I’ve had a few (albeit not many) people object to these suggestions, insisting that pro-choicers do understand the humanity of the fetus. Some pro-choicers insist all women “know” “abortion kills an unborn child.”
It blows my mind that a woman who fully believes abortion “kills an unborn child” would still choose abortion. It makes more sense to me that a woman would choose abortion because she believes something like this:
I tried to imagine a living thing implanting itself inside of me and growing there, feeding off my energy. It was unreal. It was nine weeks old. I pictured the little alien form attaching itself to my uterine wall, cleaving to my insides. I touched my stomach and almost convinced myself I felt it gnawing at my belly, chewing through my organs; climbing up my esophagus to get a breath of fresh air. Pushing my uvula aside with its tiny red hand and sliding down my tongue like a Slip ‘N Slide.
How creepy. Maybe if I thought of a human fetus as a cannibalistic alien about to crawl out of my mouth, I’d be pro-choice too.
Shortly after, the author goes on to describe her 9-week-old fetus as an “expanding cluster of cells.” According to the Endowment for Human Development:
By 9 weeks thumb sucking2 begins and the fetus may swallow amniotic fluid.3 The fetus can also grasp an object,4 move the head forward and back, open and close the jaw, move the tongue, sigh,5 and stretch.6
The fetus shown in this bumper sticker is 6 weeks old:
|Pictured: cannibalistic alien.|
I’d like to believe that if the author knew more about her fetus’s level of development, she would have made a different choice. I’d like to believe that if we can make fetal development more common knowledge, we can reduce abortions. Maybe in many cases that would be true, but it seems unlikely in this case. The author related a conversation between her and her mom before her abortion:
I’d also like to believe that if we supported better sex education and access to contraceptives, less women would be seeking abortions. Maybe in many cases that would be true too, but it seems unlikely in this case. As the author points out,
I remembered how earnestly, stupidly, I had insisted we use a condom each time. Like it made any goddamn difference.
Knowledge of fetal development and use of contraceptives didn’t prevent this abortion. I wonder if making it illegal would have.