Abortion – the right to decide

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Recent events have left me pondering a topic that I have tried to avoid discussing due to its controversial nature – abortion.  But, I feel I should put down some of these thoughts as it might encourage a discussion of it.

Abortion is a highly emotive topic and one that cannot be entered into lightly.  I have never had to face the issue first-hand and I really thank God that I have never been put in that position.  But I know people who have.  None of them, however, chose abortion.  I only know second-hand about their own feelings.  Since I have not known anyone personally who chose abortion, I cannot present their side.

I know women who do choose abortion have their reasons for doing so, and I know the anti-abortion activists have much to argue against in that.  However, I am not here to preach either side.  I am not the one to live with the consequences of the decision these women make.

The point I do want to make is that women shouldn’t be forced into one decision or another.  The pro-choice advocates would cheer for that, but I don’t think they get the point, either.  It seems the general public only hear about women being coerced (by various groups) into keeping their child.  They don’t hear about women who are bullied into having abortions.

Three women of my acquaintance have had to face the “choice”.  All three were in stable marriages, so the situation is rather different from the young unmarried mother.  One was much older and couldn’t face the idea of having another child late in life.  Furthermore, she was getting very sick from the pregnancy.  She didn’t know what to do and chose to wait it out.  The decision was eventually taken out of her hands when she miscarried.

The other two discovered that their foetuses had birth defects.  One was in her early twenties, the other in her late thirties.  The younger one couldn’t and wouldn’t believe the diagnosis, but the older one realised it was due to her age.  Both were very religious, though they adhered to different religions and different theological beliefs.  That may have contributed to their decision not to have an abortion.

What distinguished these two from the first one was that their doctors continually advised them to have abortions throughout the pregnancy.  They were both made to feel as if their opinions and beliefs were insignificant.  In this day and age, this is unforgivable in the medical profession.  The prognosis for the first child was extremely poor, the second barely less so, but this did not excuse the behaviour of the medical team.  By the end of the pregnancies, the doctors were forced to accept that they would be delivering either a stillborn or a child expected to die.

Both sets of parents were prepared for all eventualities.  The first was able to hold her child as he took his last breaths, the second delivered a stillborn daughter.  Neither regretted their decisions.  They were able to carry their child to term, felt all the movements the child made and developed a bond for the unborn, and then grieve a natural loss.

These women were able to stand up to their doctors and make their own decisions.  But, how many other women are coerced into having abortions?  How many of them regret it?

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