Monday, January 22, 2007

Why I am Pro-Choice

Blog For Choice Day Let's be clear that being pro-choice does not mean being pro-abortion. The fact is, abortion is a trauma for those involved. I wouldn't wish abortion on anyone - but I recognize that in some circumstances it is the best choice available.

That said, I don't consider abortion to be a problem. It is a symptom - a response to a problem. The real problem is unwanted pregnancy.

So, rather than expending so much energy fighting against a symptom and its treatement, wouldn't it be better to go after the cause to prevent the question of abortion from even having to come up?

There are some factors have been shown to be dominant in the occurrence of unwanted pregnancies:
  • Poverty
  • Education
  • Access to contraception
  • Patriarchy
So, the best ways to "stop abortion" would be to end poverty, provide good education for all, ensure ready access to contraception (and education on its use) for everyone, and to bring an end to the oppressive culture of patriarchy that dominates our world.

These are the only "pro-life" tactics that actually serve the well-being of life.

Alternatively, we could just continue to fight over the symptom, thereby ensuring that women will continue to die in botched illegal abortions and that children will continue to be born into unwanted situations (with all the neglect and abuse that comes out of that). Along with a host of other negative impacts of our failure to address the root causes.

I guess I should actually address the question of Blog For Choice Day: Why I am pro-choice.

For me, it comes down to the basic question of "How can we minimize overall harm?" While I would much prefer to avoid abortion, I recognize that there are cases where it is the appropriate choice. I also recognize that the person in the best position to make that choice is the woman who is pregnant.

It is she who has, by far, the most at stake in the decision. It is her body that will either have to carry the pregnancy or experience the trauma of an abortion. It is her life that has already been the most affected and probably transformed by the unwanted pregnancy. It is she who will have to live with the child if she keeps it, the consequences to her of carrying a child and giving it away if she gives it up for adoption, or the trauma of the abortion if she chooses to end the pregnancy.

Whatever she chooses will shape the rest of her life to an extent far beyond the impact it might have on anyone else. So, the decision should rest with her.

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