Listening to the anti-choice zealots over the past few weeks, you would think that every person having an abortion is in a state of trauma and crisis.
But many abortions do not come from a place of crisis at all. In fact, most women who have an abortion are mothers. Women carrying the mental load of the family, juggling career and maternity leave, bearing the physical toll of multiple pregnancies and knowing full well the sleepless nights and 24/7 responsibility that a baby means.
There are also many, many women – myself included – who have had an abortion at a young age because the time was wrong, and then gone on to have children at a later stage in life.
No-one makes the decision to have an abortion lightly. But to imply that this procedure is always the result of a crisis or dilemma doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation.
The reality is you are weighing up whether having another child means that you might lose your job, not be able to afford the rent or mortgage, whether you can finish your education, or simply knowing you are at the end of your capacity with the load you already have. For many of us, choosing an abortion is not a trauma but a huge relief.
What you need to know about abortion in Australia. Post continues after video.
And you know what? These decisions are complex, they are personal, and they should not be decided by a bunch of politicians – most of whom are men.
Many people are shocked that abortion is still a crime in NSW – because in practice, lots of people can access a termination if they find themselves in the right location, with the right medical and personal support and adequate finances.
But it is still a crime. And this creates significant barriers for many people.
Paramedic Tess Oxley has spoken publicly about the trauma of attending a woman who harmed herself in an attempt to self administer an abortion – while her children watched TV in the other room.
Dr Amanda Cohn, a GP and the Greens Deputy Mayor of Albury has described some of the circumstances that drive women to her clinic: “We have seen an Aboriginal mother of six travel to Wodonga by train, for over five hours each way, with her young children in tow, to access our service.”
Sometimes, the trauma comes from the fact that abortion is a crime and therefore difficult to access for some communities. That is why this reform is needed.
There are people – overwhelmingly men – who don’t believe that people – overwhelmingly women – should make choices about their own bodies. They believe it should remain a crime for a woman to procure an abortion.