Sunday, October 21, 2007

Too long for a comment

Further to the A question - a sympathetic yet differing opinion - I'm not all the way over the other side of the scale, but I'm slightly to the left, I suppose:

I'll try again. I think Polka's mother said it perfectly. And I think it is with each pregnant woman to decide, to an extent, perhaps not for black and white legislation to rule for her.
I know what it's like to have an untimely pregnancy and wish I wasn't pregnant. I also know what it's like to love my unborn child in a way that I had anticipated but not understood, if that makes sense. Sadly, the love doesn't come at the start, when the pregnancy is a crisis. By necessity, people make their decision before they have time to really understand.

I don't think adoption, while it's good in itself, is an easy go-to answer. I'm not sure I would want to see my daughter carry her child of rape to term, birth it and give it away. That seems like an incredibly hard sentence to bear.

I also think the separation involved in that sort of adoption is an awful thing for a mother and a baby, one which stays with them (disclaimer - of course I now there are fulfilled, loved, happy adopted people out there who are glad they are alive. But there are several bigger pictures here too). But that's just one aspect.

In an ideal world (I'm such an idealist!) people should be able to have their babies, to find support, emotional and financial, and not have to feel they should make this decision. On a popular maternity/parenting website, one woman said that she had become pregnant accidentally and knew in her head that an abortion was the right way to go. Her reasons were all rational, though they included the fact that her mother would be angry with her getting pregnant again so soon - it was so sad, she so clearly wanted her baby. Other posters all talked her round, shared their experiences and she accepted that it was ok to have the baby. No-one could have been happier than I was.

But it's not always that easy. Personally, I would have to argue for quality of life over quantity. The way children are treated all over the world is sickening, and to my mind is much more horrific than the fact that we can disregard human life enough to abort a foetus. It may be an enormous and terrible thing to terminate a life at its beginning, and I agree that it is, but I find it more palatable than child abuse, child labour, children covered in cigarette burns etc etc.
There are many different reasons for abortion, and I think it's a case of walking a mile in another's shoes. I heard of someone who had an abortion a year in college - abortion as contraception sickens me, late abortion is horrific, I wouldn't argue that those are anyones rights. Personally I would choose to have a baby rather than have an abortion, I would rather live with the life changes a child brings than the life-sentence an abortion would be for me. But it's an easy choice for me, it would be supremely selfish not to do so. But that's a middle class, educated stand point. I'm not so sure it's that simple for others.

I think there are a lot of people in the world who might well have been better off not being born. That may be contentious, and I'm not necessarily saying I'm drawing up the list. But that's just how it seems to me.


  1. Jo, this isn't pointed at you, it's just you have the latest post.

    Until you have had one, I don't think anyone is in any position to talk about it. Because everything that goes with it, mentally and physically, is so hard to deal with that the only people who can really understand it are people who have done it.

    And no, people who have stillborn babies, or babies who die just after birth are not in the same league...

    (Again, Jo, not pointed at you.)

  2. Oh, I agree. My husband made an excellent point, when we were agonising over the difficult timing of our 1st pregnancy. He pointed out that we'd be living wiht the after-effects of the abortion to as great an extent as we would be dealing with having a child.

    It depends completely on the individual person and situation which will be more difficult to handle.

    One thing I should have said, is how hypocritical and cowardly it is of our govt to deny that any Irish women have abortions - and the failure, well, of everything to do with them! A friend told me a story of how her brother and his Spanish girlfriend were living in different countries and had an abortion in a London clinic. While he was waiting for her to come out, he found himself surrounded by Irish girls, waiting their turn, delighted to have an Irish man there with them - he said he felt like a sort of Irish 'Dad' to all of them, there by themselves. How is that better than having it available here?

    I think it should be handled the same as divorce should - make it legal, and then put everything you can in place so that people don't have to avail of it.

  3. There was a good article in Observer yest by archbishop of cantebury about the normalisation of abortion in England. He compared the abuse a smoking pregnant woman gets for harming her unborn, to the rights placed on the same woman if she wants to terminate it. The contradiction in all things social annoys me.

    Anyway, I agree with you re life. My intellect is always pointing out the futility of human life but my natural instinct to preserve the sanctity of humanity won't let me accept it. I like to believe in predestination because it makes me part of a bigger world & not just a random nothing.