Last month, the anti-abortion group, Abort67, visited the University of Nottingham. The group are renowned for their controversial methods, including staging protests outside abortion clinics, displaying graphic images of aborted foetuses and intimidating women seeking abortions. They are just one of many aggressive groups who call themselves `pro-life’.
Being a Catholic, I believe that life begins at conception; that abortion is killing human beings. The Women’s Network held a counter protest on the same day, to combat the intimidation and propaganda being targeted at our students. I joined them, sporting a sign which said “Are you pro-life or just pro foetus?”‘ I was asked by several of the Abort67 members to explain my sign.
I consider myself to fall on the pro-life side of the debate. I think adoption is the best solution to an unwanted pregnancy and I am not comfortable with the availability of abortions as late as 24 weeks into a pregnancy. This is partly a result of my religious beliefs. Perhaps I am also emotionally biased by the fact that a girl very dear to me was born several days before a scheduled abortion; within the current time constraints on the procedure.
The reason I am against Abort67 is that they are not pro-life. They support human beings from the moment of conception to the moment of birth, and no longer. Abort67 do not consider the emotional, financial and physical pressures which an unwanted pregnancy can place on a woman. Nor do they understand the strain it could put on a family were they unable to support the child.
They cite adoption as a clear solution to unwanted babies. I support adoption, but it is not a perfect solution. One Abort67 protester told me that in 2011, 60 adoptions took place, compared to 181,438 abortions. The reason so few adoptions are recorded is not that children were aborted; it’s that children were not adopted. This statistic has no bearing on the number of abortions; it is evidence that the current adoption system is failing children.
Abort67’s website provides no information on the process of adoption, nor do they have any interest in raising awareness to improve the system.
Abort67 want to stop abortion by making it illegal – none of their efforts focus on reducing abortion via the most effective means: education and contraception. Their website offers plenty of information on how abortions work, but none on pregnancy or how to prevent it. In their arguments they repeatedly change the subject from abortion to atrocities such as the holocaust and slavery, distracting from the issue and playing of people’s’ emotional responses to serious issues unrelated to abortion.
One example of this is the scientific misinformation displayed on their website, linking abortion to breast cancer and mental health problems. Both of these theories have been widely debunked by experts including the World Health Organization and the National Cancer Institute.
I cannot judge another woman deciding whether or not to carry a child to term. I have access to free health care, a steady income and a support network. The same cannot be said for thousands of women who suffer from abuse, poverty and mental problems. I believe that once a woman has chosen an abortion, she should be given all necessary support. The intimidation, guilt and harassment implemented by Abort67 serve no purpose but to ruin the lives of women who have already made their decision.