While I always been prochoice (virtually, no restrictions), I am tightening the window I think should be available, perhaps 14 weeks, although I have not finally defined my position.
I can tell you that when I went to PP for birth control (Depo, of which I took only 1 shot of) I was incredibly naive. At the time, I had no idea what the security guard was for (I was 18 and a virgin, even though prochoice, I was oblivious to clinic violence). I now realize, I guess that location performed abortions.
So, to some extent I do think abortion is an issue that people form an opinion about at a young age and stick with that opinion. Whether they are impressed by the idyllic images of championing for women's rights or the unborn, either might seem appealing.
I know that my opinion has not changed until recently, possibly as a result of being older and realizing that I don't always have to take an extreme opinion on an issue. As a teen, I saw middle ground- if it is okay for the brutalized rape victim, then it should be okay for anyone for any reason. It was only a few years ago that I realized abortions were performed after 14 weeks. It just wasn't an issue I was informed on or saw a need to be informed on.
I would very likely never get an abortion, although I have considered instances of severe defects- but I realize, if were pregnant again I likely would never consult to an ultrasound or other testing that might determine that type of thing because I am not entirely convinced of the safety of those procedures, yes even including ultrasounds, and also because say, in the case of mental retardation- I can't control or be assured that one of my already living relatives will not have an accident that might severely alter them and result in such a condition, and I certainly wouldn't advocate euthanizing them personally, so I don't think I could do it on the uterine level either.
First, welcome aboard, S!
Now to get the discussion started.
First Topic: You said, "While I always been prochoice (virtually, no restrictions), I am tightening the window I think should be available, perhaps 14 weeks, although I have not finally defined my position. .... It was only a few years ago that I realized abortions were performed after 14 weeks. It just wasn't an issue I was informed on or saw a need to be informed on."
Did you see no need for restrictions simply because you didn't realize that they were done after 14 weeks? And why 14 weeks? Do you see this as a change from not wanting a limit, or just not seeing a need for a limit?
How about other prochoice folks here: Is there a cutoff point in your thinking? If so, how did you decide on that point? Is it an absolute cutoff, or do you just want restrictions after that point?
Second Topic: I'm guessing you went to PP for Depo because you were planning to lose your virginity. How did you pick PP and depo, rather than something OTC or another provider? I lost my virginity at 18, too, but we used condoms which were available just at the corner grocery store. I think the convenience was the main selling point for OTC for me. I'd been intending to stay a virgin until marriage, but there was just too much opportunity and nobody had taught me how to "build hedges," as the saying goes, to help me to live out my convictions. I'm very regretful in retrospect. How about you?
Third Topic: You said, "As a teen, I saw middle ground- if it is okay for the brutalized rape victim, then it should be okay for anyone for any reason." I'm wondering -- did you see abortion as okay for rape victims because of anything specific that led you to believe that abortion was beneficial to rape victims, or was it just that you absorbed the freefloating "rape and incest exception"? This is a puzzler for me as to how such large portions of the prolife movement came to embrace a "rape and incest exception" when nobody had ever done any research indicating that rape and incest victims particularly wanted or benefitted from abortion. Rape and incest, I learned, was a wedge issue selected by those favoring abortion on demand as a way of first establishing in the public mind the idea that abortion was beneficial, then pointing to the rape and incest victims and saying, "Why only allow them to benefit?"
Since I came to the prolife position due to outrage over how women were being lied to and betrayed, there never was a "rape and incest" exception in my mind, because if something is bad for women in general, why would I abandon the most vulnerable and hurting women to the dubious ministrations of the abortion industry? The rape or incest victim is undergoing even more intense stress than other women, so her decision-making is even more compromised. It just strikes me as even more cruel to turn her over to abortionists when she's still reeling in shock and horror over what she's already endured. In my mind, it'd be like taking somebody who just got some crushing news -- that their child had died, that they have cancer -- and making them an appointment with Dr. Kevorkian. We have an obligation to nurture people who are vulnerable and have been battered by life. To me, a "rape and incest exception" sounds like the worst kind of abandonment of the very women and girls who need us the most.
Fourth Topic: You bring up abortion for fetal indications. I had a pregnancy scare in college that really brought this home for me in an unusual way. The whole story is here. But in a nutshell, I thought I was pregnant, and that because of the rubella vaccine I'd just had, a series of pelvic x-rays I'd just undergone, and the medications I'd been taking, that it was absolutely certain that the baby would be horribly disabled as a result.
This was back in the day when you had to wait two weeks after a missed period to get a pregnancy test done, and I thought I was pregnant because the radiologist said my uterus was enlarged, before my period was even late. So I had weeks of agony, wondering what I was going to do. I didn't want to kill a baby, but I didn't want to "inflict a horrible disability on a child." During those two weeks of sleepless nights, something occurred to me in a flash -- Failing to abort was not inflicting a disability on a child. It wasn't like taking a healthy embryo and deliberately causing him or her to be harmed. It was simply allowing an existing child to live out whatever life he or she had. It hit me that it made no sense to see rejecting abortion as "inflicting a disability". After all, if a baby is born disabled, or if a child becomes disabled due to illness or accident, we aren't "inflicting" it on him or her. It's something that happened. And our responsibility to the child is to help him or her to live the best and fullest life possible. So I decided that if the pregnancy was confirmed, I'd make an adoption plan, since my then-boyfriend and I were already so poor we were eating ice cubes just to have something to chew on. I figured I couldn't afford to care for a child with expensive medical needs, but I was so relieved to realize that I could place the child in a home where he or she could be cared for.
The whole thing turned out to have been just an exercise in thought, since the "enlarged" uterus was just a tipped uterus. But it served to make things real to me that would have been just theoretical, namely how much anguish we put women through with the message that they ought to abort a disabled or ailing child. I would never wish that kind of anguish on anybody! And I'm very angry that we as a society do it routinely.
As my life went on, I came to work with folks with disabilities and I started to realize what profound and deadly prejudice there is against people with disabilities, so now I oppose "fetal indications" from both the standpoint of the needless anguish inflicted on the mother and the cruel prejudice against the disabled.
Those are the four major areas for discussion I culled from your excellent post. Thanks so much!