Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Courage or Stupidity

I'm not sure which it is, but it's one of them.

I'm going to cover a topic that is hardly ever uncontroversial. It cropped up during a broader debate about freedom of choice (funnily enough it began on the topic of shops being open in the US during their Thanksgiving holiday). As soon as you say "pro-choice" the A word crops up. So, as I said, I'm not afraid, but I may just be out of my mind to talk about it. Here goes anyway.

I'll begin by telling you that you're all wrong. This is, after all, my opinion, so that would seem to me appropriate, but specifically if you are opposed to abortion based on a long list of religious grounds (we've heard them all) I think you are wrong, simply because I don't share your religious beliefs, and if you are cavalier about abortion, I think you are wrong too, because I don't approve of it.

What's important here is that what I disapprove of is completely irrelevant. It's nothing to do with me. That's what pro-choice means. It doesn't mean pro-abortion. I hate abortion. I hate that it ever happens to a healthy child, that it ever needs to happen, or that it is a choice people make. But it's none of my damn business.

I find those who call themselves pro-life to be frequently liars and hypocrites. There are exceptions, obviously, but a large number (at least of those with lots to say about it) of those in the US, notably, who insist on every child conceived to be born, are the exact same people who don't believe he deserves health care, an education, or personal safety once he arrives. They would also have no problem later sending him off to war on political grounds. I do not respect them because they are not pro-life at all, as has been said many times, they are only pro-birth. They would not lift a finger to do anything to help that child. It might cost them money. These are the same people who talk about freedom and small government constantly, but do a complete U-turn on those ideas when it comes to women's reproductive choices. Many don't even want conraception to be available.

I find those who are cavalier about abortion to be ignorant or deliberately misleading. They talk about "just a cluster of cells" which in fact has a heartbeat, eyes, and limbs. It is not yet a viable child, but the idea that it's not alive in some sense of the word is extremely cold, and not very far removed from the mindset that it's OK to eat fish if you are a vegetarian. A fish is not a vegetable, and a fetus is not a cluster of cells.

To both of these I say, the decision to abort a child should never be taken lightly, and usually isn't. It's a heart-wrenching decision made by women who feel they have no alternative, for whatever reason. It's their body, and their child, and it is not for us to either refuse them that choice, or push for it.

If you want my honest opinion, I think a lot of people should not have children. They are horrible people, they make terrible parents, they create another generation of horrible people, and it's all just a massive burden on society. But even they have the right to choose. I don't have to like their choices - and I don't. I think they should be realistic about their inability to raise children, and get themselves sterilized. But they aren't realistic, or they wouldn't be the way they are, so that's not a choice they will make, and it's nobody else's right to ask them to.

Do you see the important difference here? I can have all sorts of opinions, and still understand that's all it is. My opinion. I can share it, but not insist on anyone liking it, agreeing with it, or even giving it the time of day.

And that, right there, is because of freedom of speech.

All these freedoms, all this choice. What a luxury.

If I had lived just 200 years ago, or if I lived in other parts of the world, I would not have all this freedom, and I could have been ignorant of my good fortune, but I'm always acutely aware of it, and very grateful for it. I've missed out on a few things because of ignorance, but never been prevented or forced to do anything. We are so lucky to have freedom of choice and we cannot corrupt that. We cannot go backwards.

We must be careful. We must never take freedom of choice for granted.

If we want pro-choice, and I believe we do, it must be a real choice. It must be possible to choose either way and not be persecuted for it. EITHER WAY.

That means that there must be support available for women who choose not to abort.

Yes, I'm well aware that there are women out there who have babies to avoid eviction, to get welfare, to get cheap housing, and all that. There will always be that "type" who take advantage of the system.

But we do not make a better world by punishing all women who are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Ever made a mistake? Of course you have.

So. Here's my advice. If you think abortion should never happen, then become social activists so that it's never necessary. Otherwise shut the fuck up.


  1. Abortion is not for me, but it is not my decision to make for others. And I also belive in the never say never idea. I refused tests they wanted to do when I was pregnant with Malcolm because the end result wasn't going to matter to me. But there is at least one condition I would likely choose abortion if I had known any of my children would be born with it. Thankfully it was not a choice I had to make.

  2. I am pro-life but I'm not with the crazies because they are crazy. And you are absolutely right about some of those crazies being unreasonable and insensitive and unreasonable. They are against people being generationally on welfare--I would say that everyone is against that. But here's the thing, unless you have something constructive to say, such as how to fix it and how to solve it, then please, please, please, please, be quiet.

  3. Not 'stupid' at all, not by any means. As anyone who seeks to get through life without doing any harm, the subject of abortion is one that does require a lot of introspection. It may never be an appropriate choice for "me," but there are those for whom it is, and has been, a necessary choice. After talking with more than one or two such people, it is a soul-wrenching decision to be placed into making that choice in their life. (And we lightly wonder here about the effects of trauma..?)

    You mention 'system' here and that is a BIG player in a lot of this--religious systems, economic/money systems, you name it. Society has 'awakened' the idea that punishing life [for being here] is not a good ideal to carry forward. As long as there is money involved (in MY humble opinion), we have a long way to go to be "pro" anything (i.e., "proactive"). Not while there is so much man-made struggle going on. ~ Blessings!

  4. I am pro choice in the exact same way you are, Melanie. I have no business making that choice for others and they have no business making that choice for me. The children that are born should have medical care, food, shelter and education - providing those things when the parents can't is good for our society at large. Women who choose to end pregnancies (for whatever reason) should have access to good medical care. IMHO, this is part of the definition of a civilized society.

  5. Of course. And what is so courageous? People might get mad at you? Did this one years ago.