The issue of abortion remains one of the most divisive in Irish society. This week the Oireachtas is holding three days of hearings before drawing up legislation for the X case. We have a number of guest posts this week from Irish mothers on their thoughts on the abortion debate. Today’s guest post is from Gemma Kiely.
So here we are on take two. When i was asked to contribute a piece on my side in the abortion debate i confidently replied ‘No problem,will bash out a piece now and you’ll have it later on’. I sat down and tried to put into words all my reasons for being pro-life. The rights of the baby to be born,the late-term abortions,of babies being aborted and breathing, the awful vacuum procedure which was used in 48% of abortions in the UK last year which basically sucks the foetus out bit by bit ,the rights of fathers who have no choice in whether they bring a child into this world or not,the depression and huge increase in suicide attempts experienced afterwards by a massive percentage of women who do go through the procedure,etc. I sat down and tried to put this all into words and i stalled after two paragraphs and wasn’t sure why. A chance remark by a Facebook friend earlier today put it into perspective for me. There was a friend of theirs constantly linking to pro-choice articles and Facebook links on their page and they were wondering what to do as they were personally pro-life. De-friend? Hide their feed? Say something to them? And while i sympathised with them it struck me what a shame this all is. You versus me,them versus us. Woman versus woman.
I have friends who have had abortions,they are still my friends and hopefully always will be. Do i agree with what they did…no. Do i as another human being,as a woman, sympathise with their plight and even understand why they did what they did…yes. Hard to reconcile isn’t it but it’s how i feel,my individual opinion.
Who am I? I am a woman,I am a mother,I am the woman standing next to you at the shopping till or sitting beside you on the bus. I have been that young girl terrified and alone standing in the bathroom looking at that stick change to positive. I have been a single mother,a broke mother,a stressed mother. I have sat up all night with a sick child and then dragged myself out of bed after maybe an hours sleep to take care of the one that wasn’t ill. I have had the middle of the night dashes to A&E. I have had huge loans to barely legitimate companies just so i can put food on the table.I have experienced the ‘look’ when my child has misbehaved.I don’t just have this great ideal of once the baby is there you will be fine,it is extremely hard.
I’m also a very lucky woman. I have experienced a child kick inside me,I have seen them appear on scan and waving at the monitor (honestly,it was a wave ) I have experienced that one moment when after a final push my baby has been presented to me and from one look i have been lost. I have experienced bad drawings,the first ‘i love you mammy’,i have been the first thing looked for in the morning and the last thing at night. I have been blessed.
I do believe that a foetus has life from conception. Otherwise why do we mourn when we have a miscarriage as one in four women (including me) have experienced. How can it be a bunch of cells to one woman yet at the same gestation it is a baby to another? So i do think the rights of the foetus need to be protected,after all they are not to blame when we decide to come together and make a life. I don’t believe abortion is the answer to a crisis pregnancy. I think support is the answer. Not just monetary or otherwise but support from society as a whole. If the mother has the only right to decide to go through with the pregnancy then why is one who does as a single person so looked down upon. And i do realise that it’s not just single women that decide to go for an abortion,some married couples do too but the average age in the uk in 2011 was 17.5 yrs.
As an aside,i do wonder who will be paying for this all to happen if an abortion bill does pass. Will there be public or private clinics? On health insurance or public referral? Will the next social welfare scandal be about people applying for a grant to get an abortion rather than for their childs communion? The UK has the NHS which is free health care for all,we do not and 96% of abortions in the uk in 2011 were NHS funded. I have read pro-choice arguments where people have said it is the choice of the woman and they should be allowed to choose,would they still feel the same if their tax money was going towards providing the abortions?
The above is my perspective,my choice is to choose life for all. But i will respect your opinion if you respect mine in return.
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
We have further guest posts planned this week on the abortion debate.