Amnesty International’s report on US abortion laws was quite a disheartening article to come across. In this year alone, many states have had laws passed making it harder, or in some cases impossible, to get an abortion.
This has also been a talking point in the UK. Jeremy Hunt expressed his personal views during his leadership campaign, saying that the legal time limit allowed for abortions should be cut in half from 24 weeks to just 12.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is a good example of a politician who opposes abortion but doesn’t argue against it. This is because of that fact that it’s been put into legislation. He’s a Catholic who’s been criticised for his views on gay marriage as well as abortion. Rees-Mogg’s appearance on Good Morning Britain where he was grilled on his views went viral and he received plenty of negative attention for it on social media
We seek to be tolerant as a country until we approach the teachings of the Catholic Church. We pride ourselves on this tolerance too, yet when it comes to this particular issue, many people are outraged. Religion isn’t something that we should just disregard because of our increasingly modern views. Differences in opinion and the right to voice them, is precisely what makes our democracy a more egalitarian system of governance.
Certainly, in cases of rape and incest, I do feel that there should always be an exception within the law even if it prevents abortion. It’s just not morally right to force a woman to have a child if she has been raped. There was no active choice in the matter of intercourse — as opposed to cases where women choose not use any form of birth control and end up pregnant. It is more understandable why some people may be against abortion when birth control wasn’t used out of negligence.
Still, the bottom line for me is that people make mistakes. If you are unable to provide the quality of life that the unborn child deserves, there should always be the option to abort the pregnancy. Whilst some sections of society believe that the child’s life should come first, we have a duty to also consider the quality of life available for the unborn child — not just the right to life itself. Regardless of whether a pregnancy resulted from rape, incest or accident, women should receive support when they opt to have an abortion. The stress and emotion of it can and does mentally affect people, more seriously than is perhaps acknowledged.
I’m proud of the fact that Britain is a pro-choice nation. In my view, this should always be the case. Legislation on this shouldn’t change if we are to continue to regard ourselves as a forward-thinking country that gives people a choice over their future.
I also believe that anyone should have the right to an opinion on this issue; that’s what free speech was made for. This of course includes men, who don’t have the direct experience of going through an abortion. But having a partner that does, is arguably no less emotionally draining.
Caroline Lucas caused outrage with her recent comments about gathering a whole cabinet of women to deal with the issue of Brexit. This is something I profoundly disagree on with the former Green Party leader. However, legislative decision-making on abortion could be a special topic where it may be wiser to have an all-female panel.
As well as politicians who have the potential to make unbiased decisions on this, it would also be beneficial if consultations on the issue took place with women who’ve had the experience of going through an abortion and want to share their views. In England, this is not such a problem given that our legislation is pro-choice, but in countries like America, the same cannot be said.
Although the UK is facing challenging times, we should be proud of our tolerant nation. Even though I respect other people’s opinions on this matter, the current right to make a choice on a pregnancy is a freedom that should be protected at all costs.