Updated: Feb 23
It's the classic narrative of abortion advocates: abortion is a woman's right. Abortion has been defended by the modern feminist movement in the name of freedom, independence, and equality. Not only is this idea misleading, but it is the exact opposite of what feminism stands for.
Abortion does not grant freedom.
I can empathize with women who feel this way. Most of us can only imagine the shock and loss of control one might experience when encountering an unplanned pregnancy. And I don't deny that abortion can feel like it grants a woman control over her life again. But does abortion grant freedom in such a situation?
"freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought"
St. Pope John Paul II
In order to fully evaluate this idea, we must understand what freedom is. St. Pope John Paul II famously stated that "freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought". What is the difference here? It is the choice to do what we 'ought', or what we know is right. Consider this: are there times where unlimited freedom to do what we want can be dangerous to us? Absolutely. Anyone with a sweet tooth can tell you that! To the extreme, people who experience addiction to substances struggle to say no to what they know is not good for them.
Freedom means that your ability to do doesn't overwhelm your choice to not.
Imagine a scared teenager facing an unplanned pregnancy who feels trapped. She may be worried her parents will kick her out. She may be afraid of what her boyfriend might say. She likely feels embarrassed and ashamed just thinking of what her friends and peers would say behind her back.
Consider this: would she think she has a choice?
Young girls like Albany Rose who have abortions in response to their teen pregnancies often don't feel freed at all. In fact, their freedom has been taken from them, by the narrative that young girls are not strong or capable enough to bear a child. Albany, today, is an avid pro-life advocate who speaks out about her traumatic abortion experience and defends pre-born lives.
This doesn't only apply to teen pregnancies, though. It applies to the woman in college who fears her education will be negatively affected. It applies to the wife whose husband threatens to leave her otherwise. It applies to the professional working woman who is worried a maternity leave will negatively impact her standing in the company.
Any choice that is made out of fear is not a choice made in freedom.
Does abortion grant women freedom? No.
Will getting rid of abortion grant women freedom? Not necessarily...
Abortion may not directly rid a woman of her freedom - but it certainly doesn't help her in a situation where she feels helpless. It digs her deeper into the hole she's already in. The solution would be for the fear to be eliminated. What we need to do is reach out to her, inform her and empower her. In order to allow women to be free, our society must be reformed. With community support and the empowerment of women facing unplanned pregnancy, women will not feel that they must turn to abortion to help her situation. If they have support, they will feel confident in choosing life. In such a situation a woman can have the choice to do what she knows she 'ought'.
"A woman does not want an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg"
Abortion does not grant independence.
In a similar vein to freedom, true independence implies the ability to go with or without something or someone. If a woman feels that she must have an abortion in order to live the life that she desires most, then she is dependent on the abortion from the start
All humans are dependent in one way or another; the vast majority of us are incredibly dependent on WiFi access, for one! It's understandable that a woman can feel that abortion grants her independence because she wouldn't be held responsible for a child, who would then become her dependant.
In rare cases, women may be in a similar situation to Judy Garland , who, at the start of her booming career as an actress, was forced into an abortion so that her company wouldn't fire her. Abortion allowed her to become independent from the responsibilities of parenthood. However, this traumatic experience led to dependency on substance use that eventually led to her losing her life at the age of 47 due to an accidental overdose. She became dependent on substances to cope with the unbearable grief and loss of her child.
The availability of abortion causes dependency upon it. Women may turn to abortion to sustain their careers, their relationships, or even their social status. The modern feminist narrative that pushes abortion access as a necessity causes women to become dependent on it more than ever. This narrative assumes that women cannot be successful unless they choose abortion when they face an unplanned pregnancy, and perpetuates a status quo that makes life difficult for pregnant and parenting women.
Not only does abortion access create dependency, but it undermines the ability of a woman to succeed.
Abortion does not grant equality.
The most common definition of feminism that is used today refers to equality between women and men. Historically, the feminist movement began because women were not granted the same rights as men, simply because they were women. Seeing all humans as equal entails that they are treated the same regardless of gender.
So what does this have to do with abortion?
Feminists who are advocates for abortion support it in the name of equality because abortion allows women to be free from the duty of childbearing, just as a men can be free from childbearing. We cannot deny that many women are neglected in situations where a father refuses to take responsibility for his child, leaving the mother to parent alone. The biological difference of men and women with respect to childbearing is thus seen as a disadvantage to women, and abortion is seen as the equalizer. According to this point of view, women become equal to men in their ability to 'walk away' from an unplanned pregnancy.
However, this leads to a conclusion that undermines the incredibly beautiful phenomenon childbearing is, and overlooks the privilege women have to partake in the creation of life. Women were designed to do something that men cannot. Such a reality shouldn't be looked down upon, it should be respected and honoured.
If equality among men and women is not achievable unless a woman's unique abilities are stripped from her, it assumes that man is the 'default'. That in order for equality to be achieved, women must become more like men.
Instead of bringing women down and writing off this gift to bear children, men too should be lifted up and empowered to take on that same responsibility with her.
In conclusion, abortion does not grant the promises that it has been believed to grant to women. It doesn't achieve the goals that feminism stands for. The advocacy of abortion does not revere and respect women for who they are. It is true: there are real issues which abortion advocates seek to solve. However, abortion acts to treat the symptoms of the issue rather than the underlying causes. Abortion contributes to the entrapment and dis-empowerment of women, and ends the lives of their children in the process.
 Albany Rose. "My Abortion Story - Albany Rose". Retrieved from https://thefetalposition.com/my-abortion-story-albany-rose/. 2020.
 Veronika Winkels, "Abortion a Woman's Choice? It Wasn't for Judy Garland." Retrieved from https://mercatornet.com/abortion-a-womans-choice-it-wasnt-for-judy-garland/24798/. 2019.