About 40 years ago I was opposed to abortion, of any kind or reason. I had a maid, as all military officer families had, who worked for me once a week for $2.00 per day. I raised her pay to $10.00 per day and my husband was called into the commanding general's office and instructed to return Rosa to $2.00 per day. It seems the word got around really fast. I refused. She earned her money and the USA military supported slave wages.

She was a lovely person, kind, caring, compassionate, loyal, honest, dependable, reliable, all the things one would want in an employee. We lived in El Paso, Texas and she lived across the US/Mexican border in Juarez. She took a buss from her home to the border, changed buses and came to my home, a total of over an hour of traveling, coming and going. She never missed a day, was always on time, my children and home were safe in her hands. I had three children at that time all 4 years old. She spoke no English, I spoke no Spanish; we were great at sign language. 

One day she came to me and asked me for birth control pills. I got them for her without knowing her story. It was only later I discovered the truth. She had given birth to 10 children, four died of dysentery. As was the custom, she carried a 5 gallon bucket with her on the way to the bus 6 days a week (she worked for other families as well), and dropped the bucket off at a 50 gallon drum the Mexican government kept filled with water from trucks to supply water for her community. On her way home from work, she stopped at the 50 gallon drum and filled her 5 gallon bucket and carried it to her home ... after a full day of hard physical labor in our homes. Her family drank it, used it for cooking, hand washed all their clothes in it.

Wild birds, lizards, snakes, donkeys and all kinds of wild beasts drank from that 50 gallon barrel leaving behind bacteria to foment into a deadly soup that killed the very young, the elderly and infirm and made many of them sick.

She was getting older and didn't want to have any more children. She went to her priest and asked for birth control and he taught her about the rhythm method, which did not work and she had more pregnancies that miscarried. She asked her priest if she could withhold sex because her husband wouldn't wait for the "safe" time for sexual intercourse. The priest told her she had responsibility to allow her husband sex on demand as her wifely duty. As a final option, she came to me for birth control pills.

She lived in a dirt floor shed with a tin roof, wattle and daub walls, in which a woven lattice of cactus canes called wattle is daubed with a sticky material made of mud and donkey dung. Her only stove was a metal pipe from floor through the ceiling, with a hole near ground level where they used creosote bush for firewood. She had no cooking surface. 

She put the pills on a shelf and her husband found them, threw them in the open sewage draining ditch that ran in front of her home. He gave her a beating and raped her. She conceived and killed that baby by a self induced abortion using a dirty stick. 

Rosa had no options. She could not deny her husband sex, she could not use any effective birth control, it didn't matter whether she was healthy enough or not to bear and raise another child and she had no way out of her Roman Catholic upbringing. Without options, she was not able to have control over her own body. She not only lost her babies, she lost her right to be part of her religious community and was called a sinner by her husband and priest and a "slut" by her 14 year old son. 

From that day on, I am for a woman's right to make decisions about her own body without interference from husband, family, religious community or government. If loved ones did not care enough for her to see the terrible burden she carried for being a woman, then she had the right to act in her own self-interest. Indeed, she had the responsibility to do so. She had other children to raise, and she was getting old, tired, and needed an easier life than circumstances allowed her.

If you stand in opposition to abortion I am in your face supporting a woman's right to control her own body. I am not in favor of abortion and I would not have one. Perhaps if I were in Rosa's shoes, I would choose that option. However, I have no right to impose my values on another, nor will I accept other's values for my own.   

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Indra's Net; notice a dark dot surrounded by a white ring in the center of each droplet of water on webs.  Each dark dot is the reflection of the camera lens. Touch any part of the net, the entire net ripples.
This can be thought of as a metaphor for individuals, connected in life, influencing all others in a system for good or for ill.




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