Sunday, April 19, 2009

The old abortion debate

Oddly enough, I've found myself becoming simultaneously both more pro-choice and more pro-life than I was before. Why is this?

I have always described myself as 'pro-life in theory, pro-choice in practice'. What I mean by this is that whilst, to me, the ending of a child's life before it has begun is theoretically abhorrent, I also live in the real world and recognise that easy access to free, safe, legal abortion is absolutely necessary to ensure women's freedom. In places where this is not available, women live in dreadful circumstances. I am not going to detail those here, it's all been done elsewhere.

I have become more pro-life in that I do not understand how, after seeing scan pictures (as early as 8 weeks) and feeling movements (as early as 16 weeks) any woman could possibly contemplate the ending of that little, helpless life inside her (abortion in this country is legal up to 24 weeks). I suppose that the vast majority of terminations happen much earlier than this and that someone who was going to have one would not have a scan or reach the stage where she felt movements, but the overwhelming urge I have to protect the fetus inside me really makes me question how anyone could choose to terminate a pregnancy.

On the other hand, this pregnancy is the single biggest upheaval I've experienced in my life. I was dreadfully sick in the early stages and am sufferering just as badly in the late stages with heartburn. I've had interrupted sleep throughout the last 7 months, constipation, alarming mood swings, swollen ankles and tiredness at all sorts of strange times. It is no exaggeration that a pregnancy takes over your entire body and by extension your whole life: I no longer play in my music group due to exhaustion, I can't travel easily, various fun activities (e.g. rollercoasters, certain sports) are off-limits and I've had to cut out some of my favourite foods, such as mouldy cheeses (a big deal for a vegetarian!!). This is before we even come to the pain and trauma of the birth, and the trials and responsiblities of being a parent. As strongly as I feel about fetal rights, I now feel more strongly than ever that no woman should ever, ever be forced to go through what I've been going through or am about to experience - and I'm having a fairly straightforward preganancy! So yes, I could say that I'm more pro-choice these days.

And that is how I come to be both more pro-life and more pro-choice as a result of experiencing pregnancy for myself. Thank you and good night.


No comments:

Post a Comment