The “I’m pro-choice but I think abortion is wrong” thing crops up a lot in these discussions, and while I understand the urge to feel like a complex person that lays behind it, I seriously don’t get why people think that it helps anything to hand wring about how terrible abortion is if you’re supporting the right to have one. Suggesting that abortion is immoral just reinforces the anti-choice claims that abortion should be banned and it strongly reinforces the anti-choice notion that women who get abortions are moral children who are too stupid to know what they’re doing. The belief that women are too stupid to really understand what they’re doing is evident in anti-choice measures like requiring sonograms and requiring that women spend a day to think it over before they get an abortion.This is actually a topic where I agree with Bill Clinton too as he said he wanted abortions to be safe legal and rare. I agree completely. There are many cases: health of mother, rape, etc. etc. where abortion is the least bad option left and in those cases I want it available without stigma. As Jill at feministe writes:
There’s a difference between the circumstances under which a woman goes in for an abortion and the abortion itself. The circumstances that lead to abortion are almost always bad ones. Unwanted pregnancy. Fetal abnormality. A wanted pregnancy gone wrong. Economic status. Rape. Incest. Intimate partner violence.
Abortion itself, though, can be a savior for women, and a positive choice. Abortion is a medical procedure and, like most medical procedures, is preempted by some sort of negative event. And yet the discourse around abortion is focused on how “tragic” it is. Is open-heart surgery “tragic”? Is an appendectomy “tragic”? Obviously the circumstances leading up to open-heart surgery and appendectomy are bad. But the procedures themselves, I would argue, are good responses to bad situations. As is abortion.I also agree with her when she starts pointing out that the "pro-life" enforcement approach is frequently morally repugnant. Unfortunately the more extreme "pro-lifers" - not all those who oppose abortion but many of the more strident 'conservative' ones - start to move over to the sort of control of person that they, in other cases, generally criticise their liberal opponents for wanting. Generally speaking it is the 'conservative' who believes that people should be allowed to choose and to have responsibility for their actions, whether it is driving, gun-owning or whatever. Unfortunately when it comes to sex they then get all hung up about it and want to ban not just abortions but contraception, sex toys and so on.