, decent housing, secure employment, they haven’t finished their education, they feel too unprepared to take on what they see as an isolated burden of motherhood.

These factors constitute serious pressure toward abortion, and can leave women feeling as though the other ‘choice’ available to them, motherhood, is untenable. Of course, we also know that many women are directly coerced toward abortion, whether by partners, employers, or by abortion providers themselves.

This website pertains to be about “real” choices and information but your main agenda is putting your nose in other people’s business isn’t it?

I think the inequities that women face are everybody’s business. Telling a woman to go off quietly to an abortion clinic to take care of ‘her’ problem is not caring for her. It is not meeting her real needs. It is forcing women to fit a societal mold built around the biology of men.  Telling her she will be alone and unsupported if she chooses motherhood is also not caring for her.  We need to pay attention to the needs of women, including their biological capabilities and desires and start asking questions about why we insist women be more like men in order to ‘fit in’. Just this week on the news I heard that a government body is proposing changing the words ‘pregnant woman’ to ‘pregnant person’ on documentation. This is outrageous from a feminist perspective. Now we are trying to erase women altogether.

Quite apart from who ‘owns’ the business of social inequality, the provision of information that people are freely able to choose on their own is hardly interfering with others in any way.

Can I ask how your organisation would be “helping, supporting and encouraging” the patient when she has another life to look after

Our organisation was not originally established to provide direct service provision to women. However, after many years of research and hearing the stories of women and the many challenges they face we made a decision to be more proactive in this area some years ago. We fund and govern a very successful regional Pregnancy and Parenting Resource centre which provides services to any pregnant or parenting woman and/or her partner. This is not a centre for women who may be considering abortion, although those women are very welcome to seek services. It is a centre for any woman who needs support, whether it be the emotional support of another mum, or a professional to help her through her journey, material goods, links to other services, or just needs a comforting environment to feed and change her baby.

This does not address the needs of every woman in our country, but it is helping to create cultural change in one small community so that every woman, no matter her circumstances, can feel supported and valued.

what services you provide (other then forcing her into adoption)

On the issue of adoption, I have been quite vocal in my opposition to promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion. I strongly believe every mother should be given every opportunity, not just in words, but in actions, material goods and emotional supports to parent. I believe children have the right to be raised by their biological parents. In some cases, I understand this may not be possible for a variety of reasons, but to promote adoption as another ‘choice’ is to misunderstand the circumstances that drive women to abortion, or to adoption and does them a great disservice.

Instead of getting caught up in polarising arguments about abortion, we are working to highlight the ways in which we can all fail to meet the real needs of women and the ways in which women still fight for equality and are forced to ‘choose’ from often equally undesirable options.

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2 Comments to “Addressing misconceptions”

  1. cat Thompson says:

    Great information and commentary!!!!! Well done 😊

  2. cat Thompson says:

    Great information and commentary!!!! Well done 😊

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