Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Harm reduction--An argument for keeping abortions legal?

 I have a warm professional acquaintance who, much to my surprise, indicated recently that he reads my posts. I must say that I was gobsmacked. I have never discussed life issues with him, and obviously had no idea as to the nature of his views. 
 
He recently left the comment below on one of my posts in this series I'm doing on engaging with the broader culture and finding common ground with those who take the pro-choice label. I would very much be interested in the views of other readers on what he has to say. 

Please take advantage of the comments section at the bottom of the post to indicate your views. Thanks.

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John, always enjoy reading your posts. I would say that your explanation of the rationales behind the pro-choice lens leaves out the one and only reason I support so-call "choice," and that is harm reduction. 
 
The fact is that women do have a choice, whether that choice is legal or not (in the same way that drug users have a choice)... what they may lack if abortion were illegal would be safer options for exercising that choice. 
 
If I could somehow be assured that every woman for whom carrying a pregnancy to term is unthinkable (and I think we could agree that this does happen, just as staying off of illegal drugs under certain circumstances - intense chronic pain and negative history with doctors, for example - may be unthinkable to some) would be provided adequate support to make the circumstance thinkable. 
 
Do I think that will ever happen? Probably not. Do I think we can do a lot better - and thereby further reduce the number of abortions - absolutely. I think there are a lot of opportunities for uncovering more collaborative (if not necessarily common) ground between harm reductionists (like me) and pro-lifers... that would reduce the number of abortions. 
 
My dilemma is as moral as the pro-lifer's, I think. But it's more conflicted... thus essentially making it an ethical matter (between two moral ones). I keep an open mind to collaborating with the efforts and resources of those who are trying to prevent abortions for whatever reason - my ethics demand it... but must try to ascertain if they are going to stick their heads in the sand - or worse - if (and sadly when) all efforts of support fail to render circumstances thinkable quickly enough. 
 
I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on the harm reduction aspect of medical abortions.
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