The Pregnant Woman and Abortion
How Abortion Has Changed Women’s Experience of Pregnancy
As wonderful and awesome as it is to be with child, we know it’s also possible for mothers to face pregnancy with mixed feelings. This is only natural. Fear of childbirth was especially understandable in the past, when medical knowledge was more limited than it is today. Mothers frequently died due to complications that are easily treatable now. And there have always financial and other pressures that have meant the idea of a new pregnancy can take a little getting used to. But generally, mothers and fathers have learned to accept new life and gone on to successfully parent.
Today, however, women face an added burden which simply didn’t exist in times gone by.
It is the pressure to abort.
In the Western world and in any place where legal abortion has gained a foothold, abortion has become the default position for pregnancy – and not only for unplanned pregnancies. It’s quite common in Australian hospitals and clinics for mothers to be asked, as their pregnancy is confirmed, whether they ‘want to keep it’.
“It’s your choice,” medical staff will say. And thus the pressure begins.
How the Law Coerces
There’s evidence to suggest that wherever abortion is legalised, the rate of abortion steadily increases.
[Note: The chart in this article shows an almost 100% rate of increase in the first 9 years after legalisation in the US. After that the number begins to decrease again, which may reflect a growing pro-life sentiment and the advent of ultrasounds and other diagnostics. It has taken 30 years for abortions to return to the pre-Roe numbers.]
A conversation I recently had with a distressed mother anecdotally confirms this. The young woman in question was intelligent, healthy and articulate, and already the mother of two young boys. Her husband and family were supportive of any decision she chose to make. Apart from the fact that she had decided to limit her family, this young mother received no immediate pressure to abort. She even told me that she had previously considered herself to be pro-life. But she felt an enormous burden simply because abortion was an option. In fact, in our state of Victoria, abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy. This means that vulnerable woman could potentially feel this pressure during their whole pregnancies, simply because of the law.
It could be said that they are being coerced by the law.
How the Media Coerces
The media supports the abortion industry in ways both obvious and subtle.
It’s quite apparent to any observer that larger families are under-represented on tv programs and in movies, as well as in advertising. The consistent portrayal of small families has shaped people’s perceptions of what an ideal family should look like. Added to this is the still-popular but erroneous idea that the world is overpopulated and that the earth cannot sustain this number of people for much longer. But the media and academia often hide the truth which is quite different: that the world and particularly the Western nations are facing a demographic winter. Our populations are ageing and there are countries which may never recover from this. The over-population myth puts pressure on parents to only cautiously accept a new life. In fact, the pressure to abort becomes akin to an obligation.
A more subtle coercion comes in the form of lifestyles portrayed in the media. There is a perception of a ‘perfect’ life, which includes freedom to travel, unlimited wealth, creative employment opportunities and romantic encounters without the consequence of children. An endless array of overpriced products tempt men and women to forget the traditional goals of family life and to trade in their responsibilities for hedonism and materialism.
How Fathers Coerce
Anyone who has spent even a little time outside an abortion facility knows firsthand that some women and girls are being forced to abort. Mothers, fathers, and other guardians decide that the very best they can do for their loved one is to kill her child. This pressure most often comes from boyfriends, partners or husbands. A comforting arm around the shoulders can become a steely grip that steers a traumatised girl into the facility as her resolve wanes. This is undoubtedly coercion.
Other tormented mothers say afterwards that they would have kept their child, had the father been more supportive. But the feminist movement has created an environment which has led men to believe that they have no say in an abortion decision. For many men, saying that they will support a partner, ‘no matter what decision she makes’, is in fact the only route left open to them. This absence of support for life becomes a suggestion of support for abortion. But it is unfair to label this as coercion. The man himself is a victim of a culture that encourages death before the dishonour of an unplanned pregnancy, and he may suffer as deeply as his partner after an abortion. [A friend who read the draft of this article remarked that there’s no dishonour in an unplanned pregnancy these days. I disagreed: society no longer condemns fornication, but with the widespread use of contraception, there is shame in unexpectedly conceiving a child.]
How the Medical Fraternity Coerces
Most of my friends have had the experience of being offered an abortion by a medical doctor.
This is an indictment on the medical fraternity and exposes how deeply the abortion mentality is entrenched in our society.
It is one thing for a practising abortionist to want to abort a baby. After all, his livelihood depends on it. But it’s another thing entirely to visit a GP or antenatal doctor and have the subject of abortion broached. Even worse than this, is the blatant pressure brought to bear on mothers when their unborn child is given an unexpected diagnosis. This truly is the new era of irresponsibility of which Bob Casey speaks.
There can be no trust between doctors and their patients when abortion is the default position for foetal abnormality.
It is irresponsible in the extreme for a doctor to pressure a mother to abort when it is within his power to support, to encourage, or to supply medical assistance. Technology exists which can make life very comfortable for babies who suffer from abnormalities. But often a hospital’s bottom line is more important than a baby’s life.
Some babies can’t be saved, but abortion routinely denies mothers the opportunity to carry a sick baby to term, to birth a child, to nurture him and show him love for even the briefest time. This is a grave injustice. Experienced post-abortion counsellors have noted that women who abort due to foetal abnormality suffer greatly afterwards.
In a small percentage of cases, the diagnosis made by medical staff is incorrect. That means that some of the babies aborted due to abnormal foetal diagnosis are perfectly healthy. Since most of these abortions are carried out in hospitals, perhaps it’s appropriate that the doctors who perform these unnecessary abortions are forced to confront the disastrous consequence of their misdiagnosis.
How Feminism Coerces
Abortion is an integral part of modern feminism, to the point that commentators ask whether it’s even possible to be feminist and pro-life. This is because feminism has come to be a position which sees every issue through a political lens – including the right to life – relabelled under the banner of ‘choice’.
Feminism is a driver of the culture which has no moral absolutes and where every decision is based solely on how it will affect the individual. Motherhood is disdained unless it is an intentional choice made by an empowered woman. But this alleged emancipation from responsibility ignores a fundamental human fact.
Both men and women engage in the only activity that naturally results in a new life.
Feminism ignores that innate part of a woman’s psyche that drives her to nurture and protect that human life. In jettisoning this vital role of motherhood – part of every woman’s makeup – feminists have rendered the greatest disservice imaginable to every woman on the earth, whether or not she identifies as a feminist. Ryan Anderson coined a phrase related to the marriage debate, which could be adapted to this tearing down of women’s status:
The New Era of Irresponsibility: The Pregnant Woman and Abortion
The experience of motherhood has forever been changed by the advent of abortion on demand.
‘I’m just a stay-at-home mum’, or ‘We’re having another one’, are the limp apologies of women browbeaten into accepting their fate as second-class citizens. It is very difficult for them to see through the facade projected by their sophisticated, childless counterparts who are intent on filling the emptiness of their wombs with fleeting experiences and cold, hard collectibles. But fortunately, there are many women for whom abortion will never be a option. These women, against the odds, are teaching society to value motherhood.
For others, a constant succession of coercions and pressures, coupled with a societal climate which favours only ‘wanted’ children, and a lack of faith in anything outside herself, an abortion decision seems almost inevitable.
The woman who fails to adequately protect her fertile body from invading sperm is shamed into aborting her own child. Her walk of shame is the sad, dazed stumble toward an abortion facility.
She had one last hope, an eleventh-hour reprieve from her shame: there was always the chance that someone, even a stranger, would offer her the support she needed to bring her child to birth and face the future one step at a time. With the advent of exclusion zones in four Australian states, that final opportunity is all but gone.
Has abortion changed your experience of motherhood? I’d love to know what you think about this. Please join the conversation and leave a respectful comment below.
Click here to find out how abortion violates international human rights charters:
Click here to find out more about exclusion zones:
Editor, The Freedoms Project
Click here to find out more about Kathy