One of the most heated topics (aside from religion) is the abortion debate. People who are normally quiet, perhaps even soft-spoken, can sometimes find their faces flushed, temperatures rising if they weigh in on this subject. Most people who have settled in one camp or another are pretty passionate about it.
This makes me feel that my own personal position on the matter is a rare one. It might not be – there could be hundreds of us who feel this way, but we’re just drowned out by the larger crowds. I posted a link on my Facebook about abortion statistics in Ontario. It’s certainly a controversial topic and one of my friends asked a question and stated her feelings about abortions in general. It spiralled.
I wanted to be able to explain my position more in depth without writing a novel on Facebook. So, not to single my friends out, but because I have nothing to hide about my opinions on abortion, I’m writing this perhaps controversial post.
I have found, whether you agree or not, there are actually [at least] three camps on the abortion issue (not including the neutral camp of people who haven’t made up their minds).
- There are the pro-lifers, who obviously believe that all life is sacred and valued, right from the moment of conception, with a few mixed variations on the opinion of when life actually starts. I don’t know the stats on this, but it does seem to me that the majority of pro-lifers are religious, but maybe the religious ones are just louder or more prominent, I don’t know.
- There are the pro-choicers, who believe that the choice to carry a baby to full term remains solely with the woman and no one should force her to carry a baby she doesn’t want. Most pro-lifers believe that the majority of the people in the pro-choice camp are staunch feminists. I don’t believe that to be the case, because I know of more than a few Christians who are personally pro-life, but would never force their choice on someone else and so define themselves as pro-choice.
- There are the pro-abortionists, who are not only pro-choice when it comes to this topic, but actually try to sell abortions as a birth-control method or otherwise socially acceptable practice. They don’t just leave it at “it’s a woman’s choice”, they actively try to convince women to abort.
Some of the pro-abortionists fit into the pro-choice camp, but none of them fit into the pro-life camp.
My beef with abortions? I have a few pretty serious issues:
- Lack of Informed Consent: Women in Canada are more often than not left in the dark about the potential side effects and risks of an abortion. Almost every other medical procedure I can think of, the doctor is required to obtain your informed consent. Most women are not told up front about the risks and side effects.
- Full-Term Abortions: Abortions are completely legal in Canada, right up until the full term (that’s approximately 40 weeks, people. Forty weeks of carrying a baby around and you can still decide to abort the pregnancy).
- One-Sided Women’s Rights: The right of a woman to choose to abort her baby is protected like it was an order received from On High (which, it wasn’t, by the way), yet women who choose to keep their babies have no legal rights.
- “It’s the ONLY Option”: I find there are some who like to promote it as the “only” option in some cases, when that’s simply not true. There are Crisis Pregnancy Centres, and many of them do a good job of counselling for the woman’s sake, not just the baby’s (though there are bad apples in every bunch).
I straddle the line between pro-life and pro-choice, the line that is pro-woman. I would never in my right mind abort a child that I carried – no matter the circumstances surrounding the conception of said child. (Please note, I am not including “abortions” that are done for medical safety where carrying a child to full term would very likely result in the death of the mother and child. If such a circumstance were to arise, I would only decide after much prayer, fasting and consultation with family and medical advisers.)
However, my mother ran a desktop publishing business from home and one of her long-standing clients and now our family friend, was and is an executive director for an organization that runs a crisis pregnancy centre, post-abortion counselling services, and a safe house for women. I have had many conversations with this friend over the years, and even typed a thesis for a Masters program this friend was enrolled in about some work that had been done at the clinic.
I understand that many women, usually young women, who have abortions do so because they are afraid – afraid of the consequences if their parents find out; afraid of the consequences if their abusive husbands/boyfriends discover the pregnancy; afraid of the social stigma of having a baby outside of marriage; afraid because they were sexually assaulted and didn’t ask to be abused or end up pregnant as a result. Oh, there are so many fears that lead to this decision.
There are even some women who were simply told that there are no consequences to having an abortion. A testimony I typed up for the thesis described one woman who had been told that abortion was a safe method of birth control, even. Twelve abortions later, she was almost paralysed with guilt and grief over what she had done (she came to Jesus, by the way. It took 12 abortions, but she found Jesus).
Some women who have been so misinformed discover later in life that they are no longer able to have a baby. They suffer miscarriages, infertility. Others develop cancer. Still others discover that the procedure was not completed and they suffer for months afterwards.
In my stance on abortion, I believe that when we stop considering and caring for the woman who has to make the choice – especially after that decision is made – we have lost far more than just the baby.
If you or someone you know are in what is considered a crisis pregnancy situation (teenage pregnancy, abusive relationship, fixed income, or otherwise) there is help available. And that help will not necessarily insist you keep the baby, but will counsel you as to what exactly are the options that are available to you and step you through the process. You don’t have to do this [carry a baby to term, or abort your pregnancy] alone.