Trigger Warning: abortion.
Recently it seems that civil rights are regressing, evidenced by the introduction of overly strict abortion laws in Alabama with multiple other states looking to follow suit. Given my left-wing stance on most political issues it should come as no surprise that I am strongly pro-choice, however, there are a couple of arguments I regularly hear from the pro-choice group that I take issue with.
Many pro-choice people correctly point out that most abortions take place early in the pregnancy, when the child is an embryo, not a foetus. The implication here is that an embryo has a questionable status as a life form, a sentiment I take issue with as I am the sister to 7 miscarried siblings, & I have seen the devastation a miscarriage causes time & time again. Unless the people brandishing this harsh argument wish to tell everyone who has ever miscarried not to mourn, I personally feel that they should have more tact when discussing the matter.
The second argument I hear from pro-choice activists is to use disability as a justification for abortion. There are some in utero tests that can predict with relative accuracy if the child has some kind of disability, whether that be a congenital malformation or even a genetic defect. When the results of these tests are positive, some women choose to have an abortion, a choice which is theirs to make. With such poor welfare many women could simply not afford to bring up a disabled child, & other disabilities are so severe that it can be argued that the child would know nothing but pain & misery in their often shortened lives.
Unfortunately, there are some people who have used to this argument to tell disabled people, to their faces no less, that their mother should have aborted them. Of course, telling the mother they should have had an abortion is as anti-choice as telling them they shouldn’t have had one, a hypocrisy I find particularly distasteful. This argument is also completely useless when you consider that not everyone is born disabled, including yours truly. There was no way my current condition could have been predicted during pregnancy, & suggesting that when someone becomes disabled they should be put down like a horse with a broken leg is nothing short of genocide.
My biggest problem with disability being used in this manner is the implication that disabled people cannot live happy lives & only know how to suffer. I know a great many disabled people with a wide range of conditions & abilities, & I doubt many of them would consider themselves better off dead. While the life of a disabled person certainly contains its hardships & difficulties, we also know the joy of life too. It’s possible we know that joy better than someone who isn’t disabled at all. We have lives. Partners. Children. Pets. Jobs. Social lives. Hobbies. Aspirations. We go on adventures & defy the odds that are stacked against us. We fly in the face of expectation.
Bringing up a disabled child is a huge undertaking, & not everyone is in a position to be able to do that. In many cases an abortion is the right thing for both mother & child. However, disability itself being used as a justification for abortion undermines our existence and only adds to the stereotype that we are weak & helpless beings who deserve pity. Given that many become disabled later in life, it’s not like abortion would eradicate the issue anyway.
You may be wondering at this point why I’m pro-choice. It’s worth noting that while we can try to imagine how we would react in particular situations, it’s impossible to predict it accurately unless you have experienced that situation yourself, & so you’re hardly able to make a judgement.
However, the true reason I am pro-choice has nothing to do with morals or ethics. Instead, it has everything to do with reality. It doesn’t matter whether abortion is legal or not; people are going to try & abort pregnancies, & did so when abortion was illegal in this country. Allowing access to safe abortions saves lives. It also reduces the risk of irreparable damage preventing future pregnancies. If people were truly pro-life, they would value the life of the mother as much as that of the child.