pro choice AND pro life: is it okay to be both?

30 Oct

The older I get the less comfortable I feel about abortion.

There I said it.

I’ve struggled with this one since I had my children, and I’ve felt too ashamed to say it out loud.

The problem is – pro life campaigners with blood dripping from their screaming placards? – this isn’t me.  I am wholeheartedly behind a woman’s freedom of choice in all areas of her life. And it really is only through sheer luck that I never had to go through something like this myself.  There would have been no question what choice I would’ve made in my teens or early twenties.

But ten, twenty years later and a mum to two boys?  Having experienced two pregnancies,  felt a life grow inside me, giving birth to that life and seeing them develop, from beans to sentient beings with their own quirks and mannerisms and thoughts? I find this really really difficult to reconcile in my head with the idea of termination.

I am not against abortion, I know that.  I also know that hand on heart the situations where I find it acceptable as an answer to a lifestyle problem has become more and more limited as I’ve got older.

This is a difficult post to write, because I have many, many friends who I know have been through this, and I did, and still do support them 100% in the decisions they’ve made.

It’s all a bit of a mess – in my head and in my heart. I feel something but want to feel another.

But that’s okay, isn’t it? Would it be easier, or more acceptable, or more believable to be one way or another? I’m not sure a decision like this should EVER be as simple as that.

19 Responses to “pro choice AND pro life: is it okay to be both?”

  1. liveotherwise October 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Ppl who think it’s a simple decision are fooling themselves. It should be difficult. It should also be utterly personal and up to the individual. I don’t think I could ever do it – though you never know what you do in a situation like that until you are faced with it. But I do know I support a woman’s right to choose.

    • marketingtomilk October 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

      this is perfectly put, it shoudn’t be easy. that is exactly right. it should require a lot of thought and agonising, As long as there’s that, the decision is the right one. x

  2. Alice Harold October 30, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    Yes yes yes. All the above. Before I had a child I was 100% pro-choice but now the discussion of abortion makes me feel all sorts of uncomfortable that I’ve never felt before.

    Really well said.

    • Alice Harold October 30, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

      And to be a bit clearer – I’m still pro-choice, but it makes me feel uneasy!

  3. Nikkii October 30, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    I’m going to say it’s perfectly reasonable but then I would – it’s always been my stance, even before I had children, even before I thought about having children to fully support a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion – at the same time considering it “not for me”. From scares in my teens to a pregnancy approaching 40, it has always been rejected as an option for me.

  4. clairelouise October 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    I don’t think that anyone actually likes abortion, it’s something that, to me, is a necessary evil. I was quite staunchly pro-life growing up and up to really about a couple of years ago and it was simply because I had not really thought things through and put myself in another’s position. The turning point for me was when the Baby P case was all over the news and I realised that if abortion were severely restricted, far more kids would be born into abusive households like this. Then, I needed an abortion myself for medical reasons. So now I’ve done a complete 180. I’m a mum of 2 and expecting my 3rd next year and it still makes me feel sad that people need to have abortions, it’s not a nice thing and I wish that no one would have to experience an unplanned pregnancy, but these days I live in the real world where things don’t always go the way we hope and I am very glad that I live in a country where abortion is safe and legal.

  5. franki October 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    I’ve never been comfortable with the labels pro life and pro choice as opposite ends of the debate. The opposite of pro life would be anti life and I don’t think anyone calling themselves pro choice would identify with being against life.

    The opposite of pro choice is anti choice however and when I see the crowd with the placards, they seem pretty intent on making sure some people don’t have a choice because they don’t agree with them. That’s not how our society is meant to work.

    Words are clever things. Give one side of an argument a title like “pro life” and how can the other side be anything but evil?

    Whatever you chose for yourself is fine, it’s when you start trying to impose your will on others because of a code of morality that isn’t universal, that’s when you’re crossing a line.

  6. Jem October 31, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion though. You don’t have to believe in a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and go out encouraging women to abort at the same time. I know plenty of people – some religious even – who would never (under any circumstances, they say) have an abortion and yet the still believe in another woman’s right to make that choice.

    If anything, I’m the opposite to you in some ways. Having had a pregnancy (a difficult one… bleeding, hyperemesis from 6 weeks until the day I gave birth, overactive uterus causing constant BH from the early days) I support a woman’s right to choose even more wholeheartedly. I KNOW that going through that is not for everyone. I know that, despite my daughter being the most beautiful, amazing thing in the whole wide world, there are days where I could quite gladly hide my head under my pillow and not leave my bed and that is not for everyone either.

    In an ideal world every pregnancy would be wanted, would be loved, would stick around without complications and would result in a beautiful, healthy baby. But this ain’t an ideal world and therefore I can’t force my ideal living choices on anyone.

    (oops, got a bit rambly there..)

  7. factorysense October 31, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    In hope to offer here some clear answers to your apparent perplexity, please take time to read one somewhat lengthly article on this issue:

    I like your positive encouragement for a change of mind :).

  8. Muddling Along October 31, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    I think the point you make about lifestyle choice is the one that I struggle most with BUT having had a pregnancy that meant I effectively surrendered control of my life and body to support the baby from 19 weeks does mean I feel that living through an unwanted pregnancy can be an unthinkable choice for some women – I couldn’t work, care for my other children, leave my bed for 4 and a half months – that sort of sentence for an unwanted pregnancy would be tantamount to cruelty in my view. That said, having fought for that baby, the preciousness of life, of a baby’s life whilst in utero is something I also feel very strongly about

    As you say, if only it were clear cut – my feeling is increasingly that this is an issue on which it is very easy to judge but incredibly hard to fully empathise

  9. jfb57 October 31, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Well done for that last though – that it is OK not to choose. Too often we feel we have to take one side or the other. As the advert says, the middle is fin3e.

  10. kelloggsville October 31, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    Since blighted by infertility I resent every woman that has had the opportunity to make that decision and I want them all to bring one of those lost babies back and give it to me. Inside I am bitter and twisted about abortion, and I fail to see how anyone could not want a baby or at least have it adopted and then I think about those who have chosen to terminate a baby with problems and my heart bleeds for the decision that had to be faced. But but but *sigh*

  11. Kirsten Lodge November 1, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    My gym happens to be next door to a pre-term clinic that carries out terminations… and there are always protesters outside. Before I’m even out of the car, I’m threatened with the wrath of god and abused with a vengeance that is truly frightening… until they realise I’m heading into the gym. I dread to think how I would feel if I was having to push my way past them to enter the clinic. It is a heart-wrenching, life-altering decision often shrouded in secrecy. I think women should be able to make the choice that is right for them.. but do it with the right amount of support.

  12. EmmaK November 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I know how you feel. I don’t personally feel I could have an abortion but I fully support the right of any woman to have one. The thing is often abortion can solve what is a social problem – a woman is too young, too immature, on drugs, the circumstances just aren’t right with the father etc. In an ideal world there would be no need for abortion but unfortunately we just aren’t there yet!

  13. Mrs TeePot November 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    I’m similar; would 100% support friends if they wanted it but I’m against it. People don’t seem to think that that’s possible, but in my mind it is. Just because I support someone doing something I disagree with doesn’t mean I disagree with it any less, it just means I’m mature enough to not let that get in the way of being a good friend.

    I can see that in some situations (rape is a prime example) that the emotional damage that can be done by having the baby is so awful that it’s the only option, but in general I am against it, especially those women who use abortion instead of a condom.

  14. Iota November 5, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    I’m wondering if it’s too simple to say this: people seem to be pro-choice when thinking about it from the woman’s point of view, and pro-life when thinking about it from the foetus’s point of view. That’s why when you have carried a pregnancy to full term and had a healthy baby yourself, it’s a harder issue, because you do more of the latter than you used to.

    Not sure I added anything to the debate.

    • marketingtomilk November 6, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

      I actually think that’s a perfect explanation.

    • factorysense December 13, 2011 at 9:52 am #

      I believe that you wrote it very well, for its often true that pro-choice argue for woman and pro-life argue for the fetus, yet perhaps there is a little more to it than just that.
      A question, what is the talk about?
      For pro-choice usually talk about, inconvenience, rights, mental or physical pain, stress and naturally option to choose to control ones body. There are only a few cases where womans life is at stake.
      On the other hand pro-life speak always about life…

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

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