I’m not a woman nor do I pretend to know what it feels like to be one. However, I’m fairly certain that when a woman finds out she is pregnant she doesn’t say, “Gee, I think I’ll have an abortion. I’ll invite my girlfriends. Maybe grab a salad and spend a little time at the spa before we go for drinks. It’ll be fun.”

Sign: Stop the War on Women!

Photo: Timothy Krause / Flickr.

Despite what some would have you believe, no one wants an abortion. It isn’t a cavalier decision or a comfortable experience. Myriad are the ways women come to that awful decision. It may not be compatible with what you would do or lack careful consideration of all the options, but it isn’t yours and it isn’t easy.

Homelessness is a Terrible Thing to Endure

Perhaps Mom simply can’t afford it. Not in the sense she’ll have to forgo girls-night-out, but in the sense there won’t be enough food to feed or house the child. No matter how much a mother loves a baby, homelessness is a terrible thing for a child to endure.

Some may tragically find their baby severely handicapped or otherwise non-viable. Those mothers may be honest enough to admit they don’t have the wherewithal to cope. The toll could be severely emotional for mother and child or it could be practical. She may lack health insurance for stupefyingly huge medical bills or be insured by an outfit that pays only a token portion of the bill.

Still others may be victims of rape or incest, carrying a baby for which they may not have the most motherly of feelings or be in a situation where they and the baby are at risk of harm from their attackers. A situation where the woman is beaten so badly as to lose the baby ends up the same – an abortion with no good done for the mother, the baby, or society.

Those who oppose abortion often do it for religious reasons or harbor fantasies about other coping mechanisms. They often oppose sex education under the impression that teaching someone to put on a condom automatically enrages their hormones enough to go out and use it. That is a case of “Just Say Yes”.

Some suggest adoption and that may sometimes be viable. However, for some babies adoptions just transfer the child from frying pan to fire. Handicapped and minority babes have notoriously low adoption rates and they may spend much of their childhoods in foster homes that prepare them for nothing more than deprivation and a life of crime, on the dole, or worse. But for some, adoption isn’t an option. Mothers whose lives are at risk may never make it through a pregnancy to put the baby up for adoption.

There’s a Reason They Call It Planned Parenthood

Those who support abortion don’t support it because it’s a convenient birth control method, even those who may be squeamish about it for religious regions. They support it because if the option was removed, many women would return to abortion pre-Rowe v. Wade style, back alley quacks with no training or coat hangers up that place we shouldn’t say. Some mothers might take more draconian steps. They might choose suicide or hurt themselves to induce an abortion, methods that probably guarantee death or serious injury to the fetus and the mother.

I completely agree with women incensed by panels comprised exclusively of men making their decision for them. However, I think they make a mistake banning men from the process completely. Legislatively, men can bring support and funding for the things women need. On the family front, I think women are well-served by discussing their circumstance with the men in their lives whenever possible. Abortion is not always a women’s issue exclusively, sometimes it a family issue. There’s a reason they call it Planned Parenthood.

But in the end, after all the solutions are considered and women collect the best of them, it boils down to their decision being final, regardless of how they make it. They will bear the health implications and emotional turmoil themselves.

Whether you believe life begins are the moment of conception or sometime later in the pregnancy, the woman is potentially a “mother” – someone who has to do the best she can by her child, her family, and herself. It is not a religious or governmental decision.

If you are in opposition, remember this is the ultimate example of government staying out of American’s lives, their religions, and their values. It is a hard, lonely decision made much worse by shouting at women who enter clinics, killing their doctors, or otherwise limiting their care. Interfering with an intensely personal decision is no more right than if abortion proponents picketed and screamed at you when you entered your church or murdered your pastor because he opposed your personal decisions. After all, it is a decision that isn’t yours and that we shouldn’t attempt to legislate.

It’s personal and tough, and I don’t envy anyone who has to make it.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture.