Pro-Life, Pro Choice? Neither, actually ….. Pro-Compassion.

Before you read, Fair Warning. This is an opinion piece on abortion. If you would rather not read, no offense is taken and I wish you a lovely day. If you do read – I reiterate. This is my opinion, not a statistical factual piece. Thank you.

Twitter does have a habit of throwing the most interesting arguments at me. For instance, the semantic kerfuffle over the is ‘every crime not simply a type of theft’ that eventually spilled over into real life. My take on it, that every crime is the  removal of a right or property and thus more than definitely theft led to me being told ‘my  god you sound like an Amnesty supporter  ‘.  That’s not a terrible epithet in all fairness, I am an avid letter writer and they get their palms crossed once a month, but still. The point I am trying to make is that there are many arguments and debates on the  ‘twitosphere’ (as I saw it called today and quite liked), that I would never partake in outside of that arena.  The reasons for this are manifold – discussing violent domestic abuse or the correct naming of the Higgs Bosun over a  pint at the pub soon leads to madness, if not all out mutiny. Also to my chagrin, my friends are ridiculously intelligent and opinionated. I don’t exactly run at empty on the debate scale but you try taking on a mixture of communists, feminists, writers.  journalists and crazy people and coming out on top about anything. Sitting back and observing with a nice whiskey is more my current metier.

However there are several  issues which I will not sit quietly by on. One of these is the designations used to describe peoples attitudes towards abortion and the often hyperbolic arguments they use to support their cases. Pro-Life and Pro-Choice are tags which used to be an American political tool to judge exactly how debates can be phrased and  won. However these titles are rapidly gaining prominence here, in the UK.  And I despise them and their inherent assumption that they are mutually exclusive. Being pro-abortion or pro-choice does not mean I am anti-life. In fact, I struggle with the term pro-abortion as it seems to imply I want them handed out like candy to teenagers who fucked up on a couple of WKD and made the wrong call. I am not advocating them as a contraceptive tool. But I do not think that they are wrong.  This does not make me anti-life, nor does it make me a murderer.

Pro-Choice means having a responsibility not only to yourself but to the zygote, organism, fetus or baby that you are carrying. This means being compassionate to a thing which isn’t even strictly speaking a person yet. It may still be a blobby little collection of cells with no life force, nothing of its own – and yet you must still show compassion. I believe that if you are unable to care for a baby fiscally, emotionally or environmentally you have a duty to consider whether it is the right thing for you to do. No, this doesn’t mean automatically carrying out the procedure. But if you are currently on the dole, struggling to feed yourself, or heat your home,  if this pregnancy is the result of a one night stand, then you have the choice. By all means if you can still offer many of the non material things like love, and a warm smile, the pure and simple want of a child then you may already know your decision. Many woman choose to bring children into the world despite these conditions or far, far worse, and they are amazing mothers. But I bet a fair few of them thought long and hard.

The woman who made me so angry today, implied that to make this choice would be tantamount to murder. That I should be on death row, waiting to ride the lightning. What pushed me over the edge and made me put this down on paper, is the fact that she refused to answer any of my retaliations. What, I ask about the mother who just found out she is 17 weeks gone as a result of rape? Should she be forced to live with the reminder every day for the rest of her life, watching her attackers DNA fuse with her own – or be given the choice to say no and actually save her own life? How about the fact that tragically woman are every day diagnosed all over the world with illnesses and disease whilst they are pregnant. Should a woman be made to feel guilty for choosing chemotherapy over a 8 week along pregnancy? The child would probably not survive. The woman might.

At its very basest level, I put to her, what about the fact that a animal when it suffers is offered the peace of an easy death. You wouldn’t keep your Labrador alive for months or years in pain and suffering every day, you would take her to the vet and say goodbye and do the right thing. Is that murder?  Why then, would you rather a child be born to a life in a household riddled with domestic abuse, drug use, or to a life that is just not ready for them yet? To parents that don’t want them? As products of affairs, one night stands or pubescent experimenting?

As for is it murder, then that brings up a whole bunch of problems. The real question here is when does life start? First heartbeat? First breath? First independent function? For nine months it is not an independent creation it is a part of you, relies on you for everything. This is a life of a kind, but not yet a person. Still a thing. I do not call this murder. I know someone somewhere will start digging out those images of an abortion by product or medical diagrams to show me just how violent the procedure is. But violence is not murder. Far more violent things are done to the human body in the name of prolonging life – open heart surgery or cracked ribs from CPR attempts to name a few. the idea of when a life starts is unique to each person, and each situation. I know people who named their child in the first 3 weeks of pregnancy. They already decided it was a life. I also know people who pushed it right to the limit as they were unaware. This would mean development had started. It is still, in my eyes, not murder.

I am not going to lie here and pretend I am knowledgeable about this subject. But what I know, and learnt the hard way, is that it is a choice that is never easy. In any way. It is heartbreaking and painful and traumatic and will stay with you for years. Sometimes, you regret not having the abortion when the end result is even worse.  The very last thing needed  is people like this woman, prepared to sit there and fling names and mud and make things even worse.

So to hell with Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. I am Pro-Sensitivity. Pro-Thoughtfulness. Pro-Compassion and awareness.  Anti-Politics and Anti-vindictiveness.


Murderous charity.

Today I accidentally rang a murderer.

Yes I had a similar reaction.  His wife was lovely. She spoke softly and with a countenance that was completely at odds with the news she delivered. Its not every day that you ring the supporter of a conservation charity to hear  something that chills you.

‘He isn’t available…may I ask who is calling?’

‘Oh yes he loves your magazines. I take them to him when I visit, he says it is almost like being outside again. You see he’s in prison, so there’s that.  It was a Chinese girl you see, they had an argument and he hit her with the car.’

‘The pictures make him smile’.

As much as I hate to admit it, I very nearly hung up. Have you ever had the feeling that cement has been poured into your bloodstream? That is the only way I can think to describe it. Everything stopped working. My fingers would not click. My lips would not form syllables. Breathing shuddered. Then I informed her it was lovely to hear and we will make a note on the record. I hung up and opted out of further contact. I logged my phone and walked to the toilet. I threw up into that white bowl and tried to work out just why this freaked me out so badly.

My job is generally safe and sanitised. The most you will hear is abuse about your audacity, or the fact that the charity is not doing what the supporter wishes. Occasionally you get incidents of blistering stupidity or stunningly racist remarks, but these are often from people who just don’t realise that ‘darkie kid’ is perhaps not the best term for an African child, or that ‘those slopes in Fucky-whatsit’ is a less than honourable way to refer to people still recovering from nuclear abandonment. Actual evil, malicious people are rarities. And this wasn’t even aimed at me.  Consolidating the two sides of this person, the man who I looked up at home and discovered to have run a girl over twice because of a spat and a mild mannered charity giver who at one point must have cared about the world he was in…that is just such a strain. I wanted to revoke his right to sponsor us.

After all, call me prejudiced, but why the hell should he be given even the simulation of freedom? Blue skies and whispering glades are not there to be used as an escape from a grey box you put yourself in. Do not paper the insides of your mind with pleasantries you get from people who don’t know what you are.  I sicken  at the thought that his wife will on her next visit, mention the fact a nice young girl rang up and thanked him for his support, that she is glad to hear he enjoys the magazine, that the charity is thankful for his support.

I feel  grubby.

Later I was sat in the pub with friends. I considered telling them and asking their opinion, to judge whether their reactions were as visceral as mine were.  I refrained however – my gut reaction seems too big too overblown and the fear of them judging me for my own reading of the situation stopped me. So I will keep it here and try to forget the day I judged a man I didn’t know by his crime and actions, and found him on balance, wanting.