Monday, 16 May 2022

Unless you're part of the abortion club, you don't get a say

I’ve had two abortions.

I doubt I’ll ever be able to fully explain what it feels like, the turmoil of emotion that follows such a personal decision. I have no regrets, but both experiences will stay with me forever.

It’s the smallest things that trigger the memories; the sight of a mother and her baby, seeing myself in the mirror and imagining, just for a moment, what I’d look like if I was nine months pregnant or stumbling across a movie with a scene of an ultrasound.

Sometimes I can shake the feeling off, and sometimes it hits me at my core.

The Alabama state senate has just announced the decision to ban abortion, barring a few extreme exceptions. The ruling comes shortly after the state of Georgia issued a similar abortion bill, and unsurprisingly both were passed and supported by men, which just makes the situation even more appalling.

Men have no business making choices for women, especially when it’s in regards to abortion – an experience they will never be able to physically comprehend.

If we set aside the obvious – that women should always have full autonomy of their own bodies – there is also a blatant disregard for how this ruling will affect women’s health and mental health.

Not only is the Alabama law a regression of women’s rights that could see thousands harmed and sets a dangerous precedent for the future, with women either having forced pregnancies with no mental health support or resorting to unsafe methods, it will also ruin progress made on sexual freedom.

For hundreds of years, women have been told that sex is dirty and wrong unless we’re married, that we should serve men in bed and that women who have casual sex are sluts.

Thankfully, women revolted and are now owning their sexuality. But no contraception is fool proof, and removing the choice of abortion will likely instill a new-found fear of sex, and see women denying themselves sexual pleasure once again.

Abortion is a private club; men will never be members, and women who have not had abortions will never be able to completely relate. I don’t mean to disrespect men who go through abortion (because they do), but even so, it’s not the same.

Only a woman who has had an abortion will understand what it’s like to hold her stomach and cry, and the feeling of physical emptiness or guilt that can follow. Only a woman who has had an abortion will understand what it’s like to take or insert pills into her vagina, knowing it will cause her to bleed for days.

And knowing that by doing so, she’s choosing one future over another.

Let me make this clear: every abortion is individual and no woman feels the exact same way about it.

Having an abortion can be gut-wrenching. It took me two years to get over my first one, and I’m still processing the second one – despite not wanting children and being certain I made the right decision both times.

I have friends who accepted theirs and were able to let it go soon after, while others suffered severe mental health issues and were unable to speak about their experience without crying, even long after it happened.

Somehow, I doubt male lawmakers can relate.

Just imagine if every time you considered sleeping with someone, you’d have to weigh the pros and cons of forced pregnancy versus enjoying one of the most natural parts of human life. Would you stop having sex?

Or even worse, imagine being raped and having your body violated in the worst of ways, but then also having to risk being imprisoned for aborting your abuser’s child.

Or finding out your unborn child has a terminal illness, and being told the baby will die shortly after you give birth with abortion the only other option.

Banning abortion isn’t pro-life. To me, this excuse is laughable, because if you’re a supporter of life, then surely that extends to women?

Making abortion illegal is just yet another attempt by men to take power away from women, and will only serve to further associate abortion with shame.

When in reality, there is no right or wrong, and there should be no judge or jury.

There is simply a choice, one that women shouldn’t be denied by a government that is meant to look after their well-being.

Unless you’re part of the club, and I genuinely hope you never will be, you don’t get a say.

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