Happy ‘International Safe Abortion Day’, my friends.

You read correctly. September 28 is the day we are encouraged to talk about abortion: “No more smokescreens, no more labels, no more codes.”

And it’s good to talk about abortion.

I agree on that point. We need to bring into the open what is happening in the darkness of abortion clinics and behind bedroom doors in the aftermath, of hidden tears and regrets and fractured relationships. But the organisers of this annual event go one step further. “Let’s normalise abortion,” they declare. Because, you know, it’s a standard procedure. No more monumental than having your tonsils out. Safe.

Sarcasm aside, there’s a glaring oxymoron in the title of this day that stands out like a flashing neon sign on a black night. This is an irony that simply cannot go unchallenged. Because there is nothing safe about abortion. Nope. Abortion is to safety as a gun-toting drug addict is to a child: a threat.

Yes, #letstalkaboutabortion, but let’s frame it like this. Abortion will never be safe. Abortion prioritises the wellbeing (or rights) of one person over those of another, an equation that puts the latter in a supremely vulnerable position. The pre-born human’s safety is not mentioned once in the messages espoused by International Safe Abortion Day folk. No surprise there. To do so would quickly dismantle their tidy arguments.

“In this time of eroding rights…” one of their statements begins.

The verbiage is ludicrous.

Eroding rights. Whose rights are eroding? The rights of humans and even animals are at such elevated levels that people make a living defending their intricacies on a daily basis. There has never been a more empowered time to be a woman. It’s true that we have not achieved that elusive mantle of parity with men in the workplace, but we do have equality of personhood. Of course, I am speaking of the developed world. But even in the undeveloped world, we are seeing the rights of the downtrodden upheld more and more as we are exposed to their plight.

We should be concerned, not at the eroding of rights, but of integrity.

Because we are seeing people use the argument of ‘rights’ to tear down the very pillars of integrity built over hundreds of years that define Western civilisation. On one hand we have Australia – where new babies, male and female, are welcomed into the community daily, celebrated for the miracle of life they represent. On the other, we have situations like that of Queensland right now, where legislation is mooted to enable gender selection abortion. Here is a pillar of integrity crumbling before our eyes. If we allow it.

As Toowoomba GP, Dr Jovina James, said recently, it is “deeply anti-woman”.

“As a woman, the idea that it will be legal to abort babies because they are female horrifies me,’’ she said.

“As a doctor, I am used to counselling patients on the pros and cons of various health decisions, helping them to arrive at a well thought-out and balanced decision that takes into account their biological, psychological and social background. This legislation seeks to curtail the ability of vulnerable women to have those conversations with a health professional who knows them.”

And then the powers-that-be in the International Safe Abortion Day halls say things like this:

“We must renew our efforts to show that safe and accessible abortion is a social good…”
“Conversations about abortion need to take place… if we are to realise, protect and fulfil the rights of women and girls…”
“[Abortion] should be included in our demands for the right to bodily and psychological integrity, the right to autonomy, the right to health and the right to life free from harm…”

Here are some thoughts in response to these damaging viewpoints:

  • Abortion that is physically safe is not necessarily emotionally and mentally safe. And then there’s the safety of the unborn baby to be considered. Abortion will never be safe for that little person.
  • The rights of women and girls can only be given voice once their right to life has been addressed first.
  • Integrity is a holistic principle, a moral quality that looks beyond self to the repercussions of our decisions on those around us. When speaking of integrity in the context of “the right to life free from harm”, abortion simply cannot enter the equation. There is no room for the wilful extermination of innocent life when we are truly building a society based on integrity.

Dear International Safe Abortion Day convenors…

You say, “let’s normalise abortion!” Could it be that abortion is TOO normal? In Australia alone, there are an estimated 70-80,000 abortions each year. Of those women, 70 per cent* say they felt they had no alternative, citing a lack of support from partners, parents and friends.

That doesn’t sound like an empowered woman to me. It sounds like one of many women fed the lie of choice, only to find it wasn’t as sweet as it was spruiked to be. You bake your abortion activist cakes (“Cake is normal, so is abortion”), but we won’t be having a slice of it thanks very much. Life is too precious for such crass propaganda.

Based on David Reardon’s research in Aborted Women, Silent No More (Elliot Institute, 2002) and Passage Through Abortion: Personal and Social Reality of Women’s Experiences by Mary Zimmerman (Praeger Publishers, 1978). A story by Tony Moore in the Sydney Morning Herald (Hidden Abortion Pressure Revealed,September 2, 2009) quoted a senior counsellor from Pregnancy Counselling Link in Brisbane as saying that 70 per cent of women were pressured into abortion by their partners. Surveys by Marie Stopes (What Women Want When Faced with Abortion, 2006) and Lifeway (Study of Women Who Have an Abortion, 2015) show the significant influence of others in the pregnancy decision. The Guttmacher Institute also has research revealing that many teenagers who have abortions are directly and indirectly influenced by the opinions of others. See also www.afterabortion.org.

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