I'm pro-life for me, pro-choice for you
The discourse surrounding abortion is often clouded with ambiguity. Labels such as "pro-life" seem to condemn all those who are "pro-choice" as being against life. The label "pro-choice" does not seem to leave room for the situation where a woman may feel that abortion is never an option for herself, yet who believes that each woman should come to their own conclusion and have jurisdiction over their own body.
One can be "pro-life" for herself, and "pro-choice" for others.
The decision to terminate a pregnancy may be obvious for some and extremely difficult for others. This is subject to a personal perspective and experience. In the case of a pregnancy resulting from incest or rape, a woman or menstruating child may find the decision to abort the only option according to her mental state and capacity to distinguish her feelings between the invasive act of rape or, in the case of incest, the fraudulent actions of a caretaker, and the consequence of the act itself - that of the conception of a fetus that is growing in her body.
1% of women in the 2004 survey-based U.S. study became pregnant as a result of rape and 0.5% as a result of incest.
No matter how the conception took place - by force or betrayal of trust - a woman, or menstruating child, could also find conflicting feelings and sensations.
The decision to abort is not easy.
Spontaneous abortions occur often, and in 91.7% of those occurring in the first 12 weeks the spontaneous abortion is undetected and remains unknown to the impregnated female.
The risk of pregnancy in exposed ovulatory cycles was 59.6%; however, 61.9% of conceptuses will be lost prior to 12 weeks. Most of these losses (91.7%) occur subclinically, without the knowledge of the mother.
The female body and its reproductive system is equipped to detect genetic abnormalities and there is a proclivity for the body to spontaneously abort in these cases. The Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis states the following:
How often does pregnancy loss occur?
A woman's chance of miscarriage increases with her age. With increasing age, it not only becomes more difficult for a woman to get pregnant but to stay pregnant as outlined below:
# In women ages 15 to 35, the incidence of miscarriage is between 10% and 12%.
# In women ages 35 to 39, the incidence of miscarriage is 18%.
# In women ages 40 to 44, the incidence of miscarriage is 33%.
# In women ages 45-plus, the incidence of miscarriage is greater than 50%.
What is the most common cause of miscarriage in the general population?
Most miscarriages are the result of a random genetic abnormality. It is generally accepted that the earlier the loss, the greater the likelihood that the pregnancy was genetically abnormal in some way.
A recent study of women with recurrent pregnancy loss found their products of conception to be genetically abnormal 57% of the time. This same group conducted a study of women who miscarried without a history of recurrent pregnancy loss and found that 57 % of their products of conception were abnormal as well.
Often the question is debated, when speaking of abortion, of whether or at what point is the fetus a person, and by legal definition, vested with the rights of a person.
I think that such debate is misguided. I rather start with stating that a fetus is a fetus, and lead to a more fruitful discussion by asking, what kind of rights does a fetus have? Perhaps it may have similar rights to a person, or it may have different rights, particular to its situation.
I consider that I am sovereign over my body and a fetus is a life-form dependent on my body. If I were to decide to give up my life for the benefit of mankind, or to participate in an action where I risk my life, and at that time I am pregnant, I deem that I can make that decision about my body, whether I am pregnant or not. If I were to throw myself in danger for the purpose of saving lives, I will be throwing that fetus in danger too, as it will die should I die, and that is my decision to make. It does not have rights outside of the body it is growing in.
Throughout history, abortions have been induced by a range of methods, from the physical (manipulation of the abdomen, knitting needles, sitting in very hot waters, aspiration in the uterus, vigorous jumping) to the chemical (ingestion of toxic herbs, chemical/pharmaceutical ingestion).
How can abortion be ruled illegal? To fully enforce such a law would require an authority to monitor a pregnant female's every action : perhaps going on a prolonged fast of a month or two could induce abortion...there would be a law against fasting for pregnant women. If a study deemed that working in an office caused too much stress for a pregnant woman, they would be barred from working...
And what would be the exceptions ? Danger to the mother's health ... if a pregnant woman without financial security, without a home, without a partner feels that having a baby would cause an enormous amount of distress perhaps leading to depression and suicidal feelings ... because she would be unable to work while breast-feeding and caring for a newborn ... this is a situation that is potentially dangerous to her health, physically as well as mentally. How would a legal entity determine such things?
Pro-lifers would better live up to their name if they offered counseling and support to pregnant women who feel unready to care for a baby. Perhaps they could facilitate the adoption of the baby upon its birth, or soon thereafter, so that the soon-to-be mother can bring to completion the pregnancy and ensure the baby's well-being by breast-feeding it for the first months, whilst knowing that it will be taken care of afterwards.
They could also help those teenagers who choose to have a baby by providing information and support to the teen who must now organize their lives around the baby. Help to baby-proof the home, support to know when to let a baby cry, how to create personal time, how to rotate baby-sitting time with others to have time to socialize or study.
In some cultures, the immediate community participates in the rearing of a child and a mother is not alone with such a task, and she is physically freer to move around as she can leave the baby in the care of others. In Europe, the extended family is frequently involved in the child-rearing. In America the situations vary greatly, perhaps due to the large geographic expanse the United States of America encompasses.