Women should not be judged for aborting multiple unborn babies, argues Carrie Purcell, a research associate at the University of Glasgow.
In a column for “The Conversation,” Purcell urged greater acceptance of abortion in society today. She said it should not matter if a woman has one or multiple abortions, she should not feel bad about herself.
“No woman should be deemed irresponsible, feckless, or a failure for needing more than one abortion,” Purcell wrote. “And no woman should see her life aspirations, physical or mental health stymied by pregnancies she does not want or feel able to continue.”
But she ignored how the issue is not just about pregnancies or abortions but about human lives who are being destroyed.
Earlier this year, Purcell published a research study involving Scottish women who had multiple abortions. Her research team found that women who aborted more than one unborn baby did so because of problems with contraception, domestic violence, life aspirations and social/economic disadvantages.
“They are all factors over which a woman may have little or no control, and which are compounded by feelings of shame and stigma,” she wrote.
The Glasgow researcher said most women in the study were using contraception when they became pregnant; the problem was that they struggled to find a method that worked for them.
The researchers also found a strong link between multiple abortions and intimate partner violence. Purcell acknowledged that domestic violence and abortion often are linked; however, she failed to mention studies indicating that these women frequently are pressured, manipulated or even forced to abort their unborn babies. Instead, she said aborting their unborn babies helped some women escape an abusive partner.
Other factors that women mentioned included financial problems and career and education goals.
Purcell said the problem is that society still treats women who abort multiple unborn babies as if they have done something wrong. She argued that women have legitimate reasons for aborting multiple unborn babies.
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[Abortion] continues to be stigmatised in the media and elsewhere in many different ways, meaning it is rarely talked about.
One abortion may be viewed as a reasonable “get out of jail free” card; having more than one abortion is often presented as beyond the pale. A woman might be able to decide she cannot continue with a pregnancy once, but to do so more than once speaks of her irresponsibility, fecklessness and failure to use contraception.
But Purcell is placing the blame on the wrong thing.
Society is not failing women because of the stigma attached to abortion. The stigma and shame come from another source: the abortion itself. Abortion never will be fully embraced by society because it is a barbaric, inhumane procedure that kills a unique, living unborn child.
But society is failing women in another sense. It fails women by placing the burden of their problems on their shoulders, by telling them that the quick and easy solution is to have their own unborn baby’s life destroyed. Killing another human life should never be the answer to a woman’s problems. If she is in an abusive relationship, society should help her get out and punish her abuser, not her innocent child. If she is struggling to pay rent or if the college she is attending does not accommodate pregnant students well, society should provide her with the support she and her baby need.
The problem isn’t that society is not accepting abortion enough, the problem is that it is encouraging it.