Keeping the Faith

What Shame and Guilt Tell Us About Abortion

Have you seen those Emily’s Voice ads about family? The one with the woman who explains how she fell pregnant at 18 and was told her life was ruined? (watch it here) These ads, which have been running for the past few months on Tasmanian television stations, reveal in a frank and joyful voice how things turned out well in this real life teen pregnancy story.

“Now, with a uni degree and four beautiful kids, I know I didn’t ruin my life or have to give up my dreams to have them – they became part of the dream. I wanted my baby and I wanted my degree – and I got both.”

I’ve seen some strong opposition to the ads on Facebook, including a petition to ban these “vile ads”, and I understand there was a complaint or two lodged with one of the television stations, but I fail to see what is offensive about a woman who chose to keep her pregnancy, a woman whose choice resulted in a beautiful family.

Such reaction is surely a symptom of a society bruised by the effects of around 100,000 abortions in Australia each year. A society desperately trying to justify a supposedly simple, easy and risk-free procedure so often performed under duress when a woman is vulnerable and which leaves many with enduring emotional scars. The mother of feminism, Germaine Greer, described abortion as a painful and humiliating procedure presented to women as a privilege.

How dare we “shame” women who may have had an abortion! How dare a pro-life group like Emily’s Voice “guilt” women about their reproductive choices!

Hang on, if abortion is such a good choice, as countless abortion advocates espouse, why do women feel guilt and shame? What’s it to them if another woman chose to keep her baby?

Maybe abortion isn’t as liberating and empowering as it is portrayed.

Perhaps all ads that feature babies should be outlawed. Those baby product ads with roly-poly infants smiling up at their mothers, the camera zooming in on adorable giggles and bare little bottoms. Surely these too are offensive to those who have made other choices.

I think of other painful realities – cancer and road fatalities, for example. Do we object to the aggressive campaigns educating people on their choices in such instances? Choose not to smoke. Choose not to speed. Choose not to drink drive. We don’t object because most of us know first hand the trauma of losing someone to cancer or a road accident.

One in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime. That figure smacks of poor education on a woman’s other choices.

Feelings of guilt and shame are generally derived from a deep-seated conviction or knowledge of truth. They are connected to conscience and keep us in check. You cannot force someone to feel guilty. Guilt is the outcome when we violate our own moral standards. You can’t make me feel guilty for neglecting the housework in order to spend time with my son, for example, because deep down I know it’s not wrong.

On Wednesday, the Legislative Council will begin debate on the controversial Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill. Don’t be deceived – this piece of legislation will not take away guilt and shame.

Only God can do that (1 John 1:9) – and he does so with open arms. There is no condemnation (Romans 8), just love. There’s another adage in the Bible that goes like this: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)

The outcry of guilt and shame is sending a loud and clear message about abortion – it may be permissible, but it’s not beneficial. Our lawmakers need to be looking out for the best interests of society. We know abortion is bad for babies, but it’s bad for women and families too.

Tweet to @ClairevanRyn

As printed in The Examiner newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday June 10.

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39 Comments

  1. I was really excited to read this article by Claire van Ryn, as I have just written my own blog over the last couple of days on this issue, in response to an email sent to my Inbox by Terri M Kelleher, the Victorian President of the Australian Family Association. As committed Christians who value life from conception to death, my wife and I are praying the Tasmanian Legislative Council will vote down this bill relating to abortion law changes.

  2. Fiona Vosper says

    Can you please provide links to the unbiased research saying that abortion is bad for women?
    Because the research by actual professionals into this area is pretty clear. The majority of women do not feel guilt or shame after an abortion. They feel relief.

    Here is a little fact sheet for you. It should be a good place for you to start gathering actual facts. Maybe you could write a more factual, properly researched column on this topic next week, rather than continuing on this scare campaign and using mis-truths and propaganda to spread your ill-informed message.

    • Hi Fiona,
      There’s quite a lot of research on this topic, but the most compelling is that of Dr Priscilla Coleman who conducted a meta analysis of 22 international studies from between 1995 to 2009.

      Her study was published in 2011 in the British Journal of Psychiatry and shows that women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81 per cent increased risk of mental health problems, and that nearly 10 per cent of all mental health problems in women were shown to be directly attributable to abortion.

      She found that abortion was linked with a 34 per cent greater chance of anxiety disorders, and 37 per cent higher possibility of depression, a more than double risk of alcohol abuse, a three times greater risk of cannabis use and 155 per cent greater risk of trying to commit suicide.

      “Not only is there evidence for an association between abortion and poor mental health, but studies have further indicated that abortion is related to an increased likelihood of sexual dysfunction, communication problems, and separation or divorce,’’ Dr Coleman said.

      The sample size – that is the number of women (who had undergone an abortion) who participated in the study – was 163,181 women. Can’t really argue with that kind of figure. Here’s the link: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/199/3/180

      Thanks for dropping by.
      Claire.

      • Fiona Vosper says

        I can argue, as her research has been largely discredited by her professional colleagues. Her work has been unable to be reproduced by her peers, despite using the same dataset and her findings have been described as logically inconsistent. The APA has been very critical of her methods.
        As a journalist, you should know the importance of checking your sources and their credibility. This woman’s research is not to be trusted, much the same as Dr Wakefield, who made the false claim that vaccines cause autism. Their findings have been unable to be replicated by any of their peers.

        I forgot to add the link before, here it is below.
        http://www.thewomens.org.au/uploads/downloads/HealthInformation/UnplannedPregnancy/AbortionMyths.pdf

      • Fiona Vosper says

        Claire, it seems my comment about Dr Coleman has not come through. Can I advise you to look at her research a bit more closely? It has been discredited by her peers and her research has been unable to be replicated, despite the same dataset being used. She also has a bias that she did not disclose.

        Here is the fact sheet that I forgot to post. Maybe you could use this to get started on some factual research.
        http://www.thewomens.org.au/uploads/downloads/HealthInformation/UnplannedPregnancy/AbortionMyths.pdf

      • Hi Fiona,
        sorry for the delay in posting your comment – busy morning!
        Yes, I see that parts of Dr Coleman’s research was discredited by her peers, however not in entirety. It’s little wonder that research of this kind would be debunked – abortion is an industry after all. People make money from women’s decisions to abort their babies, so any research that indicates danger to to mother is bound to come under fire.
        Here’s a good analysis of the research:
        http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/there-are-major-problems-with-study-showing-no-link-between-abortion-mental
        Even Marie Stopes, Australia’s largest abortion provider, acknowledges the emotional risks of having an abortion.
        “For many women, making the decision to seek help regarding abortion is relatively straightforward. However, for others abortion is an issue that is fraught with complexities and the decision to undergo the procedure causes much anxiety. While most women feel relief following an abortion and are able to move forward, some may feel a sense of loss or sadness and can experience the following: numbness and emptiness, false euphoria, the need to keep excessively busy, general depression, sudden bouts of crying, anger and/or guilt, sexual or relationship difficulties.”
        http://www.drmarie.org.au/ask-dr-marie/abortion/how-will-i-feel-emotionally-after-having-an-abortion
        In a way, all the research only confirms what I know – I have friends who have had abortions and I know what they went through – what they’re still going through. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But through them I have also seen that there is restoration and healing – hope. Bless your day Fiona x

  3. Rob Baker says

    Great stuff Claire….keep putting the facts out there…don’t stop firing the debate & championing Godly principles that’s needed to rescue our society!! Bronwyn Baker holidaying in Germany

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. intuitivereason says

    In the broader context, the reaction you outline here is an outgrowth of the concept that right and wrong are arbitrary – that we can each decide for ourselves what is right, what is wrong. Once people accept that, they logically progress to the point where to disparage another persons concept of right and wrong, to cause them shame or guilt, is ‘offensive’.

    I find it a massive head space twist to try and understand a perspective that stems from that basis; I suspect it is just as hard coming the other way.

  5. Fiona Vosper says

    As I am unable to reply under your comment, I will put it here.

    ” It’s little wonder that research of this kind would be debunked – abortion is an industry after all. People make money from women’s decisions to abort their babies, so any research that indicates danger to to mother is bound to come under fire.” This comment is classic conspiracy theory stuff. Her research has been debunked because it is wrong. If you have a look at the link I gave you, you will see that the WHO, the APA and others have come to another conclusion.
    Women who do have mental health issues after an abortion are women who have been coerced (which no woman should ever be) or religious women. Most women found that, although it was stressful in the short term, there were no long term mental health effects. It is interesting that you take this woman’s research as gospel after it has been discredited, yet say that all the other evidence and research from trusted organisations is wrong. Very similar to how the anti-vaccine crowd use Dr Wakefield’s debunked research to support their misguided view. And cry conspiracy when other, more qualified and sound research is presented.

    “In a way, all the research only confirms what I know – I have friends who have had abortions and I know what they went through – what they’re still going through. ” Anecdotal evidence. I know women who have had abortions and are happy in their decision. This is why anecdotal evidence is not considered to be reliable. This is why organisations like WHO do research. So we have proper answers, not just propaganda or hearsay.

    I use to think the same way you did. Until I did some unbiased research and found that what I thought did not equal the facts. I came to the conclusion from my research that:
    a) it is a personal decision that a woman makes for herself (and partner, if their is one) with her doctor. It is no one else’s business, especially not a stranger who has nothing to do with the situation
    b) Sometimes they are necessary.
    c) That women who make the decision for themselves suffer no long term consequences and that most are happy with their decision.
    d)That pregnancy is stressful, labor is traumatic and parenthood is hard and one has to be certain that they can give a child a good life before bringing it into the world.
    e) Contraception is not 100% effective and mistakes happen. Women are entitled to decide whether they are going to use their body for the benefit of someone else. Whether they are going to carry that baby, birth it and then raise it or give it away. (Adoption has more of an effect on the birth mother’s mental health than abortion does, btw)

    It is hard to think about, but it’s not as though humans are endangered at all and we should be supporting women to do what is right by them and not what makes you, personally, feel better.

  6. Fiona Vosper says

    Just on another note, you said:
    “For many women, making the decision to seek help regarding abortion is relatively straightforward. However, for others abortion is an issue that is fraught with complexities and the decision to undergo the procedure causes much anxiety. While most women feel relief following an abortion and are able to move forward, some may feel a sense of loss or sadness and can experience the following: numbness and emptiness, false euphoria, the need to keep excessively busy, general depression, sudden bouts of crying, anger and/or guilt, sexual or relationship difficulties.”
    Obviously, we need to make sure that the woman is supported in her decision, sure of her decision and has not been forced in any way to undergo the abortion.

    • I think there’s an elephant in the room here Fiona: the baby.
      You say:
      “It is hard to think about, but it’s not as though humans are endangered at all and we should be supporting women to do what is right by them and not what makes you, personally, feel better.”

      Humans aren’t endangered, so it’s okay to kill unborn babies? Because their parents don’t want them? Argh! Sorry – I just feel such grief for the voiceless children in this equation. I know it’s hard to think about because for some it’s admitting to a terrible thing, but life is life.

      Perhaps the question we should be asking here is, ‘When does life begin?’ When do you think life begins Fiona? When a sperm fertilises an egg? When a heartbeat is detected? When other organs are developed? When the foetus can survive outside the womb (about 21/22 weeks at earliest)? When they are at term? Because if we answer this question then at least we have a limit. The current abortion bill will allow abortion to TERM for economic reasons (and others) with the sign-off of two specialist doctors. I’m sure you agree that that is just horrific.

      There are no provisions in the bill to ensure, as you suggested, that a woman has not been forced into the decision. No mention of independent counselling (conflict of interest for an abortion-provider to supply counselling of course, given that they make money from the procedure).

      Sorry, I’ve ranted a bit. It’s a topic close to my heart – but it’s obviously close to your’s too. I mean no offence by any of my rantings 🙂

      By the way, the quote in your last reply was not my own words – I was quoting from the Marie Stopes website (link in my original comment), just pointing out that even Australia’s largest abortion provider acknowledges the emotional impact of abortion on the mother.

      Night, night! I’m off to bed – been a big day! I’m gonna pray for you before I do, that you experience God’s peace throughout your week x

  7. Fiona Vosper says

    Good Morning Claire, hope you slept well.

    I feel that there is no voiceless child. It has no consciousness. It has the potential to become a child, if the conditions are right. Many factors can come into play, including the mother’s decision to actually carry the child. I would like to ask you: is there any other instance in life where one human being is forced to put their body on the line for another life? In every other aspect, this is a choice. People die everyday because no one gave them a kidney or donated some blood. Should we force people to give up part of their body for the life of another? Because all life is precious? I believe that is dangerous territory.
    I find it interesting that your empathy lies with a non sentient being rather that the conscious being, the mother.
    While doing a bit of research yesterday, I came across an interesting fact. That most of the women who have an abortion have other children. They are acting in the best interests of their already born child/children and themselves. They have made a decision to not struggle and to be able to provide properly for those children that they already have. If you have a look at the comments under your Examiner post, you will see a woman such as this. She feels good in her decision. She was wise enough to know what was best for her. No one should be judged in that situation. It’s no one else’s business.

    Another factor is that most abortions happen before 12 weeks. Late term abortions are very rare and are because the baby is very sick or disabled or the mother’s life is at risk. Again, not an instance where anyone should be judged, especially by strangers.
    A baby may live outside the womb after 22 weeks, but not without medical intervention. It’s not viable on it’s own.

    I put trust in our Doctors to do the right thing. I believe that clear law, regulations and proper training will only help the situation. It’s interesting that you say ” conflict of interest for an abortion-provider to supply counseling of course, given that they make money from the procedure.” Does this mean that I shouldn’t trust my optometrist because he makes money from the sale of glasses? Should I not go to the dentist and trust him when he tells me that I need a root canal because he makes money from the procedure? This is where duty of care comes into play.
    Do you really think that a doctor will sign off on a full term abortion on a healthy baby because the mother lost her job? I don’t.
    Abortions have happened for thousands of years, including during biblical times. Yet the Bible does not say that a woman has no right to control her own fertility. It is also a fact that many animals will self abort their fetus’ if the conditions aren’t right. An instinct to save themselves and their other offspring
    Women will seek abortion whether it be legal or not.

    You say that no one can make anyone feel guilt and shame, but I believe that the anti-abortion people do make women feel guilt and shame because they put misinformation out there, like you have with this article. They judge women, they want the right to stand in front of a clinic holding degrading and derogatory signs. They scream “murderer’ to a woman who is making a decision for her own life, her own circumstances. I respect your right to feel that abortion is wrong, but I also respect the rights of women who choose to have one. No one has the right to force someone to have an abortion or deny that right to someone who wants one.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but not your own facts. The premise of this entire article is incorrect. Women, generally, do not feel guilt and shame after an abortion. That is a myth. I feel that you need to print a correction on this front, as you have misled people.

    You can pray if you like, Claire. But I have peace 🙂 My opinions on these matters come from hours of research and study and also empathy for a woman who is not as lucky as I to have had a support system, a partner, good physical health, good mental health, a healthy baby, a good job and enough money to provide.

    I’m glad that I have had a chance to discuss this with you.

    • Thanks for the lively discussion Fiona – will be interesting to see the outcome of today’s Legislative Council debate on the bill.

      • I feel sick and angry when I hear women defending the rights of women to decide whether an unborn human being is allowed to live or die – to justify abortion as if it was the same as removing an unwanted cyst or tumour from their body. Each aborted baby is a potential new citizen with unknown potential to impact society and the nation as he/she grows. Fiona Vosper and others of her persuasion would do well to wake up to the fact that each unborn child (not an inanimate foetus or clump of cells) is a human being, a person. if we stop and think that 100,000 lives are destroyed in Australia every year through abortion – that’s around 1 million in ten years, it helps to put this evil in perspective. Yes, I did say evil, because that is what it is! No one will ever convince me otherwise. Thanks, Claire for your courage. I agree with you also, Claire, that Marie Stopes is making money out of abortion. They seem to have cornered the market.

      • Fiona Vosper says

        I feel sick and angry when men and religious fundamentalist trivialise pregnancy, labor and parenthood and judge women for something that is none of their business.
        Never once did I describe a fetus as a cyst or a tumor and do not consider it to be one.
        I will ask you the question that Claire failed to answer: is there any other instance in life where one human being is forced to put their body on the line for another life? In every other aspect, this is a choice. People die everyday because no one gave them a kidney or donated some blood. Should we force people to give up part of their body for the life of another? Because all life is precious?

        I would say to you to look at facts (something which Claire has failed to do in this article) and have some empathy for women who find themselves in this situation, because it is not something that I believe any woman takes lightly.

        And, Jo, the people who are anti abortion put so much effort into defending an non sentient being and forgetting about the woman with thoughts and feeling, who wants to make a decision based on her own life, her own circumstances and her own body.

      • Obviously, Fiona, nothing that I or Claire or anyone else with opposing views to yours about abortion and the sanctity of life say is going to make any difference to your attitude. Bottom line: We live in a world where for most people their decisions in life are governed by: It’s all about ME, MY RIGHTS, WHAT’S BEST FOR ME, HOW WILL IT AFFECT ME ME ME ME ME! Even the most evil and horrific acts of humans against fellow humans can be somehow justified in the light of (or rather in the darkness) SELF EXALTATION where NUMBER 1, ME ME ME is the centre of MY UNIVERSE. Yes, I am unashamedly a Bible believing Christian, with many flaws and subject to human frailty, but I thank God my life is directed by the God who made me and you, and that His Word, the Bible provides a clear and unambiguous moral compass for living and for LIFE!!!
        Thanks Jo for your comment above.

      • Agreed with Peter Harvey. The people who are pro-abortion put so much effort into finding scientific facts only to strengthen the argument of the pro-life. It is not a matter of whether one is religious or not – a foetus is the start of a human life.

  8. Dear Clare,
    thank you for your article! Well done! As Germaine Greer said, abortion is not a pretty matter, and not one women should have to choose. Coercion is certainly a big part of why women choose this pathway. I have an auntie who was my grandfather’s secret child, but her mother turned up and gave her to the family when she reached teenage years. This scenario does not usually happen now. But the woman carries the burden for years , or it can pop up as great trauma through some trigger years later. We should be able to care better for both mothers and their children. Not forgetting the fathers as well, as they are often forgotten.
    Jenny Hobart

    • Thanks for dropping by Jenny – good points too. Yes, the fathers are too often left out of the equation.

  9. Kat says

    Dear Claire,

    That is great that you have your opinion. However, does not mean (obviously) that everyone else agrees with you. And I believe that we should have the CHOICE. If abortion becomes de-criminalized and you don’t agree with it, that is fine, don’t go out and get an abortion. But that option should be available for consideration by other women, because that is what we deserve!! CHOICE.

    Yes some women will feel guilt after an abortion, I can see that occurring. However for others (for example a rape victim, domestic violence victim whose partner is using pregnancy for coercive reasons, a very sick woman or a very unwanted pregnancy due to other reasons) they won’t necessarily feel guilt. They will acknowledge the loss, however it won’t always continue to haunt them like you make out.

    This article makes me so frustrated and angry. I don’t know what my decision would be if I fell pregnant right now, but to know that I have the CHOICE of an abortion would me comforting. I probably would not choose that option, but at least I had the CHOICE.

    It also supports our doctors, who have to make many ethical decisions. This gives them support in advising a woman of her options/what is best for her. We should support our doctors.

    It is up to each individual in their own personal circumstances to decide. Some woman in the state having an abortion does not affect you. So realise that every one has their opinion and DESERVES TO HAVE THE OPTION. That’s why we need this bill to succeed. So that the CHOICE is available.

    CHOICE. Women deserve it.

    • Kat, abortion IS available already in Tasmania. It’s available no questions asked to 12 weeks – women already have that choice. Thereafter it is still available with the sign-off of two specialist doctors.
      The bill in question certainly does not support our doctors – it restricts their ability to practice with conscience. Under the proposed legislation doctors with a conscientious objection MUST refer to a doctor known not to have objection to abortion, or face a $32,500 fine!! Hardly supporting doctors’ “ethical decisions”.
      I would suggest you read more into the bill before throwing your support behind it – I have written other posts here on why it is so dangerous.

      I agree that women need to be supported, but I would ask you to consider the life of the child too. Is it right to sacrifice a child’s life for a woman’s convenience/health/peace of mind etc? We wouldn’t do so with a two-year-old child, so why is it ok for a pre-born child?

      Thanks for stopping by Kat.

  10. Anon says

    Some of the arguments shown in these comments show how people are increasingly self-entitled and put their own desires for their own self-interests first. These people won’t understand what I mean as they think the individual is paramount.

    If you are angry with the views expressed by an author, you are welcome to not read it. The author is writing her opinions based on her views. If you do not agree with the framework within which she chooses to write, just like how you need not agree with others, she need not submit to writing within your framework.

    • Fiona Vosper says

      I take offence because Claire is spreading misinformation with this article. The facts are that women, generally, do not have mental health issues after an abortion. If these sorts of incorrect statements are going to be printed in the newspaper, then I will take it up with the author and point out that one is entitled to their opinion, but not their own facts, and that she is simply wrong.
      I hardly see how standing up for vulnerable women is putting myself first. I don’t want an abortion. But someone else might want or need one, for their own personal reasons. I don’t think that your opinion is valid when it comes to someone else’s life, as it’s none of your business. It’s the business of the woman who has to carry the baby and her doctor. You also fail to put yourself in the shoes of someone else and realise that the world is not black and white, nor is life a picnic for everyone.
      I think that you, Claire and others here are the selfish ones. You want everyone to see the world the same way you do, with no empathy for the hardships of someone else’s life.

      • Whatever happened to Adoption of unwanted babies? I Googled Adoption and found a Wikipedia article about Adoption in Australia which contains some interesting facts. Quoting from the article: There has been a substantial decline in the number of adoptions in Australia since the early 1970’s. In 1971-72, there were 9,798 adoptions, which declined to 1,052 in 1991-92, and 576 in 2005-06. A report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics attributes this decline to the introduction of welfare for single mothers, increased legal access to termination of pregnancy, family planning services, access to child care and improved participation of women in the workforce. The article goes on to say that, interestingly, Australia has a significantly lower adoption rate than the USA and the UK.
        I remember that, as a teenager living on the Gold Coast, one of my cousins, from memory 17 at the time – and single, came from WA to live with our family. for the largest part of her first pregnancy. The baby was duly delivered at full term, and quickly whisked away from her, and was by her choice given up for adoption – hopefully to loving and caring grateful adoptive parents. My cousin was happy that adoption provided a way out of her situation, also bringing joy to another family, who I suppose were not able to produce offspring of their own. Somehow, I feel adoption of children from unwanted pregnancies would be a much more healthy option than wholesale abortion, thus also enabling our population to benefit by the addition of 80,000 or so little PEOPLE each year.
        On that point, I was thinking last night, and said to my wife, what a tragedy it would be if our nation lost 80,000 people in one year through natural disasters or through terrorist attacks or whatever. But the SILENT and HIDDEN holocaust of aborted lives, to most people, goes unnoticed, and unreported. Sorry, Fiona, if this rattles your cage, but hopefully it gives you a little food for thought!

  11. Fiona Vosper says

    Peter, it doesn’t rattle my cage at all, as I don’t see it like that. Most abortions happen before the 12 week mark. I don’t see much difference between an abortion at that stage and what ends up in the bottom of a condom. Women who have abortions later than this do so for medical reasons, often quite serious ones, I don’t see how you can judge anyone in that situation.

    Adoption is all well and good, but the woman still has to be willing to put her body on the line for that. Pregnancy is no picnic and actually giving a child away would be a huge deal. You cannot force someone to use their body to carry and then give birth to a baby for a childless couple. As a man, you really have no idea what it is like to be pregnant, or what labor is like. As I’ve asked you before and you (and Claire) have failed to answer: is there any other instance in life where one human being is forced to put their body on the line for another life? In every other aspect, this is a choice.

    Another point is: Are you opposed to gay couples adopting unwanted children? Because it seems to me that a lot of people opposed to abortion and who want women to carry to term and then adopt out are also against gay people adopting.

    • If one in three women in Australia has at least one abortion, some more, Fiona, are you telling me that they all have them for medical reasons. There must be a lot of quite unhealthy women in this land of ours. Oh, and to answer your last question, Fiona, in a word: Yes!

      • Fiona Vosper says

        No, I am not saying that. Read what I said again “Most abortions happen before the 12 week mark. I don’t see much difference between an abortion at that stage and what ends up in the bottom of a condom. Women who have abortions later than this do so for medical reasons, often quite serious ones”

        Women who have abortions after 12 weeks, do so, mostly, for medical reasons. Women who have an abortion before this are doing so because they are not ready for a baby. Call it convenience if you like, I call it none of your business, as their reasons for not wanting to carry, birth and then raise a baby are personal.

        The fact that one in three women have an abortion, to me it sounds like clear, precise legislation is definitely what is needed! Obviously there is a fair chunk of the population who don’t agree with your opinion on this matter and would like the option to be available to them.

        You still haven’t answered this question: is there any other instance in life where one human being is forced to put their body on the line for another life?

        Glad to hear we agree on my last point 🙂

      • Hi Fiona –
        in response to the question you’ve framed repeatedly:
        “Is there any other instance in life where one human being is forced to put their body on the line for another life?”
        Perhaps there isn’t. But I believe your question has a flaw – generally, no one is forced to fall pregnant (apart from in cases of rape, of course). There is generally an opportunity to consider the possible outcome of unprotected sex: pregnancy. There’s a decision to be made, before the act.
        Ironically, parents are often heard saying they would do anything for their child – they would lay down their life for their child. I know I would. I don’t see what the difference is between sacrificing for your child before or after they emerge from the womb. In fact, I see it as an enormous privilege to have been chosen to carry my son for those nine months – it was worth every moment, including the discomfort of pregnancy, the financial impact on our family income, the pain of labour etc. etc. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
        I think our world would be a better place if more people sacrificed their own interests for the good of others – that’s the beautiful lesson in motherhood.
        I have a question for you Fiona: Is there any other instance in life where one human being is permitted to kill another human being for the benefit of their own convenience, health (physical, mental etc.) or financial situation?

      • Dear Fiona:
        I am a counselor, and I live in America, not Australia, but we have the same problems here! I am also a Christian, and because of that, I believe and live by the Word of God [the Bible] in which God states that He not only knew us before we were conceived, but had a plan and purpose for us before we were born. This is possible because, like God, we are tri-part beings: spirit, soul and body. God formed us- our physical body- in the womb. I have thought carefully about your unanswered question, and I believe you are correct: there does not seem to be any other instance where someone is forced to give their life for another (except for acts of terrorism). Jesus did indeed give His life so that you could have a relationship with God, but He did this willingly because He loves you. So you see, dear Fiona, that the real question seems to be not whether abortions should be legal, and at what stage of life, and who should be forced to pay for these abortions (or for that matter, perform them) but what do you do about your life? because it is no less valuable to God than any one of these children who are murdered every day. Wouldn’t it be just as much of a waste for you to never know God, or how much He loves you, and why He created you in the first place? And for what purpose? Just think: all of the gifts and talents you possess, the abilities you have, were given to you because you have a part to play in this grand scheme, whether you ever have the privilege of conceiving and giving life to a little someone created in your own likeness. And this is the point of giving birth; we share in creating life; God uses us to fulfill His plan and purpose in this world.
        I don’t know that you know God, Fiona; from your questions, I am assuming, maybe wrongly, that you don’t. You may not even believe in Him, in which case, you have a different worldview from some of the other writers, including Claire. And that is to be expected, if that is the case, so the argument actually has no foundation. However, let me say this, whether you know God or not, or even believe in Him, He very much believes in you. And loves every fiber of your being, mistakes and all, and loves you enough to give His life for you. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to.

  12. Fiona Vosper says

    I framed it repeatedly because no one would answer it.

    “generally, no one is forced to fall pregnant (apart from in cases of rape, of course)”
    some examples to start: Contraception is not 100%.A woman can use contraception correctly and still falls pregnant.
    A teenaged girl is coerced into sex by an older boyfriend and falls pregnant.
    A woman has had too much to drink and is taken advantage of.

    ” I don’t see what the difference is between sacrificing for your child before or after they emerge from the womb.”
    Well, a lot of people do see a difference. As I said, most abortions happen before 12 weeks. I do not see the difference between that and what ends up in the bottom of a condom.
    Abortions after this happen, mainly, because of medical reasons. I find it disgusting that you would judge a woman for choosing her own life, especially if she has other children to care for. I also find it disgusting that you would judge a woman for aborting a fetus that has serious medical problems or a severe disability. You aren’t in their shoes.

    I ask you this: If you found out you were pregnant tomorrow and, at the same time, found out you were sick with an aggressive form of cancer that needed immediate treatment or you would die, you would not think about terminating the fetus so you would be around for your son?

    “In fact, I see it as an enormous privilege to have been chosen to carry my son for those nine months – it was worth every moment, including the discomfort of pregnancy, the financial impact on our family income, the pain of labor etc. etc. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
    good for you. I see it that way when it comes to my amazing son, too. But not everyone is as lucky as you or I to have a partner, good health, good support, etc. Empathy is the key word here. I really don’t think that you understand what it means, as you keep saying how you, personally, felt when pregnant. Not everyone feels that way.

    “I think our world would be a better place if more people sacrificed their own interests for the good of others” I do too. Don’t see it as applicable to this conversation. It’s comments like this that prove to me that you have no real idea what you are talking about when it comes to abortion.

    “Is there any other instance in life where one human being is permitted to kill another human being for the benefit of their own convenience, health (physical, mental etc.) or financial situation?” I guess it depends when you think life begins. It’s not killing a child. It’s killing an embryo. I think that an abortion, especially one in the first trimester, is a chance for a woman to rectify a mistake before it becomes a problem in her life. I also feel that abortion is natural, that our natural instincts are towards self-preservation and the preservation of already born children.

    You aren’t against this law change. You are against abortion full stop. Even though I do not want an abortion, I would like the option should I need to take it, for my health or my sanity. Why should you have a say in that? You have no idea what is best for women you don’t know. Nor are you willing to even try to walk in their shoes.

    @ Stacey
    I don’t believe in destiny and God is subjective. There is no proof of God or Jesus or that anyone should live their life by what the Bible says. If that is how you want to live your life, go for it. I for one do not subscribe to it, neither do many others. So, I don’t really care what you think God thinks. You don’t know. I don’t know. No one does. We do what is best for us, whatever that is. If it upsets you that people aren’t ‘saved’, get over it. They aren’t interested.

    At the end of the day, it is none of your business how someone lives their lives. You would be pretty annoyed if they started regulating religion and what you believe in, so let people do what is best for them. The arrogance of some Christians is astounding. Your truth is not the truth of everybody.

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

    • Well, you may not believe in Him now, but I can promise you that one day you will. And yes, I do absolutely know that, Fiona. Because I know Him.

      • Fiona Vosper says

        Well, that’s lovely. Good for you. Wish I could be so delusional as to think that I had it all figured out. Don’t make promises you have no way of knowing you can keep.

        You don’t know, you have chosen to believe this because it makes life and the thought of death easier. Just like the Muslim, the Hari Krishna, the Buddhist, the Scientologist or any other religion you care to name. You believe because you choose to. And that’s fine, whatever floats your boat.

        but this is totally off topic. Surely you agree that everyone should have the freedom to do what is best for them, no matter what you personally believe. I don’t want to change your mind about your faith or your beliefs, nor do I want to tell you what I think is best for you. I, and others like me, would like the same courtesy.

      • Anon, says

        Fiona, Stacey has not been trying to force her values down your throat by telling you what she believes in as you seem to imply by saying that you would like the same “courtesy”. She has been very courteous to you by not defending her beliefs like you have or making assumptions about what you believe in. It is questionable why someone would read an article which one knows one would not believe in, yet argue with others about it. It seems that the only reason is to argue with people about their beliefs. You are the one being extremely rude.

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