When Heidi wrote about why she doesn’t want to have children, her arguments seemed to boil down to being too selfish to be responsible for another human being. I have to say I feel the same way. I can barely feed myself (seriously, boiling water takes too long, so I don’t eat anything that can’t go in the microwave), how could I possibly feed a baby? It can’t even tell me it’s hungry! I have concerns about the welfare of this hypothetical being.
So why am I returning to this subject? Because I have something to say about avoiding parenting. It’s a nasty subject people would rather avoid talking about. Yes, abortion. I’ve had lots of conversations recently about abortion, I think it’s on America’s mind. With the presidential election coming, we’re faced with a choice between a candidate who wants to uphold the precedent that women have a right to abort any unwanted pregnancy, and one who wants to restrict that right to only the most extreme circumstances. The choice sparks debate. I think by the end of this article, my politics will be clear, but this isn’t what I want to talk about. I want to tell you the circumstances under which I would have an abortion, and those when I wouldn’t.
To start with, let me say that I’m extraordinarily careful not to get pregnant. I don’t want children at this point in my life, so I’ve taken precautions against it. But, in the unlikely situation that I were to somehow become pregnant, I think at this point in my life I would keep it. My mom thinks that would be a mistake. She says I’m too unstable to have a child. It’s true that I’m unemployed, I live with my parents and my emotional pendulum swings at a fast pace. But I believe that it’s my responsibility to take care of any life I help create. I would need to mature in the span of 9 months. Become a person who doesn’t flake out at the last minute because I decide I don’t want to do something, get a job that would at least pay for baby essentials, take better care of my body, and so much more. An abortion would be running from the responsibility I take on by having sex. There are implied consequences to having sex, ones I do my very best to avoid. But it would be childish to try to avoid them because a baby would be inconvenient for me.
Another circumstance under which I don’t think I would abort a pregnancy is rape. A best friend of mine disagrees with me on that. She makes an excellent point–it would be hard to love a child who is a constant reminder of an extremely invasive, disturbing incident in your life. A reminder that would be with you forever. I’ve never been raped, so I can’t be possibly know what the reality of that fallout is, but I think that despite how the pregnancy came to be, that child would be half me and so I would keep it. Assuming the baby was healthy, it would be hard for me to abort a fetus in good conscience. Because the child would be a completely different entity from its father, I think I could disassociate it from the perpetrator of my rape. I know I would do everything in my power to show that child all the love it deserves, because no matter what circumstances brought them into the world, everyone deserves to be loved.
I mentioned the health of the baby in that last paragraph. There’s a reason for that. I think that were I to find out that my child had some sort of chromosomal or other major disorder, I would abort it. I don’t think it’s fair to bring someone into the world knowing that they would forever be dependent on others to care for them. I know that makes me sound cruel, but I don’t want to force a child to live in pain or be unable to keep up with their peers. On a more selfish note, I don’t want to be responsible for the well-being of someone who’s going to need so much more than a “normal” child would. I’ve seen the mothers of those kinds of children, talked to them. Of course they love their kids, but their lives are also entirely devoted to them. Everything is done to get the child to the right doctors, the right developmental specialists, the right schools and the parents’ needs are pushed to the wayside. I’m too selfish to do that to myself. I understand that parenting requires you to give up a lot of yourself, but I don’t think I could do that on and on for eternity, with the possibility of worrying about how they will get by after I die. It’s something I think I would be willing to have an abortion to prevent.
These are all personal opinions, of course. I’ve never been pregnant, so I don’t know how the hormones and emotions of that situation would influence any decision about abortion. From this side of pregnancy, though, these are my best reasoned conclusions. I don’t like the idea of cutting of a potential life before it has a chance to live. However, I think there are reasons to do it. I think every woman has the right to choose whether or not she can carry a baby to term, then raise it. I think every father has the right to be a part of that decision (barring extreme cases). Why else would we have developed the technology, if not to ensure children are coming into the best possible circumstances? Doesn’t every child deserve a loving home and a normal life?
Minnie thinks it’s a difficult, personal choice to get an abortion. No one should be thought less of for having one.