Oh boy what an emotive subject this one is!
I think it is fair that I lay out my views on abortion at the start. Hopefully they’ll be clear but I already suspect that someone will see something in the next paragraph that they can use to call me inconsistent or bigoted or immoral, let’s see.
I am pro choice but I am not pro abortion. I think a world in which abortion is never an option is a better world. However, I do not subscribe to the view that restricting access to abortion is the way to achieve that. My view is that an environment where access to education, health and whatever else is necessary so that an abortion never needs to happen is how that goal is met. When a woman gets to the point that abortion is an option then it means that something else has not gone right and removing abortion as an option should never be considered as the appropriate way to fix that. I refuse to hold judgement over any woman who finds herself in that situation and I will defend her right to have an abortion.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get to the meat…
New president Donald Trump has signed a ban on aid money going to international groups who provide any information on abortions, not just those that get involved in providing them; they can’t even talk about abortion.
The recipients of this aid are now gagged with respect to abortion information. This is precisely why I oppose religiously motivated morality. Don’t like something? Then prohibit everybody from being able to have anything to do with it. That’s nuts, but not the subject of this post.
In an ideal world, contraception would be equally available to all citizens and there would never be a case when a woman finds herself unwillingly pregnant. This isn’t the case though. Rural areas don’t have easy access to contraception. Rural areas are also the poorest areas, so a woman who finds herself pregnant is more likely to be part of a family which can ill afford another mouth to feed. Is reducing the chance of her having a safe and legal abortion the right option here? A woman in a poor, large rural family is more likely to find herself unwillingly pregnant. She’ll also be more likely to seek an abortion than her relatively wealthier city dwelling fellow citizens. Where is the justice in mandating that she, her family, her children and her community all must bear the cost? I don’t just mean financial.
This is precisely the scenario where a desperate woman will seek out the most convenient abortion she can. If you remove the safe option through aid banning, you effectively force her into an illegal and less safe one. A dead woman is of no use to her family.
Among my facebook friends is a very vocal Christian who I’ve known since school. Like most of my friends from that era, she has retained her faith and it is very literal. She is rabidly against abortion and in her defence of this action by Trump she has used the phrase ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. I’m not sure which is the first wrong she is referring to, but it’s clear the second wrong is the act of abortion. I argue that in this situation the woman taking home a baby to a large and poor family and increasing their level of poverty is also wrong. There is no ‘right’ solution here, every option is ‘wrong’. Yes I am sad that a woman has felt the need to seek an abortion, I am pretty sure she is too; there is no joy in this scenario. If the alternative was better she would not be considering abortion.
The reason the woman is seeking an abortion is because she knows it’s worth it over the alternative. It is the utmost arrogance to decry her actions as morally reprehensible from the comfort of another country where the level of education, medical care and contraception are better in every conceivable way.
In checking facts about Mexico, I was surprised to read that contraception is used by about 70% of women in Mexico (http://www.d.umn.edu/~lars1521/BC&Mexico.htm). I understand that Catholicism is the dominant religion, and therefore that means that contraception is shunned doesn’t it? Well apparently not. Adherence to Catholicism is declining and commitment to contraception by those Catholics is very low (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/10/a-snapshot-of-catholics-in-mexico-pope-francis-next-stop/).
The state of women’s health regards to childbirth in South America and the Caribbean is depressing (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673241/), restricting abortion does not solve it, it exacerbates it. In this action, Trump has condemned thousands to greater poverty and health risks and criminalized those who work hard to against poverty and illiteracy.