Abortion. One of the many ways men are trying to tell women what to do with their bodies hot topics in politics today. In fact, it has been placed in high priority in congress.

A top priority for the new Republican Congress is passing a new law banning abortions after a fetus is 20 weeks old. But on Wednesday, GOP women concerned about the party’s image managed to delay the vote. The bill, however, is by no means dead. Here’s everything you need to know about the women in the GOP’s crosshairs.

Women who obtain abortions 20 weeks after conception fall into a few broad categories. But researchers have a hard time determining which category accounts for the largest share of these abortions. “Our surveys just don’t capture those women very well,” says Rachel Jones, a senior researcher with the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion-rights think tank. This is partly because later abortions are very rare: In 2011, the most recent year for which there is sound data, only about 13,000 women terminated their pregnancies after 20 weeks, out of a total of about1.06 million abortions.

{Mother Jones}

Before I get into my feelings about abortion in general, let me tackle my initial feelings of abortions after 20 weeks. Initially I would think, “Well if one was going to get an abortion, then surely they can figure it out before 20 weeks, right?” This thinking is both faulty and limited.

And here are a couple of stores (same source) that speak to why.

Abbey Willson, 37
When my husband and I decided to start trying for our first child, we hit the jackpot right away. We were just so excited. I was nervous too. My brother and my dad have a genetic condition called Ectrodactyly. It causes deformities in the feet and hands. My brother and my father’s legs are deformed below the knee, and my brother’s forefinger and thumb are fused on one hand. Later I would learn that the effects can be a lot more extensive. My brother and father lead pretty normal lives. But I didn’t appear to have the condition. So a genetic counselor reassured me that I couldn’t pass it on.

When we went in for an ultrasound at about 22 weeks, we asked the technician to count the fingers and toes. She got very quiet, and she didn’t want us to see the screen. It turns out I am a carrier. My condition just manifests in really, really superficial ways, like, my ankles roll easily.

“We asked the technician to count the fingers and toes. She got very quiet, and she didn’t want us to see the screen.”

Looking at my son, the technician couldn’t see any hands. At least one arm—probably both—was missing below the elbow. We started looking into prosthetics for our son. But then a second ultrasound confirmed that he not only had no arms at all, but one of his legs was missing bones. His pelvis was malformed and he would never be able to sit up. There were concerns his kidneys were malformed. He would start having surgery almost immediately in the first weeks of his life. He wouldn’t be able to use most prosthetics. It wasn’t just, he has no arms. His life would be painful, immediately, and he would never live independently.

The decision to terminate was not a hard one for us. Our whole family was very supportive. My father said—and I won’t forget this because we weren’t close before that—”Both as a parent of a child with a disability, and as someone with this condition, I think you’re doing the right thing. It’s so severe in your son.”

We suffered a lot. We grieved for a long time. Just because it’s an easy choice doesn’t mean it’s a painless one. But nobody should be forced to make their child suffer.

Julie Bindeman, 36
All of my screenings looked good and we started preparing for our son to have a new brother or sister. The ultrasound technician was really chatty. She told us we were having a boy. When went to the OB-GYN’s office, she said she was so sorry. “Oh,” we said. “So she made a mistake, we’re having a girl?” The doctor looked at us like we were crazy. “They didn’t tell you anything, did they?”

There was too much fluid in the skull for the brain to develop. They sent us to Children’s National Medical Center to get a better sense of what was going on. I was almost 21 weeks along. We were told that in the best-case scenario—if our son survived, which they couldn’t guarantee—he may never mentally progress. And he would never move independently. He would never speak, he would never feed himself, he would never walk, he would never hug his mother. We decided that that was not a life, and that was not fair to our son. And we made the heartbreaking choice to end the pregnancy.

“The doctor looked at us like we were crazy. ‘They didn’t tell you anything, did they?'”

I shared my story with the South Caroline Senate in 2012 when they had a 20-week abortion ban come up. One of the senators who I shared it with individually, he was so struck that he changed his mind. He had been planning to vote for the ban. People are open-minded. A lot of them just don’t know what women like me go through.

My general feelings on abortion:

I am a Christian (I mention this only because faith is one of the main reasons cited for those who are pro-life). However, even Christ Himself didn’t FORCE people to follow Him. It was, and still is, a choice. While I would never encourage a woman to have an abortion,  I refuse to stand in judgment of her to the point of telling her what she HAS TO DO with HER BODY.

I used to have a very black and white view of abortions. Abortions are wrong wrong wrong and anybody who gets one is wrong wrong wrong. But you know what happened? I grew up. I started opening my mind. And I became empathetic. I cannot imagine what a woman goes through when deciding to terminate her pregnancy. Whether it is a woman who is in extreme cases like the ones mentioned above, or a woman who slipped up with her boyfriend/partner/etc. and decides having a child isn’t in her best interest right now. Both of those women suffer to come to that decision. Yes, there are women who use abortions as a form of birth control. And yes, that is absolutely disgusting and reprehensible.  But that’s not ALL women.

The response to these women probably is, “Well there will be exceptions for extreme cases.” But who are YOU to decide what “extreme” is?? What if you decide that a child’s disability isn’t extreme? Are YOU going to be raising that child? You have no right.

This is a woman’s, and whoever she chooses to include, decision. Period. I find it ridiculous that other people, mainly men (!?), have taken it upon themselves to insert themselves inside of a woman’s vagina. How about you work on the adoption system so women can see that as an actual viable option (because honestly, telling a woman to carry to term and put up to adopt isn’t really helping if she knows anything about the system)? How about you help fix a system where single mothers feel supported and not judged? HOW ABOUT YOU HELP MAKE CHILDREN’S LIVES BETTER WHO ARE ALREADY HERE?

I believe that a nice amount of abortions are done due to fear, inconvenience, and lack of support. I believe if THESE issues were worked on, in a spirit of empathy and non-judgment,  then we’d see a drop in abortions. This discussion that’s being had and taking up A LOT of time? That’s not gonna do it.

Yes. We all know that sex leads to pregnancies. But guess what? People are still having sex and people are still not wanting to get pregnant. That is a thing. That is the reality. And THAT is what needs to be addressed. Simply saying “don’t have sex if you don’t want to get pregnant” is not helping. Period. Stop focusing on what SHOULD happen and start focusing on what IS happening.

If we want to see a drop in abortions, the current method IS NOT WORKING.

I don’t necessarily “support” abortions.

I DO, however, support a grown woman being able to decide what to do with her body.

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