I’m not sure how I got to this page, or why, but I did. I’m not going to link to it. But I just saw a slide show of photographs of aborted foetuses, aborted between 6 and 24 weeks, on a pro-life propaganda website, abort 73, and I’m angry, because these were very emotive photographs, and truly horrifying and disturbing, and such tools should not be used to pressure girls into not having abortions, because I can’t see how keeping a child out of guilt is in any way a good or ‘Christian’ thing to do.

I would say I am definitely pro-choice, but that I think it’s a position some people get themselves into too lightly, if you know what I mean. I originally held this stance partly because in PSHE in school (for those of you who weren’t dragged through the National Curriculum in the noughties, that’s Personal, Social and Health Education) our introduction to moral issues and sensible sexual behaviour and stuff was very heavily biased to the ‘Just Say No’ camp; and my sole information on abortions was one lesson when we were showed some thankfully very grainy photos of aborted foetuses and told you can’t abort after 24 weeks, with a very heavy ‘lots of people consider this morally completely wrong’ slant. Our RE/PSHE teachers were very religious and not in an understanding or informative or useful way at all, and I think they strongly affected a lot of my moral views for years, scaring some of the class into blind submission and making the rest of us adopt a devil-may-care attitude to sex and to the pro-life/pro-choice debate (well, not literally, but certainly pushing us in the opposite direction morally to that which our teachers wanted us to take, just in reaction to their particularly obvious Bible-bashing variant of Christianity).

Yet again, there are ways to do things, and there are ways not to do things. It’s like hellhouses all over again… .



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12 responses to “*Gasp*

  1. clare

    Freudian slip: surely it was your “sole introduction” not your “soul introduction”…

  2. Jenny

    Sure, yeah. Should not have been online as late as I was. I’ll change it πŸ™‚ xxx

  3. I remember doing about abortion in Y10 R.E., as part of the Ethics side of the course. The teacher gave a lesson over for us to hold a debate, only unlike a lot of the school lesson debates that I’d previously taken part in, we were allowed to choose our side. On my side of the classroom there were three of us – me, a friend, and a friend of his who wasn’t taking it terribly seriously – but we held our own against twenty-five others. I probably argued much more strongly than I would have done had it been a more even balance, but I think I still hold that position rather than the other.

    But then Mrs C was fantastic, I think, and very consciously said at the start of each year that she was not there to teach her own opinions but to inform us so we could think for ourselves. Your account only adds fuel to the argument that the alternative really doesn’t work, never mind shouldn’t!

  4. Jenny

    She sounds like a fantastic teacher, your Mrs C. And yes, completely right. I held the view I held anyway, never mind what the teachers taught us, but I think others were more swayed and furthermore there was no reason for me to hold the views I did quite so tenaciously. I also think that who knows, if it wasn’t for the utterly offputting introduction I had to Christianity, Christian politics and Christian ethics who knows if I might have found faith sooner, which might have been a very good thing but would also have probably pushed my life in entirely different directions such that I probably wouldn’t now know the people I know nor be doing the things I do.

    And, out of interest, which side of that debate do you come down on? xxx

  5. I was wondering whether you’d notice that I hadn’t said. Pro-life. Be surprised if you will πŸ™‚

  6. Ooh, that surprises me Lucy.

    I can’t think of any reasons why one would be “pro-life” (a term which I really dislike, but it’ll do), except for religious nuttery but that’s not really a reason at all. How come you hold that opinion?

  7. Jenny

    Well I figured that’s what you’d say since you hadn’t already said. I’m not entirely surprised – but I am interested as to your reasons why. I’m not fully sure about my reasons for being pro-choice any more – if there’s any way in which one can have an attitude to abortion which falls on a spectrum rather than being either for or against, then I am edging slowly towards pro-life when I used to hold a pretty militant abortion-as-a-last-minute-contraceptive it’s-only-a-bundle-of-cells pro-choice stance…!

  8. I suppose it all boils down to – and call me a religious nut if you like – that I feel that life is precious and who are we to mess with it? Who are we to say who lives and who dies?

    It’s very easy to over-generalise, and I do accept that there are cases where an abortion is the ‘best’ answer. I also don’t consider the morning-after pill as abortion, which you may consider illogical if taken to logic’s extreme conclusion, and I certainly wouldn’t advocate showing frightened young women grisly pictures in order to pressure them into a course of action. I don’t know. I’m just really uneasy about the whole thing, that’s all.

  9. C R M

    The morning-after pill *isn’t* an abortion. If you’re already pregnant, it doesn’t abort. It only prevents you falling pregnant by kicking you in the, shall we say teeth, with a lot of hormones rather than killing the beginnings of a pregnancy. Which is why it’s useless after 72 hours *if* you’re already pregnant. And my word the woman who gave me that talk was embarrassed. Almost as much as I was…

    I’m not uneasy about abortion. I think that, in an enlightened world, it is a necessary part of life. Women shouldn’t have to have children they either do not want or cannot support at the say-so of a medical/ethical body. Personally, I think it is a far worse thing for a child to be brought into the world unwanted or into an unstable situation where it cannot receive the support and love that any child deserves. Thus abortion is, to me, a feasible, good option. I don’t see it as murder, because (unlike my RS teacher Mrs P would have us believe) the process is as humane as it can be. There are no scary hoovers involved, apparently. And they don’t have a med student sifting the remains to find the head. I hope. Either way, I am and always will be pro-choice and yes, freaking young women out with horribly graphic pictures (thank you again, Mrs P) is unnecessary, cruel and unethical in the extreme.

    There’s a two hap’orth for you. Now I shall get back to my moping.

  10. Jenny

    Quite right, Clare. So yes, I’d have no qualms about taking the morning after pill in a situation where that were required.

    However, I do not think that it is ‘enlightened’ to basically provide abortion as another method of contraception because morally, emotionally and psychologically they are not and should not be the same thing. I think that yes, it can be a terrible thing for a child to be ‘brought into the world unwanted or into an unstable situation where it cannot receive the support and love that any child deserves’, sure, but equally that it is no less terrible for that child to be aborted. If I became pregnant by mistake at this point in my life (impossible, but bear with me), I might consider abortion, but I might well keep the child, because I know I can access the financial resources I need to bring it up, on my own, father or no; it would be loved and supported emotionally as well, and I cannot see how giving life to that child would be *worse* morally than aborting it would be. I think abortion should be an option, yes, because for crying out loud, I’m reasonably fortunate and happy and things and I’m well aware that there are women in the world who would have a great deal more difficulty with the practicalities of bringing up a child at this point in time, women for whom that child would be far more resented, pregnancies which if continued would only end in unhappiness. But I think abortion should be far more a last resort than it seems somehow to be.

  11. I can understand why anyone would not like the idea of abortion (and rightly so, because it’s fairly awful), but I don’t see why anyone (the “pro-lifers”) feels they should stop other people from having the choice to have an abortion. At that stage the collection of cells hasn’t developed enough to be alive, so I don’t think abortion is “wrong”.

    I think the argument that “it’s better to abort than to bring an unwanted child into this world” is blinkered (for the general case – important to make that clear). There are lots of people in the world who would love to adopt a baby, so it really wouldn’t be unwanted. It’s hardly an elegent solution, but then neither is abortion…

  12. Jenny

    That too – newborn babies get snapped up by people looking to adopt. It’s the older children that end up in care that struggle to be fostered or adopted, partly because their life experiences to that point may make them difficult to love and live with, and partly because, let’s face it, if you want a baby, you want a baby, to see it grow from a baby to a child to an adult.

    I’m not so much pro-life or pro-choice – insofar as I just don’t know what I’d do – I suppose to be honest I believe it’s a decision that should be up to the individual, like assisted suicide – it should be a possibility.

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