Everyone has their own opinion on abortion – ranging from the ‘it’s the woman’s right to choose’ attitude through to the ‘it’s murder’ viewpoint.
It seems to me the media is giving mixed messages about the practice. I read two news stories this week that seemed ridiculously contradictory.
The first was the story about Bei Bei Shuai, a Chinese woman living in America who took rat poison after her boyfriend left her. She was pregnant at the time and her actions led to the death of her unborn child.
The second was the story of Margaret Forrester, a Roman Catholic who was sacked by the Central and North West London NHS Trust after showing a colleague a booklet highlighting the physical and psychological damage women can potentially suffer after terminating a pregnancy.
Ok, so the first isn’t exactly ‘abortion’, but Shuai’s actions resulted in the termination of her foetus. Interestingly, she is among a rising number of women who are finding themselves charged with murder after losing an unborn child due to maternal drug addiction or a failed suicide attempt. If convicted, Shuai could be sentenced to 45 years or even life in jail.
Now I’m not saying there shouldn’t be consequences for her actions. But I would have thought that seeing her baby, whom she named Angel, die in her arms was a pretty high price to pay. In fact, she was so distraught she was instantly transferred to a mental health wing. Unbeknown to her, the local homicide department immediately started investigating the incident. She was eventually arrested and taken to a high-security prison, where she has now been for about 15 months.
I have to say I sympathise with this young woman, whose mental state clearly wasn’t great. She was not only dealing with the physical and hormonal challenges of pregnancy, she was also feeling abandoned by her partner in her hour of need. That doesn’t justify what she did, but I do think she is being targeted considering the general acceptance of abortion in the US.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the US since 1973. 50 million – that’s not far off the total UK population!
A study from the Guttmacher Institute cited the following reasons women gave for terminating a pregnancy:
- 74% Having a baby would dramatically change my life
- 73% I can’t afford a baby now
- 48% I don’t want to be a single mother/having relationship problems
- 38% I have completed my childbearing
- 32% I’m not ready for a(nother) child
If you can have an abortion on the basis of your financial status or because you don’t feel like having a baby right now, how can poisoning your foetus because you are broken-hearted and mentally unstable be classed as murder?
Then there is the other extreme… losing your job for questioning whether abortion is the only/best solution for an unwanted pregnancy. Ms Forrester was dismissed for “gross professional misconduct” because she expressed concerned that women were being offered abortions without considering the alternatives.
Let’s get this straight. A woman was sacked for holding a discussion about abortion with a colleague… Not a patient, a colleague. Despite the fact that the booklet she shared contained content from women who had had abortions themselves and regretted their decisions.
It seems the only people with any power in this country are the pro-abortionists. If you get pregnant and don’t fancy having the baby, you can head down to the local clinic and ‘get it sorted’. The unborn foetus is seen as just that: it’s a bunch of cells, not a baby.
But if you poison your unborn foetus you’re seen as a murderer. Can you murder a bunch of cells? Surely it must be a living being, a baby, if you are able to murder it. In the meantime, if you happen to suggest abortion could have negative consequences you could find yourself down the dole office. Can we please get a bit of perspective here???
I’m not arguing for or against abortion here (although I do have strong views on the matter). I merely ask that there is a bit of consistency when it comes to defining words such as “foetus” and “baby; “abortion” and “murder”. Because at the moment they just seem to be arbitrary words used to bring about the personal agendas of the most ‘influential’ individuals and institutions.
Read more from Joy in the next issue of Liberti magazine.