Writing this article has probably been the toughest for me to blog about, primarily due to the fact that abortion is a sensitive and controversial subject. So when I originally compiled this blog post in February 2013 earlier this year, I found it difficult to distinguish the best angle to take without stirring up too much controversy. However, the longer I procrastinated on writing this article, the more I realised that abortion isn’t a topic that we can pretend doesn’t exist, nor can we avoid bringing the discussion to the forefront merely because someone may find the subject matter slightly uncomfortable.
Earlier this year I watched a documentary about abortions in the UK entitled ‘The Great Abortion Divide’. As the documentary came to an end and I was left with just my thoughts, I began to think about what my views were when it came to the moral standing regarding abortions.
Should abortions be illegal or remain permissible by law?
Do women have the right to decide when they can terminate a pregnancy?
And as the saying goes, “it takes two to tango”, but are men truly entitled to an opinion on the female body and what she does with it? And how valued is it that said opinion?
I've heard so many scenarios whereby women who have had a moment of carefree frivolity with a man just once and once only, which then resulted in a pregnancy that she decided to continue with without the option of abortion being considered.
The reaction of the male, you ask?
'Why in God's name would you want keep it?'
'I'm not ready!'
'I don't even know your last name'.
‘Are you sure it’s mine?’
Here’s a question for my male readers…
What would you do if the last person you had unprotected sex with, who you weren't in a committed relationship with, fell pregnant?
Part of the mainstream media have made it trivial for women who fall pregnant outside of wedlock or a relationship with the burden of being branded as a female who has intentionally 'trapped' a guy with an unplanned pregnancy, even though both adults consented to having sex without any form of prior contraception. But of course we have the scenario whereby he wants to keep the child but she doesn’t agree because “it’s my body!” and has an abortion regardless of his wishes.
So where do we draw the line?
Does having a ‘last resort’ abortion prove to be unethical? Some may argue that there are so many other incentives put in place to prevent unwanted pregnancies that abortions shouldn’t have to be an option.
Is having an abortion the question, and is the only solution ‘yes’?
It is reported that over 300,000 women a year go to the clinic to terminate unwanted pregnancies for different reasons. That works out to be way over 600 procedures each day. It seems as though the number of abortions that took place 50 years ago were lower, but why? Was the legalisation of abortion a form of women’s liberation, aiding the forces of radical feminism that has now seemed to have lost its meaning? Or Is it a ‘privilege’ that is being abused and becoming the new age contraception?
A girl I had met during my first year of university, opened up to me about an abortion she had at the tender age of 15. I don’t know what bothered me most about the situation. The fact she had just told me, a person she had only known for 5 weeks, about such a sensitive subject in such a blasé manner or how she swiftly changed the content of the conversation without a pause in her speech after dropping the bomb like it was an everyday thing that happened.
Friend 1:-‘How was your day today?’
Friend 2:-‘Weren’t bad, went shopping and had an abortion, yours?’
I didn’t ask her why she decided to have an abortion, my main concern was if she knew about the ways she could have prevented herself from becoming another teenage statistic.
I’d like to believe that the government have funded the NHS well enough to provide several different types of contraception to avoid terminating a pregnancy, so why are the figures so high?
I interviewed a spokesperson from Marie Stopes International, an abortion clinic in London to find out if the women who do come in for any type of consultation are aware of all of their options when it came to contraception, to which they responded that: ’Women are not educated enough on contraception and there certainly is not widespread awareness of the failure rates of pills and condoms. Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive methods are the most reliable (IUD,IUS, Implant, Injection), giving peace of mind and meaning that women can be in control of their fertility. '
There have been many arguments surrounding the topic of terminating a pregnancy before a certain time frame. Some have argued that a foetus is still a human being despite the stage of the pregnancy, whereas others have asserted that a foetus is just a number of cells therefore not breaking any human rights. But is conception and birth just a false threshold to define the meaning of life? Or are we neutralising the topic by saying life begins at birth?
I had a conversation with a close friend of mine named June, and she commented on the matter by saying: 'I believe women should have the right to make choices, and while writers and advocates often focus on how "women should prevent this from happening," I personally think that it is important to remember that women cannot conceive without a man. Larger societal themes are at play here, like for example the glamorization of unprotected sex in Hollywood and the music industry, premature sex without proper sexual education, not to mention the ever growing culture of sexualizing women and the hypermasculized, almost animalistic male experience of "I'm tryna smash!!" and at most times delusional assertions that “she wants the D!”. Surely a woman has a right to decide what is best for her and her life. Abortion shaming and silence is a real issue, women need support, not judgemental remarks when they’re in these very vulnerable situations.
The burdens of parenthood ultimately fall on the woman alone in most of these situations. While I think I'm pro-life for my personal life, I strongly believe that it is not for us to regulate other people's outcomes or police their bodies. I know they know better for themselves then we do, and am therefore pro-choice. -June, 23, VA.
A German philosopher named Immanuel Kant had a theory based on deontological ethics. He explains his concept of morality and how ‘some acts are right or wrong because of the sorts of things they are, and people have a duty to act accordingly, regardless of the good or bad consequences that may be produced’ and I believe this motion can be applied before succumbing to the decision of having an abortion.
If that's the case, terminating pregnancies would be made illegal based on the fact no matter what the actions were. 75 percent of women who have an abortion are either worried they won't be financially stable to take care of the baby or feel as though by having a child it would end up hindering their education, especially if they had to raise the baby alone. With actions, come responsibilities which then leads into duties.
Contraception has one aim and one only, to avoid unwanted pregnancies. With that said, is our generation forgetting about the other risks such as STI's, STD's, HIV and AIDS? Or do we just not care enough?
I'm all for female empowerment, for as many of you know, to empower means to educate. I believe a woman who has control over her situation at the time, should consider all of her options. Was the legalisation of abortion in 1967 passed down for those who aren’t ‘ready now’? Or for women whose health could be at risk as well those who fell pregnant through crimes such as rape or child abuse?
I wouldn’t say I’m pro-life activist, but a writer with pro-choice views and believe that every woman deserves to have the right to decide what she wants to do with her body, but also educate herself with the various choices which are available to her before having to make such a life changing decision.
What are your views on abortion? Join in the debate with the hashtag #OlonisBlog
Written by @Oloni
& edited by @AprilOffDuty