From my experience, it’s very plain and simple: you’re either pro-choice or pro-life, and there is no room for anyone to sit idly on the fence. Until this point, I have refrained from illustrating my opinion on this because it’s a topic over which I am very conflicted. So here is the view of a girl who tries her best to stay balanced on the fence:
I hear all of the points made by the pro-choice camp and I find myself nodding in agreement: I’m all for women’s rights, reproductive rights and gender equality, I mean, how could I not be? I don’t have quite the same relationship with the pro-life side’s points: religion doesn’t matter to me in this context, there are definitely times when abortions are medically necessary for the safety of the mother and so on.
The problem I have is that repealing the 8th amendment would provide unrestricted abortion to all who seek it, including those who would abort a foetus because of a genetic abnormality or health problem. And before it’s argued that it wouldn’t happen and we can’t predict the future, I’ll beat you to it and inform you that it would, and it does happen around the world. In Europe, excluding Ireland, of course, the rate of abortion of those with Down Syndrome has been 98% percent in recent years, as reported by the Copenhagen post. Screening is being implemented for those at risk of autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. So how long is it before screening for babies with Friedreich ataxia begins? It upsets me so much to envisage an alternate reality where my birth would have been prevented.
I think it’s cruel and incorrect to prevent a life because of a disability, and I honestly ask how is it dissimilar to Nazi Germany where the euthanasia and sterilisation of those with disabilities was common practice? These abortions are referred to as ‘selective abortions’, which is not unlike the term of ‘selective breeding’, no?
As much as I value and support the rights of women and others who seek abortions, I also value disability rights. Can the two possibly be mutually exclusive? I guess I’m just waiting for some radical opinion to click with my ideals and finally give me that push over the fence that I want and need.