Does anyone want to solve abortion?
Of all the most personal issues that get kicked around as a political football, abortion is probably the most distasteful and most distressing. Any and every debate seems a million miles divorced of the realities that often underlie the decision to seek an abortion, which in our divided world can make one case almost entirely different to another.
A judge in Poland recently slapped a large fine on a Catholic magazine for claiming a woman seeking an abortion was like a Nazi pursuing a malicious experiment. The most galling fact being, instead of saying this in the abstract as we are quite used to witnessing, the magazine said this about one woman in particular, who’s reasons were medical and are now believed to have been well founded medical reasons at that.
That isn’t to say that I see medical abortions as Good and any other abortion as Bad (capitals intentional). I find the old idea of women almost having a duty to die in childbirth infuriating and as for socially-motivated abortion, I’m often quite sympathetic. The whole issue, however, is one where pigeon holing best serves those least interested in women’s welfare. The fact is, abortion is traumatic even if it is the right thing to do.
But it is, in some cases, avoidable. Listen to the voices condemning abortion, and its often the same people who are politically least inclined to ensure financial assistance to those least able to bring children into the world. The poorest seekers of abortion are often just an assured cash supply and community support away from being happy parents, and yet the same politicians who condemn them are also the first to try and pick up easy political points for condemning benefits mums.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who genuinely are self-motivated in their search for a termination. Business Culture in the UK, and indeed around the world, does appear to be leaning on women to stay in work; it wasn’t very long ago that I last heard a tale of a high-flying woman being told to get a termination or lose her job; its an attitude that needs dealing with.
In both these cases, despite their completely separated realities (and the fact that I’d be more willing to defend the former than the latter), it should be completely obvious that it is the politics of child bearing, rather than the politics of abortion, that are screwed up. Indeed, if more was done to give women the realistic option of keeping a child, we probably could relax the problematic controls remaining in the 1967 act (28 weeks, 2 doctors, etc.) and yet at the same time watch numbers of terminations drop. Either way, I don’t think those statistics do anyone any favours whatsoever, and should probably be ignored.
Fix the system so more women can keep their babies, or admit that this whole issue has more to do with hitting your opponents than a genuine humanitarian concern. Those are really the only two options. Its the system that’s unethical, not women’s decisions.