The big debate

by orientalcutlery

I’ve been reading arguments from both sides of the abortion debate in newspapers, on Facebook, online and it even cropped up in a few books I read over Christmas. I’m seeing so much dribble, and I just can’t be silent about it anymore.

I keep hearing pro-lifers using the phrase “innocent life”. We must protect the “innocent life” of the unborn. It is as though this is the only focus. They are ignoring the quality of life, they are not giving due concern to the life of the mother, and they are not really thinking about how important life actually is, as far as I can see. If they really did care so much about life, they’d all be vegetarians who didn’t swat flies.  When I first started college, the bus I took had an ad plastered all over it about abortion tearing a woman’s life apart. I see posters in the bathrooms in university with the same message. I respect their point of view, but bullying women into thinking that they are evil for daring to even consider making a decision that they think is best for them is, in my mind, obnoxious.

I recently saw a pro-life page ask “Why are you pro-life?” and people commented in their hundreds. The two most common responses I saw were some form of religious reasoning and women simply saying “I have three kids, that’s all I need to think about or “I look at my beautiful daughters”. There is an obvious gaping hole in using that as an argument. It’s great that you love your children and adore them, that is what most women will feel about their children. But in using that as an argument against women who have abortions, you are in essence saying:
“I was pro-life about my pregnancy, so you should be pro-life about yours”
I can’t think of a more ridiculous argument, really. It is a total denial of the fact there there are countless women who are carrying unwanted pregnancies and that giving birth to them is either not the best option, or not an option at all. There is myriad of circumstances in which a woman could find herself unable to carry a pregnancy to term, and she shouldn’t have to justify a single one of them to someone who believes in denying her a termination just because they have children. This narrow-minded, judgmental view causes enough problems on a social level as it is, the last thing we need is for it to continue to allow much-needed legislation coming to pass. There’s surprisingly little research done on this topic, but this article deals with a massive study carried out in the US.

The study outlines that even later abortion is safer than childbirth and women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.  I cannot wrap my head around any organisation that says it is ok for that to happen.  The emphasis from the pro-life side is entirely devoted to the unborn. They focus on making women feel guilty and emploring legislation that makes women feel like criminals in their own country for considering to have an abortion. I find that deplorable.

The fact of the matter is, too many people have died in this country, or have lived out their lives in misery because they do not have access to abortion clinics. Where were the pro-lifers when Anne Lovett died alone at the grotto? Do they think it’s better that she died alone and afraid? Would they have condemned her for having an abortion? What do they have to say about women who are physically unable to carry a pregnancy to full term? Where do they stand on rape victims? To me, they are so obsessed with the idea of life beginning at conception that they ignore the fact that women who are denied abortions are carrying an unwanted pregnancy and having an unwanted child. They fight for legislation to be kept to allow countless unwanted children  to be carried, and they don’t understand that women should not be obliged to carry a child simply because they have a womb. I find that unacceptable.

There is nothing said about the women who  have abortions and feel it was a good decision. I read Caitlin Moran’s “How To Be A Woman” over the holidays and she has an incredible, eye-opening chapter about her own experience with abortion. She had a miscarriage shortly before she was married and it was devastating. It was devastating because, as she puts herself, the baby was “so wanted”. She went on to have two daughters but had incredibly difficult births, the details of which are in the book. When she became pregnant again, she knew that she was simply unable to carry the pregnancy to full term. She was not in a position in life to have another child. Realistically, women shouldn’t need to give any more justification than that. She had an abortion, and she is still a perfectly good mother to her two daughters.

The idea that it is now 2013 and we still have to convince people that a woman being viewed as baby-making machine is wrong is just beyond me. The more dribble the pro-life side come out with, the angrier I get. I’ve seen videos that outright state “An abortion is never needed to save a woman’s life”. I know people who have received bigoted phone calls from pro-life organisations giving them the “facts” of abortions. This is absolute and utter nonsense. I don’t want to live in a country where I, or any other woman is made feel like a criminal or a bad person for making a decision about what happens in my body. Pro-choice is pro woman. Pro-choice makes a statement that we trust our women to be able to make decisions for themselves. Pro-choice is, as far as I am concerned, the only choice.