The other day I posted on Facebook, “Is abortion ever the MORE ethical choice over giving birth?” I left it at that. I didn’t want to explain why I was asking the question or what my views were because I was curious how my friends would reply. Here are some of the answers I received (with permission to share):
Beth Presswood (Godless Bitches Podcast):
“Certainly, especially in cases of extreme disabilities.”
“Tay Sachs, Bringing a child into the world for no more than a couple weeks of abject agony is deeply immoral. Aborting a child with Tay Sachs is absolutely more moral than giving birth to one.”
“Trisomy 18, anyone?”
Julie Lada (My DVM Vacation):
“In my opinion, wiping out a non-sentient bundle of cells rather than forcing a rape victim to undergo months of further psychological trauma during pregnancy and giving birth, no to mention her mental state afterward whatever decision she makes regarding adoption, is pretty fucking ethical.”
“With population as high as it is, an ethical case can be made for any abortion. (This is, of course, if the woman wants said abortion.)”
”(w/o reading previous comments) one possibility is if you have strong reason to believe you’ll be a terrible parent (you’re an alcoholic, say), and adoption options aren’t practically available.”
Sarah Moglia (Twitter):
“Mother’s life in danger, child’s life in danger, can’t financially provide for a child, trying to make sure you can support your other children (both financially and emotionally).”
Ashley F. Miller (Blog):
“In my opinion, any time a woman does not want to go through a pregnancy, forced birth is less ethical than an abortion. That is psychological and physical torture that will likely leave wounds for life”
“A friend of mine was going through chemotherapy for brain tumors. She got pregnant by her husband, a complete freak accident (the pregnancy, not her husband). Doctors said that the baby would not survive the chemo, and the pregnancy hormones would boost the tumors’ growth. Her husband, her family, and her friends all think she made the right choice by aborting. Besides, she didn’t want to leave her 2-year-old without a mother, or her husband without a wife. I’d say that’s ethical. :)”
So, why did I make that update? I wasn’t looking to be convinced – I already thought there are many, many situations where abortion is the more ethical choice over giving birth. But I never see abortion framed in terms of being “more ethical.” I always see it described as this necessary evil that we all have to feel sad and guilty about. That the choice must be a terrible struggle only allowable when followed by a certain amount of weeping and self-destruction as penance. We never talk about women who decided to give birth in those situations as making the less ethical choice. Birth is by default seen as morally superior and self sacrificing, when there are a number of situation where it is actually the unethical choice.
I obviously still think women have the right to choose either way. Forcing a woman to give birth or get an abortion against her will is so unethical it trumps the other arguments about ethics, at least in my mind. But I hate whenever I find a thread in 2XC where a woman says “I don’t feel guilty about my abortion…is something wrong with me?” No, nothing is wrong with you…something is wrong with our culture.