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Monday, February 6, 2012

Mission Unsuccessful? Abort.

I remember this thought provoking ad that was making rounds in facebook few days back – It was a set of images tearing off each body part of a child inside a womb using forceps. Finally the head is brutally crushed before taking it out. The caption reads in the lines of “This is what you do every time you abort. Stop the killing”.
And then there was a TOI article, titled “Number of Abortions dropping in India”, which started with:
First the good news: the number of medical termination of pregnancies (induced abortions) has started to dip in India.

So, is it “good news” if abortion is not a preferred route when:
• One of the parents has AIDS?
• The mother is a raped 12-year old, who doesn’t want a reminder of the reproduction process?
• The parents don’t think they can afford a(or another) baby?
• The baby is unwanted?

That is where our mindset hits a snag, especially considering there are 76 Million Unwanted babies being aborted every year globally – 76 Million murderers. How can a baby be unwanted, when there are so many who can’t have any? How can it be unwanted when very few are blessed with one? How can a married couple not want to have one(or indeed, another) baby? How can it be unwanted when it is a boy? Why be pro-choice and anti-life, when you can attain a higher state of being pro-life?

First things first. Pro-choice is not “anti”-life. The “life” is currently a few set of cells, which is not even living. Either spare the baby some pain before it is alive, or let it live and make it suffer throughout its life for its parent(s)’s mistake.
Secondly, pro-choice is not only for girl babies. I understand that is why it is vehemently opposed to in India. According to the National Consensus for Medical Abortion in India, 11 Million abortions take place in the country. Since sex determination is a criminal offense here, and even if we take out 50% of that total (assuming that the family found out illegally), that still leaves out a healthy 5.5 Million Undetermined sex abortions. We should be proud of such people who have the guts to admit they are not ready and are trying to correct their mistakes, instead of ignoring it and saying, “Arre chodo yaar, jo hoga dekha jaayega”.
Thirdly, abortion should not be tagged as “empowering women” – it is as much a male right as a female’s. Tagging it such is only demeaning a woman's position further. A child is unwanted, even if one parent doesn’t want it. If there is a hope of their coming around, then let’s go ahead. If not, either separate or let the cells die out peacefully before they know they are hated.

There are kids who grow up well with divorced parents, and there are kids who are admitted to hospitals with human bites all over them. There are kids who grow up in slums and open up hotels, and there are kids who are born with AIDS. There are kids who are adopted and are happy, and there are those whose faces are thrust against a wet grinder stone by their stepmothers. There are unwanted pregnancies happening all over the world. Let us not rejoice the dip in abortion levels. Let us rather look at the amount of condoms and contraceptives being sold and heave a sigh of relief, so that no babies are born as a punishment to what the parents did in a heat of passion.


Archana Chari said...

Archana, this is a very thought provoking article. As a mother, I would have really liked to know your views. I have liked minded thoughts! Should catch you on twitter too :)

Archana said...

Thanks Archana! Good to know that you agree :)

Anupama said...

Pro-Choice it is!I really didn't know it was an issue in India.

Prashanth said...

Hi,Came across you blog via Archana Chari. A though provoking read for sure. Your last sentence sums up thw whole blog beautifully...:) A worthy read.

Ginto Tharaniyil Mathew said...

When does a murder become acceptable? is it only when the victim does not have a voice in the matter? If I get paralysed tomorrow, would my loved ones 'do me a favour' and kill me?all I can say is, it is a slippery slope. Is our convenience, and the perceived inconvenience that the child may suffer in future, reason enough to kill? My government may 'find.me.unwanted' and choose to kill me tomorrow. My neighbour could cause me inconvenience tomorrow and I might find justification in eliminating him. May be there is too much population in India and China causing inconvenience so lets kill some so it becomes more convenient for the survivors. May be all the poor people are a suffering lot (and they may suffer and struggle throughout their life) so lets do them all a favour and kill them.Really where would you draw the line? Do not kill. Please.

Archana said...

Gino: Thank you for your views.You see, we disagree right on the first sentence. I don't think abortion is a murder or a killing. The fetal heart tone can be detected in the 9th week of gestation, and the respiratory system can be said to be fully developed at the 27th week. What are we murdering? A few cells dividing by mitosis(initally) which were formed by the unfortunate mating of a sperm and an ovary?It is not a simple black and white case, and there are way too many pros and cons. But I am just saying, let a future parent have that option to make a right choice. We should give them the right to consider and if required, reject abortion. The whole idea of "You mated (knowingly or unknowingly). Deal with it. HIV +ve? Raped? No father? No money? Autistic? Deal with it,", sounds like it is coming from a very narrow minded person. The "deal with it" should be an option, not a rule.By the way, I am totally for mercy killing. :) I was reading about a case of a lady who has been a vegetable for 37 years after being raped - the only thing she does is scream on hearing a man's voice. I am sure we all don't want to be in her shoes, and if we are, there is only thing we would desperately want.

Ginto Tharaniyil Mathew said...

Archana, Thanks for the reply. I appreciate you initiating a debate on this sensitive topic and allowing others to express their opinions freely.My personal stance is that the life of the individual begins at the actual fusion of parental chromosomes into a new and unique living organism. Hence we differ on defining life based on the developmental stage. Let us take a 3 year old boy. The boy will not have developed his reproductive system yet. Does it make the boy any less 'alive' than a fully grown male? Similarly, can we use the growth phase of other internal organs (heart, lungs etc) to draw a line between 'being a few cells' and a 'living being'?I agree with you that "deal with it" should not be a rule. Rules never work with free thinking humans. The acceptance of life and its consequences should come from heart. I am not imagining for a second that it is easy. It takes enormous courage to choose the hard option.One couple, whom I know very closely, were told that their second child will have down's syndrom. I know they were extremely torn about this and after much thought and prayers, they decided to continue with the pregnancy. The thought which convinced them was "would we even think about it if something happened to the baby after it was born"? Their answer was that they would deal with the consequences in that case. (Fortunately for them, the baby was born perfect against huge odds and now is a very intelligent and wonderful 8 year old boy.) The point is that the parents were ready to accept even if the worst happened.unsurprisingly, I am against mercy killing too. Even if I am in the victim's shoes and even if the pain and suffering makes me want to die.It cannot become anything other than black and white when I look at it from a moral angle.

Archana said...

I am very happy to know that all was well with your friend's child. It was very brave of them, and finally they made the right choice.And that's what it boils down to - the right choice. They were ready for any eventuality. Many aren't. Your saying that "it takes enormous courage to choose the hard option" can be applied both ways.Morality can be defined as "the principles for right conduct". According to you, right conduct is not ending a life (which, according to me, is a few non-living cells). I think it is immoral to bring a child into this world and not take care of it - be it abuse, neglect or selling them off to make money.There are such horrible things happening in this world, and most of them are found to stem from a bad childhood. I wish the mothers had thought how immoral their children have become for their one "alleged" act of morality.