As a pro-choice, pro-abortion radical feminist, I spend some considerable time in any given week thinking about abortion. I contemplate the possibility that one day, in the UK, abortion may not be legal. It's already difficult to come by, too expensive for most women and still has an air of irresponsibility attached to it. I consider the multiple arguments put forward by the anti-choicers: the "right to life", a foetus feels pain, abortion hurts women, and on... I am never convinced by these people and rarely find their arguments intelligent or even well thought out.
Then I think about the various processes of abortion. It's not a pleasant procedure, it's messy and difficult but statistically it's not as dangerous as childbirth. I think about the indignity of the procedure and the inappropriate questions that often accompany any consultations. I dwell on the morality of paying to make a choice to end a pregnancy. It worries me that people make a profit on these procedures.
I think about my own pregnancies. I dig about in my brain for the sense memory of my daughter scrolling around in my belly. I remember the thick clot of my second pregnancy's sudden and convenient end. There are personal and political reasons for my thinking about and understanding responses to abortion.
I am always appalled by the rhetoric and motivation of the anti-choicers; the sanctimonious placard wavers show little interest in exploring the realities of women's lives. They accuse women of heartlessness, selfishness and a callous disregard for life. In my experience this is just not true. Abortion is a huge and difficult decision to make, and in my experience women who choose abortion feel somewhat conflicted about their decision. Some women believe that their foetus is a living thing and still make the brave decision to terminate their pregnancy. Some women abort for financial or health reasons and feel terrible grief for what they feel is their lost baby. Some women have no feelings about the foetus and abortion is a relief. Every experience is different and every experience is valid. For these reasons, I believe in being careful about how I talk about termination. One woman's parasite is another woman's heartbreak.
I absolutely support every woman's decision to abort. I can not stress this enough: termination should be free, on demand and easily accessible.