To a currently pregnant woman, the death of the life inside of her may range anywhere from tragic to a blessed relief. It may occupy any point in that range even for women who have decided that abortion is necessary in this case.
It’s a life and death decision. And hers to make. It’s certainly not always, or intrinsically tragic.
I know some women who say that the concerns of pro-life people have made a difference in how they feel about it. That getting an abortion would upset so many people who feel so strongly about it. That if so many people feel that way, they’d like to see abortions become less necessary. Better, more reliable birth control and sex education and so forth.
(To be sure, I know more women who say that the pushy involvement of pro-life people in what they regard as their personal lives and their personal decision mostly just pisses them off and that they really don’t care what those people think, etc.)
“Tragic” in the sense that pro-life folks see abortion as “tragic”, i.e., that it is universally horrid and sinful to kill life? As in, “the moment spermatozoa fuses with ova, zip zingo, you’ve got a capital-P Person and you’re committing murder”, etc etc? No. It is life, it is human, it isn’t all that yet, and it’s no more of a tragedy than the death and bodily reabsorbtion of zillions of currently-viable sperm in some guy’s tubules. No more of a tragedy than when a woman has her period.
What makes it tragic, when it is tragic, is if there are hopes, dreams, an emotional sense of the “what-could’ve-been” that, perhaps, includes a family relationship with the father (or someone else for that matter). The woman who would like to be a mother and raise a kid with this guy (if only he were not descending into alcoholism and abusiveness and therefore not a person with whom she can partner) may experience the abortion she chooses as tragic. The childless middle-aged couple that always wanted a kid (if only we were a little younger and she didn’t have diabetes) may experience the abortion they deem necessary as tragic. The 16 year old girl who thought she was truly in love and it was going to be like a fairy tale (but I didn’t want a baby now and I never thought he’d just run off on me and no I am not going to be a teenaged mom, not happening) may experience it all as tragic.
The pro-choice movement should never have sold it as some kind of consumer-level casual shopping experience. The Kleenex perspective, I call it. No issue, just tissue, blow your nose and throw it away in the Handi-Dandy disposal chute.
The real point is that it’s a major decision. The making of a major decision necessarily involves the possession of power. Women own that power. It’s nature’s way of making up for PMS and red leaky stains on white shorts and urinary tract infections and stretch marks and rotten teeth from developing babies stealing all your calcium. Or, if that’s too cavalier for you: there exists no other authority better ethically positioned, with more total at stake, and therefore less instrusively installed as the decision-maker, than the pregnant person herself.
If she says this life living inside of her is special and needs to be protected and nurtured, we…respect that and we expect that, even as we stand in awe of it, do we not? Exceptions to every rule exist, but mostly even when no one else will see the value of a baby yet to even be born, if you need to guess who will give a damn, guess that it’s gonna be her. So if and when she says “nope, not happening”, stand back and respect that, or you denigrate every woman’s making of the more conventional, expected choice and you reduce females to incubators. And that is a sin.
In the life-and-death decision that Woman makes is beauty (sometimes), tragedy (sometimes), joy (sometimes), and always a certain human gravity.
Being pro-choice is about the difference between saying to women “Wow, this is what you can do” instead of “this is all you are”.