This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Monday, 26 November 2012

On Abortion

Back when I was in school I had a teacher who had this brilliant (hethought) argument against abortion. He said “Einstein wouldn’t have been born if his mother had aborted him. How many Einsteins would be born every day if abortion was not there?”
Sure, I thought, so you will make facilities available to those Einsteins to achieve their full potential, won’t you? I didn’t say it, though.
Another time I came across a website that claimed that abortion was some kind of racist conspiracy to wipe out non-white peoples. That ranks as another brilliant argument. Like non-white people are helped by being loaded down with children they can’t care for.
Now here’s my opinion:
Of course abortion should be freely available to any woman who wants one. Anyone opposing it has several questions to answer - and which they virtually never make even an attempt to acknowledge.
If a woman has a non-life threatening but potentially disfiguring tumour or wart, would these pro-"life" people be willing to allow her to get it removed? Of course they would. Even if it was something like an embarrassing tattoo, which was created deliberately, they would never tell her not to get it removed.
So, when she has a foetus growing in her body which, for whatever reason, she does not wish to bring into the world, what business is it of these people - what business is it of anyone but the woman herself - whether she is to abort it or not?
Then: suppose a woman wants an abortion but is prevented from having one by these people, whether they are a state or a group of people outside the direct control of the state. Will these people also undertake to care for and bring up the child, providing for all its needs, because it is in the world only because of them? Of course not.
In fact, I've rather often (in the puerile discussions on Orkut which I long since abandoned in disgust) heard the argument that women with many children are "brood sows" who "breed like flies". But if you raise the question of whether these women should be allowed to abort children they can't raise, what sort of answer do you think you'll get?
This same lot also says often that women who don’t want to get pregnant shouldn’t screw, and if they get pregnant they shouldn’t be allowed to have abortions. Carolyn has discussed this one in some detail, so I won’t repeat what she said, just mention this:
Actually, of course, women worldwide rather seldom have free sexual choice, and I don't mean rape. In many countries the decision whether to have sex is made by the man, and she doesn't have any control over whether he uses contraception. Contraception may not even be available in any form, or affordable. And in countries like Britain with spiralling teen pregnancies, the usual pregnant teenager put out for her boyfriend only because all her friends were doing it too. Is that sexual freedom at all?
Incidentally, I'm not too wild about the anti-abortion gang calling themselves "pro-life". Whose life? Not the mother's! 
In this country abortion, while not cheap, is available on demand. It still hasn't stopped illegal backyard abortions, but the number of those has stayed much lower than what they would have been otherwise. Nobody, but nobody, will ever be able to make a case for banning abortion here. 

1 comment:

  1. Millions of people are born each day who could become either Einstein or a serial killer, depending on the kind of environment we provide for them. As you alluded to, this is a point not made by the self-called pro-lifers.