Pro-life or Pro-choice: it is a polarising debate that continues to spin around in circles. Women in Australia have had the right to abort their foetus since the 1960s, seeing the birth of not only a new era for women’s rights and choices, but a new controversy surrounding the notion of the foetus as a living individual – ultimately labelling abortion as murder.
I myself have always been pro-choice, given the right circumstances. For me, pro-choice is about the right for a woman to abort a child if she feels it will not have good quality of life, for one reason or another – yet many a time my views have been met with disseverance.
For the most part, I have faced the tidal wave of opinion from pro-life advocates, who have labelled my views as murderous, inhumane, and ‘sinful’, without ever giving me a chance to explain my views and why I feel that abortion should remain an option for women.
Whilst I personally agree that abortion is not always the right way to deal with an unwanted pregnancy, I feel that the eradication of abortion is as a breach of our freedom, and our rights to equality. Each and every woman, should have the choice to dictate what happens to her body, and her future. Equality in this sense, is about having the ability to openly express an opinion about an issue, and not be denied the right to practice these opinions at our own will.
There has been discussion in Australian politics, over the last year, regarding the legality of abortion, as current PM (and then opposition leader) contemplated changing the abortion laws to suit his own personal views. Whilst his mission has been aborted (no pun intended), it does raise the question of how politics reflect our social values.
The way I see it, if our nation was to ever strip this right away from women, we will be taking a step backwards in terms of promoting a society of choice and free opinion. We will be catering to the beliefs of one side of the argument, without taking into consideration the beliefs of the other – and that to me, at the end of the day, is the biggest breach of democracy.
The biggest irony I feel, is that if a woman disagrees with abortion, she has every right to keep her child, and nobody questions her choice, yet if a woman is pro-abortion, she always faces the scrutiny of ‘murdering’ her unborn child, all in light of her own ‘selfish cause’.
Our quality of democracy lies in our ability to maintain equality; to be able to express our own opinion, and be given the right to make our own decisions. Maybe it’s time, that regardless of where we fall on the spectrum, we started accepting the existence of both opinions, by tolerating the views of others, irrespective of our own.