There are two questions to consider here:
• Is abortion a bad thing? Would it be better for everyone if they were somehow magically not an option?
• Should abortions be illegal? Would it be better for society if they were against the law, such that people who seek them and/or who perform them are arrested and prosecuted?
Le’ts dispense with the easy one, which is the second question: HELL no. Making abortions illegal doesn’t stop abortions from happening (although it reduces their number somewhat). The people seeking illegal abortions are less safe. It would do for organized criminal activity what dumping a truckload of hi-yield Scott’s fertilizer does for a field of hay. It would be expensive to enforce. It makes society more coercive and invasive. There would be a substantial risk of people who have miscarriages becoming criminal suspects at the same time that they are mourning their loss.
Now let’s look at the first one. Pretend we can make abortions “go away”. Parallel universe in which the medical technology for doing an abortion simply doesn’t exist. Better world? I vote no. Sure, some abortions seem to me to be selfish, and the people involved in obtaining them to be on very questionable moral grounds. Imagine an upper middle class high school junior, well on her way to a competitive college, got her life in front of her, and her parents find out she’s pregnant. They pressure her and corner her and implore her and wear her down until she agrees to get an abortion although she doesn’t want one. I could come up with others. You can probably do so, too.
I know some of you have judgmental attitudes towards women who are cavalier about pregnancy and abortion, women who don’t seem to do much to prevent pregnancy from occurring and who get multiple abortions. Some of you see that as tragic, some of you see it as disgusting, some who don’t are at least disturbed by the lack of gravity with which some women seem to approach this decision.
But then there are the many many women who took precautions and used birth control and still got pregnant under circumstances where being pregnant is disruptive and destructive to the life they are living. And who do consider themselves to be making a life or death decision, a heavy decision that they take seriously. Life itself involves hard choices sometimes. In our culture, although the default rule on killing another person is that it constitutes murder, we acknowledge that there are exceptions. You should not kill casually but sometimes a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. Men do it too. Not have abortions, but kill people when they decide that it really needs to happen, that it isn’t murder, that it’s necessary. That it may not be a pure good thing but that overall it is what needs to happen. They do it when they feel they have to. They do it whether it would get them arrested for murder if found out or not, if that’s what it comes to.
Meanwhile, the question at hand is not limited to the effect it has on the person who is having (or is not able to have) an abortion. It’s the effect on society as a whole. Biology and sociology intersect at the junction of sexuality and reproduction. Men want sex because they’re wired to have an appetite for it and it feels good. Women want sex because they’re wired to have an appetite for it and it feels good. We all have our ideals and our pickinesses and our tastes and we seek out sex in the format that we think will be most personally fulfilling —perhaps a loving companionable ongoing relationship, perhaps a hungry grasping at some deliciously hot person, perhaps somtimes one and sometimes the other. None of this so far is intrinsically adversarial between the sexes. If only one sex had a sexual hunger and the other were being pestered, bothered, exploited and pressured for it without having any semblance of a reciprocal interest, that would be awful, a nasty hateful adversarial war between the sexes. And right square into the middle of all that comes the fact of pregnancy. And abortion. In the absence of being able to negate a pregnancy through abortion, the threat of an unwanted pregnancy makes sex an adversarial battleground. This is not a theoretical point. We know this from experience, we’ve been there. It’s better with abortion available. The sexes are less adversarially poised.
So no. I would be totally against making abortion “banished”, even if you could eliminate it without the messy ineffectivnesses and the side-effects of trying to do so by making it illegal.
I am in favor of abortion being available to anyone who wants one. I may not agree with the desirability of every abortion performed, but I think the pregnant person should always have it available to her as an option, period, end of story. Her choice.
I don’t shy away from the assertion that it is killing and that what is being killed is a human life. I am in favor of pregnant women having the unrestricted right to kill their living human embryos and fetuses if they find it necessary to do so. I don’t regard it as murder. If she deems it necessary, it’s necessary killing. It’s a woman doing what she’s gotta do.
Women should have that right acknowledged. (They have that right. Acknowledge it). Nature has subjected women to PMS and periods and a few other things in order to vest in them the power to bear life and nurture it physically within themselves, and with that power comes responsibility. And with that responsibility comes authority.
It is women’s right to abort, not a doctor’s right to perform a procedure as he sees fit. Doctors should have the legal freedom to provide safe procedures that facilitate a woman’s exercise of her right to an abortion, but the rightness and propriety of the decision itself comes NOT from the doctor’s medical opinion or decision but from HER choice to abort. It would not be a particularly safe thing for her to abort herself at home with herbs and concoctions at home, but she has the right because the authority belongs to HER.