Frisky Rant: Actually, I Love Abortion
I love science.
I have a biology degree, actually, and had expected to spend my career writing about health and science innovations. I’ve ended up writing mostly about reproductive rights, but remain a complete science geek.
So, I got pretty excited when I saw NARAL Pro-Choice America tweet this today (yesterday):
ZOMG BILL NYE ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS. I clicked “play.”
He started off strong: “Many, many, many, many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans…[I]f you’re going to say when an egg is fertilized it’s [sic] therefore has the same rights as an individual, then whom are you going to sue?”
GREAT! Science and deadpan. And then around 2:10 things went off the rails: “…And I know nobody likes abortion, okay…”
Really? You know?
Allow me to introduce myself, Mr. Nye. My name is Katie and I LOOOOOOOVE abortion. Which, I guess, sort of makes you correct on a technicality since I don’t just like abortion. But I would hope that someone who has committed themselves to science and facts the way you have — with the patience to explain science to children, no less! — could have considered checking into the things you don’t know about abortion before turning on the camera.
You’ve bought into the “abortion regret” myth that has infected our legislative bodies and judiciary. That myth has made phrases like “undue burden” legal precedent and provided cover for laws like the access-restricting 20-week ban that was barely voted down (52-47) this week in the Senate.
Why didn’t you just take your own advice, delivered moments after your stigmatizing remarks?
“It’s just a reflection of a deep scientific lack of understanding and you literally — or apparently literally — don’t know what you’re talking about. And so when it comes to women’s rights with respect to their reproduction, I think you should leave it to women.”
One-third of us who are anatomically able to become pregnant will terminate at least one pregnancy in our lifetimes. So, you see, abortion isn’t just basic health care — it’s common healthcare. Expecting one-third of us to feel shy, shamed, or silenced about a procedure so many have seems … well … silly, doesn’t it?
Lindy West and Amelia Bonow set social media on fire this week by refusing to be silent about their abortions, using the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion to encourage others to do the same. Despite fighting trolls demanding that those telling their stories — many for the first time — feel a certain way about exercising a Constitutional right over the direction of the rest of their lives, people continued to share.
West and Bonow didn’t let up either, even though, as West tweeted:
You see, Mr. Nye, abortion always has been. And it always will be. The word only continues to have something dirty, icky, regretful, unfortunate about it because of statements like yours — especially when they’re said so matter-of-factly.
People see you as unbiased and one of the few trusted not to have an ideological motivation. You willingly debate creationists and climate change deniers — and you manage to do so without your blood pressure rising. You are calm, cool, and backed up by science. Your words matter.
So, let me reframe this “debate” for you by repeating myself to be extra clear:
I LOVE ABORTION.
Know what else I LOVE? Kidney transplants, chemotherapy, synthetic insulin, anti-depressants, heart bypass surgery, and mammograms. Every single one of those medical interventions saved someone I know and love, giving me more time with them. The people closest to me needed medical treatment to survive the same way I needed an abortion to survive.
In the title to the video, you asked “Can We Stop Telling Women What to Do With Their Bodies?” I’d like to request that you — and everyone else — also stop telling us how to feel about what we do with our bodies.
Katie Klabusich is a writer and host of The Katie Speak Show on Netroots Radio. You can find her work at Rolling Stone, Truthout, Mic, and Bitch Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @katie_speak.