In this era of social, political and personal uncertainty (thanks mostly but not wholly to Mr Trump) I’ve witnessed a host of debates, riots, arguments, racist and sexist ideals being thrown about like leaves in the wind, back pedalling of progressions, follow throughs of disturbing promises, and all I can do is shake my head and wonder what the fuck happened? What went wrong? How have we come to this and why do we still have to fight for basic human decency? For people to understand each other, for everyone to have compassion and an iota of respect?
Of course there is something I can do, we can all do: protest, strike, make our voices heard. And of particular importance to me personally is women’s voices being heard. Over the past year a lot of debate and conversation has taken place around changing the 8th amendment which states it is illegal for any woman to have an abortion in Ireland, be that for personal, medical, life threatening reasons and even in instances of sexual assault. I’ve heard and seen both sides of this Argument fight tooth and nail for what they believe in. I’ve seen anti abortion propaganda that is disturbing to the core, visceral and emotive. I’ve also heard pro choice arguments that are valid, emotional and progressive. I’ve heard pro abortion speeches, and it got me to really question what it is I believe in, what do I want for women as a woman?
Of course the answer is choice. I want women to have the ability to choose. It is not a simple answer though, mainly due to the fact that honestly I don’t agree with abortion. The idea of it upsets me. It horrifies me. And this is something rather new to me, as up until over a year ago I really was pro abortion. What happened over a year ago you ask?
I had a baby.
I honestly don’t know how else to articulate what changed other than hormones and an overwhelming desire to cherish and protect babies. I didn’t think I ever wanted children, and even weeks into the pregnancy I dreaded what was happening. Quite suddenly that changed. I started to connect with my baby and feel emotional towards it. That’s the hormones. I’ve spoken about it before. My body was making sure I would love my baby and care for it, and I do overwhelmingly, startlingly love him and actually feel that love. I can’t see a picture or video of him without smiling and almost tearing up at how amazing he is. Everything he does is brilliant. That’s a fact, nobody can tell me otherwise.
So now I’m stuck in this emotive place of horror, the constant need to care for children and also the strong urgent need for women to not be forced to have babies. It’s a horrible dilemma and one that I dont take lightly but here’s the thing:
The pro-choice movement wants feeedom.
The anti-choice (and yes that’s what it is essentially) movement wants control.
The pro-choice side want women to be able to choose for themselves not others.
The anti-choice side want to choose for everyone.
While anti-choice people would force their views and beliefs on women, the same cannot be said for the pro choice side. We do not want to force the horrible process of abortion on anybody. If you want to have a baby, have your baby. If you vote anti choice though you are forcing the much longer horrible process of pregnancy, the pain and discomfort (and fucking agony if you had a birth like mine!) of labour. The hardship of then caring for and looking after the baby once born. And what really gets me is the fact that while anti-choice people are all about saving the baby and giving it life, if the parents are struggling financially they are made jump through hoops In order to get help to raise the baby that THEY, the anti choice people wanted. It’s not as easy as popping to the local welfare office and asking for help. Even if you are granted aid it takes weeks to come through. Where are they then? And what’s even more ironic is the way in which people on the welfare are treated by working class folks. I’ve literally heard the phrase ‘why should my taxes pay for you to sit on your ass?’ Over and over from various people. Well let me tell you.
They forced that woman to have a baby, your god damn right their taxes are helping her raise it. And what the fuck kind of logic do we have about parenting cause I gotta be honest, I rarely get to sit down I’m so busy taking care of my boy! And that’s with support from family and friends. I still struggle with parenting, and we are fairly financially stable, I have help from family, a supportive partner, a network of people willing to help.
NOT EVERYONE HAS THIS
This is why I am pro choice. Its not just forcing a pregnancy and labour on a woman, it’s forcing motherhood and years of tears and tantrums (not just from the child!) and heartache and self doubt and criticism. It’s forcing a financial burden on the family. It’s forcing years of school runs, sick days, fights, nappies, worries and fears about the parenting and whether you can do better. It’s forcing parenting. And parenting is not easy.
So yeah. Abortion is not a nice idea, and it’s sad that it exists but it’s necessary. It’s necessary when a mother or parent can’t look after the baby. It’s necessary if the babies life would be full of pain. It’s necessary when a sexual assault victim can’t stand giving birth to her abusers baby. It’s necessary when the parent isn’t emotionally able to deal with the pregnancy. It’s necessary when a woman will have no support.
It’s not nice, but it’s necessary.
And that’s why I’m anti-abortion but 100% pro choice.
I am pro family.
I am pro baby.
But above all else I am pro-a woman’s body is hers to make decisions on and hers alone!
I will be standing with countless other women on March 8th because it’s about time women got control of their bodies for once.