Getting to the real question about life (Reflections on the abortion debate part 3)

A serious part of the abortion debate is to do with how people who are put through horrendous suffering are looked after. The difficult cases include:

–          The Rape/abuse victim who s faced with the horrendous trauma of carrying a baby resulting from violence done to them.

–          The mum whose own life is being put at risk by them carrying a baby to term.

These are difficult situations but they are made all the more difficult and complicated by being brought into the debate about “choice.” Vulnerable and hurting people are having their pain used to cloud the discussion about something else.

As Stephen Kneale has argued here, that the majority of cases are not ‘hard cases.’[1] As he points out, making policy/law by starting with the hard cases and exceptions is rarely a helpful way to do things. So, if the majority of abortions are about whether or not either a woman independently or more precisely, a woman in conjunction with medical professionals can choose to end a pregnancy, then that’s the issue we should be dealing with.

Then, we must focus hard on the all important question.  In making that decision to terminate a pregnancy, whose body are they exercising control over? If it is their own body, then you might conclude that they should have that choice.

However, if we are dealing with a human life, then the question is “Who has the right to end that life?”  It is not about what control someone has over their own body but what control they have over another’s body.

Stephen also pushes hard at the point that the motive for abortion laws is essentially a selfish one. I also want to suggest that it is a selfish one based on a lie. Who really benefits from abortion? Let’s be honest, it is not the women who are convinced, cajoled and emotionally manipulated into thinking that this is the right and good choice. It is those in positions of power.

–          Abortion means that powerful men can take advantage of vulnerable women and then quietly get rid of the inconvenient consequence

–          Abortion means that women who are needed for economic productivity working in factories, schools and hospitals can be kept economically productive

Those two points are the inconvenient truth that we are not meant to hear. Abortion was never ever about the needs of women.  It is about he selfish needs of others.  When a woman carries the emotional trauma or the physical effects of an abortion in later years, the politicians and journalists who campaigned for this “right” will be nowhere to be seen.

So, we need to get back to what this is really about.

  1. There are lives, young, vulnerable lives that need protecting
  2. There are also other vulnerable, precious lives, those belonging to those who are the victims of abuse – how do we best protect and look after them.

Put in those terms, I submit that abortion is not the answer to either priority.

[1] A quick online search suggests that about 1.5% of cases are related to rape or incest.