On October 5, an article written in The Peak regarding the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion taught me two things. The first is that the author possess a strong heart and good intentions. The second is that a fruitful dialogue can be constructed from engaging with the concerns in the article.
The piece touches on a myriad of concerns, but I want to focus on a general theme — namely, the false dilemma epitomized in the claim that “abortion is about escaping an impossible situation.” The implication is that some pregnant women are backed against a wall with no easy way out: abortion or having a child she can’t support.
For example, we might imagine the worst: the parents are tyrants, the ‘boyfriend’ only stayed one night, the stack of bills races the stack of school work to the ceiling, and, by sheer bad luck, a meteor recently impaled the woman’s apartment. In nine months, a baby arrives. Abortion resolves one of these worries.
Now the author claims that if anti-abortion advocates care for children, they should advocate for surrounding issues like greater health care or whatnot. This is true, but it also illuminates why abortion or letting a mother and child suffer aren’t the only options in ‘impossible situations’ — hence the false dilemma.
The third choice is to address the problem, which is why anti-abortion advocates promote crisis pregnancy centers that provide support for women where there is none. This option is not necessarily easier than the others, but it is there and it is an escape from “impossible situations.” A woman isn’t forced to choose her life over her baby’s.
In destigmatizing abortion, we not only promote a decision that solves little, but adds to our woes if a human being is killed.
More on “impossible situations.” The existence of these situations points to deeper failings in society, whether they be the economy, health care, or even in not being loved by one’s parents. But abortion solves none of these things. The parents are still tyrannical, the ‘boyfriend’ isn’t coming back, bills and work still race, and that meteor won’t move itself. In destigmatizing abortion, we not only promote a decision that solves little, but also add to our woes if a human being is killed.
#ShoutYourAbortion is actually rather depressing: it’s an indicator of the destitution of society that ironically draws attention away from it.
I can address one rebuttal here: “Jean-luc, you too are talking about abortion. Aren’t you also distracting from the surrounding issues?” Guilty as charged. In some sense I am. But seeing as how I believe that human life is lost in abortion and that funding for abortion could be put toward alleviating the causes of actual “impossible situations,” I cannot see a true contradiction. As soon as abortion is illegal, I’ll happily vote left.
The fact is that #ShoutYourAbortion reeks of tragedy. Abortion might allow one to escape part of an impossible situation, but it does not resolve that situation. It screams of our societal destitution but detracts from an answer. Furthermore, it distracts from the real question at hand: Is abortion an act that kills a human being?
The answer to this question implies serious consequences: If pro-choicers are right, then I am a misogynist fighting against women’s rights. If I am right, however, then pro-choicers support the killing of almost 65,000 Canadians in 2010, and much closer to 100,000 annually in the years prior to this. I prefer to risk being a misogynist.