Abortion: The Debate

Today I am going to write about a very controversial subject, one which many shy away from as per the repercussions it may have; from simple disdain to threats. However as most of you know, I believe in the expressing of our opinions politely but clearly. With so much “Pro-Choice” propaganda out there, I figure it would be a good time to write about a subject which in many ways still remains taboo; abortion.

Most who are acquainted with my articles are quite aware I believe in the power of personal choice vs. dogma; with that said, many have confused my dislike for dogma with me being a “Modern Liberated Woman”. I would take kindly to such a statement, were it not such a phrase in our current society is often used erroneously and often refers to people who have taken the other extreme on subjects such as the one I am about to discuss.

I do not like dogma because for some, it often retards the ability to think for oneself and restricts the ability to be open to other concepts; being open minded doesn’t mean one has to agree with everything learned, however it can provide us with the ability to assess new information and formulate our own opinions based more closely on “facts” vs. unquestionable traditions. Having clarified my point of view on dogma, I would also like to be clear I have met beautiful souls whose lives match their faith and with whom one is capable of holding a conversation or debate about Life or God where the topic revolves around understanding the divine spark vs. arguing about whose path is better. I do not seek to disrespect nor attack any soul, I am simply expressing my own learnings and experiences and putting them on the table the same as everyone else; if what I say resonates with you great, if not, no biggie. If you are happy with whom you are as a person, then please don’t let my opinions detract you from your path; for in this life there are many paths provided for us so we may grow as human beings. Can you imagine if everyone in our world thought in the exact same way? There would be no room for growth, as there would be nothing to challenge our ideas, beliefs or concepts; challenge sometimes keeps us on our toes, forcing us to become introspective and that is always a positive.

The subject I am writing on derives from an experience I had a while back. One afternoon after a long day, I got home and was surprised to find it awfully quiet; considering my daughters were all home that is something very unusual. Anyone who has teenage daughters would know a quiet home is almost impossible. What got to me was the look on my daughters’ faces, they were a mixture of anger, disgust and fear. I asked what had happened and was simply pointed out to some papers on my desk which had been left at the front door of my house; the flyers were against abortion. After taking a detailed look at them I was angry at the idea these flyers were being left not only at my door but at the doors of so many. What upset me was the vivid graphic images which would have been traumatizing to just about anyone who would look at them. My anger was at the fact that a movement had taken a completely extremist approach to a subject for “shock value”; without regards as to whom would collect those flyers. What if I had had toddlers or young kids running around my yard? What if someone in my house knew first hand what it was to have an abortion? What if that person felt traumatized by the event? Seeing those flyers would have only retraumatize and compounded the already existing pain. How would that have triggered them? What right did any group have to traumatize or retraumatize people? I felt things by this group had been poorly planned and executed. I am all for standing up for what you believe; I am not for matching the same dehumanized way your opposition handles things. By acting in the same atrocious way, nobody wins.

If by now you are still assuming I am “Pro-Choice”, you would be wrong. I do not believe in abortion, much less in how it is promoted these days. I find abortion nowadays to be promoted as immaturely as if one was promoting a pill for a common headache. I believe we would be better off radically educating young people about birth control; without pushing them towards being sexually active when their minds are barely mature enough to understand what is happening. I believe our educational system would be better off implementing a mature plan, meant to properly teach about sexual education and what comes with it according to each age group. My reasoning for being against abortion as an “easy way” of solving what may be considered an “inconvenience” is not based on any self righteous belief, rather on having seen the repercussions an abortion carries with it.

Having witnessed first hand the before and after of abortion, I can testify from a personal and clinical point of view that I am yet to meet a woman whom; when talking one on one (walls dropped);has not broke down at the trauma of the event imposed on her mind and body. At one point I gave up on studying Counselling because I got to witness, at an abortion clinic, the mess an abortion can leave behind.

“Counselling” before and after the fact was very limited; to be honest there was not much of it; it was almost as if they asked you the questions only to guarantee there would be no legal repercussions. It wasn’t that the counsellors who worked there were bad; their job demanded them to follow such detached outlines. The saddest part was to see patients who would come back over and over again; it seem there was a mental disorder yet they could not be denied what they were asking for. I couldn’t stomach it; it was either detach and teach myself not to give a shit or lie to myself that what I was witnessing was for the “better good”–Many times it is not only the patients who have to bear the burden of what is happening but also the staff.

Having lost children of my own and having worked with women who went through abortions, I can tell you this: the wound is still there. Some of these women made the choice to have an abortion when they were very young, later on when they mature, the wound is still fresh and compounded by guilt. Pain which could have been prevented by providing proper education and access to birth control, yet those are not as fiercely promoted as the right to have an abortion. Unless you have gone through abortion yourself, lost a child or witnessed how an abortion is done and the response of the fetus as the procedure undergoes; you have no idea what you are supporting (if you are pro-choice).

Having said all of these, let me be clear that it is my personal opinion people who were raped and ended up pregnant because of it, should be given that option after they have been counseled and all avenues have been explored; including trying to carry on with the pregnancy/give the child up for adoption. However, in the event that doing so would cause even more trauma, then I am NOT going to condemn nor play judge and jury on a soul who chooses to have an abortion. Unless the event has happened to you, speaking about it doesn’t come close to the resembling of the event. I am also not naïve, such a situation (pregnancy resulting from rape) is extremely rare…I will get to that in more detail as this article unfolds.

I do not believe the subject of abortion should be approached from a “holier than thou” attitude nor from a “my body, my choice” attitude. Those are both extremes which do not serve those they claim they want to help, instead such attitudes only serve political and corporate agendas.

Let me now present to you a few arguments which I often encounter:

It is inhumane not to legalize “therapeutic abortion” which should be performed when the pregnancy puts a woman in danger of death or serious and permanent illness.- In my opinion, in this case the term “therapeutic” is used mostly to create confusion. “Therapy” means “to cure”, an abortion does not cure anything, it mostly provides an escape route. Today with the medical advances there are very few circumstances in which to choose between the life of the mother or that of the child; that argument belongs in the books of the history of obstetrics. Haven’t we advanced technologically?

As early as 1951, the Congress of Surgeons from The American College said “anyone who performs a therapeutic abortion, ignores modern methods of treating pregnancy complications or does not want to take the time to use them”. The dreaded case of “ectopic” pregnancies are being managed medically with increase ease. On the other hand, the “code of medical ethics” indicates that in the case of complications during pregnancy “proportionate efforts should be made to save mother and child and never use the premeditated death of one or the other as a solution”

It is brutal and inhumane to allow a woman to have a child which is the result of rape, therefore, the so-called “sentimental” abortion should be legalized.– As I have stated before this is one sentiment I would agree with, to a certain extent. I am not God to dare to judge a woman who was raped, what she went through and how it affected her. The victim should be gently explained that an abortion is not going to remove any physical or psychological pain produced by the rape; on the contrary, it is going to add to the physical and psychological complications (This is something any therapist who has worked with raped victims or raped victims who had an abortion, already know). With that said, as stated previously all options should be brought to her attention and counselling should be offered before and after her decision without judgment; whatever her decision may be.

To further put this point in perspective let me provide you with some more detailed information: In 1982 in the United States, 78,000 cases of rape were reported (this is obviously a miniscule number if we consider most rapes; specially during those years; were not reported). The amount of pregnancies resulting from the rapes were almost null; this is not only due to chance but it has a psychological explanation. You see, unlike TV would like us to believe, most rapists suffer of sexual disfunctions. They are monsters in human skin who seek to impose fear and feel dominant during “the act” which for the most part does not culminate on ejaculation. Their orgasms are usually mental (the terrorizing of the victim). On the other hand, the rare cases were ejaculation was present, pregnancy did not occur due to the extreme low levels of spermatozoid found; again monsters in human skin who want to feel they are “masculine and powerful”.

Let us also take into consideration most expert legislators point out that legalizing “sentimental” abortion is opening the door to serious legal complications: practically any union, even consensual, could be presented as contrary to the will of the woman and therefore a violation. Having said all of these, let me reiterate the fact I believe each case of “rape” should be handled individually vs. a “one rule for all” . Let me reiterate none of us has the right to judge nor impose even more pain on someone who has already been traumatized by rape.

It is necessary to eliminate a child with deficiencies because he will suffer and it will cause suffering and expense to the parents.– This principle known as “eugenic abortion”, is based on the false postulate of improving genes; which in layman’s terms means “only the beautiful and healthy deserve to live”. On the other hand, scientifically prenatal tests are not 100% safe for determining malformations or defects. For example, when I was pregnant with one of my daughters they told me she had a high chance of being born with serious problems. Since the screening tests usually have a 16.5% of accuracy and having already witness the ramifications of abortion, I decided to go ahead with the pregnancy. My daughter was born otherwise healthy; she at times cannot handle very loud noises but her intelligence level is above average and in every other way (physically and emotionally) there is no real difference in comparison to her peers. I am very thankful I chose the way I did.

Abortion must be legal because every child must be desired.– I agree with part of that statement “every child should be desired” but an abortion won’t solve the problem. Most of the time the child is not desired because he or she is the “result” of an immature choice (two immature individuals who did not care enough for themselves to take the necessary precautions or were ignorant on how to deal with things), yet simply pushing towards an abortion as a solution could potentially mean one is teaching them to pick the easy way out. Would it not be better to provide the necessary education and tools to prevent that type of situation? It has been my experience and that of other young mothers who chose to raise a child one did not plan for, that such experience can impact one’s life and level of growth positively, given the right support system and the will to commit to the protection of that child. With that said each case is unique; I have witnessed however, young mothers who thought they would dread having a child, bond with their offspring and from that bond the fuel for building a proper life for themselves and their child arose. More often than not people who use the above phrase as an argument to promote abortion, are people who often had painful childhoods and in some ways do not want another human being to go through the same, but taking such an extreme is not the solution. To those people I say, imagine how much love you could give if you could trust yourself that you would not hurt another being the way you were hurt; wouldn’t it be better to invest in your healing so you may stand for those who are being hurt? Would it not be nice to trust yourself to parent or guide another life? How much more wisdom you could give if you only dare to work on healing yourself.

With the legalization of abortion, clandestine abortions will end. Statistics within developed countries shown this not to be the case. On the contrary, the legalization of abortion makes it a method that seems quick and acceptable to use instead of birth control. It also prolongs the state of immaturity. It is clear that since the vast majority of abortions are not for a “sentimental”, “therapeutic” or “eugenic” reasons but because of a pregnancy considered to be “shameful”, it is not strange that the woman – especially if you are a teenager or young person – will look for clandestine abortion methods because of the psychological or moral shame and guilt she is under. On the other hand many young people today choose to abuse their bodies by the over use of “the morning after pill” which is another option so readily available (there is no counselling before or after, so once more the young person has no reason to mentally mature) and if “the morning after pill” is so easily provided, why is there such a need to promote abortion? food for thought.

Abortion is an operation as simple as removing a tooth or tonsils. It almost has no collateral effects.- The figures contradict this claim. After a legal abortion, sterility rises by 10%, spontaneous abortions also by 10% and emotional problems increase from 9 to 59%. Extra-uterine pregnancies increase from 0.5% to 3.5%, and premature deliveries from 5% to 15%. There can also be perforation of the uterus and blood clots.

The biggest repercussions remain the long term mental affects.- A high increase in psychological problems has been detected in women who have aborted, especially if they have suffered repeated abortions; although in few other studies it is concluded abortion brought relief to women. The existence of such contradictory results is due to the existence of confounding factors which have not always been adequately evaluated, including:

a) the heterogeneity of the groups of women being compared

b) the biases that the samples may have

c) the inadequate assessment of the women’s medical history, especially with regard to their reproductive circumstances and mental health

d) the different context in which the abortion took place

e) possible biases in the interpretation of the data, especially conditioned by the ideological characteristics of the people or institutions which carried out the study.

During a study conducted by Priscilla Coleman, it was concluded the incidence of psychiatric problems in the visit prior to an abortion is excessively high, around three times higher than that of the normal population. Coleman suggests the increase may be due to the fact a woman is already immersed in a state of anxiety which occurs in the days before an abortion takes place. On the other hand, an important piece of information revealed mental health problems are significantly higher after an abortion (15.2%) than after a normal delivery (6.7%). Her study was very clinical and quite modest in its numbers as other studies have shown and increase in mental problems by 30-59%

Despite all of the above; the overall data collected worldwide does not lie when it makes it clear that “abortion hurts” not only the fetus but the woman who undergoes it. Data from the British Medical Journal, BMC Medicine, The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, Archives of General Psychiatry, Psychology Public Policy and Law, National Collaborating Center for Mental Health and others, make it very clear the tremendous increase in mental problems after an abortion.

Personally I consider myself a feminist in the old fashioned sense of the word, where women were not trying to be men, beat them or punish them but understood the power they carry within and the role such powers plays; how it is meant to compliment not overrun, demean or control.

However, I once read the statement of a well known reporter who also considers herself a feminist and is pro abortion: “I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centers on the sanctity of life. As a species we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long poverty shows us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.”

Fair enough, I can respect the fact that as a specie we are not living to our full potential but in my opinion just because humanity has been living mediocrely doesn’t mean we should give up and behave like beasts; in the process providing people with the poison or dagger for the last blow. Otherwise such a statement is only a reflection of how little potential the person herself sees within…it’s like saying “why bother trying, I suck anyway”. If we were to live life by such standard we might as well give up now and not be concerning ourselves with climate change, oppressing governments or nuclear wars; what would be the point, according to that person’s view, humanity is useless anyway.

It is most likely, the person is either running away from her own demons or has never sat down to witness the tremendous emotional and spiritual pain a woman expresses during counselling, pain which often manifests physically. Pain which more often than not cannot be numbed by any drugs or any “feel good” quotes. Until the victims of abortion have dealt with the pain, survived it and transmuted it, they are slaves to it. When they do transmute it, if you were to ask them if they would make the same choice 99.9% of the time is a resounding NO.

As you can see there are many “facts” presented by “Pro-Choice” groups; groups which are heavily funded by private corporations. On the other hand stand those who called themselves “Pro-Life” which are mostly funded by Churches/Temples. Why don’t we look at the data from a detached point of view (not sarcastic or callous or uncaring). Let us look at the actual data without a need to fuel either agenda, instead let us keep in mind we are talking about human lives.

Pro-choice would like to say “my body, my choice” except a pregnant woman is “hosting” another human life; there are two lives there, not just one. Let us not in our desire to stick it to religion and the old oppressions of the “patriarchal system” cloud our judgment. Yes, there will be many stories of success presented by Pro Choice groups and for each I can provide you with many many more of those who were not successful; specially from a psychological perspective.

As per Religious groups; they should consider how this very sensitive subject is approached. There is no need to demean and demonize those who went through an abortion or who are considering it. After all isn’t religion supposed to teach not to judge? People who went through an abortion do not need more condemnation nor do they need your forgiveness; what they need is real compassion (not pity), proper education and support before and after the fact. It is great that you stand for life but it would help to accept each case as unique. If you believe in life, you cannot battle Pro abortion groups by losing sight of your own spirituality; using the same cold, traumatizing techniques they are.

How about we invest more in proper education on sexuality; education that not only focuses on genitals but on the minds of our children, so they may grow to make better decisions for themselves. An education not based on any dogma or political agenda but one based on genuine care for our youth. How about we offer those who have undergone an abortion a judgement free place so they don’t have to live with shame and guilt, so they may forgive themselves without having to carry a cross; that way they may raise children whom they will guide from a open heart with care and wisdom because they know the pain an abortion inflicts. I believe teaching from the heart always has better effects and drives the point home better than teaching from an agenda; whichever agenda that may be.

“I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”
― Ronald Reagan

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
― Mother Theresa of Calcutta

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By Sofia Falcone

I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges, victories, hopes and learnings, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves!

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