Contrary to the opinion of some of the critics of pro-choice, abortion is not an ‘easy option’. The initial thought may be a reflex reaction to an extremely difficult situation, but it is rarely a decision that is taken lightly. Women will almost always go through doubts and second thoughts, like Angela. ‘When I was younger I always said to myself that if I ever got pregnant there was no way I would have an abortion. I had seen those films of little fetuses and what happens in an abortion and I couldn’t bear the thought. That was until I got pregnant the last time. I didn’t find out until just after my husband had left me (talk about the almost immaculate conception!) and I already had the other two kids to support on my own. Well, on top of all the hassles with divorce lawyers and custody agreements and so on, it was just unthinkable to have another child to bring up, especially because I wouldn’t be able to work for months; I couldn’t make ends meet as it was. Even though I knew it was the only solution for me, it was still one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.’
All of the reputable abortion clinics have experienced counsellors to help women decide one way or the other. If the pregnancy is not too advanced, they will usually recommend you delay the decision until you have had time to work through the options.
Anyone who has not faced the dilemma of an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy will find it difficult to imagine what a hard choice it can be. Jane is forty and she had a dreadful time with her two pregnancies, spending three months of the last one in hospital with blood pressure problems. ‘I have no idea where we went wrong with the contraception. We thought we had taken all the right precautions. I agonized about what to do. I wouldn’t have minded another baby, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of going through all that again, not with two little ones at home. When I turned up at the clinic there was some sort of demonstration outside. Protesters were shouting at people going into the building and waving signs and some of them were holding up fetuses in glass jars. It was horrible. As if it wasn’t hard enough! I still sometimes wonder whether it would have been a boy or a girl, and what it would have looked like.’