The Bitterroot Star, a local newspaper based in Stevensville, MT, published a Letter to the Editor by Dee Gibney about “late-term abortions” on Feb. 27 and a rejoinder by Mel Holloway on March 20. These views add fuel to the abortion issue still raging in the US, more than forty-six years after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling which made abortion legal across the entire country.
This is a polarizing subject. I do not know anyone who claims to have “no opinion” on the issue. Instead, most individuals are vehemently in favor of abortion on demand OR they are adamantly opposed to it. The argument is almost always one-sided: a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy OR the right to life of the unborn child. Very few people ever bother to ask, though, why do we have to choose between the woman and the child. Why does it have to be one or the other?
Abortion, as it is practiced today, pits the woman against her child and the child against her mother. For women considering abortion, the unborn fetus can easily become an enemy. What are the reasons WHY a woman would bring herself to the point where she is willing to destroy her own offspring. Here are a few examples.
- Women of color comprise a huge number of abortions performed each year in the US. Perhaps as many as 40 out of 100 black pregnancies end in abortion. The odds are good that these women are unmarried, reliant on food stamps and HUD to survive, and already have other children which they are trying to raise.
“Minority women constitute only about 13% of the female population (age 15-44) in the United States, but they underwent approximately 36% of the abortions. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, black women are more than 5 times as likely as white women to have an abortion. On average, 1,876 black babies are aborted every day in the United States.”—( http://www.blackgenocide.org/black.html)
- Another group which is represented disproportionately is college age women, who are attempting to gain an education in the hopes of being successful in a chosen career. Pregnancy is a roadblock to that hope. Most colleges do not have any program to help them maintain the academic load and carry a child at the same time. The woman’s “choice” is between her career and her child.
“No woman should be forced to choose between sacrificing her education or career plans and suffering through a humiliating, invasive procedure and sacrificing her child. We refuse to choose®. Abortion represents a failure to listen and respond to the unmet needs of women.”—(https://www.feministsforlife.org/question-abortion/)
- In addition, we need to consider the number of times that a woman is coerced and pressured into undergoing an abortion by her boyfriend, husband, or father. Men have a huge influence in this decision.
“If legal abortion has given women more choice, it has also given men more choice as well. They now have a potent new weapon in the old business of manipulating and abandoning women…. That men have long coerced women into abortion when it suits their purposes is well-known but rarely mentioned.”—(http://www.theunchoice.com/articles/howcommoniscoercion.htm)
It is undeniable that many women face huge obstacles as they consider their options when they find out they are pregnant. Contrary to Gibney, we need to start seeing them, not as selfish murderers, but as they truly are—probably young, maybe alone, less than rich, confused, afraid, unsure. They may not believe they have any other “choice”. They may not have the means and personal strength to carry the pregnancy to term and then adopt the baby out. The chances are that they are not aborting out of selfishness, but out of perceived necessity. This does not excuse the abortion in any way, but it does help to explain it.
Not only do we have to consider the women who abort, but also those who are killed and thrown away—unborn human beings who never asked to be conceived in the first place. Holloway tries to use scare tactics, but most abortions do not occur because of fetal deformities or the physical health and well-being of the mother. Statistics from the State of Florida in 2018 show that out of 70, 083 abortions, only 1, 004 were done for the reasons of rape, incest, fetal deformity, or to save the life of the woman. The rest were elective—by choice. )
These instances do occur, but they are rare. They constitute a very small number of abortions and should not be used as justification to allow the killing of unborn babies by anyone for any reason. The blanket allowance of abortion is even more cruel than a blanket prohibition would be and there are millions of reasons why a pregnancy should not be terminated—all of them live human beings.
For too long, this issue has been framed in a confrontational way: woman vs. child. One, but not the other. Either/or, but not both. We must change the way we debate this issue. We must recognize that for every abortion, there are at least two victims—the woman and the child. We must not only save the life of the unborn, but also give the woman the means and support she needs to continue the pregnancy, give birth, and either raise the child herself or turn that responsibility over to someone else. We must become a society which honors and esteems human life at all ages—19 weeks from conception or 19 years from birth. If this means we are inconvenienced ourselves, so be it.
Abortion is a symptom of an underlying disease, a reflection of the fact that, as a society, we have not met the needs of women. It also shows us that, as a society, we would rather address our problems violently than face them responsibly. The most defenseless members of our human family suffer and die as a result. Both the woman and the child deserve better.