You know what really annoys me about modern anti-choice rhetoric? It’s not the elevation of fetus over woman; it’s not the desire to push ‘sex-for-procreation-only’ ideals on a society that clearly doesn’t want them; it’s not the thinly veiled fear of female sexuality; it’s not even the terrifying idea that a bunch of people that I’ve never met want to dictate my sexuality and reproduction and, hence, my life. All those things really get my goat, yes. But the thing that annoys me most is the odd, but very loud implication that abortion didn’t exist before 1973. As if Roe v. Wade invented abortion.
Along those lines, anti-choicers often say that they want to “end abortion.” When I hear this, I think, “wow, they’re going to pour money into medically accurate, judgment-free, sex education and all contraceptives will be available at no cost.” Unfortunately, anti-choicers elect to ignore the myriad causes of unplanned pregnancy and reasons why women choose abortion. Therefore, their version of “abortion-free” is different from those of us who choose to live in reality. And reality is harsh, sometimes.
The reality is that abortion has existed ever since the first women in various societies figured out it could be done. Ever since it was a possibility, women have sought abortion as a means of family planning, health management and self-determination. Abortion is not always a traumatic experience. While it would be a wonderful world if abortion was never needed, the truth is that, when given the option to control their fertility, most women will take it. And for some women, that control includes abortion.
Abortion will always exist, will always be needed. There will always be fetuses with abnormalities that cannot support life outside the womb. There will always be parents who decide that they cannot raise a child with severe challenges. Human fallibility will always interfere with birth control’s proven track record. There will always be people who just don’t want children. There will always be families who decide “no more children” for an unending variety of reasons. All of these factors, and so many others, too numerous to list, mean that abortion will always exist and always be necessary.
Let’s agree to do away with the aspiration to an “abortion-free” state, country or society. Instead, let’s agree to do everything in our power to reduce the need for it. Let’s make sure that everyone has education about, and access to, all forms of birth control. Let’s make sure that people who want to parent, have the financial and societal resources to do so. Let’s make sure that women who face the awful prospect of terminating wanted pregnancies, have the safest possible procedures available to them. Let’s make sure that all women have access to the best possible medical care if they decide to terminate a pregnancy for any reason. Let’s make sure that, as much as humanly possible, abortion is chosen freely and not due to financial strain, un-addressed health issues or as a result of ignorance. Because abortion exists and always will, we need to ensure that it is accessed safely and of the freest will possible.
And that sounds like a great reality to me.