"I was very struck by reading an article in the New York Times a few years ago about the pro-life daughters of pro-choice feminists. One of them said,
'Any one of us could have been aborted.'
That's going to be in the continuation of my essay. Also Ronald Reagan saying, 'I've noticed that those who are for abortion have themselves already been born.'
I said to my mother (who had 6 kids and no abortions and who's more 'pro-choice' than I am), 'You wouldn't have wanted someone to do that to you.'
And she said, 'If they had, I wouldn't exist to know the difference.'
I think that's disingenuous. It's easy for the living to say, 'I exist only by chance and that's fine with me.'
Talk is cheap. (The eerie thing is that if my mother's mother hadn't had the two abortions she had circa 1920, my mother probably wouldn't exist. These decisions are so frightening -- such power, exercised so blindly.)
What I mean by enslavement is the law saying if you get pregnant -- under any circumstances -- you MUST bear that child. (The mother's life or death maybe excepted.) Your reproductive capacity is more important than you are, than any other aspect of your life is. Your womb is society's property.
If you are a young teen-ager who's raped by your mother's boyfriend; if you are a single mother with four or five or more children who doesn't know how she can financially support or care for another, you must bear that child. I'm not talking about frivolity (although I believe some women do abort frivolously -- fewer now than 15 or 20 years ago, for which the credit goes to the pro-life movement). I'm talking about suffering.
(Of course, how are you going to distinguish the suffering from the frivolous? Since the frivolous will claim they are suffering. The bitch of it is, you wouldn't want a woman like that for a mother. Yet you couldn't count on her giving you up for adoption. She'd bear you sullenly and then take it out on you. Children are at their mothers' mercy in so many ways.)
As you say, women have always aborted and always will. Abolishing it is a goal to strive for, like abolishing war. We need to become a better species, but how can we prevent abortion before we become a better species (and just in case we don't)? I'm not sure coercion is the answer.
You say you would not have had your abortion if it had been illegal. Well, I would have had mine if it had been illegal. (I'm from the Sixties generation. We did a lot of things that were illegal!) There's a good chance I would not have had it if the culture had told me the truth.
I'm thinking, restrict legal abortion to the first trimester unless the mother's life is in real danger. Within those limits, let the woman be in charge of her own womb, but teach her what a sacred and terrifying responsibility that is. Scare the bejeesus out of her. And then promote every possible way of preventing pregnancy.