Pro-Life; Pro-Choice

Rape Victim

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.

Her father, a male friend, a classmate, an acquaintance who she only exchanges casual niceties with when she sees him, the friend of a trusted friend who took her out on a first date, assaulted her.  She was shocked.  Never did she imagine someone who was familiar to her, a respectable gent, might do as he did.  She did not know that someone known to the victim commits almost two-thirds of rapes.  This lovely lass had not truly had a need to grapple with cruel realities.  She could not have considered the cruelest realities that would now change her life forever.  Nor have many politicians found themselves in a place as unimaginable as this.  Yet, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Senators, Representatives, and Judges appointed by one Administration or another have a decisive power to determine her future.

As the elected officials debate her circumstances and the consequences, she lives them.  The recent “pro-life” revelations offered by the potential Vice President, Sarah Palin reminds this survivor of her personal, private history, and the hell that haunts her.  Her misery may have been met when she sensed a stranger in her presence.  However, more likely she suffered at the hands of one she knows well.  

73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.?

38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.?

28% are an intimate.?

7% are a relative.

Her situation might have been as most; it could have occurred less than a mile from her home.  She may have been among the 4 in 10 who are maliciously molested in their own abode.  The young girl, older woman, middle-aged miss was attacked from behind, or perhaps, from a frontal position.  She was fondled and finally, penetrated.  Her most private parts were not merely entered.  Her sense of self was ripped from her soul.  Clinically, Jane, Joanne, Jana, or Jennifer was raped just as women, men too are violated throughout America.

In 2006, there were 272,350 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.  (These figures do not include victims 12 years old or younger.)

Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.

While the numbers of women subject to such an assault may be great, in truth, Deborah, Diane, Dina, and Dawn never thought they might be among these.  Each never expected to be a statistic.  Nor could they have predicted that they might become a vessel for another person’s personal angst.  Not one of these women wondered what might motivate someone to sexually assault them.  They were certain, they, themselves would never place themselves in a position to be brutally debased or heartlessly dishonored.

Yet, while in fear for their lives, ashamed, even mortified these frightened females unwillingly surrendered to a touch that terrified them.  Each was held tightly, not in a sensual manner, but as a means to control of their movements.  Engaged in an entanglement that was far from erotic, Sweet Sadie, Susan, Stephanie, or Sarah wondered and worried.  What might he do.  Did he have a weapon?  Until that moment, these ladies might not have fully appreciated the lethal power of language.  Yet, as the words of the perpetrator pierced their minds, hearts, and souls as a dagger might, they grew to understand.  In the United States, near eighteen (18) million have been victims of attempted or completed rape.  

1 out of every 6 American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).

17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.

9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.

While about 80% of all victims are white, minorities are somewhat more likely to be attacked.

Some of these lovely ladies, in their careers, may crack a ceiling.  They may be outwardly successful.  Still inwardly, invisible to the human eye, these daughters of Eve are emotionally shattered.  A fortunate few will work past the profound effect to the extent they are able.  Yet, they will never forget the horror they felt, the horrific crime they endured.  No Miss, Missus, or Ms will forget what changed their lives and outlook.

While they may “choose life” for the fetus, choose to give birth to the child who is the result of such a vicious, violent, aggression, it will always be a challenge to look at that little lovable being and not be reminded of when or how that beautiful baby came into being.  Humans may heal physically from an invasion into their body and being; however, the internal wounds leave serious scars.

A child, as they grow inevitably will, on occasion, error.  A mother conceived in love will hopefully understand.  She will likely be gentle with the toddler.  A prideful mother may appreciate the development.  Yet, that same potentially melodious Mom may not be quite as generous if she scorns the man who planted the seed.  The way in which a woman coddles, or cares, for an infant is influenced by her perception of the other biological parent.  Try as a Mommy might to forget the circumstances of conception, the memory remains.  A young one who ever acts in a manner that is defiant or difficult is frequently compared to the man who planted the seed .

Granted, a girl, a matron, or a soon-to-be Mom of any age, a woman who finds herself pregnant might consider adoption, as Vice Presidential aspirant Sarah Palin would advise.  However, as a new mother ponders the future, she  has faith she will never forget that she had a child and abandoned the precious being.  Sure, she may say to herself she gave her son or daughter a wonderful home, two parents, a chance at a better life.  Yet, in her heart of hearts she knows the child will wonder why his or her birth mother might desert a child so dear.  

How could she be certain that the parents who raise her baby will be the best.  The expectant Mom cannot imagine how she will live with the memory that she rejected her own . . . the baby who will also be a product of rape.  A woman torn from within may understand that the fabric of her life was torn and tattered when first the man placed his seed in her womb.

While this woman with child might trust as Sarah Palin does, birth begins at conception, she may also come to terms with the fact that a definitive death occurred within her.  As an Earthly life as she knew it ended on the day of her rape.  A female when forced to face the demon that destroyed her spirit considers the alternatives, cannot help but think of the quality of life, hers, and her baby’s.

She will wonder will the newborn be safe; will she.  Might she, as the mother, or her child, be sane in a world full of feeling provoked by a scurrilous crime.  Is a child, not conceived in love, or a Mom mortified by a memory, better off if they settle for simple survival.  A female who finds herself confronted with what is surely a traumatic decision, must weigh what no one can evaluate for her.  She must determine the significance of the events and attempt to evaluate how she and the being who may mature will thrive..  

Rape for a woman so fully developed can be as cruel as abortion is for one who is barely born.  Perchance, no one can decide what is paramount, preeminent, or the perfect choice.  If we, as a society, as people,  are to truly honor life, might humans respect an individuals right to choose how, when, or if his or her body is breached.  Could we also provide sterile and sanitary spaces for those who may ponder what is imperceptible, inconceivable to us.  Let us reflect upon life, the quality, and all that is not necessarily quantifiable.  Perchance, we might empathize with the women and the being in the womb, the two entities whose fragile feelings were ignored at the time of rape.

Sources . . . Survivors of Sexual Assault . . .

Hate Abortion. Love Planned Parenthood!

Our Bodies, Our Choice

© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert.

I never thought I might share a conviction with the former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.  All week we have heard the news, “Conservatives Step Up Attacks On Giuliani’s Abortion Stance.”  When asked to discuss the question of abortion, during the Republican debate, the “Right” says Giuliani flinched.  He shrugged his shoulders.  His words were “I hate abortion”; yet, his body said he was fine with the “gross” practice.

Later in the week when it was revealed Mayor Giuliani donated to Planned Parenthood on numerous occasions, there was ample outrage.  The “Right” loudly proclaimed, ‘How could a Conservative, a Republican, and a Presidential candidate no less, be so bold as to contribute to an organization that is well-known as abortion clinic.’

The consensus was, or is, a person cannot be pro-life and pro-choice.  Yet, I believe many are, me among them.

I am not writing in support of candidate Rudy Giuliani. I do not endorse him or his campaign. The reasons are many.

I consider myself a bleeding heart Liberal. I am a Progressive.  More often than not, Democrats are too moderate for me. I purposely did not use the term “conservative,” for I think a person can be defined as an open-minded radical and still choose to conserve.  Environmentally, too may Liberals do not wish to eliminate what makes their lives easy. Socially and economically, I think Democrats are frequently shortsighted.  They, as their counterparts, often prefer simple solutions. I rather live for the Seventh Generation.  Nevertheless; forgive me, I digress.

I have been a patient of Planned Parenthood since I was sixteen. I entered the clinic with my parents’ knowledge and permission.  Yes, I am a person that believes wholeheartedly in complete communication and comprehensive understanding.  I did discuss my choice with my Mom and Dad.  In fact, the dialogue began when I was first able to speak.

Before my birth, I know not when; although I trust that my older siblings experienced similar, volumes of written material were placed in every bathroom. My Mom made certain we had ample access to biology books.  Some of the resources were meant for adults; others helped young children learn.  Tomes addressed reproduction.  A few of the volumes were humorous. ; These too taught lessons; however, the approach was amusing.

Often, too frequently for a young child that had little interest in “sex,” my Mom would discuss what I read. She asked questions, wanting to affirm my knowledge was accurate.  When I reached the age of five, my Mom was confident, I understood.  Reproductive organs and the act of procreation were not mysteries to me.

The issue was integrated into my life early on.  As a family, we did not dwell on the topic, nor was it avoided.

I was fascinated when children at school and in my neighborhood broached the discussion with winks, nods, and laughter. They smirked, sneered, and said the silliest things. There was so much misinformation. They thought their childish jokes funny; I found them folly.

I often wondered whether these children understood conception.  Could they conceive of how they came to be?

I strongly suspect many of these young persons were not wanted. It seemed evident if only they bothered to assess the quality of their lives.  Perhaps, some were scheduled to be aborted.  I was.

Although, when I was an embryo the procedure was illegal, if a couple, or an individual could raise the cash there was always someone willing to do the deed.  If finding funds was impossible, there were other ways to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

Believe as you might, my Mom thinks she changed her mind; however, I am certain the decision was mine. Nonetheless, my own birth history has less influence on my reasoning, my belief in the need for legal and safe abortions than other factors might.

We all have choices and we invoke our right to choose in every moment.  Whether my Mom was influenced by my fetal feelings or not need not matter when we consider the topic.

When I was twelve my parents said to me, ‘When you think you are ready to engage in physical intimacies, please tell us so that we might make arrangements.’ Contraception was an option they thought vital.  I agreed.  As an adolescent, I did not wish to give birth to a baby.

A few years later, Mommy and Daddy handed me a periodical.  The type was printed on newsprint.  I believe the National Organization for Women produced this publication.  I believe, somewhere in my house I still have this magazine.  I spent hours reading it.  It was interesting. In many ways, it spoke of the mechanics as did the books in the bathrooms. However, it also provided references and resources for a pubescent mind.

Throughout my life, my Mom and Dad spoke of the differences between sex and love, lust, longing, and an affection born out of knowledge, sharing, and caring.  They helped me to understand that “sex” is “sex.”  Bodies bending, bumping, and grinding together is not necessarily a loving act.  It can just as easily be gratifying a physical need, as much as it might be satisfying an emotional deficit.  

In the case of “rape,” violence and control are the motive.  A baby produced through such an encounter may suffer emotional repercussions.  He or she may not. Only we can choose for ourselves what is.  Mothers, fathers, and babies may never agree when considering what was, what will be, or why our birth and life is as it is.

At the time of my reading, I knew that for me, pregnancy was not my preferred path.  At the age of sixteen, I imagined I was the only virgin left on the face of the planet.  A close friend was experimenting.  While she told herself she was in love, I wondered.  I am not a romantic.

Years earlier I thought another acquaintance had engaged in intimate entanglements.  Her home life was not as it might have been, it was perhaps, not as she believed was best.  There were so many secrets.  She never knew who her biological father was.  This bothered her.  Granted, the man that acted as her Dad was great and Mom was wonderful in many ways.  Still, something was missing.  She was often looking for love.

Given these two girls, who I thought had experienced as I never had, I concluded I was ready.  However, months before I embarked, while walking through the kitchen, the telephone rang.  I picked up the receiver and said “Angert residence,” or did I just say hello.  I think had I known that this call would alter my life forever, I would recall my exact words in that moment more precisely.

The voice was unfamiliar.  The caller was a man; he asked to speak with my Mom.  I cried out “Mommy . . .”  She was in the basement intensely involved in doing laundry.  She requested I take a message.  The baritone breathed deeply and then stated with a sigh, “Anna is fine.  We found out later the doctor is a butcher.  However, everything is going to be all right.”  I thanked the stranger for the message and went to talk with my Mom.

Anna is a loved one, someone I knew since birth.  I had not seen her or spoken with her in years.  What happened?  Did Mommy comprehend what seemed so cryptic to me.

Berenice Barbara understood what was meant.  Mommy shared that Anna had an abortion; she discovered she was pregnant.  Anna was scared.  What was she to do?  The young and lovely woman reached out, asking my Mom for assistance, guidance.  Anna needed a shoulder to cry on.  Sweet and scholarly Anna was in college, she had plans.  She never thought . . . I believe she had taken precautions.  I am uncertain; however, I know many that did and still the unexpected occurred.

Whatever the reasons, Anna felt it best to abort.  I understand.  Women have and will likely continue to release themselves from what may be a medical, psychological, or emotional  emergency.  Females, and males, will save one soul and without wanting to, sacrifice another.  We can never fully comprehend what people believe is their only choice.  We, as a society, can only establish a safe and sane means for whatever a person feels they must do.

I am well aware that my Mom instilled a desire in me to never hurt another.  She also helped me to understand that I need to be happy.  These two truisms must work in concert or chaos will ensue.

I personally, do not believe I would be able to ever have an abortion.  Killing any being hurts my heart.  Even accidental deaths cause me great pain.  When I witness an animal in the road, bloody, and belly up I cry.

I cannot bear to think of initiating pain on any organism.  I love life forms.  That is why I have supported Planned Parenthood for as long as I can remember.  

I was aware of the good this organization does before I first entered one of the numerous centers.  Since becoming a  patient, I lived in three states and many cities.  I regularly received services at four offices over the years.  Now, in a new home, a fifth location meets my needs.

This organization is extremely conservative and careful.  After decades of regular appointments, I know. On only a few occasions, I have entered a personal physician’s office for gynecological needs.  Each time I was astounded.  Medical professionals outside of Planned Parenthood do not interview a patient, or at least they did not consult with me, in depth.  Doctors do not require the details I must deliver each time I enter the doors of a Planned Parenthood center.

Planned Parenthood does as their name states, they assist people in parenting decisions.  Initially, I sat through a four-hour seminar.  Questions and answers came at the end.  The clinicians insisted that each individual understood their bodies, their choices, the reason for conception, the hazards, and the best methods for ensuring problems would not arise.

Medical examinations are mandatory.  Consultations are continuous.  In my own life, it was Planned Parenthood that “forced” me to go to a doctor for further diagnosis.  My blood pressure is low.  My heart on occasion murmurs.  Were it not for this wonderful community I would not necessarily know the simple statistics, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose count, and other facts about my body.  Examinations required by Planned Parenthood are often not suggested by the private physicians’ friends of mine see.

It is with thanks to Planned Parenthood and the Roe versus Wade Supreme Court decision, that I trust no woman will be told after ending a pregnancy,  “The doctor is a butcher.”  Do not worry everything is going to be all right.

Citations and Situations  . . .