A short while ago, a pro-life person on this blog asked me why women get abortions. Of course, books have been written about the subject but I wanted to give her the courtesy of a public reply.
A little over one million women a year get abortions. Without trying to sound cavalier about it, that means that there are a little over one million reasons. Every time a woman picks up the phone to call a clinic for an abortion, she has her own, personal reason for doing so. Every woman has her own individual circumstances that led her to the decision to terminate her pregnancy.
Sure, it’s possible to generalize. The woman may have felt that she was too young to have a baby, that she did not have enough resources to raise the child, or that the father has disappeared. Then there are the even tougher cases, where the pregnancy was the result of a rape or incest, the women’s health or life would be endangered if she brought a child to term, or she discovered a fetal abnormality.
What is comes down to in every case, however, is that the woman decided that it was not the right time for her to bring a child into the world. And that is a decision that probably took her a while to arrive at.
Indeed, when someone asks me why women have abortions, I hear in their voice the assumption that the woman learned she was pregnant one day and an hour later she was on the phone making an appointment for an abortion. The fact is that EVERY pregnant woman knows that if she did not have an abortion, she would ultimately give birth to a baby. She considers the possibility of giving birth and having to raise a child. Of course, many women decide to continue the pregnancy. But there are others who decide – often in consultation with the father, her family, her spiritual counselors – to have an abortion.
Last week, I posted a note asking women to tell us about their abortion experience, including why they felt they needed to exercise that option. The stories are interesting and every story is unique.
A woman becomes pregnant, she knows she could have a baby but she decides to abort it. That is not an easy decision for anyone.
Who are we to challenge the reason?