Saturday, 13 January 2018

Fear and Abortion

The driver behind many abortions is fear.  Time and again, women speaking to counsellors say that they are afraid that they will not be able to cope, that their relationship will be put under too great a strain, that their parents will be unsupportive (or worse), that their education or career will suffer if they have a baby at this time, and so on.

All of these fears are about imagined futures.  But we do not know the future.  And further, if we choose one course of action (say, an abortion) we will never know what would have happened if we had not.  Moreover, we have a psychological investment in validating our decision, so we will tend to assume that all that we feared would indeed have come about, had we not had the abortion.

So we now have huge numbers of women in society who have a need to believe that their fears were well-founded, and that their abortion(s) saved them from some terrible fate.

But experience suggests that is not the case. Women who proceed with their pregnancies, even in very difficult circumstances, do tend to cope. Hardly any seem to regret their decision, and large numbers look back and say with hindsight that the (at the time unwanted) pregnancy was in fact a blessing in disguise.

This is an example of a larger phenomenon: very often we think in advance, that we won't be able to cope with some new change or challenge; yet more often than not, we do, when the occasion arises. As my mother used to say, we never get the grace until we actually need it...

But the abortion industry and its advocates thrive on fear.  Young women are taught to believe that an unintended pregnancy is the worst possible disaster; that a handicapped child would be impossible to cope with; that they will know when it is the right time to have a baby, and that any other time is the wrong time and will wreck their lives.

If we are to win the war against abortion, we need to discover how to combat these fears. In part, that means continuing to provide  (and better publicise) the support that so many women have already benefitted from. But we also need to challenge educational projects that inculcate these fears, and protect girls and young women from those aspects of popular culture that indoctrinate them. And, which will be even more difficult, we need to find ways to enable those who have had abortions to view them differently, and to be allowed to confront their loss and their grief.

For unless we convert hearts as well as the minds, we will never make real progress on this issue.

The urgent task, as I have blogged recently (here and here), is to resist the abortion lobby's push for Abortion on Demand; but we will also need to turn our minds to the truly important longer-term task of making abortion both (demonstrably) unnecessary and completely unthinkable, rather than the apparently easy option it appears to be today.

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