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Response: A pro-choice perspecive on abortion

By Alyssa Gammon, Contributor

One of the many problems with Rebecca Stapleford’s argument (Jan. 29 issue of TNL) is the theory that abortion kills something that is alive. In reality, abortion stops the growth of what could potentially be a life but is in fact not.

Stapleford aptly defines Planned Parenthood’s new campaign, which is actually called “Not in Her Shoes,” as “an individual choice only a woman can make because it concerns her body, her life and her future.” She immediately denounces this fact by claiming that it’s not true and turns to her idea that abortion kills a human.

To illustrate her point, she makes an indescribably asinine comparison to an alternate real- ity where physician assisted suicide is legal. Stapleford admits, “some people would argue that [her] comparison … is flawed because suicide is often the result of mental illness,” but claims to have accounted for this by requiring “mental health screening” for people wanting to commit suicide.

Is Stapleford saying that women who consider abortion are mentally ill? Or is she saying that mentally ill people who turn to suicide do so in their right minds, and are not afflicted with a mental illness? Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I don’t think she meant either. Her poorly constructed argument just lent itself to these absurd conclusions.

Another grave error Stapleford makes is assuming women who consider abortion use “death as a solution to life’s problems.” As she so arrogantly postulated a fake reality to make her point, let me make lucid a very real one.

A young girl is pressured into having sex. Perhaps it was her first love, or in a worse case, perhaps she was raped. This girl ends up pregnant. If the father is a relative, the baby will very likely be born with physical or mental handicaps. Perhaps the girl is only in high school and doesn’t have a job to support a baby. Suppose that the father abandoned her when he found out, and she has to do it all alone. Suppose her parents are abusive, and she will be beaten if they find out.

All of these circumstances can be and have been very real for many women. Fortunately, places like Planned Parenthood exist — places where women can get counseling and learn about all of their options in a safe environment. This helps them to make informed, very rational decisions.

I hope it is clear that this decision is not one of death as a solution to problems, but as onethatisveryofteninthebest interest of both the mother and the potential unborn baby.

We have an obligation to protect not only the rights of the women, but protect children, and in this case, protect the potential of a child. Freedom and women’s rights must be reflected in our laws. To use Stapleford’s words, “Failure to do so is not compassionate or progressive in any way.”

Written by Web Editor

2 Comments

  • Thanks Alyssa, I enjoyed the read! But a kicking, sleeping, yawning, smiling baby, inside its mother doesn’t seem like a ‘potential life’ to me, but rather an actual life with a potential for growth (as we all are, even as adults). The potential for life happened during sex – which always has the potential to form new life under normal circumstances.

    I volunteered in a hospital for children with complex disabilities for a couple years. Do they have tough, painful lives? Yes, sometimes for sure. Are they happy to be alive? I saw signs that would indicate ‘yes!’ every day. Abortion unfairly silences this voice before it even has a chance to speak.

  • “All of these circumstances can be and have been very real for many women. Fortunately, places like Planned Parenthood exist — places where women can get counseling and learn about all of their options in a safe environment. This helps them to make informed, very rational decisions.”

    Well said. The comparison between mental illness, suicide, and a woman’s right to have control over her own body bothered me a great deal.

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