Saturday, 28 April 2012

Wombs & Women: Marking 45 Years of Freedom


The women haters are out in force today. Out on the streets, holding crappy little placards, and campaigning for women to lose control of their own bodies. For today, the anti-women movement is out to show their disgust that women have had control over their wombs for 45 years.

The Abortion Act has been protecting women from unsafe abortions since 1967. An organised group of complete and utter mentals, SPUC (Social Pastime of Useless Crackpots), are today holding vigils in 50 locations across the UK to highlight that they believe women should have no control over their bodies . They will be holding placards that their website claim will “bring home the reality of abortion.”
Strange really, considering that placards showing how great it is that women have access to safe and legal abortions does seem to kind of go against what they stand for. But I suppose it’s great that they’re able to be objective.
I imagine the local members of SPUC, probably quite a collection of lonely individuals, misfits and busybodies, met up to paint their banners. They probably met at one of their homes, armed with discarded bed sheets (no doubt stained with the belief in the safety and reliability of the withdrawal method) and paints ready to get creative with these banners to show the world the truth about abortion. I can imagine them, eyes hungry, ready to draw images of babies covered in red blood, and witty and insightful phrases like “Choose Life”. One of the members probably suggested: “Why don’t we brainstorm, guys, so we can get ideas for the slogans. What is the truth about abortion?”
The World Health Organisation found that 42 million women have abortions each year, and over half of these are performed unsafely. Unsafe abortions tend to occur in countries where abortion is illegal, and so procedures are carried out in ‘backstreet clinics’ without proper medical knowledge. The same study discovered that abortion accounted for thirteen per cent of women’s deaths during pregnancy and childbirth globally. By restricting safe and legal access to abortions, you do not automatically “save” the foetus, instead you potentially endanger the mother.
Most abortions (around 75 per cent) occur during the first ten weeks of pregnancy. It’s important to point out that pregnancy is counted from the first day of the last period, and so for the first two weeks (at least), there is no actual pregnancy because conception hasn’t even occurred. Then for the first couple of weeks after that, pregnancy is simply a collection of cells which have not even attached to the wall of the womb yet, so for the first four or five weeks, pregnancy is either nothing or a tiny collection of cells simply floating around the womb. Scientists don’t agree on when foetuses start to feel pain, it is a highly contentious issue, but most scientists agree it is certainly not within the first half of the pregnancy.
The anti abortion campaigners often claim that foetuses feel pain, and that abortion is murder, but since the foetus is unable to feel pain and cannot survive on its own I don’t see how either of these statements can be true. In fact, they are just a way of using fear and guilt in an effort to manipulate vulnerable women.
Most discussion around abortion, certainly in schools and the media, focuses around rape, and health risks to the mother or baby. Of course these are very important issues, and it’s imperative that discussion around these points continues. But, I feel that women should have access to legal and safe abortion if they want it. I think it is perfectly ok for a woman to decide she wants an abortion because she fell pregnant accidentally, and I think this is something that should be discussed more. Unwanted pregnancies happen, and because we live in a society which allows abortion, these women are able to safely and legally terminate the pregnancies, and I think that is a good thing.
Why should the state be able to control when women have children? Why should the Government be able to dictate whether you will or will not continue a pregnancy? That choice is for the woman alone. Why should our bodies be controlled by anyone other than ourselves? Women should not feel ashamed to take control of their wombs, and nor should they feel ashamed to speak out against SPUC and other groups of inherently crazy people trying to oppress women by putting David Cameron, and other pig eyed politicians, in control of their wombs.
I do not want to live in a world where women facing unwanted pregnancies are forced to visit backstreet clinics and risk their lives in order to end a pregnancy. We are lucky to live in a society where abortions are legal, but there is a worrying increase in the number of crazies campaigning against it, so if you believe all women should have access to safe and legal abortion services, please say so. Add your names to petitions, write to your MP, attend pro choice demonstrations, because I don’t want my daughter’s womb to be controlled by anyone other than her.

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