Today on Twitter I was accused of being immoral as I am Pro Choice. So, as it's difficult to squeeze anything like as much indignant bile into 140 characters, I'll do it here.
Before I continue, let me make it crystal clear that I DO NOT like the thought of abortions. I am, however, a pragmatist and I recognise that no amount of legislation, nor rabid bible thumping will change that. I should also state that I am in the UK, not America where the issue has reached such ludicrous levels that several abortion clinic staff have been murdered. You might think I have no right to opine as I'm not in America. Well, fair enough, but I'm going to anyway, so kindly hush and let me type!
Right now, if a woman decides, for whatever reason, that she needs to seek an abortion she is able to. This will then be undertaken with the help of trained professionals who will make the procedure as safe and painless as possible. Yes, I know it's not safe for the prospective baby but I'm talking generally, as in for the woman involved – and it's the woman the Pro Life brigade often forget.
If you manage to make abortions illegal that woman will most likely still seek out an abortion but instead of having access to safe, clean and reliable help from professionals, she is going to be forced to find other methods. Some of these are, frankly, appalling.
She may seek out a 'backstreet abortion' where an untrained practitioner working in unhygienic conditions will use various dubious ways to induce the termination. This may be by injecting poisons, using apparatus to dislodge the foetus and other such methods. I've heard stories from the UK where metal coat hangers have been utilized to such ends. The consequences of such desperate measures does not bear thinking about.
She may decide to try to induce a miscarriage by subjecting herself to blows to the belly or attempts to harm herself in other ways likely to cause the loss of the baby. She may take 'remedies' that are poisonous to the foetus, but these can also be dangerous to the mother or fail in the abortion but result in other difficulties.
One of those, for want of a better word, attacking me today stated that abortions should be illegal and women who sought them made to feel stigmatized. I disagree, I would argue that whilst you may not like abortions it is far preferable to make them available safely undertaken by trained professionals, given they're going to happen anyway. It would be better to focus attention on improving education of contraception than demonizing the women involved, many of whom find the procedure traumatizing enough already. Pro Life advocates appear to be under the impression that abortions do not have any affect on the woman involved. This is far from always the case, with them carrying the guilt with them for life. For many women, abortions are a last, desperate resort and stigmatizing them is wholly wrong.
If that makes me immoral then so be it.
One of the interesting things I have noticed about the Pro Life lobby, certainly from those on Twitter, is that they are generally Christians. This raises an interesting issue; they claim that life is precious, a baby should not be 'murdered' yet have no problem whatsoever with worshipping a god who is credited with the following atrocities;
The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will die at birth or perish in the womb or never even be conceived. Even if your children do survive to grow up, I will take them from you. It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone. I have watched Israel become as beautiful and pleasant as Tyre. But now Israel will bring out her children to be slaughtered." O LORD, what should I request for your people? I will ask for wombs that don't give birth and breasts that give no milk. The LORD says, "All their wickedness began at Gilgal; there I began to hate them. I will drive them from my land because of their evil actions. I will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels. The people of Israel are stricken. Their roots are dried up; they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children." ~ Hosea 9:11-16 NLT
"Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple." So they began by killing the seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!" the LORD commanded. "Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they went throughout the city and did as they were told." ~ Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT
This is what the Lord of hosts has to say: 'I will punish what Amalek did to Israel when he barred his way as he was coming up from Egypt. Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.' ~ 1 Samuel 15:2-3 NAB
Doubtless there will be Christians bleating that these babies had to die. Why? They were innocent. They died because of their parents' actions, generally not bowing to this narcissistic but evidently incredibly insecure god. Oh, but I've been told they may have grown to resent god, to fight against him. This is not an excuse for infanticide; remember, god didn't think twice about hardening the heart of a Pharaoh so surely he could have influenced the babies? Surely killing them stripped them of their right to 'free will' that may have seen them accept god anyway!
No, god demanded these babies be slain to glorify him. Nothing more, nothing less and completely unforgivable to anybody but those morally bankrupt enough to excuse their god of anything, however vile.
It's interesting that many of these Pro Life Christians also seem to be under the impression that abortions are a result of atheistic thinking, and all of the immorality that apparently comes with it. The statistics would not support this claim.
According to the statistics published by Dr Micheal Brown on his Christian “Voice of Revolution” website, 43% of women seeking abortions are Protestant whilst 27% are Catholic. Another site, www.abort73.com has the figures as 37% Protestant and 28% Catholic. It doesn't take the maths genius of Stephen Hawking to see that atheists are not the majority, as they should be if they're the most 'immoral' group.
Another point; many of these Pro Life bible thumping Christians would proudly proclaim themselves patriots. If that is the case, what are the odds these are the same people who punch the air and shout “Yeeeeeeha!” at the sight of bombs falling on Islamic cities, where completely innocent people who just happen to not be Christians are blown to pieces? I've even encountered one Christian (or Orthadox Catholic as he calls himself) state with pride that he would fight for his god if there was a new Crusades.
Surely murder is murder? An innocent life is an innocent life, be it an unborn foetus or a Muslim woman pushing a pram with her baby in down the streets of Baghdad. That woman may have just as strong feelings against terrorist attacks, or her country's leaders, as the majority of the world, but she doesn't have a choice in having a 500lb lump of high explosive land on her. Yet these gung ho Christians are probably cheering her demise whilst waving their little handmade “God hates abortions” placards and berating the poor women trying to get into the clinic! To me this is hypocrisy, pure and simple.
In closing, I reiterate; abortions are going to happen whether you like it or not. I'm with you, I would rather they didn't take place, but if wishes were horses we'd not be able to move for manure. Campaign for better contraception education, I'd support you in that. Campaign for better sex education in general, count me in. Whatever you do, campaign about something you can change for the better – abortions is not one of them.