When I was undergoing investigations and treatment for one of my ectopic pregnancies (I cannot recall which), at the entrance to the hospital car park, one or two anti-abortionists waved signs and shouted at cars and visitors to the hospital. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable, they are dangerous, and can and do lead to maternal death. At the time, I was given a standard ectopic pregnancy medication, methotrexate, to end the pregnancy. Even the Catholic Church acknowledges that ectopics require treatment, and are never viable. But every time I entered the hospital, I wondered what vitriol would be hurled my way if they knew what treatment I was given. But they didn't make me feel guilty. I felt guilty enough that my body had not worked properly, and that I had no choice. That the baby I had been ready to welcome would never in fact make it. No, I felt nothing but anger towards these protestors who were deliberately hurting women (and men) like me who had no choice. And to take it further, they were hurting women (and men) who felt that they had no choice, for whatever reason, and so had to exercise choice.
Enduring pregnancy losses, and infertility, and living a life without children, has only made me feel even stronger about this. Just as I say that many of us walking the No Kidding paths had no choice in the matter, even as others mistakenly tell us we chose to live childfree, it is the same for women seeking abortions. So much about abortion is that the women making the decision have no choice - so many women have missed the opportunity to have any other choices because of financial situations, abusive relationships, failing contraception, illness (physical or mental), poor education, ignorance, foetal abnormalities, etc etc. It's a last resort. A last resort that shouldn't be taken away.
Up until recently, abortion in New Zealand was part of the criminal code. Abortions were available, and funded, but women still had to get the approval of two doctors before it was possible. This wasn't difficult, if you had the means, but I'm sure that for poor, rural women, it was. Not to mention the indignity that women who knew what they needed or wanted, and knew all the alternatives, still had to ask two doctors to acknowledge that they had made the right decision. This situation has now changed, doctor sign off is not required up to 20 weeks, and abortion has been decriminalised. All parties now say they would not change the situation. I cannot imagine how furious I would be if that changed.
So I feel for my US friends and family and readers. As I've also said on A Separate Life here, I want to let you know that we are all thinking of you. As my Prime Minister said, "it is a loss for women everywhere."