Tuesday 24 April 2012

Our bodies, our choice

Today we're posting a guest blog which was emailed to us by someone who has had an abortion and wanted to share her experience. We're really happy to post guest blogs so please do contact us if you're interested in writing something.

Question - are you pregnant? Yes? Proceed to next question. Question - do you have the want / need  / maturity / emotional stability / finances / time / unconditional love / appropriate, committed and willing partner to be a parent RIGHT NOW?

My answer to every part of the latter question was 'no'. Try if you will for just a second to imagine a baby being brought into the world minus some, a few, or even all of the above conditions. It's not exactly a peachy looking outcome is it?

'Maybe it would bring you both closer together? Maybe you could just make it work?' Ask any therapist, counsellor or teacher what it's like to deal with a child who wasn't wanted when they were brought into the world and raised under 'we never wanted you' conditions. 

For me, the right to choose the future of one's body and emotional stability really should be an open and shut case. I can vote and by doing so make choices concerning the running of the country. I can work and spend my money on absolutely anything I should desire. I can run for parliament. Cripes, I can even tattoo my entire body from head to toe if I want, go blonde, get a boob job and clitoral piercing then maybe change my nose to a better one. It's my body, and my choice, right?

Yet with recent events we've all been privy to, it would appear the choice I made a few years ago when I decided to terminate a pregnancy was a choice many people are working VERY hard to have removed from women. Take for example Andrew Lansley's large-scale pressure to scrutinise abortion providers.  Or Nadine Dorries' attempted amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill. Not to mention the constant threat and harassment provided by anti-abortion vigils camped outside abortion providers. And it's the 21st Century in case you'd forgotten.

Forgive my last sardonic sentence. Yet I can only talk from my perspective. And, as a happy and contented 30 year old woman, perhaps only just now approaching the kind of emotional maturity (if you're shocked by this, wise up - not every woman is born an 'Earth Mother' insistent on giving birth at age 'puberty') required to raise an entire human being for an extremely large section of my life, I'd urge anyone to find a reason as to why I should have done things any differently. FYI I've checked with my parents; they haven't mourned any hypothetical grandchildren just yet.

I use the term 'child' above. I don't wish to get too scientific and technical here, but let's just double check the termination terminology.  A child is a toddler or older. A child is older than a baby. A baby is only a 'baby' after it has left its mother's body during birth. Prior to birth it is a fetus from 8 to 40 weeks gestation. Prior to that, it is an embryo. A group of cells gestating inside a woman's body.

I didn't kill a child. There wasn't a fully grown toddler with a voice and a preference on colour, breakfast cereal, smell, TV channel, inside my uterus. I terminated a pregnancy. It was a yes / no situation and I chose 'no'. And in doing so, I also terminated a situation which had the potential to be extremely adverse for not just me, but indeed many people around me.

If you're going to talk about saving lives, this choice probably saved a fair few from unfavourable conditions; my (now ex) partner's, my parents', my work colleagues, my friends, and - call me selfish if you must - mine. These are all the people who would have had to have dealt with me and my unwanted pregnancy, day in, day out. Refer back to paragraph 3 for notes on the professionals who deal with unwanted babies. They also deal with families of unwanted babies in their droves, too.

I've suffered no physical nor emotional repercussions as a result of my choice. I wake up every day a happy camper. I don't shudder with shame, fear or guilt at the sight of baby clothing. I can handle Christmas thank you very much, and I am very comfortable in the knowledge I made an informed choice on a medical matter. I didn't need nor want to be counselled because for me there was nothing to explore.

I wanted to keep this simple, as goodness knows - to me - it really is a simple matter. A woman's body is entirely that; a woman's. Not a man's. Not a counsellor's. Not any religion's or state's. Our bodies, our choice. Trust women and stop harassing us.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately guilt-tripping is too much fun for some people - and contrived outrage conflating abortion with murder has proved to be a profitable rallying tool for the religious right. I fear they'll continue to harrass women whilst this remains true.