Seeing as I’m getting into provocative topics recently, I thought I’d go all out and write about abortion.
If it came down to a referendum on the matter, I would vote pro-choice, though I would feel troubled as I cast my ballot. As I will explain later, I believe in the right to choose but I also believe abortions should be avoided (by human choice, not legislation) as much as possible. It seems like the two sides you can choose from these days are either no abortions for anyone ever, vs. abortions are no big deal at all and we should be free from even having to think twice about it. I do not feel comfortable with either of these stances.
I wanted to write this article precisely because my views aren’t clean-cut, and some would probably appreciate a nuanced perspective. I’d also like to get a few of my friends to read this, so that they can understand why I feel uncomfortable and go silent when they talk about their (polarised, pro-choice) views on the matter and I feel pressured to nod along.
As I expect my readers will be aware of the main pro-choice arguments, I will start with some of the reasons why in this case I don’t fit into what’s expected of me as a member of leftist communities.
The basic reason I have misgivings about abortions is that I have a spiritualistic worldview. I’m not a member of any religion and very much do not want to be; however, I do believe in souls. My worldview has been pieced together from bits of evidence which scientists love to ignore but which are evidence nonetheless: the reports from psychics whose abilities have been verified (see: ErinPavlina.com); past life memories in children (see: Life After Life by Jim Tucker); and hypnotic past life regressions (see: Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss).
The fact that I believe in souls means that I believe that a fetus may in some sense be already a complete person. I don’t believe that an early-term abortion is exactly the same as killing a baby, but I do believe that you may be violently disrupting the plans of the soul of that fetus in much the same way as you do if you kill anyone else.
Asides from this, I’ve gotten some information from the above sort of sources that deals with abortion directly.
Erin Pavlina wrote a post on abortion. According to her psychically-gleaned information, a soul comes and goes between the growing body and the fetus until about the middle of the second trimester, when it starts to settle in fully. Besides this, spiritual contracts are made at conception; plans and agreements for the coming life. Breaking these contracts has far-reaching consequences.
The book Life After Life by Jim Tucker describes many different cases of children who describe memories of past lives, many of which have been carefully verified and shown to be consistent with the lives of the people the children claim to be. In one case, the author describes a girl called Kendra:
Kendra Carter … was four and a half years old when she went to her first swimming lesson with a coach named Ginger. She immediately jumped into Ginger’s lap and acted very lovingly towards her. When Ginger had to cancel a lesson three weeks later, Kendra sobbed uncontrollably. When she was able to have a lesson soon after, she was very happy and began talking about Ginger all the time.
A few weeks later, Kendra began saying that Ginger’s baby had died and that Ginger had been sick and had pushed her baby out. When her mother asked her how she knew these things, Kendra replied, “I’m the baby that was in her tummy.” … Kendra described an abortion, saying that Ginger had allowed a bad man to pull her out and that she had tried to hang on but could not. She described being scared in a cold dark place afterwards. …
Kendra began saying that she would die, because Ginger had been unable to deliver her. She said, “I have to die, and I won’t come back this time.” This fear of dying became so severe that Kendra’s mother took her to a therapist, who suggested a ceremony in which Kendra would be “born” to Ginger. Following this, her fear of dying seemed to resolve.
I also have an anecdote from a friend who had an abortion. She did family constellation therapy, a therapy in which people “stand in” for significant family members and other people who have had an impact on someone’s life. The therapy is very interesting, as those people then start subconsciously speaking and acting in ways that deeply represent the people they are standing in for, even though they might not know them at all. There is some clear paranormal element to it; information seems to arrive through unknown channels.
This friend did a constellation, and found that her aborted baby appeared as a significant family member, even though she didn’t expect it to. Apparently, she had emotional ties she needed to resolve with the dead baby she had never met. She told me that this had affected her quite deeply.
The above is basically the reason why I feel uncomfortable with the “right not to think twice about having an abortion” mentality. Having an abortion means breaking spiritual contracts (read Erin’s article for more details on that), it hurts another being and seemingly gives them issues they may have to deal with in the next life, and it terminates emotional bonds which you yourself have begun to form. Whatever else it is, it’s not something you can do on a whim.
Now, of course there are some pretty good reasons why abortion should be legal:
One is that there are good reasons to have an abortion, for example when the host parent’s life is in danger.
Another is that a person has to be the first one who decides what happens in their body; no matter how grave the consequences of abortion, it’s still true that the child can’t be said to have the right to their parent’s body. People speaking on behalf of the child have even less right to choose what happens to the parent’s body. Your body is your own, this is fundamental.
This ties in with the feminist struggle as a whole as patriarchal society is very much invested in owning women’s bodies when those bodies belong to women alone. (Note: men can have uteruses too*, even if patriarchy doesn’t recognise that). Rape and domestic abuse are other ways in which patriarchal society lays claim to the bodily autonomy of women.
*If this is news to you, research “trans men”.
Another reason abortion should be legal is simply because if it is illegal, it still happens, just in dangerous conditions. Botched abortions can be deadly or destroy a person’s fertility forever.
Ultimately, I see pro-choice to be the better of two options, but in itself it’s still pretty awful. I believe we need to create a society where abortions are needed much less than nowadays.
We need to fight rape, so that no one is ever faced with the choice between abortion and giving birth to the product of trauma.
We need to fight poverty, for instance with a basic minimum income. Many abortions happen because the pregnant person feels economically unable to have a child. If we can’t fight poverty directly, then at the very least better childcare support money would help.
We need to fight sexist assumptions, such as that women should always perform childcare, and that it’s unmanly for a man to sacrifice some part of his career or life for the sake of a baby. Then, there would be more people able to help out with childcare. Women would not be the ones disproportionately forced to sacrifice their career, power, and influence in society for the sake of raising children.
It would also help a lot for us to rethink how childcare is done in our society. It’s assumed that there has to be a nuclear family involved. But what about chosen family? Many nowadays are choosing to bring up children with platonic friends rather than romantic partners. And what about community? Close knit living communities, such as housing projects or natural living communities, could bring extra opportunities for support in childcare. What seems wrong to me is that at most two, and often just one person is expected to deal with everything involved in raising a child. Other people essentially are expected not to give a shit. But that’s our society, isn’t it? There’s so much separation, so much coldness, so much distance.
Even before we make headway with these goals (and it will take time for sure), I believe we can reduce abortions by giving proper counselling, advice and information. Unfortunately the matter is so politicised nowadays that there is no neutral information out there. Either you get pro-lifers trying to push their agenda on you and prevent an abortion no matter what your situation, or you get pro-choicers who refuse to admit that there might be a little nuance to the issue. It seems to me that PROPER, elective counselling regarding this issue for people who are considering an abortion would help a lot of people.
So that’s my viewpoint. I bet some of my leftist friends will have an issue with it, though I’m glad to have the chance to challenge group conformity. If I believed what all my friends believed just because we were in the same social group, I’d be a sheep, no matter how radical my beliefs.
I would love to hear more nuanced discussion about abortion in future, particularly from those who recognise the existence of souls. I believe I can still develop my point of view further, as there is still much I don’t know.
Ultimately, do I have any right to talk about this at all, seeing as I don’t have a uterus? I guess I do, if only because I wince every time I hear someone talking about an abortion like it was taking out the trash. Perhaps I shouldn’t be allowed to vote in a hypothetical referendum if I don’t have a uterus. Even so, I can talk about it. So, here I am.