Life is Life10/08/2017
To listen to the heartbeat of your unborn baby for the first time is a very special moment. I am grateful I was able to experience that myself last year. It’s like a little miracle growing inside you for nine months. In my case in fact it was nine and a half.
But what if it is an unwanted pregnancy and you find yourself in a rather unfortunate situation? Be it financially or with the wrong or none partner by your side or just at the wrong time. Do you get the right to have an abortion in this case? And if so, up to which week should this be allowed? And also, is it the woman’s right alone to make this decision?
Questions that people in Ireland are publicly debating at the moment. Pro Choice supporters demand to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution that currently protects the life of the unborn child. To keep it and therefore have abortion to remain illegal is what the Pro Life Movement is fighting for.
Does Demand determine Supply?
Thousands of Irish women travel to Great Britain per year to have an abortion. In the UK it is legal to abort a baby up to the 24th week and about 1 in 5 pregnancies end in an abortion (Source: loveboth.ie). In 2016 3,265 abortions of women with an Irish address were recorded in British hospitals (Source: ifpa.ie). However the actual number is likely to be higher since “patients” don’t always give the right contact details or might go to another country to have an abortion done. It is estimated that about 5,000 women per year with residence in Ireland are looking to end their pregnancies (Source: ifpa.ie). What the actual reasons are is hard to determine. In most cases they are summarised under the so called “Ground C” which is basically an abortion for “social reasons” (Source: AbortionReview.org).
The Pro Choice side argues that these women shouldn’t be forced to travel all the way to the neighbouring island to be able to have an abortion. Furthermore they insist that they should have the right to their own body and hence should be allowed to terminate an unwanted pregnancy legally in Ireland. Should we therefore legalise abortion because ca. 12 women per day are currently looking for one?
You are not alone
If it was the women’s bodies only that were concerned, I would agreed. Since this is clearly not the case I have to disagree. In the 3rd week of pregnancy the heart of the baby starts beating. This is usually about a week before you would even find out you are pregnant. That means that whenever you decide to have an abortion there is already a little human being growing inside you and it starts looking like one in week 12 at the latest. So how do women get the right to end the life of a human being solely because they don’t want him or her? Apart from that, who or what determines until when an abortion is legitimate?
When a mother kills her newborn out of despair it is considered murder and no one is going to argue about the legal situation. If she was going to do it at 24 weeks whilst the baby is still in her womb – and could already survive outside her womb – it is legal and called abortion? That doesn’t make any sense to me. What is the difference between a desperate woman before giving birth and a woman in the same difficult situation afterwards? Would it not be much more sensible instead to provide support in crisis pregnancies in order to prevent either of these 2 extreme cases?
Eeny meeny miney moe…
This leaves me with discussing the abortion limit, i.e. up to when it is considered legitimate to end a pregnancy. Even if the deadline was set much earlier than the currently 24 weeks in the UK, it stays questionable what condition is used as reference to define that limit. In Germany women can have an abortion up to the 14th week under certain circumstances (after a consultation with a doctor or a qualified agency). However even at that stage the baby’s brain is already working and sending impulses to coordinate the little one’s first facial expressions and hand movements. The heart is busily pumping blood through baby’s veins for almost 3 months at that point. The argument of a lack of consciousness is irrelevant, too. Otherwise one could argue that a newborn or premature baby doesn’t really know what’s going on around him/her either and we don’t consider it an option to legally get rid of them, do we?
In the end it all comes down to the question if we consider an unborn child, regardless of his or her age and stage of development, a human being or not. If we answer this question with yes, we cannot support abortion by all means.
I owe my Child
Since May this year I am a mother myself and all the way through pregnancy I have lived by the principle that I owe my child. No, I don’t get the right to have a cigarette or a drink whenever I feel like it while I’m pregnant. To live on sugary stuff and junk food is bad enough when I do it to my own body, but it is a no-go when I have a little fella inside me eating away on a direct supply.
Was it easy on top of all these things that come with the big bump, such as losing my mobility and giving up my favourite tummy sleeping position? No it wasn’t. Did I sometimes fail and didn’t do everything 100% according to the books? For sure. But I owe my child to always try my best even though it might be hard at times.
In the three months since our little sunshine was born this “mantra” has still helped me to get through the day. Because no matter how sweet his smile is and how much joy he brings us, there are these sleepless nights that everybody is talking about and I do reach my limits once in a while. And then I remind myself that he is not a commodity determined to make us happy. With the decision to have a child we have taken on a huge commitment and we owe him to always stick to it. We owe him to be there for him together, we owe him to protect and nurture him, we owe him to put his needs before ours as long as he is depending on us.
He doesn’t owe us anything, we owe him everything.
Children are not our possession. All decision we make on their behalf until they are able to make their own should be in their best interest. Therefore the most important one has to be the decision “pro life”.