Advice to Youth Defence: 7 Measures That Would Eliminate Abortion

Posted: March 8, 2013 in politics
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I share the concerns Youth Defence members have about abortion. I don’t think I’d do it myself – but then I’m neither poor, nor pregnant, nor a woman, so I don’t speak with any authority on that score.

It’s absurd to equate abortion with murder or holocaust, or to say that a fetus is a human life, but I would prefer if abortion occurred less. I agree that it is a “tragedy”.

Therefore, in a comradely manner, as one who shares their (stated) goal – wanting to see fewer abortions in the world – I urge Youth Defence to use their apparently massive resources and international contacts to promote and campaign for the following goals:

1- An end to condoms being taxed as a “luxury item” – this would decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies and therefore the number of abortions.

2-Increased availability of free or affordable contraception, including the pill and the morning-after pill which are at the moment prohibitively expensive for most people.

3-Guaranteed secular sex education in all schools from a young age.

4-The provision of free childcare and extended child benefit to all mothers. Extend maternity leave and legally enforce it. Women who want to have a child, but can’t for economic reasons, would then be free to.

5-A profound change in the ownership and control of wealth in society, so that instead of being hoarded or gambled by the 1%, the wealth working people create could provide the services we need and eliminate poverty, thus ending the need for abortion in the vast majority of cases.

6-A cultural and political war against sexism, to promote the position of women in society so that nobody can ever force anybody to have an abortion against their will; so that women feel empowered to say no to sex or to insist on contraception.

7-For the provision of free, safe, legal abortion by the state. If there is any danger, as Youth Defence claim, of the “abortion industry” encouraging people to have abortions and making a profit off it, that’s not acceptable.

Weighed up against these issues, the question of whether abortion is legal or not is totally insignificant. Of course it should be legal, so that those who need it should not have to travel abroad to get it.

These goals would be far-reaching and difficult to obtain, I agree. But I agree with Youth Defence bloggers who argue for a “grassroots revolution against apathy”:

“…it can be easy to lose heart, and think we’re up against too strong a force… [But] As long as there’s a possibility that something you say or do could help even just one little child to not be killed – it’s all worth it.”

Of course I don’t agree that you’re “killing a child” when you abort a pregnancy. I’m more worried about the actual children who are actually killed. Those who die of hunger in a world of abundance, or who die of basic diseases in a scientific age. Those who are murdered in wars for resources. I care deeply about those living children who are victims of the profit system, in which there’s a massive market for bombs and guns but no market for ending poverty and disease.

So I think I understand the urgency which Youth Defence attach to their mission. If you actually believe that abortion is a holocaust, surely then the matter is so urgent – more serious numerically than the actual holocaust – that you must do all you can, in spite of the odds, to try and fix it. Even if it pits you against church, state and the capitalist system itself, which ensures a constant demand for abortion by maintaining poverty and poor services. Even if it demands that you outline a radical, socialist alternative rather than messing about insisting that abortion remain illegal.

We would win free choice for women and the elimination of most abortions if Youth Defence and others were to give the 7 goals outlined above the same time, money and energy that they give to branding women who have abortions as murderers and encouraging politicians to keep the question of abortion out of sight and out of mind. Some “revolution against apathy”.

I wonder why these points have not occurred to people who have apparently devoted their whole lives to opposing abortion. Legislation does not lead to abortion – unplanned pregnancies lead to abortion. Poverty leads to abortion. Sexism leads to abortion. I stand amazed whenever the pro-lifers talk about having “medical experts” on their side – “medical experts” who seem to believe in “banning” symptoms rather than tackling causes.

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