Abortion is one of those issues where supposed morality sometimes triumph over humanitarian and medical ethics. It is also a tricky subject to write a blog item on, but I am going to try my resolute best to present as balance an article as I can on the issue.
Conservatives, believers and pro-lifers – three subject groups brought together by a common dislike of abortion – call it anything from immoral, to outright murder. In the case of conservatives it is often ingrained in their ideological outlook in much the same way that feminism is ingrained in the liberal outlook. Believers, be they Christian or Catholic, Mormon or otherwise argue that the foetus in the womans womb is Gods gift of life. Pro-lifers might not be necessarily conservative or believers, but whom might think the practise of abortion is legally and ethically wrong.
The most hardline types believe that even in medical emergencies, acts of sexual violence leading to pregnancy or acts of incest between a male and female from the same family, aborting the resultant foetus is wrong. This was witnessed recently in the United States Presidential campaign where Republican representatives – white, middle-aged males such as Todd Akin – suggested that the foetus in a rape victim who was impregnated is Gods will, or tried to make light of the issue of rape. Finally there are the medical terrorists – the nutters who so hate the concept of abortion that they are prepared to commit violence against people who want an abortion and/or clinics and their staff where the procedure gets carried out.
Liberals, non-believers and womens rights campaigners, not surprisingly are horrified by this stance. In the case of the liberals, it is a primary part of their ideological theory to support womens rights. In the case of non-believers, the absence of a higher being who can “tell” them what to believe, and who have no holy book to act as a moral constitution it is the freedom to think what they wish without fear of retribution. And then there is the feminist movement that has grown in size and power over the decades, and has seen women’s health and the rights of the child become more mainstream as an issue and no longer the realm of radicals. For the feminist movement it is the idea that a woman is in control of her own body that helps to propel their thinking.
I derive no pleasure from abortions. I really really don’t. It is a foetus that will never know the joy of life. The numbers of abortions carried out each year make me wonder whether enough funding and resources are being invested in making sure that the most ethically and medically responsible environment exists for abortions to occur. Before an abortion takes place in an ideal world, the female will have consulted with her family and with her General Practitioner about the implications medically and socially for the family – the fact that they will not have a child; any medical risks or ethical issues involved. Education programmes should be provided and a woman looking to have an abortion would be booked in for a question and answer session with a qualification medical specialist to find out about the procedure. That would be an ideal world. But the ideal world is far from the real world in too many cases.
Of whether or not a woman can actually have an abortion, I consider that if abortion is murder, then so is capital punishment. Real pro-lifers will recognise the right of the condemned to life and that one murder does not justify another murder, which is why the whole notion of being pro-life in the sense most people consider it to be a label is a silly way of looking way of looking at a much more complex issue. Of the subject of the circumstances in which an abortion should be carried out, moralising men and women who are not immediately related to the female who will have to ultimately make the decision, have no right whatsoever to impose their views on something that in layman’s English is none of their business. Of the stone age idea that a woman who has been raped becoming pregnant is somehow God’s will, quite how such a daft idea made it into the 21st century is beyond me.
So, one will understand how it is beyond me that a modern country like Ireland could possibly have laws that forbid carrying out abortions on women where medical complications not only put the baby in danger, but the female in danger as well. But there it is, November 2012 and we are hearing about an Indian lady whose life was lost because Irish doctors refused to carry out a life-saving procedure. The moral and ethical stink of this will hang over the Irish medical profession and the Irish Government long after there is an eventual law change.