I don’t like abortion. I hate the thought that so many people who can get pregnant (remember trans men and some non-binary people can and do get pregnant) are put in a position where they have to have one. I’d love a world where abortions were very uncommon. (Whatever your view on abortion, please keep reading before you get too mad at me!)
I am firmly of the opinion that the way to limit the number of abortions is not through legislation. Legislation simply doesn’t work. In Ireland, for example, people will save up and travel to England to access an abortion. Or buy abortion pills over the Internet. Or other, unsafe, ways to have an abortion. (Would the words ‘coat hanger’ be too graphic?)
No. Legislation doesn’t work. It only causes hardship and trauma.
So, how do I propose to limit the number of abortions? Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list:
I believe contraception should be free, and freely available. So, no need for parental consent. No worrying about whether you can afford it. I believe this about all forms of contraception, as contraceptive pills don’t suit everyone, so other forms like IUDs should be free as well. And also condoms, which have the added bonus of protecting against STDs, which are on the rise in many parts of the world. Free hormonal contraception would also benefit those people who need it to treat medical conditions e.g. dysmenorrhea, PCOS, excessive menstrual bleeding etc. If contraception were free and easy to access, the number of unplanned pregnancies would reduce, and so would the number of abortions.
There’s a debate in Ireland on whether the right to abortion should be extended to those pregnancies resulting from rape. My belief is that the best way to prevent these types of abortions is to prevent rapes. No, I’m not talking about policing what people wear, how much they drink, where they go alone at night. I’m talking about taking rape victims seriously. Actually prosecuting those accused of rape. And imposing much harsher penalties on those found guilty of rape. In addition to this, the impact of ‘rape culture’ needs to be taken seriously, and all steps possible should be taken to stamp it out.
It’s a fact that ante-natal testing can lead to the abortion of those who test positive for various disabilities. The one that springs to mind is the test for Down Syndrome. I do not judge any parent that decides they don’t want all that comes with a disabled child. I do judge society as a whole though, and the ableism and lack of support from governments and other people, that leads parents to envisage a bleak future should they go ahead with the pregnancy. These types of abortions are best prevented by creating societies that cherish and support all people, no matter their level of ability.
It’s a fact that it’s harder to leave an abusive relationship if you have children. I’ve heard of cases where an abusive partner ‘tricked’ their victim into getting pregnant, often by tampering with their contraceptive pills or putting a tiny hole in a condom. Or maybe no trickery was involved, and the victim became pregnant either through coercion or plain bad luck. Many of these victims have abortions because it makes it a little easier to leave their terrible circumstances. Again, the way to limit the number of these abortions is by helping the victim, taking them seriously, providing he means for them to leave their abusive partner.
Many people simply can’t afford to have another child. They may not necessarily be living in poverty, although many are. But they may be stretched beyond their liking and cannot imagine how they would cope with another “mouth to feed”. Again, the way to lessen the number of these abortions, is to support the families involved. Generously paid maternity and paternity leave, children’s allowance payments, family friendly work practices, could all play a part in making sure families can support the number of children they find themselves with.
Some people suffer terribly during pregnancy. In Ireland, abortion is legal if the life of the mother is threatened. And rightly so. But often pregnancies can have terrible health implications even if they are not life-threatening. Personally, I have a terrible time while pregnant, being sick and losing weight for example. While my health while pregnant might not get bad enough that I’d consider an abortion, it might. I simply don’t know. And if a pregnant person doesn’t want to go through with their pregnancy due to bad health, it should be their choice. Again, free and easy access to contraception may prevent a few of these types of abortions.
Again, the examples I’ve given above are only a few ways we could work to limit the number of abortions. And even if my dreams came true and society changes the way I want, there will still be a number of people who will chose to have abortions. We dont need to know why, they are entitled to make their own decisions and be supported.
And so, even though I don’t like abortions and would like to see the numbers of them decrease, I totally and utterly support the scrapping of conservative and backward legislation that aims to coerce people into continuing with unwanted pregnancies. All they do is lead to suffering.
[image of a dark blue background, with the words “I want to limit the number of abortions…” in light pink.]