This week, I have been wondering about many things, including what on earth medical professionals learn during their training. I was more than a little infuriated by a whole doctor (of the dental kind, but still) claiming, as a by-the-way, to an awful post about the mentally ill woman who gave birth in the streets, that at least she carried the pregnancy through rather than ‘aborting day and night like normal ladies who consent to unprotected sex.’
There was so much wrong with his initial statement (including no acknowledgement of her rape, that she had no choice over that pregnancy, and that he spread pictures of her in that vulnerable state for everyone to gawk at) that my head is still spinning. But let’s get to the second part. I’m quite normal, and most of my friends are, too (not you, Shan, you like Crocs). We do many things regularly, but aborting is not one of them.
If you think abortion is wrong, that is fine. Your options are clear: don’t have one. If you run around claiming that women abort for kicks, you are talking out of your back end. If you claim that women (slutty sluts that they all are) are forever out there, being single and promiscuous, using abortions instead of contraception, you are talking out of your back end, too. Yes, unprotected sex can, of course, lead to pregnancies, but contraception can fail, rape victims typically don’t get to choose their favourite condom, and women may experience health issues. Many women seeking abortions are mothers already, and feel overwhelmed.
As soon as humans figured out how to, abortion has been a last resort. Can you ban it? No. The only thing you can ban is safe abortion. This is the fundamental truth. If you outlaw abortions by medically trained staff, women will seek alternatives, even in this godfearing nation. Those are often dangerous and create additional costs for the public healthcare system. Will legalising abortion drive up the numbers? No. Because it is a last resort, not something you do for kicks, and there is no reason to return to the bad old days of sticking a coat hanger up your uterus. We have data on this: The Netherlands, with a very liberal abortion regime and about a third of Kenya’s population, has under a tenth of its of abortions: around 28,000, compared to Kenya’s estimated 300,000 (illegal) abortions a year, helped by being a lot more proactive about sex education and access to contraceptives.
I’ve also been wondering if the ‘every life is a gift from god’ anti-abortion crowd wasn’t awfully silent/quite supportive of the murder of a woman whose sex life they didn’t approve of.