Complacency and Abort67
On Monday 40 protestors from the anti-abortion group Abort67 set up banners in Queen’s road showing graphic images of aborted foetuses. ANNA ISAAC doesn’t want us to get complacent about exactly what’s at stake.
Abort67 is a repellent organization that seeks to offend and distress vulnerable people. While I disagree strongly with the ‘pro-life’ premise that Abort67 believes in I defend the right to freedom of speech. But their appalling actions go beyond reasoned debate. To abuse a woman outside an abortion clinic, to put up gratuitous images on university campuses and to pressurise medical students is revolting. What Abort67’s recent actions have made me realize is that we cannot afford to be complacent: we cannot assume that a woman’s right to choose is not at threat.
I have a problem with the term ‘pro-life’. What on earth does it mean? Is “life” to be taken as meaning the moment of conception? How? Surely that is the potential for life, the conclusion of the fertilization process? It is not yet a separate baby or a child, it is something -an important something- that may become one.
Abort67 argue that my definition between existing and living is merely subjective. That it could apply to a person at any point in the course of their development. This is outrageous, but it is a thought that runs the length and breadth of our country and abroad. Even in our parliament.
If life is to be properly understood, if it means independent biological and sensory existence, then I am pro-life. I am pro the woman’s life, the person’s life, pro the developed independent individual having priority of health and happiness over that of the unborn child.
The idea many propose that no child is unwanted rejects reality and shows a terrifyingly deluded view of how the world works. While adoption can often offer a loving home it cannot solve the ‘unwanted’ problem in many cases. Thinking it can ignores the physical and psychological impact an unwanted pregnancy can have upon a woman and, to a lesser extent, upon her partner and the resulting child. To force a woman to continue with an unwanted pregnancy is to remove her autonomy at the most fundamental level. It literally dehumanizes her.
Many anti-abortionists suggest that a utopian state or an idealist charity/society could solve the problem of unwanted pregnancies by offering services such as counseling and sufficient financial support. This would be laughable, were it not so horrifyingly at odds with both our current government’s cuts and economic situation. The idea that the state or charity could repair the damage done to the individual woman by being forced to carry a child to term inside her is madness.
Oh and how about the notion that if you have sex, you should accept the risks. How can this be when no contraception is perfect? There is no way to make an absolute choice not to become pregnant and have sex. Sex is a natural and important part of a full life for those who desire it. People should not be prevented or discouraged from having sexual encounters if they take on the responsibility of sensible precautions. Let’s remember that only one partner in the equation can become pregnant, by accident or otherwise. A society that dictates: “If you have sex, you take the risks” would completely deny the natural sexuality of women, not to mention it ignores the consequences of rape.
So I am pro-life and pro-choice. I believe that the woman’s life, the woman’s body and the woman’s mind take precedence over the potential life that she can carry. Only she should determine what happens to her own body. I believe in reasoned debate about the subject, because that is the only way to encourage people to see this truth. Abort67 is a disgrace, but we are complacent about the 1967 abortion act at our peril. Stand up, speak out, defend a woman’s right to choose, both here and abroad.