How do you feel about a ban on abortion?
This is a question I have thought about a lot, and an issue which I find very difficult. As always, let's ground our discussion in some non controversial data. Those nations that ban the practice have no evidence to demonstrate that it reduces the numbers of terminations. The sad reality is that they have limited facts full stop by virtue of having lost visibility on the scale of the issue.
Conversely, those nations with the lowest figures are those with a sensible and mature attitude towards sexuality. Parents foster strong bonds with their kids, meaning that the avenues of communication remain open, combined with school education policies that provide robust guidance on the issue in a matter of fact environment.
Note one similarity with both examples; neither can boast a figure of zero abortions. I suggest we keep this fact front and centre, because it is pivotal to the rest of my thought process.
So, accepting that whichever route taken doesn't eradicate the problem of abortion, which fork in the road are we to take? Well for me I'm fully with option two. Good child/parent relationships coupled with a robust educational system, all undergirded by a healthcare system that provides access to a range of options.
Here's another uncontroversial fact. If people practice safe sex, or abstain from sex, there's less chance of unwanted pregnancy. And this invariably means a reduction in the number of terminations, which everybody wants to see. Compare this with an alternative strategy; let's introduce a wholesale ban on adoption and limit access to healthcare and education. What are your expectations that this will yield the desired reduction in unwanted pregnancy? Is it likely that it would mean fewer abortions than the more progressive strategy employed by nations such as the Netherlands?
An important caveat; I dislike abortion. I consider it a failure on the part of society to grapple with issues of human sexuality in a sensible and mature way. Despite this I cannot seriously entertain the idea of a ban. It has never been shown to work, and it appears to expose young women to unnecessary risk when they seek out covert terminations. Let's be clear about one thing; the abortion figures are too high. And frankly the upper threshold for terminations is a disgrace. Make no mistake that late term abortions destroy what are essentially young children, which sickens and chills me. If you doubt this browse any book on pregnancy and see what you're destroying.
I recognise that I cannot hope to capture the complexities of this issue in a short blog entry. I recognise also that others have a different perspective. I reject any suggestion that due to being a man I'm excluded from the conversation, however. I'm as capable of considering social issues as you are despite the absence of a vagina.
To conclude, let's admit society has a problem. Let's build strong relationships with our kids and discuss issues of sexuality in an open and non threatening way. Lets ensure our education system is equally pragmatic and that our healthcare system offers maximum support. And let's quit finger pointing and work together to lessen this difficult social issue.