In #ShoutYourAbortion: Why it’s more important now than ever, Jane Caro is engaged in normalising abortion without ever considering the arguments against it. She begins:
Even though abortion was a crime in NSW — as it still is today — I had no trouble getting two medicos to agree that having the baby would be dangerous for my mental health, and I had the termination when I was about six weeks along.
In other words, they lied. Further, abortion was effectively illegal in name only; in practice, it was easily available because you could easily find doctors prepared to lie about the mental health of the mother.
When I woke from the anaesthetic, I felt nothing but relief. While I had been pregnant, I felt that this event had occurred to my body — but not to me. Staring at the pressed metal ceiling of the recovery room, I felt I had once again returned to being myself.
Amazingly, the act of getting pregnant as opposed to the act of sexual intercourse was an event that happened to your body but not to you. How very very strange. We will return to this soon.
I did not regret my decision then and I have never regretted it since.
How could I regret it? If I’d had that baby, I would never have had my two much-wanted and much-loved daughters a few years later. One door closes, as they say, and another door opens.
Imagine if she simply had the child and immediately abandoned it to die of exposure in the woods. How could she regret it if it lead to her then having “her much-wanted and love daughters a few years later”? One of the instructive things about her article is how clearly it illustrates that the issue of abortion, for women such as Caro, has nothing to do with a child. It just doesn’t. There is not even an inkling of thought that she ended the life of her son or daughter when it was most vulnerable, or that her “much-wanted and much-loved” daughters were robbed of their sibling…by their mother! It is always and only about a pregnant women. There is no purported clash of interests or rights. No actual maternal obligation of a mother to her child. There is nothing but an individual pregnant women’s particular interests at that time. Nothing at all more than that. Nothing at all to be defended so far as it involves a helpless child in utero.
terminating an unwanted pregnancy is not something that only happens to not-very-nice-women who you never meet in polite society.
Whoever imagined that it was?
Abortion is common — especially, according to a new study, among religious women. It is so common, in fact, that if you are a person with rigid views on abortion, someone in your life is probably lying to you about having had one (I am looking at you, religious leaders including Catholic priests).
This, I fear, is an argument without a point. The abandoning of newborns in ancient Rome was also ‘common’, even among pagan women I dare say, but what does this tell us about the rightness or wrongness of the practice of abandoning newborns so that they die of exposure? Nothing at all.
What the so-called right-to-lifers appear not to understand is that abortion is a part of women’s lives. It always has been, it always will be, whether it is legal or not.
Whether it is moral or not, too? I guess so. Just as the deliberate exposure of unwanted children was a part of ‘women’s lives’ in ancient Rome too. Should the early Christians have simply accepted this practice rather than opposed it, morally and politically, simply because it was a ‘part of women’s lives’?
How very big of him, a celibate man, to condescend to forgive women who have committed the “sin” of refusing to bear a child they do not feel able to parent.
Arguments do not have testicles.
Abortion and the fear of unwanted pregnancy, frankly, is a normal — if not very pleasant — part of many women’s lives.
Well, well, well, the faint flicker of a conscience.
Shaming women for seeking a termination, whatever the reason, keeps us silent, and that silence perpetuates the cycle of shame.
Because what we cannot, simply cannot, suffer, is feeling ashamed about killing our children in utero ‘for whatever reason’. That would be a grave injustice. Possibly the greatest.
Countries with very restrictive abortion laws — such as Chile, Brazil, Poland and Ireland — have higher levels of maternal mortality than those that do not.
Sorry, no they don’t, Poland has a lower maternal morality rate than Australia, 5 vs 6 per 100,000 live births, while Ireland’s is 8, and these are the lowest rates in the world. There is simply no evidence of there being a relationship, correlative or causative, between restrictive abortion laws and high maternal mortality rates.
Mind you, I sometimes wonder whether right-to-lifers really care about saving lives at all.
It seems they are much more interested in using pregnancy, particularly the unwanted kind, as a way of controlling women and limiting their rights, liberty and opportunity. They seem to see a baby as punishment for having sex.
Caro does seems to like engaging in a little ‘shaming’ herself even if it involves peddling nothing more than a smear, but rather than just conjuring these smears out of her fevered imagination, she might simply apprise herself of the work of groups like Sisters of Life.
Some, of course, believe their god has implanted a child in a woman’s womb and so see her as nothing more than a vessel. Ignore (if you can) how intensely creepy that is, because to force a woman to carry a child to term against her will is to colonise her body.
Just bizarre. Only a few minutes earlier Caro was arguing that the consequence of falling pregnant was some how separate from the act of sexual intercourse, that falling pregnant was something that happened to her body but not to ‘her’. It is as if she believes that simply not willing getting pregnant even as she wills and performs the act of sexual intercourse is actually decisive in the matter. If there was a greater disjunction between reality and wishful thinking one would be hard pressed to find one, and yet she wants to argue that ‘some’ anti-abortionists, whoever these ‘some’ are, purportedly believe that women are ‘no more’ than vessels because they “believe their god has implanted a child in a woman’s womb”. Is this an allusion to Mary and the Virgin Birth? Or is Caro suggesting that ‘some’ believe that the conception of a child generally happens through an act of God? Who knows? But if the allusion is indeed to Mary it’s clear she is not at all familiar with the story, given that Mary is approached before falling pregnant and willingly accepts what is to happen to her. But let’s leave her smears and ignorance to one side, as hard as that is; what is particularly instructive here is her language, namely, the claim that prohibiting a mother from killing her child in utero, or at least from soliciting its death by a doctor, and obliging her to proceed to term, is to ‘colonise’ her body. Now, how does obliging a mother to refrain from harming or killing her baby, or soliciting the same, while in utero amount to ‘colonising’ her body? If we are willing to accept that a newborn should not be deliberately harmed or killed even by its mother, how can its location, a week or a month earlier in its mother’s womb, extinguish this expectation? Further, do we also ‘colonise’ her home if we oblige her not to engage in any abuse of the newborn while in her care following birth? Caro provides no explanation. She has none.
Shout it out and help lift the shame for all the other women who have also decided that every child should be a wanted child.
By doing so you may actually save lives.
Only, that is, if you ignore, firstly, the fact that there is no correlative, let alone, any causative link between maternal mortality and free access to abortion; and secondly, that abortion, in the vast majority of cases, does not save lives at all. In fact, it involves the destruction of a human life. Although, as Caro reminds us repeatedly, this shouldn’t matter because these children are unwanted by their mothers. And so, not only freely to be destroyed by their mothers, but proudly so.