Should we be surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision to rescind access to abortions and give individual states the authority to pass their own rules and regulations? Right-wing Poland has imposed restrictions upon women having abortions and in left-wing Nicaragua Daniel Ortega has also reduced a woman’s rights to abortion. Despite the anti-abortion propaganda, there is and never has been “abortion on demand". In every country, there has been laws to be followed by pregnant women and their doctors. But no-one should experience or witness the human misery caused by unwanted pregnancies.
Abortion is a very serious matter and cannot be seen as another means of contraception. Unfortunately, many of those who support the so-called “pro-life” position are bitterly opposed to sex education beyond the most vague biological facts and some now suggest the next target to be undone should be Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965, when SCOTUS ruled the use of contraception between two married individuals was a matter of privacy and constitutionally protected. One way to make terminations unnecessary is to make contraception easily available, give all young people a good sex education with an emphasis on equality, relationships, love, safety and respect for each other and most importantly the end to poverty that deprives working women of child-care provisions.
Abortion and contraception are not totally separate issues. How about the IUD which prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the wall of the uterus? What about the ‘morning after" pill? Are these contraceptives or early forms of abortion, or both? Then there is the social question of how teenage girls are sexualized by the persuasive power of the glamorization of sex in the media.
In an ideal world, there would be no unwanted pregnancies, but there are, and even in a socialist world, with all the best sex education, access to contraception, there will still be. In an unwanted pregnancy the woman herself should have the final say. No other person should have more rights over her than she has herself. Abortions should be performed as early as possible and as late as necessary.
The truth of the matter is that pro-lifers may defame a person who has an abortion, or who assists in the abortion as “child murderers” but they never condemn the economic system that is complicit in the deaths of millions of children from hunger and preventable illnesses.
Socialists can respect the opinions of people motivated by the idea of protecting all forms of human life out of regard for the supremacy of humanity. Unfortunately, most of those within the so-called pro-life organisations hold little genuine concern for the real sufferings of their fellow human beings. All express concern for unborn children and yet we wonder how many of these anti-abortionists express anything like the same compassion over the deaths of living children.
Pious sentiments about the sanctity of human life have a hollow ring when each and every day brings fresh evidence of the lack of respect for human life. And moralistic cant about “rights'' will do nothing to change the material circumstances that cause women to seek abortions. Only in a society in which human needs are paramount — the needs of women to control their own fertility, the needs of parents to have creative work besides looking after their children, the needs of children to grow up in a secure, loving environment free from want and deprivation. the needs of the handicapped to be respected and useful members of the community — is it possible to imagine a situation where all babies are wanted and abortion is made unnecessary.