Abortion is a hot topic right now, thanks to the USian political discussions that are going on. I would hope by now that my readers will know I consider myself pro-choice, and I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what that means to me, and my reasons for feeling the way I feel. So I thought I’d write them out, and hopefully open up a discussion about the rights of pregnant people to bodily autonomy. I should preface this with context: I have an eleven-year-old son who I chose to have, who I birthed myself, who is the light of my life, and who I have never regretted having. Because, you know, I chose to.
Point the First: A lot of pro-choice campaigners like to reassure the world that pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion. I don’t like this assertion. It implies that pro-choice people need to be anti-abortion, or at least ‘not like’ abortion, but they do need to support pregnant people’s right to terminate their pregnancies. Well I’m going to stand up and say: I AM PRO-ABORTION. That doesn’t mean I think every pregnant person should terminate their pregnancy, or that I am a baby-killer who enjoys sactificing children upon a Satanic altar (actually, I’ll have you know, I’m Catholic!). It does mean that I think abortion is a wonderful, useful and necessary thing for many people. It means that I think abortion can be a fabulous and healing tool for many people who would otherwise be miserable, severely mentally or physically unwell, or even dead. It means I like the concept of abortion and I believe it’s a great thing for those who choose it.
Point the Second: I don’t believe in any limits placed upon termination of pregnancy. Yes, this means that I believe that pregnant people should be able to abort a pregnancy for any reason, or for no reason other than they simply don’t want to be pregnant any more. Yes, this also means I don’t believe in ‘time limits’ i.e. maximum gestational age of the foetus at which the abortion is ‘allowed’. Yes, this means I believe that abortion should be legal at any point in a pregnancy, right up to the point that the foetus is actually born and becomes a baby.
[Corollary to Point the Second: I do not believe that this should be considered offensive to those who have suffered miscarriage, stillbirth or post-birth death of a baby. There is a difference between losing something from one’s life and choosing to remove something from one’s life. There is a difference between a wanted child and an unwanted child, and if you believe I’m too stupid to recognise that then that’s a problem with you, not me.]
Point the Third: I believe all abortion, everywhere in the world, should be free, legal and accessible. This means that nobody should ever have to pay in order to receive abortion-related treatment and care, nobody should be penalised legally for terminating a pregnancy for any reason or at any gestational age, and nobody should be prevented from accessing abortion by, for example, the refusal of local doctors to perform the procedure, which often forces pregnant people to travel hundreds of miles in order to receive the treatment they need. This ties into ‘free’; travel can be expensive, and all hospitals with doctors capable of performing the procedure should a) offer it and b) fire doctors who refuse to perform it.
Point the Fourth: I do not believe in the “right to life” of unborn foetuses. Quite aside from the argument that there is no fixed point at which a foetus becomes a person except for the measurable point at which it is born, I also do not believe, even if foetuses were people, that pregnant people should be obliged to use their bodies in order to keep another person alive. If someone I knew (or didn’t know, for that matter) required a kidney in order to stay alive, it would not be my obligation to provide it, and nobody would say that it should be illegal for me to not give up my kidney. Similarly, no pregnant person is required to become a vessel in which a foetus is kept alive until the point that it is born.
Point the Fifth: I believe that if you say “I don’t believe abortion should be legal except in cases of rape”, then you are severely ignorant and you are not, as you like to say you are, “pro-life”. If you are truly against abortion because you believe a foetus is a person, then even a foetus who is the product of rape is a person. What you are saying is that you believe it is acceptable to kill some people, but not others, depending on the circumstances surrounding their conception.
Point the Sixth: If you say, “How would you feel if your mother had aborted you?” then, quite frankly, you’re an idiot. For one thing, if my mother had aborted me, I wouldn’t be here to care one way or the other. For another, I love my mother. Why would I want to see her forced into doing something that she absolutely did not want to do, to give up her body to keep another alive, to take part in something that could kill her, or cause her severe physical and/or mental ill-health? “How would you feel if your mother had aborted you?” Well, if I were somehow able to know about it, I’d be glad for her because she did the right thing for herself, and I love my mother. Don’t you love yours?
So there are six points which broadly outline my thoughts. I have a lot of other fragmented ideas on the subject, but these are all I feel like writing about at the moment, and I think I’ve covered all of the most important things that were on my mind. I hope that you’ve either learned something, had your feelings reinforced, or been forced to confront your views in a way you haven’t done before. Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go back to sacrificing those children…