We are exploring what it’s like to be a “pro-life” voice in different areas and professions of life. Here’s the first confessions of what it’s like to be a “pro-life” Student.
In today’s society, people are obsessed with not ‘being put in a box.’ They demand to be recognised as individuals, who refuse to conform to stereotypes and social norms. University is often portrayed as a euphoric place where all views and opinions will be listened to and respected. This portrayal presents university as a safe haven for everyone, regardless of the stance they take on topical issues.
I (perhaps naively) started university believing this depiction, I quickly realised that the theoretical intention of ‘all opinions will be accepted and respected’ was a far cry from the practical reality. It’s ironic that people refuse to be put into a specific box when they state that they hold a certain opinion, but when it comes to expressing an opinion on the topic of abortion, people are so quick to assign you to one of two teams.
Those who are pro-choice, are portrayed as liberal, progressive and standing up for women’s rights. On the other hand, those who are pro-life are viewed as misogynistic and outdated.
I am currently studying law, and therefore, discussing controversial topics in seminars is not uncommon. During a discussion about abortion, I voiced my view – ‘I believe that an unborn baby should not be destroyed simply because they are ‘unwanted.’ However, I also believe that the physical and psychological well-being of the mother must be respected.’
Upon airing this opinion I quickly realised that I had offended both camps. In that room those who were pro-choice accused me of blocking women’s rights and ‘forcing a woman to continue with a pregnancy that she didn’t want.’ Those who were pro-life, perceived my view as a compromise.
It was at this moment, that I realised that opinions were accepted at university, as long as they fit into a mainstream ideology. The idea that the best outcome for mother and baby should attempt to be achieved was met with explicit hostility.
My issue with subscribing to either of these views is that they place superiority on one life – either the mother or the baby. By doing this, they unintentionally make the unique relationship between a mother and their child, into one of rivalry. There are two lives in the equation and therefore, both lives should be respected and valued.
I was delivered by emergency C-section, five weeks early, with low blood sugars. During her pregnancy with me, my mum contracted severe preeclampsia. Just before they wheeled her into the operating theatre, my dad was informed that there was the possibility that both of us mightn’t make it. The health issues that my mother developed, as a result from being pregnant with me were life threatening. This could have been avoided if my mother had chosen to abort me. Her life wouldn’t be under threat from her unborn child and I would have become a statistic.
However, my mother loved and wanted me and didn’t go down the path of abortion and twenty years later, here I am, a happy and healthy second year law student.
That was two decades ago. The advancement of medicine in the maternity sector has been phenomenal, and it continues to improve, with new breakthroughs happening all the time. The survival rate of premature babies is continually rising.
The concept of life, and determining when life begins, is a frequent topic of conversation in our lectures and seminars. There is a great level of debate surrounding self-awareness and heartbeats. However it is scientifically accurate to say that at the moment of conception, a new human life has begun.
My degree teaches me to find solutions to problems. Women face pregnancy crisis for many reasons and the approach adopted by those who are vigorous advocates of the “pro-choice” stance is that the pregnancy is the problem and therefore abortion of the fetus is the solution. However, abortion can often be the first step in a long and difficult journey. The psychological impact of aborting a baby can be devastating. There are numerous accounts of women who have suffered with life-long guilt and pain following having an abortion. Their ‘solution’ became a problem that impacted every area of their lives. We need to be talking about the reasons for the “crisis” and creating and presenting solutions that end the crises not human life.
As heated debate surrounding abortion continues in this country, I am hopeful that I can use my current position as a student to start conversations and present the idea that the lives of both the mother and the baby matter.
If you are finding it difficult or easy to stand for both women and children in your position or area of life, get in touch and share your story!