By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Monday, 22 October 2012

My womb is not marked with your name sir.

Just as a pre-warning: This is not the promised ice cream blog, nor does it have a picture of me looking sweaty after a run to show you how hard I've been working. This entry takes prescience because as a woman, I can't ignore my horror at recent events. I feel like men in suits on podiums have decided that they know my body better than me. I have witnessed boys, barely men yet, claiming that a girl being sexualised meant that she deserved the suicide that ended her short life. By staying silent on these things I betray myself. I betray my sex. This is not a blog entry to amuse.

Dear Men,

No. Not all men. Specific men. Middle class men who through some kind of religious or social delusion think that having a vagina means I am unable to make my own decisions. Men who seem to believe that us flighty, feminine members of the weaker sex are so stupid that we think abortion is the 'easy way out' or 'a form of contraception'.

I'm sorry chaps, but have you personally created my vagina? Is there a small tag on my womb that says 'TM A Man'? Have you ever had to face the prospect of your body, your life, your persona and your dreams changing dramatically at a far too young age because of what crimes; a ripped condom, a split second decision or a convincing but equally young and idiotic boyfriend? No?

Then you do not get to tell me what is easy. You do not get to tell me that I am not allowed to walk away from a pregnancy when you can-with so much more ease than I.

Abortion is not easy. Most women have periods of deep, agonising depression after. They have to wear thick sanitary pads to catch the flowing blood from their damaged insides. The complications can mean infertility, infection and deep psychological scarring. It is NOT an easy decision.

If I were to fall pregnant in the situation I am in now, with a partner in full time education, living with my parents, just starting my career as an actor, living below the minimum wage line-awful though the concept is, I would have to have the procedure. I would be unable to give the child anything but love, and despite what the Beatles once said, love is not enough to be a parent. My parents would have to take the financial and emotional burden of a child when they are still dreaming of a well deserved retirement. Yes, I would hurt, yes I would be horribly depressed and find it difficult to live with my decision  But I know that I am not ready to be a mother by any means, just as I know that one day I will make a bloody brilliant one. I will not be ready then either-but I will not be a terrible mother as I would now. I would not resent the child with every ounce of my being as I would if I had one now.

Dear American chauvinists; Guess what? Making a woman look at a picture of her foetus prior to an abortion is more than sick. It is emotional torture. Do you not think that each and every girl and woman who has walked through the doors of a clinic has tried desperately not to let herself think about being a mother because she know that she cannot be and that to let herself think so for just one second would bring devastation?

We have made huge, tremendous advancements in contraception over the past few years. The implant, for example, has changed my life. But I had to do huge amounts of research before I got it, so shrouded in mystery did it seem. It should be shouted from the rooftops that here is something that will stop you getting pregnant for three whole years, the most powerful contraceptive so far with practically no side effects and a minimal fail rate. Make contraception like this common knowledge, take away the fear of the unknown, rather than damning girls who have to go through abortion when schools do not offer enough reasonable answers on a level about contraception. Let them ask silly questions like 'will it make me fat? Will it make me moody? Will my sex drive go away?' and read out stupid urban myths that we all believed once upon a time. Speaking of contraceptives-the new 5 day pill has male (and-why?-female) politicos sqwaking that it will encourage us to use it instead of condoms or usual contraception. Anyone who has ever had to be asked the cringey questions of the morning after pill will know that once done, it is rarely repeated. Yes, there will be girls who are dim and use it more than they should, but they are the exception rather than the rule-and there doesn't seem to be the same level of shame cast upon men who won't use condoms on one night stands because 'it doesn't feel as good'.

Another moment of horror. Amanda Todd. Tragically killed herself after bullying got too much. Her schoolmates found out she had exposed herself on the internet in a chat room, not once, but numerous times. She had a relationship with another boy her age who was in a relationship. Teenage boys on the internet (most likely teenagers who go to chat rooms like that to ask girls to strip for them, buttering them up until they think it's daring and grown up of them) have slammed the girl, saying that because of these factors, her suicide is not a tragedy and does not deserve coverage. Wait. Because a girl was sexualised, she does not deserve pity and grief? Surely, if anything, she deserves even more? Amanda Todd was a victim of a society that told her that this was how to get attention and affection. She asked for help and was instead trolled by people with no understanding of depression or her situation. She was stalked for years by a man in his 30s who threatened to expose her. She died because she was guilty, scared and did not know where to go. And now, even after death she has been turned into a villain. All because in the minds of the public, if a girl knows about sex, it means she is evil.

By not letting us control our bodies, our own sexuality-you tell us that we are not worthy of independence  By the same rule, surely we women should rule that men MUST have a circumcision. Or can't be allowed access to condoms, because it will encourage promiscuity. We do not assume to control your bodies. Do not assume you own ours.

Sincerely, but not yours

p.s. I feel it is also essential to point out that desperate women will always find a way. Think of the Victorian era-women died in pain in illegal clinics. Impose ridiculous restrictions and they will again.

p.p.s No, I personally have never had an abortion. This does not make me better, it just makes me luckier. I have seen many friends go through them, helped nurse them better and seen the aftermath. I have also seen the process leading to the decision many times, and every girl in my friendship circle has had to at least consider 'what if?'. Abortion is something we all face, whether we have to experience it or not.