Pro-Choice is Not Anti-Life
I’m sure you’ve heard the recent news regarding abortion in the United States and it’s legal status. Every single day, I am more and more thankful to be a Canadian woman. We truly are lucky to have the freedoms that we currently enjoy. And...lets be honest, sometimes take for granted. After all, we could lose it so easily, couldn’t we?
Abortion was not always legal in Canada. Prior to the passing of Pierre Trudeau’s Criminal Law Amendment in 1969, abortion was an offence that often ended in a jailed life sentence. His change made abortion legal, but only if approved by a three doctor panel who ruled that the pregnant woman’s life or health was at risk. It was known to be subjective. It was not perfect, but it was a step in the right direction.
Between 1969 & 1982, over 66,000 legal abortions were performed, but these were mostly in large cities and most Therapeutic Abortion Committees were not held to a specific standard. The service was not offered equally to everyone that needed it. When a woman was granted a hearing with the Committee, it would often take weeks to hear a response, of course prolonging the pregnancy. Any denials from the Committee were not allowed an appeal.
Women even began travelling to America to get abortions in private clinics. This was not cheap, but it was better then nothing. Thankfully some ripples began happening thanks to Dr. Henry Morgentaler. Look him up if you have some free time. He did a lot for the women of Canada in regards to getting their rights back. Including serving jail time after performing safe abortions for women that needed them. He helped to bring issues to the court which opened a lot of eyes.
Finally, in 1988 the Supreme Court ruled the abortion laws to be unconstitutional. They stated that the very laws themselves were in fact in violation of the Charters Rights and Freedoms which says; "Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of the person, and the right not to be deprived thereof, except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."
Abortion became a platform in the following election, but no law was made again regarding abortions.There were attempts to pass a bill, but after its publicity allegedly caused a woman’s death from a self performed home abortion, the bill was ruled against and the matter altogether dropped. No political party touched the issue again; leaving Canada with no abortion laws whatsoever.
1989 saw a new struggle as a fresh debate entered the ring. Did the father of the unborn child have any say in whether an abortion took place or not? In the Trembley vs. Daigle case, a man placed a restraining order on his girlfriend, attempting to stop her from aborting. He lost, and it was ruled that only the woman could make the choice for herself.
Today in Canada (2019), abortions are performed in public and private clinics, as well as one-third of hospitals. These are done on request with approval of no one other than the mother.
Those who choose to be part of the Pro Choice movement find themselves focusing on ensuring abortions are available to any woman that may need one. They do not necessarily plan on ever having an abortion performed themselves, but they respect that another woman might. They rally for her.
Those who take part in the wrongfully titled Pro Life movement, have expressed desire for change regarding lack of legal restrictions including how far into a pregnancy a woman can go before an abortion is no longer allowed. Most also believe that a woman must have a medical reason for obtaining the service.
There are many arguments for, and against the legality of abortions. This Mama Bear is 100% Pro-Choice. I am Pro-Do Whatever Works Best for You. No one; man, woman or government official, should have the right to tell a woman what she can do with her own body. Any authority figure with the power to make such decisions for their fellow human should instead be using that power to make sure that the women who may need an abortion service can do so safely and with the proper education provided to them. They should be taking care of all the children already born in orphanages and foster care that have no home. If Pro-Life is the way, then the focus needs to be on the life that already exists.
There are many instances where a woman may find herself in search of help regarding an unwanted pregnancy. Reasonings that have nothing to do with irresponsible promiscuity. Failed birth control. Rape. Having an abusive partner. Concerns for her own health and safety. Lack of finances. Lack of support. Lack of belief she can be the mother a child deserves. And, no desire to be a mother is also a ‘good enough‘ reason.
Most women truly believe that they are doing their best for the unborn fetus by terminating the pregnancy. They are not acting selfishly or ignorantly.
If someone is unequipped to care for and raise a child, then it is the duty of that woman to do what she believes is best for everyone involved. Whether that means aborting, or reaching out for help if she is able. It should not be a matter of politics, religion or shame. To abort a child is never an easy choice, but sometimes it is the only choice a woman has.
Whether abortion is legal or not, women will seek it out. If it is legal, women are at least able to go somewhere safe. Somewhere with policies and regulations. Somewhere with doctors that know what they are doing.
Pro Life advocates do not seem worried about the mental or financial state of the mother after the birth. They don’t bother with thoughts on whether she can support the child or not. Adoption is always an option right? As if carrying and birthing a child is no big deal. Wrong. It effects everything about a woman’s body, hormones and mind. The approximate 40 weeks of sharing your body with someone is not something to be taken lightly.
There are so many children already in the world needing parents. Do we really need more children growing up in poverty? Or on the streets? Either being effected by crime, or becoming part of it. Entering the criminal system, costing tax dollars in prison. Or in foster homes, praying for somewhere safe to lay their heads down? Being subjected to abuse, molestation, rape, or simply...feeling unwanted. That does not sound like life to me.
Pierre Trudeau was quoted as saying; "The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation." He was correct, of course.
I myself, have a hard time with this topic personally. As a mother who recently experienced the miracle of life, I know freshly first hand what it is like to create, carry and birth a child. I also know firsthand...what it’s like to have and recover from an abortion. It was hard. It was not pretty. It is not something I am proud of. But given the circumstances at the time, it was the right decision. It still hurts to say that...but it was.
Abortion is not the right answer for every woman. But sometimes, it is the only one she has.
What can we do to make positive change?
Women who have had abortions can share with other women (and men) to help destroy the stigma.
Escort women to clinics and home following procedures so they don’t have to go alone.
Speak up about it. Educate yourself and those around you that show ignorance. Vote for government officials that are pro-choice.
If you can, donate to funds that help women pay for abortions in other countries and the travel they may need to do in order to find somewhere safe.
Rally for better sex education in classrooms. If it is your style, protest when you see women’s rights being violated.
Protect the girl next to you who you think might be getting into a bad situation. Get your girlfriends together and learn self defence.
AND. Right now, today; we need to stop telling men to shut up simply because they do not have a uterus. We need to stop saying that men should not have opinions on abortions. There have been some incredible men that have fought to make abortions easier to obtain and safer for women, as the little history lesson above showed. I know men in my life that are pro-choice. Should they also shut up?
The laws passed are not just signed by men. Are the signatures mostly men? Yes. But, men are not the enemy. We don’t need men to shut up. We need them to listen and stand with us. We need their support. We need to stop saying that men should not be making laws about women’s bodies. We NEED men to hear us, to see us. For better or for worse, most lawmakers, and the people with the power to create and enforce laws ARE men. Generalizing half the population is not doing us any favours.
This isn’t a men vs. women issue.
It’s a human rights vs. ignorance issue.
Are there bad men out there using their power against women? Of course! But I have also met women who do not believe that females should have rights over their own bodies. There are women who believe that abortion is wrong and do not support it, whether for religious or personal reasons.
We need men to be part of the conversation. We need them to be educated, aware and on board with pro-choice. I see arguments that if a woman is held accountable by jail time for aborting a child, then why is a man not held accountable by jail time for abandoning the life he helped create. No matter if it’s during pregnancy or far after birth. Does that sound ridiculous to you? Maybe not...but if it does, that is how women feel when they are told they cannot have abortions. Or that if they do, they will be imprisoned.
We cannot have it both ways. As human beings, we are granted with free will. If a man is able to walk away, so should a potential mother. Especially if it is from a situation that she did not want to be in. It takes ‘two to tango’ as they say. There is no fetus without sperm, and so it would be wrong to exclude men from the argument.
Men are half the world. We need them. We need them to be partners, friends. We do not need them silenced. Any mother with a son can tell you that. Their voices are just as important as a woman’s. The problem is the words spoken by those voices. The ideals held by those in power who speak. Not just men, but women as well. The problem is the disregard for the woman’s life. Not just alive vs. dead situation, but living day to day. Any woman that’s been pregnant for more than five minutes or has had a child, can tell you just how quickly her body and her feelings become even less important than they already were considered to be.
Just as there are men who do not wish to be fathers- there are women who do not wish to be mothers.
And yet it is the woman’s job to protect herself. To ask the man to use protection. Sometimes begging him to have safe sex with her when he initially refuses because it “feels better” without a condom. It’s the woman’s job every day to remember to take a little pill. And if she forgets, she is the one who has to worry and weigh her entire life around what could happen. Her career, her body, her future. Or if she has the resources, to take the Plan B, which has some nasty side effects. Meanwhile, a man can just walk away. And so he should be able to, if he truly does not want to be a father- whatever his reasons are. We cannot force anyone to be a parent or penalize them if they are not ready. The problem, is that it is not so easy for a woman to walk away. She can, but not without a huge cost. And in our modern world, even in our ‘free’ first world countries- sometimes that price to pay is jail time depending on where you live and where invisible borders exist.
Making change within our own dialogue may seem small, but you don’t know the ripple effect you can create. That’s why I am publishing this article. To drop a huge rock in the pond; wake some people up with a splash of ice cold reason in the face.
At the very least, make some damn good ripples.
You can be anti-abortion for your own body. But sentencing a living, breathing woman to imprisonment, potential death and being a mother when she is not ready or prepared is not Pro Life.
The bottom line is this. We should all be Pro-Life. Every single person on the planet, needs to be Pro-Life. We need to understand what Pro Life should truly mean. To respect our own life, the lives of our loved ones, and the lives of the strangers. And to respect their choice to choose what is best for their life.
-Mama Bear 🐻