In the old days, and occasionally still, women gave birth at home with the aid of a midwife. Midwives give encouragement and support to the woman and her family, and help with the birthing process. I believe that what a woman needs when she is pregnant, to enable her to carry the pregnancy happily to term, are metaphorical midwives. These are people surrounding the woman who express happiness in what has happened and who help overcome the woman’s fears – what about her relationship, her job, her plans if she has a child now? They might also help practically and financially. In any event, their function is to see the developing baby and to welcome it into the world, along with the new mother.
What actually happened with me, as with so many others, is that I did not have a single midwife. Not one person, at any stage, who welcomed my baby and helped me see how I could give birth. Because abortion is legal and readily available, this is what I was urged to. Being young, and full of fears as well as dreams and hopes, and with a baggage of unresolved pain in regard to my own childhood, this was paramount for me. If my baby had been welcomed and a path provided to welcoming him into the world, I would have had what was needed for us both to thrive. In the absence of these midwives, tragedy could run its course.
I believe this is probably the single most important factor for the majority of women. This is the profound injustice wrought by the legalisation of abortion. Whereas some – the minority? – of women freely want and choose abortion, and want it available to them as their “right”, all the others simply do not know what abortion is or means and are caught in some inexorable trap from which they do not know how to free themselves. Someone could stop it, someone could be a midwife – even if it is only just the law itself.