Abortion: Whose Choice Is It?

It was legalised in 1967, but abortion is and will continue to be a blazing hot topic for discussion amongst women today. Alongside the rise of political, religious and media tirades against women seeking abortions, is also the expansion of family planning centres, blogs and other forms of media which encourage women to talk more openly about their experiences of abortion. But whose choice is it to make and why do so many women decide to terminate their pregnancies? AMOR takes a look into the realm of controversy in which so many women are shamed into silence over a choice which is perfectly legal, yet prompts such a violent form of backlash.

AMOR found that one in three women in the UK will have had at least one terminated pregnancy by the time they are 30 with nearly all of these women having kept their abortion a secret from friends, family and even their partners. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just teenagers and young single women who seek abortions. In fact, figures show that one of the most popular age groups and types of women, who ask for this kind of medical help, are in their late twenties to mid-thirties and are holding down successful full-time careers. It seems that the glass ceiling is just aching to be broken, with women choosing to focus on their careers and money before bringing up children that they cannot care for yet.

But, research by The Daily Telegraph has revealed that people will go to any lengths to prevent women from terminating their pregnancies and have uncovered a number of pro-life protesters posing as trained councillors, trying to coerce women into becoming parents by ushering them into fake medical rooms and forcing them to watch anti-abortion films. There have also been vicious attacks on women outside abortion clinics who have been physically targeted with doll’s body parts covered in red paint. One reader, Francesca*, found this particularly distressing as she found herself in a similar situation. She said, “I was told a string of lies, like abortion would give me breast cancer or lead to miscarriage, all of which is not supported by any medical evidence. I didn’t have the time or money for a baby. It was for the best”.

Only 3% of women we interviewed believe that abortion is morally wrong with a greater 60% believing that abortion is a necessary choice to be made by the woman who is pregnant. In many abortion cases, birth control such as condoms, the Pill and inserts such as the coil fail to prevent unwanted pregnancy and medical professionals deem it unfair that a woman should be blamed or punished for seeking a termination because of failed contraception which women so often place their trust in.

There is no doubt that this is a complex issue but abortion rights are reproductive rights and are therefore part of the larger picture of our fundamental rights as women. It is a woman’s choice to voice her opinion on the future of abortion in the UK and no matter what your perspective on the issue is it’s good to keep the conversation going, to show women that they are not alone.

If you would like any help and advice on pregnancy and abortion, visit www.bpas.org or if you’re under 25, www.brook.co.uk

Written by Jacqueline Kilikita

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