Abortion is not a light topic for anybody regardless of their stance. Heavily weighed with moral, religious and ethical anchors, it’s becoming increasingly impossible to hear a calculated argument that doesn’t erupt into conflict. Given the political climate in which Planned Parenthood alongside fundamental reproductive rights are being threatened most notably in the US, this debate has received heightened publicity over the past few months. Despite this being a great way to raise awareness, I believe it’s still vital to remind readers that this is an ongoing issue in more than just one nation. In response to my own frustrations, I’ve compiled my most convincing arguments towards the pro-choice movement into a somewhat informal essay.
I’m not expecting readers to change their pre-existing views towards this topic as a result of reading this post. My aim is to educate and give a clarified, factual idea of what being pro-choice really consists of beyond biased media representation and erase any common misconceptions. With the two main arguments for abortion being pro-choice and pro-life, most people aren’t fully educated about either side causing mass confusion and uneducated statements that damage and distort the perception of women who have had abortions themselves. From this, I hope to educate rather than persuade as I want every individual discussing this to speak from an informed position, coming to their own conclusion based on facts, truth and statistics rather than myths and hear-say.
Now that I’ve gotten the obligatory disclaimer out of the way, here are my following points:
1. PRO-CHOICE IS HERE TO DEFEND THE RIGHT FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO LIBERALLY MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS.
advocating the legal right of a woman to choose whether or not she will have an abortion.
Regardless of whether or not you would have an abortion, enabling other women the choice and freedom to make that decision for themselves is fundamental. What people often misinterpret from the pro-choice argument is that it is synonymous with being “pro-abortion” which is entirely incorrect. Pro-choice is built upon the foundation of attempting to legally advocate women’s choice in the matter of abortion rather than encouraging the act of having an abortion itself. In a nutshell, being pro-choice does not mean that you are a psychotic foetus killer on a rampage, you simply accept the choice that another woman has independently made to terminate a pregnancy for a variety of possible reasons that we as outsiders cannot and truly shouldn’t have to understand in order to empathise.
Consequently, every feminist should consider themselves as being pro-choice as it carries the same concept that -regardless of your sex- you should be able to make your own decision based around your personal circumstance, a critical component of both men and women’s civil rights. It is by definition impossible for you to be both a feminist and pro-life as they are antonymous due to their completely opposing outlook on choice and ability based on sex. To put it bluntly, by being one you end up being neither.
2. A FOETUS IS NOT YET A HUMAN BEING.
If pro-choice arguers want to use the science card, I’ve got the power of Google and the NHS website.
I am physically unable through the medium of the internet to stress enough that a foetus cannot survive on its own due to it being fully independent on the mother’s body. This is obvious through even the most basic research of both the placenta surrounding the foetus and its attached umbilical cord. Without the umbilical cord which provides both vital nutrients and oxygen for the foetus via the blood and the placenta which removes waste products and passes antibodies to prevent infections, it’s safe to say that the foetus’ survival is entirely dependent on the provided necessities from the host mother’s body.
Although we could get rather spiritual about this and begin to ponder the true requirement of being classified as a human being and the nature of having a soul, scientifically a foetus is incapable of independent life outside the womb, therefore can’t actually classify as an independent human being. If I – a sixteen year old student who scraped her science GCSEs by regurgitating her textbook- am able to grasp this basic biological fact, why can’t we all?
3. ABORTION IS NOT “AVOIDING RESPONSIBILITY”.
When I hear people flip out the responsibility card, two main points spring to mind:
i) Stating that you believe that an abortion is equal to avoiding responsibility suggests that consensual sex doubles up as consent to being impregnated.
ii) Realistically, what shows more responsibility between a) aborting a foetus you do not want/are unable to support/have medically or b) inadequately raising a child in poor conditions unable take care of it, leading to a life of misery and suffering for everyone involved?
It may sound like the everyday cliché, but the truth is that that it’s the most probable outcome. Furthermore, it is never the responsibility of a woman to have to raise a child due to an accidental or intended pregnancy for whatever reason.
4. WOMEN WITHOUT CONTRACEPTION DESERVE EQUAL RIGHTS TO A SAFE, CLEAN ABORTION.
Young girls who attend schools with a poor PSHE / sexual health curriculum miss out on having adequate sex education. This is especially the case in less economically developed areas. In these cases, it’s not the children’s fault for not knowing any better if they engage in unprotected sex; they would have been taught no other method.
If we collectively aren’t able to guarantee a sufficient level of education regarding the reproductive system and use of contraceptives, how can we simultaneously blame them for allowing ourselves to fail them in the first place? Teenagers naturally begin exploring their sexuality in the midst of puberty and are then ridiculed when they become pregnant for simply not understanding the literal consequences of having unprotected sex.
The lack of an adequate sex education lead to little (if no) contraceptives being used during sex. Additionally, even the limited facilities provided by our NHS that distribute free contraceptives are inaccessible unless we are informed of its existence.
We are fortunate enough in the UK that female and male condoms are distributed free of charge along with lube as a resort by the NHS to combat the rising STD statistics and prevent teen pregnancies. However, the inadequate educative system leads to these limited services being ineffective due to the lack of public awareness as to its existence. How are they meant to use these preventative measures if they are unaware that it exists? Contraceptives are not too outrageously priced outside of a free clinic so if somebody can’t afford to buy any the situation quite clearly suggests that they are more than unable to financially support a human being if the choice of an abortion was not available to them.
5. ADOPTION IS NOT THE “LESSER EVIL”.
Before I had truly formed a substantiated view on this topic, I believed in this as a valid argument against abortion as I felt that it would be the best of both worlds; preventing the abortion of the foetus whilst enabling the mother to not have to take care of it after its birth. After extensive research whilst delving into the world of feminism to formulate my own opinion, I was quite startled at how little I actually knew about the strain that even adoption could have on the mother.
For those unaware, pregnancies change a woman’s body causing severe strain (both muscular and in bone joints) due to a variety of factors as well as hormonal changes. Although these issues are trivialized in most modern chick-flick drama movies that feature a pregnant character, they can be fatal changes to the body that the mother cannot cope with.
Another pro-adoption argument that I often hear is the growing number or infertile couples that would gratefully raise the potential child growing inside the biological mother’s womb. On the surface layer, adoption may appear to solve the ethical complications behind abortions, but still leaves several issues unattended such as the demands of the pregnancy and complications of not being able to see their child later on in life. Fertile women who become pregnant and cannot go through with the pregnancy for whatever reason do not owe infertile couples their child. A popular phrase that I’ve heard repeated is that abortion solves parenthood, not pregnancy which I feel is a perfect summary of my point. Pregnant women considering abortion should not be guilt-tripped into going through with adoption due to the unfortunate circumstance of another couple.
6. NOT ALL CONCEPTIONS ARE A HAPPY STORY.
There are endless possibilities as to why the conception of a child may bring traumatic memories: rape, incest and abusive relationships to be just a handful of horrific situations. The truth of the matter is, tragic or not, these are real situations that affect women every single day. With over 68% of sexual assault cases being left unreported, why shouldn’t we be advocating these hidden voices to seek a sanitary, safe and non-judgmental environment where they can have an abortion, saving a lifetime of reminders of their trauma? By keeping this child, the possibility exists that the father would be one of the 98% of offenders still roaming the streets, meaning that he could legally claim the right to see his child and cause further strain in both the child and woman’s life.
Any case of sexual abuse is horrific and should not be trivialized. It’s not something you can just “get over” or instantly “move on” from. Bringing a child into the world does not guarantee a chance to heal. Yes, it’s not the foetus’ fault for what happened, but the mother should be empowered to maintain control over her body based on her own decisions. If this means having an abortion, then that is what needs to be done and should be respected regardless of the situation.
So there you have it, my arguments for being pro-choice. Regardless of your sex, gender, race or religious beliefs I hope that this has helped expand your mind on this topic and view things from my perspective. Overall, I wish to emphasize the importance of mutual respect for one another and the decisions that we make in the best of interests.
When stripped down to the bare bones of it all, why can’t we allow women to make appropriate decisions for their own body in the hopes that others would also respect our choices?
– Words by Camila Florencia.