South Dakota's Senate State Affairs Committee, as we all know, passed legislation in their state this week to ban all abortions. All of them. Even if it meant that having the baby would kill the mother or cause serious long-term damage to her body.
And I thought, wow, that's really stupid and unfortunate, but thank Jah I live in California where it is still legal (for now). And I read the responses on all of my favorite blogs. And I have to say, I was complacent. That shit would never fly in California, I thought.
And not like I think I'd ever have an abortion if I were ever to get pregnant. And of course I say that now, but you never really know until you're in that situation.
My friend Erica at Soft Pretzel Love put in her two cents. In the middle of her post, she shows this photo of a woman, Gerri Santoro, naked, lying on the floor face down, legs spread, knees bent. She's clutching a towel in her right hand, an attempt to try and stop the bleeding from her botched "back alley" abortion done by the baby daddy who happened to have his hands on some medical instruments and a medical book he borrowed from a colleague. Abortion, DIY style.
Here's the link to Erica's post. But I have to warn you, the picture - if you haven't seen it before - is graphic. Gerri Santoro is there. All up in your face.
Looking at the photo turned my stomach, obviously. The image is haunting. And I wanted to cry, because she didn't have to die like that. But she did, because where she was from, abortion was illegal. It was 1964.
Immediately I thought of all of my close friends and family who have had abortions, and I thought, "what if this happened to them?"
I wonder if these fool lawmakers in South Dakota ever try to think that way. My guess is they'd blame the woman for having sex. Hell, they'd probably blame her because she left the house, instead of staying home and cooking. Or if it was one of their daughters, they'd whisk her off to their high-priced private doctor, do the D&C, and then nobody in the family would be allowed to ever mention it. Especially at the dinner table.
What is it about the pro-life debate that says the one life is more important than another? Why, in the proselytizing over morals and "family values," does this preclude the individual autonomy of a woman to make her own decisions when it comes to her own body?
Part of me wishes I'd never seen Gerri Santoro's crime scene photo. But then again, it's a good thing I did, because now I will never forget her.