Recently, I have had a heated argument with a guy about whether abortion is acceptable or not. In a country where abortion is both illegal and taboo, it is hard to debate its pros to someone, especially if that person does not have a vagina and if he worships a greater being who explicitly stated in his book that thou shalt not kill.
This guy kept pointing out that abortion is a sin and I countered him with reasons why it is not his business. We presented our claims, debated the topic over and over, and ended up throwing personal insults at each other. After a while, I realized there is no point in arguing with him. We obviously had different beliefs and perspectives in life–I am agnostic; he is Christian–and we need to respect each other for that. It took us some time, but we both dropped the subject and let things be.
If there is one thing I regret, it’s that I failed to make him realize that I am not supporting the mere act of abortion–I am defending the reproductive rights of women.
Women’s Rights in a Predominantly Catholic Country
It is a truth widely accepted that having a religion that decides where you go after you die should make you a morally upright human being. However, this is not always the case.
Born and raised a Catholic, I have seen the bigotry and hypocrisy of many people. Those who claim to be religious are sometimes more evil than those who do not believe in religion at all. One simple example is the religious person that you see on public transportation. Whenever I ride a public utility vehicle from home to work or vice versa, I play a game in my mind that I call Counting Crosses. Here’s how it works: I observe silently, try to spot a religious person (telltale signs: wears any religious stuff, does the sign of the cross when passing a church), and wait until the person does something out of line. I have had various unfortunate encounters with them.
One hot Friday afternoon, I eavesdropped (you can’t help it if you have no earphones, to be honest) on a conversation of two old women in Nazareno shirts. They were talking about their neighbor who committed abortion. I heard phrases like “putang ina n’ya,” “malandi,” and “makati ang puke.” When we passed Santo Domingo church, they paused to make the sign of the cross.
If you are not satisfied with this example, let me share my encounter with an exhibitionist (see my open letter for further details). He did not make the sign of the cross, but I saw a cross bracelet around his wrist.
Back in college, I had religious classmates who always had something to say about everything. They were big fans of posting bible verses on social media and boasting about how many times they attend church services, but they were backstabbers who live and breathe to judge others. I have seen low-profile people who were more forgiving, caring, and understanding than them (which is wise).
I believe these bigots need to be reminded that there are basic life protocols beyond the ten commandments. If I were to create my own rules, it would revolve around two things: love and respect–with reservations. Respect, for me, stops when a person starts doing me and my loved ones harm.
Respect. Big deal. In case they forgot, respect is essential to achieve harmony and peace. There are wars, movements, and fights all over the world, not because people of different genders, races, and religions have different beliefs, but because people do not respect these differences.
Christians have condemned abortion from the very beginning, and I do not think I will ever see them change their stand in my lifetime. I respect them for that.
A Colonial Law That Prohibits Abortion
The Philippines is one of the few Asian countries that still denies women access to safe and legal abortion. The law that prohibits women to commit abortion is a direct translation of an old Spanish penal code. Back then, women were not even given the right to vote.
Our lawmakers are still turning a blind eye on the topic of abortion. The outdated colonial law was created mainly due to the religious standards of the Spanish people, and our law should uphold the rights of our people, not religious sectors. Even Spain and other predominantly Catholic countries have legalized abortion on certain grounds. We have seen how women fought for equality, and it’s about time we give them the freedom to control their own bodies.
Birth Control Shots for Men?
Recently, a new contraception for men was developed. The invention created a buzz in social media but was phased out after a year of clinical trial because men were reported to have experienced acne breakouts, depression, mood swings, and other side effects that women experience when taking these reproductive health measures.
See the injustice in this? This is just one of those gender stereotypes that’s plain bullshit. So, it’s okay when women suffer the side effects but an insult to men when they experience the same? Although it pains me to admit it, that’s how things work in this world.
A Violation of Women’s Rights
I am pro-abortion because the world has been going hard with women from the very beginning and it’s time we respect them and their decisions. I am pro-abortion because I understand how difficult it would be for both the mother and the baby if the mother, who is not emotionally, physically, or financially ready, continued with the pregnancy.
There were women raped by strangers who chose abortion because they would rather do it than see their child suffer the consequences of growing up without a father.
There were women born into rich families who chose abortion because they were not ready to become a mother. They would rather do it than see their child suffer the consequences of growing up with parents who know nothing about marriage and building a family.
There were women born into poor families who chose abortion because they got pregnant by accident. They did it because they didn’t want their child to suffer the consequences of growing up in a poor family.
There were women who died due to unsafe abortion because the hospitals, medical facilities, the church, and the government denied them access to safe, legal abortion, which is clearly a violation of their reproductive rights.
Poverty and Abortion
According to Guttmacher Institute, “the most common reason women give for having an abortion is their inability to afford raising a child.”
If I had an unintended pregnancy, I will not abort the child, but I will not judge other women who will. I am surrounded by street, abandoned, and poor children. I will understand if they do not want to be one of those irresponsible mothers who followed their emotions despite knowing what will become of their children if they continued with the pregnancy.
Poverty is a huge factor in building a family. You can say that you can provide for your child because you have a job all you want, but building a family is more complicated than that. You have to experience it for yourself before you believe it.
Abortion is a woman’s right. If she is not emotionally, physically, or financially ready and she continued with the pregnancy, the child will suffer the consequences more than anyone else. Growing up in a squatter’s area has taught me this.
Pre-Marital Sex and the Truth Behind It
Okay, I hear you. Why have sex when you are not ready to build a family? Why have pre-marital sex at all? Pre-marital sex only becomes a moral issue if your religion tells you so. You can’t argue with that.
Tell me where the equality in this logic is: when a woman is deflowered, it is an achievement for men but a sin for women.
I’ll leave it there.
Her Body, Her Choice
After all, who will suffer for nine months and more if a woman decides to continue with the pregnancy? Is it other women, other men, the society, the government, the church, an all-knowing greater being that she cannot see, or her? If a woman is not ready to conceive a child, it is not anybody’s business but hers. Her body, her choice. It is the woman who will rot in hell or pass the time in prison, anyway.
I am pro-abortion because I am pro-women, and my decision does not make me less of a woman, much more less of a human. We all have flaws. Even the saints made mistakes and the self-proclaimed religious people aren’t perfect either. If you think I am a sinner because I am pro-women, let your actions speak for yourself.
“Whose Vagina Is It, Really?”
I find it fitting to conclude my post with the title of a book by Sandy Daley. Whose vagina is it, really? As far as I am concerned, my body is my business. Whatever I do with it, I am solely responsible for my own decisions and actions. If you think I am wrong, feel free to walk away without making any fuss or hide in your room and masturbate until you come. I will not judge you.
I am pro-abortion because I am pro-women. I will not, by any means, persuade you to side with me. If committing a sin that is against your religion or an outdated law that you follow is your only concern, might as well mind your own vagina or shut the fuck up if you don’t have one because that’s how things should be.
P.S. And don’t forget, the key word is respect.