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.