Let’s take a look at a six-letter word that crops up a lot in the unplanned or crisis pregnancy space: choice.
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “An act of choosing between two or more possibilities.” In Australia, when women are given ‘choice’ it usually just means they’ve been offered abortion.
There are actually many choices when faced with unplanned pregnancy…
The choice to be brave and embrace parenthood.
The choice to ask for help and access support services.
The choice to offer your newborn for adoption into a loving family.
The choice to put the needs of an already-alive-and-growing human being above your life plans for a period of time.
You have so many choices. And continuing a pregnancy opens up myriad possibilities and opportunities for enrichment in your life that abortion leaves no room for.
Choice is invariably linked to body autonomy and women’s rights.
“I can do what I like with my body.”
“My body, my choice.”
But is that really true?
I have a four-year-old and a seven-year-old. They both love peanut butter sandwiches. It’s not unusual for them to be sitting at the breakfast bar, both chowing down on their sarnies in kiddy contentedness. It’s also not unusual for them to be squabbling over something trivial.
Say Miss Four finished her lunch and chose to grab what remained of Master Seven’s. She’s exercising her right to choice by taking from her brother. Survival of the fittest, right? Say she gave him a knuckle sandwich in the process, a bit of a biff on the nose. Her body, her choice how she uses it. And I would just watch the altercation fondly, thankful that we live in an age where my daughter has choices and rights.
Choice only extends so far as it doesn’t impinge on the rights and choices of another human being. I can confirm that, if the above scenario played out in our household, Miss Four would be given ‘time out’ and other ‘consequences’ (they’re very familiar with this word!). Much the same as when someone assaults, abuses or robs another in the big, wide world – they are fined or given jail time.
Choice only extends so far as it doesn’t impinge on the rights and choices of another human being.
So why are the boundaries of choice stretched when we are discussing the life of an unborn child and his or her mother? Why do we dig up the foundations of acceptable treatment of fellow humanity, when the life at stake is unseen?
“Their life relies on another,” it’s argued.
“They only live because of the woman, like a parasite.”
So many vulnerable people live this way in our society already. People with disabilities rely on others for sustenance, transport, to be fed and clothed, washed and loved. Infants and the elderly need the support of others to live safely. It would be inconceivable to deem them less human, less worthy of life, because of their reliance on others.
Why then do we accept this argument for the unborn?
Abortion as choice is a lie. A big, horrible lie that is being prescribed as a good and wholesome alternative to parenting or adoption. For the unborn, it is complete absence of choice, and for the woman it is a choice that harms both herself and the child.
Back at the breakfast bar in my kitchen, imagine this. Having just explained to Miss Four why she cannot take her brother’s peanut butter sandwich, she says, “I had no choice! I wanted it. I took it.”
But we all have choice, don’t we? And if you’ve ever uttered some variation of that sentence, “I have no choice!”, then alarm bells should be ringing. We all have the choice to respect life.
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