Abortion is one of the seemingly never-ending moral dilemmas of our times. Despite being legalised in America in 1973, it still remains a highly divisive issue.
It’s certainly one that I’ve felt on the fence about for a long period of time, because both sides use emotionally driven arguments. The pro-lifers will argue in favour of the baby in the womb, whereas the pro-choice crowd will pledge their support for the woman’s right to choose. And no matter what stance you take, somebody will be willing to call you a ‘nazi’ for it.
Whenever abortion came up in my religious studies lessons in high school (I went to a Catholic school, for the record), it was usually laced with the teacher’s own personal views. Often they would make comments that painted women getting abortions as selfish, or painting the whole concept of abortion as immoral.
And at the time, I generally agreed. To me, I always felt that the potential of the fetus in the womb was unlimited. And I felt that everyone deserved the right to live a happy life.
But that view, though by no means a negative one, is naive.
Most people who advocate for access to abortions, don’t like the concept of abortion. You’d have to be ghoulish to. Terminating a fetus isn’t exactly a pleasant concept, regardless of whether you consider what lies in the womb a human.
However, if every baby ever conceived was born, it’d be no better a reality for those children.
How many would be abandoned?
How many would be tossed into dumpsters?
How many would be left for dead?
The truth is, some people just shouldn’t be parents. That’s an obvious statement, as countless stories of abhorrent mothers and fathers become trending topics over social media on a regular basis.
Many would argue “Well, there’s so many great couples, unable to have children! They could adopt the unwanted children, that are being aborted!”
(Ignoring that a large amount of the pro-life movement would deny a gay couple the rights to adopt a child…)
And in an ideal world, that would be a great alternative. If the option is there, it definitely should be taken, in my opinion. But of course, it isn’t my decision to make.
In recent days, President Trump (Feels surreal typing that…) signed a ban on federal money going to international groups that perform or provide information on abortions.
This sparked joy from one side, and outrage from the other.
Many were quick to notice that no women were present for the decision. Whilst men certainly shouldn’t be left out of the debate, it is most certainly an issue in which women should be involved in. And it’s not like there were no pro-life women for President Trump to call upon.
A 2012 poll found that 46% of American women identify as pro-life, compared to the 44% who are pro-choice (1). This isn’t an issue that is solely dominated by ‘white, straight men’ (Though given the current administration, it can seem that way at times).
But ultimately, the goal should be to have as few abortions as possible. And in news that is being universally hailed as good news, abortions in America are at an all-time low. The reasons for why this is varies- some say it’s to do with increased regulations (2), some say it’s to do with increased access to birth control (3).
Whatever side of the debate you stand on, I think this should be something to be happy about. If you’re pro-life, you should be happy that fewer fetuses are being terminated. And if you’re pro-choice, you should be relieved that fewer women are finding themselves in circumstances where abortion seems like the only option.
In conclusion, I consider myself pro-choice.
In an ideal world, abortions wouldn’t be a thing. Every time a woman got pregnant, they’d be capable of bringing that child into the world. There would be no circumstances in which abortion seemed like the only option.
But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in one where hard decisions need to be made, and there aren’t always happy endings.
Why I say I’m pro-choice is because I realise the damning aftermath, if abortion was made illegal. It wouldn’t mean an end to abortion, it would only mean an end to safe abortions.
Coat-hangers, back alley abortionists, forced miscarriages, these all things that have no place in the realm of motherhood or pregnancies.