I’m convinced no one ever wants to have an abortion. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a particularly pleasant procedure to have. I can’t imagine any woman upon finding out she’s pregnant thinking, “yippee! I get to have an abortion! This is going to rock!” I’d bet that’s not how it works. Putting aside for a moment the fact that it ends a human life, an invasive operation that involves picking apart a little fetus inside you just sounds awful. Abortion is awful. And while some people would say abortion is necessary, a human right, an important medical procedure, I really don’t think anyone would say it’s great. Abortion is not great.
Last semester was quite a busy one for our club at Guelph. One event we hosted was called Silent No More, a campaign where women came in and shared their regrets about their abortion experiences. The morning of this event we advertised in our university centre by surveying students and asking them what they thought about the abortion experience, and whether they thought regret was a common and big issue for women. One girl whom I chatted with answered my questions with wariness, cautious not to agree with me or my pro-life views. When I asked her if she thought all women who get an abortion actually want one, she answered with a quote:
“No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”
Funny enough, it turns out she was quoting Frederica Mathewes-Green, the former vice-president of Feminists for Life of America. I didn’t know that at the time, and I’m guessing neither did she. Her quote did get me thinking though. The point she was trying to make was that yes, abortion sucks, but it needs to be available to women who find themselves trapped in a pregnancy they see no other way out of. Women don’t want to have abortions, but they have them because they feel like they must in order to survive.
To continue with the animal trap analogy, if one third of the women in our country were getting caught in bear traps and gnawing off their own legs, is the appropriate response of our society to provide them with the tools? Make it free and support them without judgement as they remove their own limbs and go on with life never the same? Hopefully everyone else sees that there should be a more positive solution here. We have to ask ourselves, “is there any way we can help free these women from these traps without cutting off their legs? What do they need, and how can we help them?”
Maybe making abortion more available to a scared pregnant woman isn’t the most helpful thing to do. If knowing that there are services, resources, and support available changes a pregnant woman’s decision to go through with her pregnancy, then isn’t that saying something? If a women chooses abortion because she feels she has no other option, then it’s not actually a choice. This might sound contradictory to say, but I think our campuses needs to be more pro-choice, providing not only for the needs of women who choose abortions, but also for the unique needs of women who choose life, because honestly…I bet that’s not easy.
So to the student who shared with me that quote—if you’re right, then we need change. If women have abortions for the same reasons an entrapped animal gnaws off its own leg, why don’t we do something about that? Women deserve better than this single ‘choice’ that they’re trapped with. Being pregnant ISN’T the bear trap; being pregnant and thinking abortion is the only option is the trap. Being pregnant and alone is the trap. An animal that gnaws off its leg is truly hopeless, but if someone was there to remove the trap, there’s hope in that. There’s life in that.
Can’t we offer that to women?
What if that would change things?
[If you’re pregnant and unsure of the resources and support that’s available for you in Guelph, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the following sites: http://michaelhouse.ca/ http://www.beginningsguelph.ca/ ]
Read the comments at the U of G Life Choice website.