Brain Droppings: Pro-choice’s time to scream

Brain Droppings: Pro-choice's time to scream

Scott Novak, Opinion Editor

In response to the Respect Life Club’s Day of Silence, which commemorated the silence of the unborn, I suggest a Day of Screaming be held as a tribute to women going through the sheer agony of childbirth.

Though I’m being facetious, I believe that it is time for the other side of the argument on abortion to be presented. At JC, this perspective receives little emphasis, and understandably so, since JC is a Catholic school.

But now is the time for those on the pro-choice side to start screaming and debunking the myths about abortion that the pro-life movement has perpetuated.

One of the major ideas professed by the pro-life movement is that life begins at conception, which is true. This fact, mixed with the notion that life is sacred, forms the basis for the argument against abortion.

Unfortunately, the pro-life side doesn’t seem to think much about what would happen to the lives of others if abortion was made illegal. For example, what if your 14 year old daughter became pregnant? Would you want there to be laws that take away the right to her own body? The pro-life side suggests adoption, but this oversimplifies the situation to a terribly base level. The Vatican fails to take into account the trials of pregnancy, which makes sense, as the entire institution is male.

Physically, pregnancy is obviously grueling. The woman’s body will never be the same again. But there can be a significant emotional price as well. The anxiety of giving birth and health risks that come along with it makes life stressful. A woman’s dreams of education and future career ambitions may also be sacrificed. Then there is postpartum depression, which can last up to a year following the birth. According to WebMD, 1 in 1000 mothers develop postpartum psychosis, which can cause auditory and visual hallucinations, insomnia, aggressive behavior, and suicide.

Though abortion is always tragic, it remains a necessity. Many teens and adults alike are not financially or psychologically stable enough to raise a child. Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. Furthermore, a fetus does not have the cognitive abilities or emotional capacities that make it possible to have a voice.

Women, on the other hand, do. They experience emotions a mere fetus could never comprehend. One of these emotions is guilt, which my JC religion classes taught me women have after an abortion.

But women actually have more psychological stress before the abortion than after. In 1989, the American Psychological Association formed a panel of psychologists who had performed multiple studies to see if “post-abortion syndrome” actually existed. All these studies consistently found that “the time of greatest distress is likely to be before the abortion. Severe negative reactions after abortions are rare and can best be understood in the framework of coping with normal life stress.”

Another common myth is that women use abortion as birth control. If women did this, then they’d have two or three pregnancies per year, which means that a woman could have 30 or more pregnancies in her lifetime. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2006, 52.2 percent of women who have abortions have not had one before, and 25.5 percent have only had one previous abortion.  Since women can remain fertile for over thirty years and birth control is not perfect, the chances of having one or two unintended pregnancies are fairly high.

A more offensive idea present within the pro-life movement is that women have abortions for frivolous and selfish reasons. Besides being blatantly rude to women who have had abortions, it is also not true. An abortion is hardly ever a simple decision.

The most common reasons for it are being financially unstable or not wanting to start or expand one’s family. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.” Meanwhile, about 13,000 women each year have abortions because the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.

On a final note, a woman who wants an abortion is going to get one, regardless of whether it is legal or not. Abortion must stay accessible to prevent more harmful ways of the procedure from being carried out and to ensure that a women’s right to self-autonomy remains intact.

 Scott Novak is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.