Abortion is a tragic choice no woman should have to make

Abortion is something so horrible it has to be described with euphemisms: ‘a woman’s right to control her own body’; ‘a woman’s right to control her reproductive choices’. But the most common is ‘a woman’s right to choose’.

Abortion is something so horrible it has to be described with euphemisms: ‘a woman’s right to control her own body’; ‘a woman’s right to control her reproductive choices’. But the most common is ‘a woman’s right to choose’.

The sentence is left incomplete: it is short for ‘a woman’s right to choose between a pregnancy she fears may destroy her financially or professionally, possibly even physically, and the killing of the baby in her womb.’

In other words, many if not most women who have abortions feel they have no choice. Overworked women with low incomes, unsupportive families, unsympathetic employers, no partners and/or existing children to care for may simply be unable to cope with a baby; nursery care in the UK is prohibitively expensive – on average around £50 per child under two per day in London.

Women may find their careers or education derailed by pregnancy. Not to mention the stigma attached to unplanned pregnancy, particularly for teenagers; this may literally be fatal for those whose relatives are of the ‘honour killing’ variety.

A woman-friendly society would readjust itself to support pregnant women and mothers, removing the shame of pregnancy and alleviating the burden of childcare.

And yet contemporary Britain despises fecund low-income women. When Mick and Mairead Philpott were convicted of killing their six children, conservatives from chancellor George Osborne to the Daily Mail seemed to feel the problem was not just that they had killed them but that they had had them in the first place.

Tory politicians such as Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith have suggested limiting child benefits to the first two children.

In a culture where children are viewed, not as the citizens and taxpayers of the future in whose support the current generation has a stake, but as a luxury to be supported only by parents prosperous enough to afford them without burdening the taxpayer, it is unsurprising that the extermination of unwanted babies through abortion is effectively encouraged.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, abortion was rightly viewed by almost all first-wave feminists as a terrible symptom of women’s oppression. According to Sylvia Pankhurst:

“It is grievous indeed that the social collectivity should feel itself obliged to assist in so ugly an expedient as abortion in order to mitigate its crudest evils. The true mission of society is to provide the conditions, legal, moral, economic and obstetric, which will assure happy and successful motherhood.”

It is a great coup for Moloch when the ugly expedient can be passed of as a ‘choice’ for which women should be grateful; still more when supposed feminists, instead of seeking to free women from it, celebrate it as their totem.

For some women – financially better off, with supportive family and employers – abortion might really be a ‘choice’. But it is a ‘choice’ whose exercise increases the burden for other women. If an unplanned baby is viewed not as the responsibility of both parents, but purely as the woman’s choice alone, it effectively absolves the father of any moral responsibility for it.

It also absolves society of the duty to support her. So abortion undermines women who don’t want it.

Our culture fetishises personal freedom, choice and self-gratification but despises concepts like duty and responsibility. So the idea that when two adults conceive a child through consensual sex, then find themselves faced with an accidental pregnancy, they should both take responsibility for the baby even if they didn’t want it, is not popular.

And it really is a baby: anyone who has seen an ultrasound scan of a twelve-week-old fetus and listened to its heartbeat, but still claims that it is merely a ‘clump of cells’ rather than a tiny human being, is in denial; turning their eyes and ears away from the evidence and clinging to an unscientific (libertarian, pseudo-feminist) dogma.

Dehumanising the unborn baby (‘fetus’) turns it into a disposable commodity with no value except as an extension of its parent’s desires, after which all liberal values go out the window. In the UK, an unborn baby after twenty-four weeks is legally protected from abortion – but not if it is disabled, in which case it can be legally killed right up to birth.

Thus in the UK, the overwhelming majority of unborn babies detected as having Down’s syndrome, spina bifida or cerebral palsy are aborted; even a ‘defect’ as minor and correctible as a cleft palate or a club foot can spell a baby’s doom.

This murderous discrimination is taking place in the country that indulged in an orgy of self-satisfaction last summer when it hosted the Paralympic Games.

In other countries, other groups are disproportionately killed off through abortion. In the US, as well as the poor and the disabled, it is Hispanic and particularly black babies. In India and China, it is baby girls: abortion is popular in both these extremely misogynistic societies, greatly contributing to their huge gender imbalances in favour of men over women.

Women, of course, have the right to control their own bodies. But it is questionable if this principle encompasses a procedure that in the UK is performed by largely male NHS doctors, paid for by largely male taxpayers. And for every body so ‘controlled’, another is destroyed or mutilated.

As a result of failed attempts to abort them, Gianna Jessen was born heavily disabled with cerebral palsy, Ana Rosa Rodriguez was born with her right arm missing, while Carrie Holland-Fischer was born with a facial disfigurement, as a result of which, she recalls, ‘society had labelled me as ugly and unacceptable. I was made fun of all during school, and even the teachers made fun of me.’

These women were at least lucky enough to survive.

Women who seek abortions are victims of a society that does not respect them or their babies; they should not be stigmatised or treated as criminals. But let us stop pretending that this ongoing bloody tragedy is a manifestation of their emancipation.

75 Responses to “Abortion is a tragic choice no woman should have to make”

  1. Dilys

    Not sure that the NHS is dominated by male doctors…?

  2. garry burns

    possibly the most vacuous arguement I’ve ever seen here. To compare the oppressive practices of the 19th century with the realities of life now shows both ignorance of the issues and an extremely partisan approach to the issue.

    I won’t address the arguments in turn as they deserve nothing more than a ‘point and laugh’.

    Really editors, don’t just allow any old reactionary nonsense just to start an arguement, you’re devaluing this website.

  3. David Carr

    My mother was a female NHS abortionist. And your point is…?

  4. GO

    Somewhere in here there is probably a reasonable point being made about how no woman should feel forced into having an abortion because of poverty etc. Unfortunately that reasonable point, along with various other bits of apparently liberal hand-wringing about misogyny etc., is being used as window-dressing for a ‘pro-life’ article about the ‘killing’ and ‘extermination’ of ‘babies’, ‘murderous discrimination’, etc. etc. Shame on LFF for publishing this piece.

  5. leftfootfwd

    If you don’t agree with something, fine. But the idea that we shouldn’t host any articles which challenge conventional left thinking is nonsense. If your argument is strong enough it will be able to withstand criticism.

    “Shame on LFF for publishing this piece.” – Shame on us for having the temerity to believe in the importance of debate, you mean.

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