Abortion, Contraception and IVF

It may shock you to learn that I am not anti-abortion. I try to take a neutral approach and say that I am neither for nor against, but there are some circumstances in which I am pro-abortion and in all instances I aim and desire to be pro-grace.

I know many women who have had abortions. I know women who have had ectopic pregnancies and while some have not admitted to having an abortion, it seems that this would have been the doctors only course of action. Another reason I have heard for having an abortion was that the mother had cancer while she was pregnant and needed to undergo treatment for cancer. As the treatment would have been harmful to the baby, she terminated the pregnancy.

Every woman who has an abortion has a story and reasons why. It may be that the woman is not in a relationship with the father of the baby and the father doesn’t want anything to do with his child. Another may be because the circumstances in which the child was conceived were abusive. In some cases the baby is very sick and the mother is advised by doctors to abort. In other cases the mother is sick and not likely to survive if she has the baby.

Many women who have abortions never dreamed that they would do so, or would want to do so, or would need to do so. But then the circumstances seem exceptionally bad to them and they feel that this decision is the best one for them. Who are we to judge? I wouldn’t be surprised if some Christians and Muslims have abortions because their religion tells them that if they are caught pregnant out of wedlock, they will be shamed in their churches and families, potentially rejected, disowned, mocked and hated. I used to wonder if I were ever raped as a teenager (because I had no intentions of having sex before marriage) and became pregnant, would I abort to save face? I don’t know the answer to that.

If Christians would judge one another less it is possible that abortion would decrease. If we listened to one another’s stories and showed grace, then people who have had abortions out of necessity or desperation, would be able to be honest, safely, instead of harbouring a secret that may be detrimental to their emotional health.

For all the anti-abortionists out there who think they are better than people who have had abortions, I suggest you take the log out of your own eye. What log am I talking about? One would be contraception and the other would be IVF.

Using contraception is no more natural than having an abortion. Let me state again that I am neither for nor against abortion. In the same way, I am neither for nor against contraception or IVF. I simply feel that if a person is going to stand against abortion, they should stand against the whole kit-and-caboodle.

I personally use contraception. I got married at age 32 and in preparation, went to a natural family planning centre. They taught me how to chart my vaginal temperature and recognise when I am ovulating. Being a Catholic centre, their idea is that couples abstain from sex leading up to and during ovulation and then engage in sex after ovulation until the woman’s next period, if she doesn’t want to conceive. They do not recommend contraception, but rather abstinence except during the time when you cannot conceive. My husband and I decided we would use diaphragms and condoms up until I’ve ovulated and then go without contraception until my period. So far, to my knowledge, I haven’t been pregnant. I love this method and would encourage couples to look into it – if the woman has a regular cycle – simply because it doesn’t involve taking hormones.

However, I am well aware that a lot of women out there take the pill, use an implant or IUD (intrauterine device) while they are trying to avoid conception. What many of them don’t realise is that these three forms of contraception cannot 100% guarantee that a woman won’t conceive. And if she does conceive, the egg will have great difficulty implanting in the uterus because of the supplemental hormones in her body. These forms of contraception are designed to trick the woman’s body into thinking she is already pregnant, so that any fertilised egg will not implant in the uterus. This means that the fertilised egg is aborted from the body unbeknownst to the mother. I have met many women who have conceived while using contraception. If you can conceive a baby while using contraception, then you can also naturally abort (miscarry) a baby while using contraception. It does not mean that this happens to every woman or that the woman’s body is conceiving and aborting every month. Perhaps some women never conceive while using contraception at all. But it is POSSIBLE to conceive and therefore POSSIBLE to abort because of the contraception in the body.

Some would even argue that the barrier method (condoms & diaphragms etc.) is equivalent to all other forms of contraception because people using it are not letting nature take its course. We are “playing God” or prohibiting the plan of God – if you will. And in extreme Christian sects they would say that learning about ovulation and natural family planning are also prohibiting the plan of God for your future children. While I think this is extreme, I have to admit that up until 100 years ago, people made do without most of the current forms of contraception.

But we live in a different world where contraception is available and I would most likely have taken the pill had a married a lot younger. I also want my husband to have a vasectomy after we’ve had our family, and this is yet another form of contraception. I don’t have the right to judge the decisions of a woman who became pregnant as a teenager and decided to abort because she didn’t intend to start a family until she was in her thirties. I too am delaying my family by using contraception.

The second “log” I mentioned, is IVF. If you did not know, when couples go through IVF, more than one egg is fertilised. Sometimes multiple eggs are implanted into the women in the hopes that at least one will survive. Sometimes more than one survives. Other times there are fertilised eggs left over. These eggs are frozen so that the woman can have IVF again … or not. If the woman does not use the fertilised egg within seven years, it is disposed of. Aborted.

I understand that women who struggle to conceive, resent other women who have abortions. They resent that someone else conceived without really trying, while they have struggled so hard to conceive and it makes them feel angry that the baby was aborted, when they feel like they would kill to have a baby. But they don’t realise that in some circumstances they are, in fact, killing to have a baby of their own.

Why judge someone for having an abortion, when you may end up having one yourself with or without even realising it?

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