Abortions are again a hot topic on social media and in some area's or the world abortion laws are changing. I personally do not think they are changing for the better. Rights that women have had for a long time are being taken away from them, that is never a good thing.
Yes, I am a feminist, I am convinced men and women need equal rights. That doesn't mean they are the same, they are different. But that doesn't make one less valuable than the other, therefore equality is important.
What does the dictionary say feminism is: "the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes." I don't see how anyone could have a problem with that.
There are too many issues around abortions that make legal access to a safe place to have an abortion of the utmost importance to me. This needs to be globally accessible to all women.
I have a list of reasons why I feel that way. I'll go into some of the below. This piece will be seriously opinionated as this is something that I feel strongly about. I know it will cost me some clients to have this opinion, but I'd rather have that, than that I end up working with people who I am not actually able to work with. This piece will show quite a bit of my strong opinions. Sit down before you read, I'm a tad bit angry in this post here and there.
Freedom of medical choices
I am a very big proponent of people having the freedom to make their own medical choices. Any and all. I do think they need information and I also recommend researching things and getting second opinions before you decide, but the freedom to choose is very very important.
I know a lot of people agree with me on this point. But it tends to go out the window the moment we talk about abortions. I know a lot of people who fight for freedom to make medical choices, but then all of a sudden support laws that take that away from a woman who wants to have an abortion. You can't have that. It just doesn't work that way. You either support everyone's freedom to make their own medical choices, or you're a hypocrite as you can't have it in a way that the rules and laws suit your ways only. It's freedom for all or we have no freedom left in the long run.
What do you think will happen when we allow and support legislators who want to take abortion rights away from women? That sets a precedent for other rights and freedoms to be taken away. Do you like your freedom to choose which GP you see? Which dentist you see? Do you like discussing with them what is the best treatment plan? Do you like getting a second opinion? Do you value them listening to your opinion? Do you want to be able to decline what they suggest? Do you want to be able to choose to go to an osteopath in stead of a physiotherapist? Or a chiropractor? If you value those freedoms you have no choice but to also be behind the freedom to choose and abortion for any women for any reason.
Support of women who decide to keep the baby
Women who decide to keep their baby often find very little support. Some countries are better than others. In the European countries there tends to be much more support for women who decide to keep their baby than in many other countries in the world. It is really important for women to be able to make the right choice for themselves and their babies that there is support in terms of benefits and housing. When that is not there, what choice does a woman actually have? Many countries that do give women any support do have laws against abortion? What on earth is that all about? Requiring a woman to birth a baby that she cannot support or afford? This means that an unborn baby is the only one important, not the mother and not the baby once it is born. That's just wrong. When you have laws that forbid abortion then you have to have systems in place to make sure that the mother ends up with benefits and housing to actually be able to support herself and her baby. Else you're a hypocrite.
Changes since the 1970s
I think we are going backwards in the rights and freedoms of women in certain ways. When I was a teenager a long time ago. I'm talking back in the 1980s here being topless was fine for women where I lived.
I lived in The Netherlands back then and I can remember going on my bicycle to a friend's house and on the way I saw women on their balconies sunbathing topless and my friend's mum's were also topless sunbathing in the garden. Nobody cared.
Now everybody cares. I've found that when I was living in The Netherlands for a brief stint again that things had heavily changed. I was there from 2010 to 2014 and nobody was topless at the beach, only at the naturist beach. that was so weird. Nobody was topless in their garden either. What's with that? Are we going backwards in our freedoms? Freedoms that were fought for and were hard to get are just like that taken away from us.
Decision to abort is rarely made lightly
The decision to have an abortion is rarely made lightly. Most women agonise over it for quite some time until a decision is reached. The moment that decision is reached, she needs support and nothing else. No judgement. She made the decision that is best for her in her circumstances. No one has the right to judge her for that. The only right you have is to support her through her really difficult journey. She'll remember this baby and this pregnancy for the rest of her life.
Her reasons are not for you to judge, they are hers. You have not lived her life, you are not living her life, so you have no right to judge.
Only the woman gets to decide
This is one of the points that I often argue with men. Men are often of the opinion that they should have a voice in the matter. No, they don't get a say in the matter. They can choose to offer support, but that is where it ends. A man doesn't do the pregnancy, a man doesn't do the birth and a man doesn't breastfeed the baby for however long. When a man ends up doing that, he gets to choose whether or not he'll have his baby. Until then he doesn't get to choose.
The woman will have to go through the pregnancy, which is 9 months and really not all that easy, it's hard work. i know, I've done it a couple of times.
Then the birth, for many women, that is hard work. Not for all, but still, she has to do it.
Then there is months to years of breastfeeding.
The body of a woman is permanently changed once she's had a baby. Nothing wrong with that, but there is a lot to having a baby. It's not just a simple thing. We live in a world where it is much less so of a simple thing than it was back in the paleolithic times when a woman had the support of the whole tribe to go through it. These days a woman is lucky to have enough support, most don't, even when they are in a committed relationship.
You're probably wondering what options i give a man who has gotten a woman pregnant. Not many. He put his dick in her, so in case she keeps the baby he has the responsibility to give her and the baby some financial support and hopefully a bit more. As it takes 2 to make a baby I don't think he can walk away. I also think that when the woman decides to have an abortion that he should support her in stead of making her life hard. She didn't make the choice lightly.
Any woman has the right to make the choice that is the best for her and her circumstances. Especially here in the UK a woman has possibilities for housing and benefits, so a choice of an abortion is made very conscientious, not lightly. A woman has that freedom, which is exactly how it should be. Having the freedom to choose and abortion, while also have a support system available for benefits and housing. Then a woman has a free choice, not in any other circumstances.
Do you think that forbidding abortions all of a sudden take the need of abortions away. Of course not! Women will still need and get abortions. But it makes it much more complicated for those who are already on a lower income. The rich can still simply fly out and get an abortion elsewhere safely.
But the poorer women in society cannot. They are already struggling financially and then they will end up with children who's mouths they cannot feed. How is this fair? It isn't. It just makes the poor more poor. That also means that women will go look for places to get an abortion. So what will happen. A whole new industry will pop up. People who are willing to do a backroom abortion for a bit of cash. That will not help anyone either, as some of those women will end up dead as backroom abortions have never been safe. But some women will be so desperate that they will try and get themselves killed in the process. That means there will be a man with children without a wife to help raise them. What's the benefit in that? There isn't, it's backwards to think that forbidding abortion will all of a sudden magically make people not need them anymore. It doesn't work that way. I don't understand what happens to common sense.
How many more women will have to die miserable deaths from a backroom abortion because they cannot afford to feed another mouth.
Use birth control
Women often get told "You should have used birth control". But who says she didn't? When you ask that question you are jumping to conclusions that may be very wrong. It's not very nice.
This one can get me really pissed off when someone assumes that someone else didn't use birth control. No birth control is 100% safe. So telling people to use birth control isn't going to prevent all unwanted pregnancies. Just look at the figures of safety in online.
I'll share some numbers here:
Hormonal contraception: 99%
And that's just a few of the things available. None are 100%. So telling people they should have used birth control shows someone isn't very up to date on the facts.
I know what I'm talking about, I've gotten pregnant several times despite using birth control. No, I did not have abortions, but I have thought about it as things weren't always easy. And yes we made it, but I live in a Western European country where there is a lot of social support and I was in a committed relationship with the father of my child. That still doesn't mean it was an easy choice to make.
Keep your legs closed
Don't go there, don't even throw that one at me. That is just plain sexist to say that. That just gets me so so very angry. It seems that it's all fine for men to have sex, but not for women. That's quite a sexist point of view. Men have as much responsibility in this as women do. So the moment someone says "She should have kept her legs closed" I get very upset. Especially when it is another woman saying that. It shows that in our world preventing pregnancy seems to be a woman's job only. It seems like men are excluded from this. But guess what, without his sperm there would not be a baby. So why put this on girls and women? Wrong, so utterly wrong and so awfully sexist. Don't you dare say it again, because it makes you a sexist bigot.
I personally really like the UK (not including Northern Ireland) law on the rights of an unborn baby. They have none. A baby gets rights the moment it is born. The mother gets to decide. The mother has the right to choose how she has her baby and where. The law is very clear on that. Mother comes first and that is how it is supposed to be. The mother is crucial to her family. The family would have a big problem if mother wouldn't make it and the baby would. So in medical circumstances where the choice has to be made between mother and baby, mother comes first. This is not a nice or pleasant thing to do, but it is a rational thing to do and it makes sense. In some countries the baby seems to come first. That's just wrong.
As a stillbirth Doula I support a woman who has stillbirth of any age, including an abortion
I'm a certified Doula and Stillbirth Doula. This means that I support women who birth a baby of any age. For me this includes a woman who has an abortion. This is usually just as hard, as having a stillbirth or a miscarriage, despite it being a choice, as it has been a very hard choice to make. I will not judge a woman who makes that choice, I refuse to do that, I do not have the right. I will discuss options with her in case she is not 100% sure, but I will not try to change her mind if she's firm in her decision.
I have not had abortions myself, but that does not give me the right to judge a woman who does.