My own personal experience has rather coloured my view on abortion. In 1982, I was in a hospital side ward fighting to keep a little boy and failing, whilst the lady in the next door side ward was deliberately throwing hers away. The injustice of it all scarred me for a long time.
However, this does not make me anti-abortion as I know that there are circumstances when it is the only sensible option. What it does make me is exasperated that we focus more on whether abortion should be legal rather than educating people to not get pregnant in the first place. Yes, accidents happen. Even the most careful people can get it wrong and sometimes nature works against us. However, there are still too many unwanted pregnancies and, as every child should be really wanted, this only leaves one option. We don’t want to go back to the days of backstreet abortions and so it is right and proper that abortion is available to those who need it.
Two points though. In the old days, parents who were desperate for children but couldn’t have their own had a ready supply of children for adoption. This is not the case today. I have been watching the Monday night programme about separated parents and children and this has made me feel differently about the effects of adoption but there are many happy, healthy children who have been adopted. Children who couldn’t have good lives with their birth mother, but had good lives with parents who desperately wanted them.
Secondly, I watched the argument on the news this morning about abortion in Ireland. Someone stated that it was a breach of human rights to deny a woman an abortion. It made me wonder where the rights of the unborn child were and when they begin. My little boy was born at 24 weeks. The staff at the hospital told me there was no way he would be born viable. There was nothing available to help him when he was born and the nurse attending put him in a silver metal kidney dish and exclaimed in disgust that he was trying to breathe. I saw his tiny hand raised in the air and he wiggled his fingers as if waving. That was all I ever saw of him. I so regret that day and not demanding more of the staff there, not holding him, not preventing them from just taking him to the sluice room for ‘disposal’. Babies born at 24 weeks survive now.
Yet abortion is legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy and beyond that under certain extreme circumstances..