Freedom of choice: The Main Point Of Abortion Reform

While the western world grapples with abortion, there’s one major point that seems poorly discussed. The freedom of choice.

Freedom is what we have always fought for. The freedom to be who we are, the freedom to say what we want and most of all the freedom to do what we want. Indeed, there are actions we shouldn’t allow, and these are always the kind of actions that affect others. We shouldn’t always allow murder, we shouldn’t always allow verbal assault and we shouldn’t always allow anyone to control what others do. The last point is imperative here, because abortion is between the mother and the person who made her pregnant in the first place. Their choice does not affect the world, but themselves. So why can’t we give the freedom of choice to the parents?

The main argument against the right to abortion seems humane enough. Why should anyone have the right to end a human life? But why not? We are humans after all. The choices we make in our lifetime dictate every aspect of our life. Survival of the fittest, as Darwin said. Aren’t we all just a pack of intellectual animals trying to one-up each other in life’s many pleasures? The decisions we make are imperative to our survival. The careers we take, the food we eat, the people we copulate with. Our life is our responsibility. We are responsible for the choices we all make in this life.

But when a woman carries an unborn baby, her choice is invalid, simply because there are people out there who fear death. Not just their death, but the death of something that is not even theirs. A responsibility they have stolen.

Image: Kevin Butz

Many pro-lifers will shout to the rooftops that a fetus with a beating heart is living. Technically it is. But so is the woman holding it. The choice of abortion is not as clear cut as you think. The woman might die if she gives birth to the child, and so the choice seems easy to simple minds: does the woman die and the newborn baby live or does she make the harsh and human decision of aborting the potential baby? It sounds like an easy decision, but it’s not. It’s one she will live with for the rest of her life. Be thankful that no man will ever have to make that choice alone.

But what if her decision was made for her? What if she had to live out the next couple of months knowing that she will likely die in the end? What if her husband or boyfriend had to stand by her side, knowing this?

We speak of the potentials in children; that an unborn fetus might be the next child that cures cancer or solves the meaning of life. But no matter how much potential you give to it, the unborn baby is still unborn.

However, there is a potential that is better justified; the potential of the mother. Imagine the mother was a scientist on the verge of making a breakthrough on the AIDS epidemic. If she dies from childbirth, so too does her life work. Think of all the lives she could save?

The uncomfortable argument of save one/save many, though, simplifies a complex argument. It also squishes all the millions of scenarios into one easy-to-digest conundrum. How can anyone completely ban the issue of abortion when there are scenarios out there where the termination of the fetus would be beneficial?

Indeed, abortion shouldn’t be readily available like a painkiller. There must be checks and balances. And the choice must lie with those directly involved.

There are too many conundrums surrounding abortion that make it too complex to just plain ban it. Not only do women have to deal with the possibility of death or the possibility of giving birth to a rapists child, but sometimes they deal with the limited mental support to give birth in the first place. Some will say just give the baby up for adoption when it’s born, but even that can be complex. Spending months nursing a fetus to birth, feeling it’s kicks and somersaults, feeding it, aching over it. The mental strain would be painful. And yet, if they had a choice?

Being able to make the decision, being able to accept that decision, is necessary for sound mental health. The key to happiness is solving our problems and the cause of mental health is failing to solve them. Choice is important.

Women must be given the freedom to choose what happens to their own bodies, and it should be a decision not taken lightly. They should be supported, they should be given avenues to choose from, and we should be better educated to understand it.

Image: Maria Oswalt

What are we fighting for, exactly? The conservatives want to conserve their right to freedom, but then they fight against the right to abortion. What is freedom, then? Freedom seems to be the thing we allow only when it matches our values. But no-one has the same values. We all just have collective mentalities that transcend other collective mentalities.

We fight for the right to free speech, the right to religious freedom, the right to just be who we are, and yet we cannot fathom the simple right of free choice when it comes to abortion. Freedom of choice shouldn’t have limitations, unless it affects the world. As stated, abortion affects only those involved.

Abortion is the sole responsibility of the woman holding the baby and the partner who impregnated her. It’s their choice to make and yet we stop them because of our own insecurities. We see abortion as a finality and we fail to see the solution it could bring. Freedom of choice can be a shining beacon to those who need it, especially pregnant women who cannot see a way out.

And yet, here we are, saying no. Here we are thinking a fetus is more important than an aching woman who feels trapped. Here we are thinking childbirth is the greatest thing in the world, every time.

Here we are, missing the point.

Just your friendly gay man setting the record straight.

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