Are there any alternatives to Abortion?
First there was Chaos,
the vast immeasurable abyss
Outrageous as a sea,
dark, wasteful, wild.― John Milton
At a very sad time when the online community is divided between those who want to ban women from deciding on their own lives and those who say that aborting an embryo is a human right, I again take on the role of the Josip Broz Tito of the situation, positioning myself in favour of a ‘third way’.
I begin this article by proclaiming my right to have my say on the subject: I am not talking about extreme situations such as rape, I am not a human who wants to decide about other people’s bodies, and I am not a religious fanatic who believes that abortion is wrong in relation to a God we have never seen. I am a humble mortal who knew at a young age, 13 years ago, that she was the vessel for a spark that she could have sent back into the darkness or that she could have let start a great fire.
When a society bans the right to abortion, it pretends to ignore the fact that the only sex education young people receive is a demonstration of how to put a condom on a banana. Girls giggle and don’t imagine that 99% of the time they will sleep with a man, the man will say that condoms are ‘uncomfortable’, that ‘with a condom it doesn’t work’, that they are allergic to latex, that they forgot them, that they ‘will be careful’, that they are not fertile. Yeah, I got pregnant because he, aged 30, lied to me about not being fertile and at 21 I believed it. Society pretends to ignore that many parents are against the pill, that the pill changes your body, your mood, your health, and that it is very easy to forget for a day. Girls giggle and don’t imagine that it will cost 400 euros to get an IUD inserted and that being young they cannot afford it.
And once you get pregnant by accident, because getting pregnant by accident can happen even in 2022, you go scared to the hospital and if you are lucky they tell you as they told me: you can either have an abortion or give the baby up for adoption. The state won’t give you money because as you live in your parents’ house they have to take care of you, and if they are against you having a baby, don’t try to leave home because society takes the baby away from a homeless person, of course. While all the people you know incite you to have an abortion because ‘your life will be over, you will never be able to study, travel, find a partner and you see no alternative, you find yourself in a dark corner, completely alone with your spark inside you. You know you have to protect it, but you live in a society in which sparks are not welcome. Your society loves straight streets, restaurants with no crying children, squared buildings, Marie Kondo, people who have children in their thirties (or forties?) when they have an open-ended contract with both their partner and their employer, it loves holidays always in the same month and people all dressed the same, neat flowerbeds, concrete pavements. Society does not like sparks, dancing prime ministers, girls going on climate strikes, time wasted reading novels.
If you are not so lucky as to live in a country where abortion is legal instead, you have to find illegal means of tearing the spark out of your body risking death and turning yourself into a murderer because those who cannot understand your situation have decided that that is the only definition you can give to a human being with her back to the wall.
If you get pregnant at a young age and are single, having an abortion is presented by society as a forced choice, whether it is legal in your country or not. You cannot a priori decide on the lives of others, but to impose a choice that disrupts women’s lives is criminal. If you are pro-life, don’t keep lying to yourself that if a girl gets pregnant she brought it on herself. Find alternative methods of protection, provide free condoms, free IUDs and pills to all girls in the risk age group, make young people responsible for the consequences of their fun, provide solutions, a roof and opportunities to study and get a job for young single mothers.
Having no real choice, every night I cried saying mentally to my spark, ‘this will be one of our last nights together’, and gathered the courage to become grey and squared, and not add chaos to this orderly world, to climb the ladder one step at a time, never skipping a step, never distracting myself in dance steps. Then one day while walking in the rain lost in my thoughts, I saw a single raindrop fall on a green leaf, causing it to gently tend downwards. Making an immediate firm decision, I told my spark ‘I must show you how beautiful the rain is’. Today my spark is an extraordinary and irreplaceable 12-year-old human being.
There are no beginnings without difficulties, darkness, and chaos. It is worth living and giving life, bathed in its light and all its shadows. It is worth building a society that does not impose life but encourages and celebrates it.
I wish all those people at 21 had never told me that if I had a child my life would end, but that it would begin. I wish they had told me to not be scared. I wish they had told me that life itself is one of the few things worth living for. I wish they had told me that as soon as you become a parent you develop a thousand internal resources and become strong and invincible, able to work, study and look after your child at the same time. I would have liked them to tell me that a family is not only a family if there are contracts, but is one whenever love exists. I would have liked them to see in an obstacle a spark, and in a raindrop falling on a leaf, the invincible beauty of life.