Monday, June 1, 2009

why is abortion still a dirty word?

Given the recent assassination of an outspoken abortion rights and late term abortion provider Dr George Tiller, I thought it would be a propos to post a few thoughts on abortion today.

Before I begin: I am adamantly pro-choice. Nothing, no-one, never, will ever convince me otherwise. I feel that it is a personal choice, for each individual to make, and I don't pretend to have an answer for someone else. I respect the right to feel differently but not the right to impose personal views on another, regardless of disagreement.

Ironically however, it would seem that although most North Americans are pro-choice, many actually believe that it is a selfish choice and the media routinely avoids discussing it as an option because it is perceived as selfish.

Not only do I believe that abortion is a personal choice, I think it is a women's right to be "selfish" when it comes to her fertility. In many cases, I would argue that not being selfish and having an unwanted baby can be just as selfish or inconsiderate as the act of not carrying a baby to term. Growing up with parents who decided to be foster parents, I have years of first hand experience of children who speak to how unethical having a child can be if you are not prepared to raise it properly. Some may argue that a life is a life and we have no right to play god, but I would counter that statement with the notion that causing a soul to suffer a life of misery is much crueler and more of an act of violence than abortion.

Given how many children out there are unwanted, unloved, and uncared for, I think that it is safe to say that sometimes a little selfishness early in the game is a valid and viable option.
As much as I believe that a fetus is life, I don't believe that a fetus' rights supersede the right of the mother. Maybe this is where the difference lies between pro-choice and pro-life. And perhaps this is where my own personal experience with unwanted children being abandoned, abused, amongst other things, makes me an advocate for pro-choice and planned pregnancy. Whether you're 20 or 40, married or single, rich or poor, if your oops is right for you, all the power to you, but if it isn't, I believe you have the right to choose NOT to re-arrange your entire life when you're not ready, and no one should make you feel guilty for that decision.

Some surprising statistics that aren't generally known about abortion:

24% of viable pregnancies end in abortion
50% of women who have abortions are over 25
60% of women who abort have already had children

We are each responsible for our own life and decisions. No one I've ever known to have an abortion has ever made the decision lightly. and no one has the right to question their decision making process or make them feel guilty about it. Moreover, something in the logic behind abortions being selfish seems linked the idea that choosing to remain childless as a couple is also selfish. Why are children automatically assumed to be our duty once married? Or even our duty at all? Why is choosing to not have children routinely viewed as selfish? How deeply ingrained is our societal sense of procreative duty that we cannot tolerant others' decision to not reproduce? Once again I find myself gobstopped and outraged by the audacity that drives the general sense with which others feel entitled to dump their morals and views onto others. Perhaps this will seem harsh to some, but after a great deal of thought on the matter, I have come to the following conclusion: we may or may not agree with someone's choice to abort their fetus, but ultimately its none of our business and we have no right to tell someone else how to dictate their life.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, was outraged to hear about George Tillman's senseless murder. To me, it is the height of hypocrisy to take a man's life in defense of saving 'thousands' of fetuses. If abortion is allegedly murder and murder is wrong, then that goes for *everyone*. Worse still, I learned that Tillman and many other abortionists in the Southern US have permanent personal bodyguards that escort them through life, have to wear bulletproof vests every day, and travel with an armored guard. What kind of life is that for a man to lead, and all because he is a compassionate doctor?

    To top it all off, the man was killed in church! There isn't even sanctuary for him in his place of worship. It's terrifying that these zealots weren't even deterred from what amounts to domestic terrorism in a place they consider holy.

    I would love to see all the hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into the pro-life movement every year repurposed towards making sure poor children have a decent lunch at school, that there are shelters for abused women and their kids, that no child ever has to be homeless for a night or longer. Where is their fervor when it comes to helping the children who are already here?

    Personally, women who choose not to bring a child into poverty, neglect, or even a home where they are not wanted or can't be properly supported should be applauded, not condemned.

    -V. ;D



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