It’s one of the most controversial topics in today’s society – if not the most controversial.

In my experience, especially as a teacher, most people don’t actually understand the difference between pro-life and pro-choice. In my experience, most people are actually pro-choice – they just don’t realise it or want to accept what that truly means. Maybe they’re worried it’ll conflict too much with their belief system, or maybe they think it makes them a bad person. I’ve edited countless essays and assignments, telling students that their argument for pro-life is misguided because what they’re actually arguing is pro-choice.

So I’m going to make it really simple for you. And this isn’t about persuading you to become pro-choice – it’s about making sure you understand what saying pro-life really means.

Pro-life means no ifs, buts, ands or maybes. It’s why occasionally there are scandals in developed countries like Ireland, because a young mother has been refused an abortion because Ireland is a (predominantly) Catholic country and abortion is viewed as a sin.

Pro-choice, on the other hand, gives the mother the right to choose. For many, this choice (in their minds) comes with strings. For example, one of those strings may be that a woman should only be allowed an abortion if she has been raped. Or your baby is endangering your life. Or has a serious, permanent, life-threatening (and life-changing) disability.

Others believe that you have the right to choose no matter the circumstances.

I personally agree with that sentiment: that a woman has the right to choose, no matter what. I think this for a variety of reasons; one being that I think it would be awfully traumatic to have a baby you do not, for whatever reason, want.

Secondly, there are so many unwanted, abused, and neglected babies in this world.  While abortion may seem cruel, isn’t that crueller?

And thirdly, for all those that chant the alternative of adoption, in Australia, adoption is very hard and very expensive. Often children aren’t adopted for months and the foster system isn’t perfect.

That being said, would I have an abortion? Probably not. I say probably not because I’m not carrying a rape baby, so I don’t have to deal with that trauma. I’m honestly not sure what I’d choose in that situation, so I won’t judge someone else’s choice. I’m not pregnant, so my baby’s life isn’t impacting mine negatively and I have to choose between its life and mine; nor have I been told that my baby will suffer from some horrible, permanent, life-altering disability that will severely diminish its quality of life.

Unless that day comes, I can’t say definitively what I’d do. Unless my baby was diagnosed with a disability so severe his or hers quality of life would be below poor, I’d probably have my baby. I can’t imagine having an abortion, and I’ve worked with special needs students, so unless I truly believed allowing my baby to live would be cruel, I honestly don’t think a disability would cause me to have an abortion.

But I don’t know any of this for sure because I have never been in any of these situations. I don’t, and I won’t judge, those that have abortions. I think it should be monitored and counselling should be mandatory, but it should be legal and affordable and people shouldn’t be berated for making that decision.

And if you’re pro-life? That’s fine. It’s not ignorant, naïve, or stupid to be pro-life. It is, however, ignorant and stupid to force your beliefs on another – or to not understand the truth of what pro-life really means.

The choice is yours to make; just be sure that you understand that there’s no ‘unless’.

Otherwise, you’re just a more conservative pro-choice supporter, wanting to give women the right to choose, just under selective circumstances.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Originally published on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.

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Published by Carla Louise