Pro-Thought: Jenni Thinks About Abortion

Yesterday I spoke with the SFU Lifeline Club, the pro-life (and quick to mention anti-abortion) club on campus. It really got me thinking about the issue of abortion. As a generally left-leaning person I had “decided” I was pro-choice without giving the issue much thought or learning about the issue. When speaking with the representative I noticed myself saying that, while I, MYSELF, do not think I would ever get an abortion (seen Blue Valentine? Ugh, makes me shutter just thinking about someone doing that to me)… (even if it meant dying due to medical complications), I would not want to tell other people what to do. I noticed myself thinking that there are bigger issues that deserve my attention than abortion. I noticed myself judging past abortion displays I had seen thinking, why must they be so “in your face”? I realized that those are the same things many people think about vegan outreach and animal advocacy. I realized that, much like in the factory farms where animals are murdered and tortured, many babies are aborted around the world every year. Why am I so willing to tell people how they should eat and speak out against animal suffering, when I am so scared to speak about abortion? Sometimes when I reflect on ongoing animal suffering I wish I could close all the supermarkets, stop all the slaughter houses, and make all the killing stop. I wish I could run through the streets turning people into vegans. I wish the world was different and I feel an agent pull to create this change.

The group told me that Canada is one of only a few countries in the world with no restrictions on abortion. This means that abortion can occur during any term of pregnancy. I was very shocked to hear this. I realized that I don’t know very much about abortion, on either side of the “debate”. I found myself stating that I do not know much about the potential health reasons someone would get an abortion, or any reasons for that matter.

Based on the (very little and non-researched) information I have right now I think that there should be restrictions on abortion. I do not think aborting late in the pregnancy is ok. I think that non-invasive (this might be the wrong word to use) “abortion” techniques at the very start of the abortion are not cruel (before the central nervous system has developed). I think that stem cell research is a positive thing when the cells are harvested from the umbilical cord or right after fertilization…. I think.

Reflecting on my ignorance on this matter I am asking myself the following questions:

• How do I decide what to devote my time to?

• Which causes are worthy of my voice?

I can’t possibly learn about ALL social issues in a large amount of detail (or can I? Hmmm). That being said i think I would like to know more about abortion. I am not really sure where to start…

Do you have any articles or books to recommend?

2 thoughts on “Pro-Thought: Jenni Thinks About Abortion

  1. Hi Jenni, this is a really important issue for you to educate yourself about. It is a fundamental human right for every woman to have autonomy over her own body and the freedom to make her own decision about whether or not she is ready to have a child, or wants to continue a pregnancy. The abusive ownership relationships that exist under patriarchy between us and non-human animals map closely onto the desire for and practice of external control over women’s reproductive capacities. The moral considerations of abortion really have to do with how or whether we as a society support women who are prepared and willing to have a child, and how or whether we support those women who are not. It is the belief of those who are anti-choice that an embryo has a set of rights which trump those of the woman in whom it grows. The connection between the issue of compassion for non-human animals and abortion is that an anti-choice agenda actually advocates for the subjugation of women and our reduction to the current political status of farm animals (who are forced to breed by those who claim ownership of their bodies).

  2. A is correct. The myth that Canada has no restriction on abortion is also not true. Anti-choicers will tell you a lot of lies about abortion in Canada. I know because I grew up religious, went to a religious school where I had these lies shoved down my throat from childhood only to do some actual, proper research later in life and find out that it is all bullshit. You would be hard pressed to get an abortion after a few months into a pregnancy unless it was a medical emergency and many women in certain areas of Canada struggle to have access to abortion at any point in their pregnancy. A fetus cannot take precedence over the body it lives in, the body it wouldn’t even survive without.

    Even if a woman were to have an abortion at full term without a medical reason, I support it because a.) that NEVER happens. b.) If a woman has carried a fetus to full term, and now wants an abortions, she has a good f*cking reason for wanting it. We don’t get to decide what a “good enough” reason for a woman to make a choice about her body it.

    I will never understand women who claim to be pro-choice but make statements like “I could never have an abortion myself, not even if it meant I would die due to medical complications.” a) You would actually carry a fetus to full term and give birth to a life that you don’t even want? Because you’re scared of the procedure, a procedure much less complicated and painful than birth? Somehow I think it’s more deeply rooted internalized misogyny and stigma than fear of the actual procedure. b) You wouldn’t even have an abortion to save your life? wow.

    Also, to anyone reading this: as someone who has had an abortion (and I have 0 regrets about it, it was one of the best decisions I have made for my life), and has had this discussion with multiple close friends who have also had abortions (and trust me, statistically, you do too, whether you know it or not), it’s actually super hurtful and triggering to hear someone make statements like “I personally could NEVER get an abortion.” It perpetuates stigma, whether you intend it to or not. If you are pro choice, just say so, if you could “personally never do it” that is your personal issue (one I hope you work through because it’s not healthy to feel like you could never terminate a pregnancy, even to save your life) and you should probably keep that to yourself. We are stigmatized enough, we don’t need it to come from those who claim to support our decision.

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