Warning: The contents of this blog are explicit, it contains comments about abortion as well as sexual assault that may disturb some readers – 30 Minute Read.
Here is the perspective on abortion from a childless boy with experience in the care system of New Zealand. I want to note that this conversation is only my own opinion. That while there are many opinions, I don’t claim to be right in any way. A life is a life, we all deserve to be treated fairly with compassion and love.
Abortion is a really shitty thing to think about. Let’s not trivialise too much on that. It is likely the most important discussion that two people will ever have. Not many decisions a person could make would directly correlate to life or death. So it is important that we be straight up here. No diverting, no theorising on what could or should have been. Let’s be realistic and talk about this former taboo in a way that gives it the light that it deserves. I’ll start off by elaborating on the life of a child, then we’ll look at the effects this has on the mum. We’ll then discuss the current legislation regarding abortion in New Zealand, and finally, we’ll reflect on how amazing life is in a positive and reinforcing way, to give a well-rounded, nothing lost approach. Hopefully, we’ll both be able to take something from this.
I am pro-choice. Completely an utterly behind women having the right to have an abortion. So long as they have had this incredibly hard and immeasurably important conversation. That they feel safe and kept at the centre of these decisions within a system that provides them with the options they seek. That although both the male and the female hold significant voices in the discussion, it is ultimately the women’s body and it is at the end of the day their pain that they will have to endure for nine months.
When I was born, there was love between my parents. Love that must have made them happy. Unblinded by the decision to give life to me. The first and oldest of many siblings. There would have been whanau all around the country and possibly around the world who were aware that I was coming to life. In that mangy brick maternity ward in Blenheim Hospital, there would have been flowers, family, doctors and nurses all surrounding that hospital bed as my mum for the first time ever made eye contact with me. That in that moment, the bond was made between son and mother where life had entered the world. I say this because it’s important for me to tell you that love is a real thing, that no matter how complicated anything gets, that love and passion should never be misunderstood. Never take that shit for granted because it’s real.
But for a second, be realistic. Beyond the flowers, the nurses, the doctors and the love, what is true is that we’re only human. That there is a range of feelings which might complicate things. That all of those moments can change over time. That it only takes one decision to change the course from a perceived happily ever after, into a spat of domestic violence and child neglect. Unfortunately, this was what happened to me prior to being eight months old. That when I was just a little brown baby I was taken away from my family. That there was social neglect that took place. So many psychological ties driven into my little head, these affected me when I was a kid, all the way up until I was arrested for being disorderly when I was in high school. Everything effects everything,
I have learnt to discover that there are so many elements to my personality that are affected by early childhood misconduct. That I have rejection issues sprung out after reconnecting with my parents when I was a few years older, only to have those ties severed yet again. These occasions administered these micro-explosions in my personality that unfortunately caused me so much pain both when I struggled with anxiety in my teenage years, all the way up to being a young adult youth advocate. I am still haunted by so many conflicting beliefs that I’m not good enough, that my parents did not love me which is why they left me behind, or that it is somehow my fault. That it took the better part of nineteen years to realise that it isn’t my fault and that these people who made me are just normal humans. Who might have been having problems themselves, with substance abuse, with prolonged childhood abuse, who could say? That the reality is that nobody is perfect. That it isn’t my fault that I am in the situation that I am in. But for soo many children out there, for the over 100,000 people in New Zealand who have come out of the care system who weren’t aware that they had rights to their Child Youth and Family personal records, that didn’t have an incredible support that my whangai parents offered me. Without that support, these people would have suffered even longer than I did. These are lives we are talking about here. So my first position is that the parent needs to take full accountability for providing support for that baby absolutely their entire life and making sure that they know why they are in that situation if it doesn’t work out.
Sometimes it’s more valuable to realise that nobody has all of the answers so everyone is going to make a lot of mistakes. I think it’s more important to weigh up whether you’re actually going to be a good enough parent because it signifies that you are acknowledging a life, that you know this child will have to bear the pain and anger so many years after if you fail them. This is not a tick box situation, it is deciding if you are ready to celebrate the creation of a precious taonga that will have every emotion, every dream, every tool and possibly more than you do right now at this very moment. While I’m not targeting any person out there looking at having a baby, I will share my concern through the experience of a successful birth but a failed immediate upbringing and urge you to consider more than your own self, but the self-embodiment of the life of the child you will bring into this world.
If a couple understands that, then they are ready to have the bubba. But if they’re not, if a person thinks that they need more time to be ready for birth. Then reconsider. It’s important to make sure that a parent has sufficient support. Let go of your control over life, stop thinking about what your family thinks, what your partner thinks, and start thinking about what you think. Run away for a week. Go and find solace in some sacred Himalayan mountain somewhere and think about who you are and what you can honestly offer this child. Think of every situation that you have lived through where you parents have struggled in. Be warmed by every occasion where your parents have done a great job and ask yourself if you could ever accomplish that. It’s more a question of parenthood and if you would actually be a good one.
The decision of two people who love each other should be a sacred forum to make the decision to have an abortion in a safe and loving environment. That they both must understand the massive decision they’re making, not to have an abortion but to think about what life the child will live afterwards if the couple is not able to look after them. The accountability of love over a child is first and foremost on that couple. The people who decided to bring the child into the world. Without bringing the system into this, because you should know that I hate the current system passionately. The couple is completely responsible for the emotional upbringing of their child.
The only thing worse than talking about an abortion, however, must be the process of having one. Having read up on the various petitions to the government to change the legislation on abortion, having understood the views of passionate individuals both male and female, I will link their blogs down below, it really makes me feel that the voices of females are diminished heavily because we nitpick legislations which are acquainted for the 1960’s. It’s 2017 New Zealand! Sort your shit out! These poor humans shouldn’t have to suffer the prolonged discussion that is probably already ruining their mental health just because there is resistance within the topic politically.
I couldn’t care less about the views of religion because at the end of the day not only do these couples have lives but so too does the child who doesn’t deserve to be burdened with our sin-infused world. We’ll leave it at that. These legislators and policy makers should never be afraid of ethics. That it shouldn’t concern them too much that people are getting these procedures as a means of contraception. That although our medical system can’t afford to pay for the many thousands of abortions which take place each year, putting more of an emphasis on raising the awareness of safer sex, subsidising completely the price on rubbers and other means of contraception should take precedence.
If the government is taking the stance that they refuse to re-evaluate their current legislation regarding abortion then there must be a clear obligation by our government to offer more relief, not in the form of dishing out social workers to these people who are suffering but to actually give us a reason why they make these procedures difficult and why there is so much room for ethical interpretation. That there is clearly some existing disconnect between the system and the lives of our people if they would consider the practically barbaric process of having to suffer through a prolonged period of 25 days between a referral and an operation. Not to mention that a woman has to prove to two different doctors that she meets a list of requirements which include:
The crimes act of 1961 requires that the grounds of an abortion prior to 20 weeks gestation include:
- Serious danger to her life.
- Serious danger to her physical health.
- Serious danger to her mental health.
- Any form of incest or sexual relations with a guardian. (What the fuck?)
- Mental subnormality.
- Foetal Abnormality.
There are other factors which are obviously taken into account when a consultant approves of the abortion. The consultant may also consider:
- If the guy is way older than the girl. “Extremes of age” lets not sugar coat it.
- If there has been a sexual violation.
The question is that the consultant, doctor, has to be the one to decide what “serious” looks like. That in certain cases where the procedure has been rejected there have been ethical reasons why consultants have said no. For religious reasons. What kind of a world do we live in where we regard a religious ethical value over the life of a human being who is suffering from the disheartening decision to have an abortion. That some asshole who’s dumb enough to rack up a small mortgage student loan, suffered through years of social expectation just to earn a silly piece of paper that somehow gives them the right to refuse women of a decision based on money and ethics. No thank you. This is a messed up system, she has probably suffered mentally just to work up the courage to ask for help.
My childhood wasn’t all doom and gloom though. I was really lucky to be placed with a family who loved and adored me. Nurtured my wellbeing and have supported me ever since. There is not a day goes by where I am not reminded of the hidden miraculousness that I am where I am today. Had I have been raised by my biological parents I’m not sure that my current situation would be the same today. Even though I choose to be Christian I still strongly believe that loving yourself by making the decision that you know in yourself that having this child is not the right thing to do and that you know you’re not going to make a good parent, because some people aren’t let’s be honest. That I believe the process should be completely non-judgmental and that no person should be made to suffer through a system created by a government whose job it is to represent our voices. That if the people ask for their support that they provide a service that isn’t prolonged, that money is appropriately allocated for these procedures to occur and that if they needed somewhere to better appropriate their fund then they would aim it at promoting contraception by having free condoms and other contraceptives.
No person should be made to suffer just because the system is faulty. That a doctor doesn’t have the direct authority to say no but instead gives them medical advice on how the baby is looking, an area which they specifically studied for and not the role of a bloody philosopher with a degree in being Jesus himself. Unfortunately, we live in a country where some assholes decide to sexually assault women. The list of grounds in which a doctor, consultant, may consider but is not under any legal obligation to solely base their decision to approve an abortion includes sexual violation, or as previously adjusted from being termed rape.
It makes me sick to know that I live in a country where if a woman has been raped and becomes pregnant with that bastards child that it is possible that she might not be supported by our government. That a doctor can refuse her the procedure that she needs because he is not legally obligated to warrant an abortion even though she has been put through the most life degrading experiences any human could ever face. THIS HAS TO CHANGE. That even if a girl is taken advantage of by an older guy when she is a teenager, she can be put through her pregnancy because again, the two doctors can refuse her from the procedure simply because they are not obligated, by law, to provide any coverage because it is classed as an “extremeness of age.” That the only way she could argue her case is by explaining to a doctor that she was raped, that she has to relive that experience with somebody AGAIN just to outweigh the rulings of an outdated legislation enforced in 1961. She has to prove to two doctors that she is seriously affected both mentally and physically by a rape in which was committed against her, just to have a procedure based on a decision in which has ruined her life.
Now that we’ve heard Mana’s rant. Let’s reflect on how beautiful and precious life is. Because at the end of the day, positivity and optimism are the only mindsets which trump the intenseness. It is important to see above the clouds, that we reflect on the awesome moments where our mum or dad did something random like surprised you with something or embarrassed you in front of everybody. Those moments are the moments that are important to a child. When they tell you everything that happened and asked the “why is that” question three times until you cave and say “because it just is that way.” When they prod you in your sleep when they’ve had nightmares and need the shelter of your bed. Those times when you knock on the door and the tell you to piss off, but instead, you wait for their little teenage mood swing to glaze over. When they ask you for help with their student loan because they are crying out for your support and tell you they might do the dishes once. All of these experiences are rewards for your efforts. It’s love. And love is a beautiful thing.
To summarise this blog:
- The parent is fully conscious of the importance that life is precious.
- The system is a piece of shit. They need to change that if people are going to be supported in their life changing decisions.
- Rape is disgusting.
- Life is amazing.
Below are links to some incredibly important bits of information regarding abortion.
- Family Planning – Understanding the laws in New Zealand already.
- News Hub – Is it time for abortion law reform?
- Stuff Article – Abortion ‘not justifiable’
- Salient Student Magazine – “I’ve had an abortion”
- Sibs Space Blog – “Why you should be pro-choice even if you’re not pro-abortion”
And that’s today’s epic chat. I’m sorry that it was so miserable, I promise that tomorrow’s blog will be a little bit more cheerful and a little less teary eyed. After all, we are all entitled to happiness. Regardless of how much the conversation hurts us.
Thanks for checking in!
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