Remarks on abortion

Given how this is a polarising topic in politics at the moment, I feel it to be important to address this issue. I feel that as soon as debate moves to whether or not it should be outlawed, the point has already been tragically missed.

It is important to distinguish between things people do because they, in the strict sense, want to, and those which they desperately resort to. Don’t get me wrong, I believe every time abortion is resorted to be inherently a tragic scenario, and am in support of ways to reduce this. I am not, however, in support of outlawing or censoring the process, and I feel that there is a pervasive tendency to harmfully oversimplify the responsibility for such scenarios.

It is all too easy to place the blame in the arms of the pregnant, who is driven between a rock and a hard place, for choosing the hard place without questioning whether anything can be done to make the rock actually scalable, or why she was driven there in the first place. I do not feel that it is reasonable in all or even most cases to consider the pregnant solely the villain rather than in some senses a victim of the situation.

(This is leaving medical emergencies out of it. I feel that the course of action there, as with any medical emergency, ought be blatantly obvious to anyone who cares about the principle of the matter.)

So if you wish to reduce rates of abortion, which is a reasonable desire in itself, as with any desire to avoid unnecessary tragedy, what should you be doing?

  1. Reduce occurance of situations which might necessitate it in the first place. Due to the variety of circumstances, no one approach will necessarily be sufficient. Working to reduce rape, increase availability of contraception and increase awareness of the risks of (unprotected) sex will all contribute to this. Remember that if you are truly trying to reduce this, the approach cannot rely on assuming everyone sticking to a given religious code.
  1. Reduce the need to resort to such measures in any situation. For example, working to ensure that teenage pregnancies will not be shunned, disowned, bullied or placed at an academic or career disadvantage, and will have the resources to pull through. Parts of this, by the way, begin in your own homes.

Whilst it would be going too far in the opposite direction to say that, say, people who penalise teenage pregnancies ought to regard themselves as fully culpable for many abortions, it isn’t as far from the truth than a lot of people seem to like to think. I don’t know if it’s too skeptical to suggest that many of the claims propogated here originate from those without uteri who do not like to think of where they are themselves culpable in this regard, but there may be some truth in that.