The two sides in the abortion debate
Posted by Catherine

As everyone knows, there are two “sides” in the abortion debate – pro-life and pro-choice.  Yet when I look at the issue, the reality, of abortion, those are not the two sides I see.  What I see are the women who get pregnant in circumstances where that pregnancy is viewed by others, primarily, as a “problem” that needs to be solved, and on the other people who have never been in such a situation and who feel that abortion is wrong, incomprehensibly wrong, the killing of a tiny human being.

Looked at for what it is in itself, outside of the social/emotional situation, abortion is of course horrific.  We who have been through it are in the best position to know that.  When I look at the model of the 12 week old foetus, the age of my second baby who was aborted, I cannot believe it… Like so many other people, incredibly, I did not know that, I did not know that it looked like a baby.  Killing that tiny person, so intimately related to me, is an act of such horror and barbarity that I want to run into abortion clinics, kick their death-dealing equipment to the ground, pound my fists on the wall, scream…

What I can tell you, though, is that no-one will listen, no-one will hear what I am saying.  The police will be called, I will be treated as a deranged woman disturbing the peace.  And the reason no-one will listen is because… no-one is listening to women, at any stage of this barbarous mockery of healthcare.  Were they listening when I was pregnant, so young, so naive, so desirous of providing the right circumstances for my child, after all the childhood suffering I had known myself?  Were they listening when they asked me if I wanted an abortion and I said yes?  If they had been listening, they would have heard what the yes really meant: no, I want my baby; but I want support and welcome and security for my child.  Abortion was presented to me, as it ALWAYS is, as a responsible solution, the solution that would get everyone out of the mess.  I think I knew somewhere that it would kill me as well as the little person whom I was longing to love.  But, like a good little soldier, I believed I had to do this, had to sacrifice hopes and dreams and love for the sake of… for the sake of?  For the sake of avoiding suffering.  The final irony, for life since has been nothing but suffering, of the kind that one would not wish upon a worst enemy.

I have a little one in my life now, an adopted boy.  We laugh together, share cuddles, yesterday he said to me “You’re a lovely mummy!” What was I so scared of in motherhood, what was my terrible fear that my world told me would be resolved by abortion?  Whatever it was, abortion was an obscene lie, an unjustifiable act of homicide perpetrated against my child, but also against me.  None of this I knew, really.   I was so young, so caught in emotions, so unsupported.  I was also someone of high ideals, great desires for good… hideously, that too became part of the abortion-think.  The circumstances had to be right for the child.  The pressing reality of love, of life, that had already rooted itself in my body was attended to by nobody.  And I was too fearful and too pressured to be able to attend to it myself.

Each abortion story is unique.  But they all share a common theme.  The women having abortions are not monsters, cold, calculating murderesses.  They are human beings, ordinary, frail human beings caught up in a great societal deadlock that presents abortion as a solution – a final solution – to their unwelcomed pregnancy.  Women being women, they feel they have to sacrifice themselves for the good of others.  So often that is how it is.  The vision of the selfish good time girl is far removed from the standard reality.  Really I would like those involved in fighting abortion to see and understand this reality, and the impossible double bind in which so many women are held since the legalisation and ready availability of abortion.

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