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Pro-Choice – a Second Look

Policy should be based on evidence and not ideology.

I see that the abortion debate has once again been in the news. As Christians, we usually take the stance for no abortions. But is making abortion illegal the right stance to take? 

I came across a headline that read: “Want to lower the abortion rate? Support pro-choice policies.” It cited a study by the Guttmacher Institute that showed countries with the most restrictive abortion laws had the highest rates of abortion. Abortion rates have fallen over the past 25 years, even as more countries have made the procedure legal and easier to get. Easier access to birth control drives down abortion rates, the report finds. A similar study by Amnesty International supports these findings.

Indeed, numbers in Canada bear this out since abortion rates have been steadily falling. Abortions occur no matter the legal setting, so why not support the option that is proven to show reduction in abortion rates and maternal deaths? Policy should be based on evidence and not ideology.

THE OVERLOOKED ISSUES

Generally speaking, those who oppose abortion also oppose sex education in the schools and making contraceptives more readily available. Yet these are the two things needed to help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. 

Anti-abortion legislation may make it hard for women to talk about an unwanted pregnancy and their options since they are afraid of judgement if they are considering a termination. They do not want anyone to know and may not seek help. And I dare say there are women in our churches who are afraid to talk about the time they felt an abortion was their only option – women who may have been in abusive relationships or afraid of being rejected by family. 

THE ONUS IS ON US

As someone who is pro-choice, I feel it puts the onus on me to help women chose life for their child. As such, we can advocate for more funding for places like the Niagara Life Centre and Hannah House. We can provide a safe place in every community for women to drop off unwanted children without fear of being charged with child abandonment or their parents finding out, etc. And free day-care so women know they can continue their education. We also want to ensure funding for mothers so they can provide adequately for their child so finances are less of a consideration when choosing to terminate. And continue to push for comprehensive sex education and access to contraceptives. In other words, find the reasons why women chose abortions and address those.

Of course it is a complex issue with no single solution. So let us opt for a policy that proves to result in reduced abortion rates. 

Author

  • Ineke hails from Zeeland, Netherlands. She immigrated with her family and grew up in the St Catharines region. She has a B.A. from Calvin College. Ineke is on the board of directors of the St. Catharines Federal Liberal Association and works on the policy committee with an emphasis on social justice issues. She is also editor of the association newsletter. Ineke is married to Ken and is the mother of five and Oma to four young children. She served as an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA) in the South Hebron Hills of Palestine.

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