I guess it's my turn to post something here. If what I type comes across as a bit cranky, well blame it on the fact I've had a bloody hard day at work. I'm not going to argue hypotheticals or make sweeping moral judgments based on any religious or antireligious feeling. I'm not going to try and convince anyone to any point of view either. All I want you to do is think.
That's it. No more, no less. Just consider, the people who get abortions, the people who decline abortions and keep an unwanted child are just that, people. They are as complex and as wonderful as you or I, whichever decision they make. The effects of te decision they make, be it to abort a pregancy or not to abort it are profound and nobody simply shrugs it off. I should know, as I've had to deal with this at the sharp end.
Twenty years ago, I was engaged to be married to my first wife and thanks to that small percentage that proves condoms aren't 100% effective, she got pregnant. She decided to abort and there was not a damn thing I could do about it. The reason was mainly because she didn't tell me until she asked me to accompany her to the clinic. At that point, I wasn't about to argue with her; she was in incredible emotional pain about it being terrified of what her father would say about it, despite the fact that we were to be married less than six months later.
All I did was tell her that I would be happy and honoured to care for the child but she was set on sweeping the whole affair under the carpet with an abortion. In the face of that determination, I stood by her and supported her decision; I didn't believe- and I don't believe now- that I had a right to force my wishes on her and I've always believed that you should stand by those you love. whether you agree with what they do or not.
That abortion had a shattering effect on her. Not immediately, nor even a year later, but shatter her it did. Some four years later, when our daughter was three, my first wife had a complete nervous breakdown, one so complete that it took eighteen months for her to be off medication and another year to recover. Through the treatment, it transpired that the cause of the breakdown was a repressed feeling of guilt over the abortion.
Very few people go through such complete breakdowns and emerge the same person on the other side of them and that was true with her. Where she had been a confident person before, full of laughs and decisive actions, she became hesitant and always second guessing herself and very easily influenced by others. A decade later, the strains on the marriage caused by the change in her personality caused it to break.
A tragic story? Perhaps. And then, perhaps not, for who can say that things would have fared better if her decision had been different and now I'm far enough away from it for it not to hurt. The point is, it is easy to glibly talk about the people who are involved in abortions, easy to draw the issue into moral abstractions and matters of law or ethics but, in the end, when you discuss abortion you are discussing the actions of real people and we neglect that fact at our peril.
Whatever you decide about the rights and wrongs of abortion, I hope that your decision is tempered by an understanding and an empathy for the people who have faced, are facing and will face the decision to abort or not to abort for real.