The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Abortion Is a Health Issue

Apr 30, 2012

By age 45, 30% of all women will have had an abortion.

Abortion has always been legal for wealthy women, regardless of what the law said. They had the financial means to discretely pay for the procedure with a trusted doctor. Working class and poor women have gotten abortions too, but much more dangerously when they were illegal. And it has never been widely publicized, but the number of abortions performed has remained fairly steady, whether the procedure is legal or illegal. It shows there is a very human problem underlying the abortion question.

So many of the women who required abortions were denied access to simple, safe and sure contraceptive methods – whether for economic or political reasons. That goes double for teenagers, who are also denied access to adequate education about their own bodies and their own sexuality.

Abortion, like all issues concerning women’s reproductive system, is a health issue. Yet reactionaries turn it into a religious issue, trying to impose their own warped views on everyone else.

The right wing speaks of abortion as the destruction of human life.

Yes, an abortion destroys a potential human life. A fetus, while not yet a person in the same way as a newborn infant, is a potential human being. But the fetus is only part of the broader picture of human life.

Women chose abortion even when it was illegal, and they choose abortion today even when it is difficult to obtain – because they may be facing alternatives even more destructive to human life.

The birth of a child that a woman cannot provide for involves the destruction of human life. She may have to work herself literally to death trying to provide for that child. Any future for her children who are already born may become impossible once she has more children than she can handle. High unemployment rates and laws restricting eligibility for public assistance have left 1.5 million single mothers without jobs and without cash aid, according to the Urban Institute.

There is also the sad reality that the birth of emotionally unwanted children can lead to the destruction of human life. Newspapers are full of stories about the death of children from abuse and neglect.

It is for these reasons and more that we say that it must be the woman herself who makes the choice – not her parents, not her husband or companion, not the government nor legislators, and certainly not the churches.

In making her choice, a woman should not be pressured legally or morally, nor have to face right wing fanatics, those dirty old men who hang out outside women’s clinics.