Our legislators need to be reminded abortion not some kind of magic wand
When someone wants to take her own life, we do everything possible to prevent her doing so. Like many others, I have personal experience of trying to persuade someone that she was loved and precious, and that, even though the pain was unbearable, there were better days ahead.
Thank God, the person that I love listened to the voices of family and professionals urging her to choose life, and she is still with us today.
Did I trust the judgment of the suicidal person that she would make the right decision in her pain-racked state? No, I didn’t. Would I have been furious with any medic who agreed with her that suicide was the least bad option? Yes, I would.
Yet our Government is seriously proposing to legislate for suicide as a ground for abortion. In other words, although we normally accept that the judgment of a person seeking suicide is impaired, our Government is suggesting that the judgment of a suicidal mother seeking to end the life of her own child is perfectly sound and should be facilitated.
Politicians do not live in bubbles. They hold constituency clinics, where they listen to shocked and grieving parents who have just lost a beloved child to suicide. They attend funerals, and see the devastation wrought by suicide.
There is a real worry among medical professionals that society has inadvertently and unintentionally normalised suicide as one option among a range of possible responses to extreme stress. This legislation will only add to that normalisation.
The legislation will ignore all that is known about the complex roots of suicidal ideation, and instead imply that removing the pregnancy will “cure” the desire to die. It will ignore the reality that in Britain, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidelines state, “Women with an unintended pregnancy and a past history of mental health problems should be advised that they may experience further problems whether they choose to have an abortion or to continue with the pregnancy.” In short, abortion is not some kind of magic wand.
What about someone who is suicidal after a rape? Is that sufficient grounds for abortion on the grounds of suicide?
The judges in the X case thought so. Rape is violence, an abuse of both sexuality and power. When a woman or a girl conceives through rape, it is so far from what she would wish for herself, it multiplies the impact of the original horrific act of violence.
However, if a baby is conceived through rape, she will be in the equally devastating situation that she will be stigmatised forever, not because of anything she has done, but because of the actions of her father. Even people who are normally anti-abortion will turn their faces against her, on the grounds that her father’s actions negate her right even to live.