Thursday, October 11, 2012

Abortion and shame

I've been meaning to write something about abortion pretty much since I started this blog, but I've been apprehensive about publicly writing things that I know are likely to be even more controversial than what I usually write about. However, I recently watched this TEDx talk by Leslie Cannold, and am feeling motivated to speak out.

More details on why I am firmly pro-choice will come in a later post, but for now, this is what I need to say:

I have never had an abortion, but I could have. I have, partly through care, and partly through luck, never been in the position where I had to decide what to do with an unplanned pregnancy.

If you have had an abortion, I do not judge you. I trust that you made the best choice given your circumstances, and that's all that matters. Your reasons were good enough, because it is your life and your body. There should be no shame in your decision.

If you judge women who have had abortions badly, judge me too. I haven't had an abortion, but I could have had one, had circumstances been different, and might still, depending on future circumstance. If this information changes your opinion of me, I want you to consider this: one third of Australian women will have an abortion in their lifetimes. Many of those who have abortions are pro-life, yet, when faced with the decision themselves, find ways of justifying their need, while continuing to deny that other women feel just as justified in their abortions. If one third of women have abortions, how many more would have one, except they are lucky enough to never find themselves having an unwanted pregnancy, or a wanted pregnancy with something terribly wrong?

If you judge women who have had abortions badly, think of who you are judging, because chances are that that group of "baby killing" women includes women you love, who suffer silently, fearing how you and others would react if they knew.

I refuse to be ashamed of the fact that one day, I may need an abortion. I refuse to stand by as shame is heaped upon my fellow women for utilizing a medical procedure which, along with contraception (which is not perfect), is absolutely essential for allowing women the opportunity to participate in society on a more equal footing with men.

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