In this April 17, 2019, file photo, Bianca Cameron-Schwiesow, from left, Kari Crowe and Margeaux Hartline, dressed as handmaids, protest against a bill banning nearly all abortions at the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala. As abortion opponents cheer the passage of fetal heartbeat laws and other restrictions on the procedure, abortion-rights groups have been waging a quieter battle in courthouses around the country to overturn limits on providers. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

Jocelyn’s Jottings: Choice, government interference and abortion

Government officials in Alabama recently passed a law enforcing a near-total ban on abortions in the state, the only exception being if the mother’s life is at risk, or something like that.

Sexually assaulted and carrying the man’s child? Too bad for you.

Carrying a relative’s baby? Same deal.

READ MORE: Alabama ban on nearly all abortions in GOP governor’s hands

According to several news stories I have been reading on the subject, it is unlikely that the law will be implemented as it will face several legal challenges and a judge will likely temporarily block implementation while litigation is underway.

I’ve also recently been seeing anti-abortion activities and campaigns in Canada, activists saying it is time that there was abortion laws in Canada.

So let’s talk about abortion.

Abortion is a tough subject. There is a lot of shame and finger pointing and head shaking. There is a lot of misunderstanding.

Even the most feminist among us probably aren’t going to parade down the streets yelling, “I just had an abortion” on our way out of the clinic.

It is an intimate, difficult, scary, life-changing decision to have a baby and it is the same when deciding to have an abortion.

I don’t think it is ever taken lightly by either the women, the fathers or the health care professionals.

READ MORE: ‘No appetite’ to ban abortions in Canada amid U.S. bills, expert says

Honestly, thinking about it and talking about it makes me nervous. It is such a difficult thing.

That mass of cells has the potential to become a human. But at the same time there are very real and very sad consequences for having unplanned children.

What is the right answer in this? I don’t know.

But I won’t judge someone for choosing, or not choosing to go through the procedure. It is their decision and it has nothing to do with me. And that is as far as I am going to go into the “right and wrong” of it all.

What I have a problem with is that choice being taken away from people. Let’s strip everything else away and look at the bigger picture.

This comes down to what level of government interference in someone’s personal life is acceptable.

It is impossible to draw parallels to abortion which is why it continues to be an ongoing discussion, but I will try to illustrate my point anyway.

What if the B.C. government limited the amount of condoms a person could legally purchase?

What if they assigned a name to your child for you?

What if after high school you pulled a job assignment out of a hat and that is what you had to do for the rest of your life because that was the law?

What if the government matched you with a partner and that was who you had to legally be with for the rest of your life?

What if there were government scheduled bathroom breaks and you weren’t allowed to use the toilet at any other time of day?

READ MORE: Trudeau says U.S. state abortion bans are ‘backsliding on women’s rights’

All sound a bit ridiculous? That’s kind of my point.

Whether a woman decides to get an abortion, or not, does not affect anyone else except the father. But what about the baby you might say?

Based on a simple internet search, a fetus cannot survive outside of the womb before it is 22 weeks old and then needs extreme medical intervention.

According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information, in 2017, 78 per cent of induced abortions in Canada occurred before the 21 week mark and in 19 per cent of cases the gestational age was unreported, though it would have been guessed based on the date of the last period.

Healthlink BC’s website says abortions are rarely done after 24 weeks.

Back to the point.

If what someone else chooses isn’t negatively impacting the greater good, or putting someone else in harms way, then why should the government control that decision?

In my opinion, they shouldn’t.



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Jocelyn Doll is the editor of the Revelstoke Review.

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