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. dadoftwo

    In my twenties I supported my then girlfriend’s decision to abort our baby. It seemed like the right decision at the time, though it wasn’t without pain then and now, more than 25 years later. In my 40’s as a married man my wife and I initially had trouble conceiving and we looked seriously at the possibilities of adoption. We discovered there were very few babies available to adopt because, in part, so many unwanted babies were being aborted.

    So as someone with experience of both sides of this argument, I found this article to be a useful contribution to the debate. While respecting a woman’s right to choose, perhaps there are other solutions to unwanted pregnancies which do involve society supporting women in that position and perhaps enabling unwanted children to be adopted by the many people who come to parenthood late and want to adopt.

  2. GO

    An article that attacks abortion as a ‘horrible’ thing that’s all about ‘killing’ and ‘exterminating babies’, ‘murderous discrimination’, etc., is not about ‘challenging conventional left thinking’ or making a contribution to a reasoned debate among people with a basic set of shared left-wing values. It’s roughly equivalent to an article that does a lot of hand-wringing about the discrimination faced by gay people, about how gay people shouldn’t be condemned… but then echos the ugliest, most emotive right-wing language about homosexuality being a ‘disease’, a ‘perversion’ etc.

  3. 24 Hour Truce

    As you haven’t actually been pregnant I don’t think you have experienced ‘both sides’ of the incredibly multidimensioned shape at all.

  4. unity_ministry

    I’ve probably written more articles looking at the abortion debate in terms of what we know from actual evidence over the last five-six years than just about any other UK-based blogger, so the overall tone of this piece is instantly recognisable as yet another piece of intellectually dishonest anti-abortion screed masquerading as a quasi-feminist piece of concern trolling.

    To take just the central premise of this entire piece of trash to pieces, the core assertion that ‘many, if not most women who have abortions feel they have no choice’.

    Yes, women are certainly influenced in their choice of whether or not to have an abortion by their financial circumstances, by their career/educational situation, by their perception of the stability or otherwise of their current relationship (if any) and by whether or not they simply feel that they are ready to have a child or not. In short, the vast majority of women consider their situation carefully and make a rational decision on the outcome of an unexpected pregnancy based on what they consider to be their best interests, and the overwhelming majority of women who choose to have an abortion do not regret their decision.

    To suggest otherwise is not only wrong but patronising and misogynistic – it smacks of “let’s pat the poor dears on the head they don’t really know what they’re doing” rather than accepting that women are fully independent moral agents with the capacity to make their own rational choices. Even without checking the author’s background, I’d bet there’s at least an 80% probability that he’s a Roman Catholic simply because this kind of patronising crap is standard in Catholic circles.

    In case you haven’t figured it out yet – and LFF have really dropped the ball on this one by not paying more attention to what’s going on in the background – what Marko is desperately trying to peddle here is the line adopted by a recent sham ‘parliamentary inquiry’ conducted by a coterie of anti-abortion MPs, the full background to which I covered in considerable detail here – http://www.ministryoftruth.me.uk/2013/03/06/the-anti-abortion-lobbys-sham-parliamentary-inquiry/ – and I’d recommend you pay particular attention to the powerpoint slides published in that article which show the real agenda behind this report.

  5. Sparky

    If that’s true, why haven’t you published any articles by Owen Jones?

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