Monday, August 20, 2012

I mean, you're going to have that kitchen for a long time so...

Abortion is one of those things I have long felt faintly uncomfortable talking about or writing about for two reasons.

Firstly, I've never had to have an abortion so I feel unqualified to say much and a little bit like I might be shitting on other people's experiences if I voice my own opinion. Merely owning a working (um, so far as I know, I guess) womb doesn't feel like much of a qualification to start shooting my mouth off.

Secondly, until very recently I secretly thought I might be a monster or perhaps a low-level psychopath because, while I appreciate the decision to have an abortion must be very hard for some people, for me it's never seemed like much of a decision. If I got pregnant tomorrow I would wait a polite amount of time for my husband to try to talk me out of it and then say sorry and go and get an abortion. And while maybe I'd surprise myself I can't imagine being overwhelmed with guilt or grief - lord knows the not-a-baby would be better off being snuffed out of existence before it's too much more than a cluster of cells than being born to a mother who has absolutely no desire to have it.

I've always felt this way but never felt comfortable expressing the view until I read Caitlin Moran's fantastic, maybe even life altering and very funny book, How to Be a Woman. In it she writes how, as the mother of two kids, she decided to get an abortion when she got pregnant for a third time:
"I have no dilemma, no terrible decision to make - because I know, with calm certainty, that I don't want another child now, in the same way I know absolutely that I don't want to go to India, or be a blonde, or fire a gun... I can honestly say that my abortion was one of the least difficult decisions of my life. I'm not being flippant when I say it took me longer to decide what worktops to have in the kitchen than whether I was prepared to spend the rest of my life being responsible for a further human being, because I knew that to do it again - to commit my life to another person - might very possibly stretch my abilities, and conception of who I am, and who I want to be, and what I want and need to do - to breaking point."
I remember reading that line about the kitchen worktops while sitting somewhere beautiful in Positano a couple of months ago and bursting into guilty laughter, thinking holy shit are we allowed to talk like this now?

I've gone off topic because this was supposed to be a very short post directing you towards this article, "I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me", about which I have little to say but which I think might actually be... kind of great. Or at least very interesting, particularly in a world in which this kind of fucknuttery is out there making Australian politicians look positively sane and competent by comparison.

Finally, two pieces of advice.

Number one: If you or someone you know owns a vagina, buy Caitlin Moran's book.

Number two: don't ever try google imaging the world "abortion" in the hope it might throw up an appropriate picture to illustrate some inane blog post you may have written. Just... trust me on this one.

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