Abortion In Alabama
It has always been a controversial subject but right now abortion is one hot topic. A topic that can’t be ignored. On Tuesday night (14 May), the state of Alabama passed the most restrictive law on abortion among all the states that currently ban it. If the ban is signed by law (which looks likely), abortion in Alabama will be illegal in nearly all circumstances, inclusive of rape and incest. There will only be one reason a woman will be able to choose a termination. That is if her life is in severe danger by carrying the child. Yesterday, Missouri followed suit. If the bill in Missouri is signed into law, it will be illegal for a woman to seek an abortion at all past the eight week mark.
Before I say where I stand on this issue, I would like to point out that no one has the right to tell anyone, male or female what to do with their body. People of course are entitled to their own opinions but that is as far as it should go. When we come into this world and when we leave, our body is the only true thing that we own. So, how dare anyone assume the right to advise, never mind legislate, what one can do, or should do, with it.
A Serious Decision
That aside, the act of abortion itself should be openly discussed. Personally, I believe that every woman has the right to choose whether or not she wants to carry a pregnancy to full term. Forcing a woman to carry and give birth to a baby she does not want is no good for anyone. With the terrifying suicide and mental health statistics we are seeing at the moment, surely people can see the damage this could do. Both to the mother who isn’t yet ready or able to be a good mum, and the father who may also not be ready. Also, no child should ever be born to parents who do not want them.
On the other hand, some might argue they will learn to love the child and that is true, they might, but what if they don’t? Three lives messed up because someone made a law saying they had no right to choose. Maybe even more lives than just three. Who knows? That said, I by no means think that the decision to have an abortion should be taken lightly. And it most certainly should not be used as a form of contraception. The truth is, sometimes mistakes happen, and we as women need to know that if required, we can rectify that mistake.
Freak Yourself Out
As an aside, have you read Freakonomics yet? There is a fascinating chapter on the effects of abortion on society which is a real eye-opener. If a whole economics book seems a little daunting, the authors can be found giving talks on Youtube.
The decision to have an abortion would be very harrowing for the majority of women. I think adding to her stress by telling her she can’t do anything about it is just asking for trouble. Many say abortion is okay if the woman is raped or if incest has occurred. I think it should be okay to choose what is right for you full stop. Whatever the reason, be it a broken condom, a drunken one-night stand, failed birth control pill or more upsetting things like rape and incest, women, in my opinion, should have the right to choose.
I do feel some laws need to be in place, of course, and they are. Currently, nations that allow abortion only do so up to a certain point in the pregnancy. Maybe there is even a case for lowering this point. But at the end of the day, we need to trust the medical professionals who believe that the times they set in place are fair and correct.
When I was 25, old enough to “know better” I had an abortion. It was the single hardest decision I have ever had to make. Still to this day when I think about it I could cry, but I don’t regret doing what needed to be done. Absolutely not. I was pregnant by mistake. It was my mistake yes, but I was pregnant all the same. As a single girl, living in rented accommodation I wasn’t even sure of what I was doing in life.
Seeking an Alternative
The only thing I was sure of was that I was not ready to be a mother. I cried when I found out I was pregnant; cried when I decided to have an abortion; cried when I had counseling about the abortion, when I went through with the abortion and cried afterwards too. It was so upsetting, but there was never one time when I thought I was making a mistake. If, at this difficult time in my life, I lived in a country that repressed my right to choose I would have been forced to seek help elsewhere. If I were seeking an abortion in Alabama, I would have had to go abroad, to a country that allowed it. More disturbingly, if I couldn’t afford that, I would have had to seek an illegal and unsafe procedure closer to home.
Thankfully I lived in a civilized country that respected my rights. Professionals counseled me and helped without passing judgement. For that I will always be thankful. I hope that every woman finding themselves in this situation, for whatever reason, can find the help that they so desperately need. I think it is a travesty that in this day and age, bills like this are being suggested and even passed. It’s time to stand up for our rights as human beings. Everyone should be able to decide what to do with the one thing they truly own.