I have an hour commute to work every day, two hours if we consider my return. I enjoy this. I am able to read leisurely and smile at passengers getting on and off, who are a mixture of students, market women & men, and moms with their babies. Every so often, I’ll lift my eyes from a page and meet eyes that do not hide it’s obvious “she is strange” perspective of me. This always makes me smile. I digress. This article has got nothing to with my commute, other than the fact that I was en route to work reading per usual when I got the idea for this article. This is about abortion; a topic I find intriguing.
Today, the taxi hauled to a stop at a red light and I lifted my eyes off my page (I am also fascinated by traffic lights, but we do not have time today for me to get into that). I proceeded to check out my surroundings and close to the intersection, I spotted a Maternity clinic. I thought about the tiny-alien-looking beings being born in there, who we all gush over and dote on all the time (when really we should be freaked.. Have you seen those things?! They’re bald, and mushily soft, eat from boobs in the most pleasurable way). I wondered about their parents, and specifically their moms. I wondered how they had come to be at this clinic, 9 months later, giving birth. I wondered about the sacrifices they would have to be willing to make moving forward. I wondered about the lack of sex, and the lots of sex (depending on the month), and then slowly emerged the thought of abortion. I wondered if abortion had been an option; I wondered if it had been considered. I wondered, if given the choice, would they have taken it? Abortion is illegal in Liberia, my part of the world. I wondered if there was an injustice here and if so, where did it lie? With the system denying moms abortions? With the would-have-been future moms undergoing abortions?
Intrigued, I sent a text to about 10 people that said, “how do you feel about abortion?”. An intentionally open-ended question, in order to allow room for true sentiments without any direction (which would’ve been biased) from me. I’ll now type out verbatim some of the responses I got:
“I can’t have sex with any girl who wants to keep the fetus if she gets pregnant. I’m not ready for a child, in as much as I love sex”; “
uhmpersonally idkcus I’m kinda religious, so it’s a sticky place. But I’m not against it. I just don’t know if it’s a choice I’d make. I’m more concerned with my personal choice than others. Why?”; “I think women should actually have the option because they bear the most burden with carrying the child. Recently though, I realized that I’m not fine with the option of abortion when the mother has passed her 1st trimester. More out of fear of complications than the fact that the fetus is already formed. What is your take?”; “Uhm well, I really don’t support abortion, especially in cases where, uhm, you know you don’t have any complications but then you just decide to abort because, well you’re not ready for the baby, then you shouldn’t have had sex or better still you should’ve had protected sex….”
I should say there was not much rationale behind the people I questioned, other than they were those I had most recently interacted with. So, I was not looking for any specific response. However, I was not taken aback by the responses I did get (a few hadn’t responded up till when I wrote this). I think I chose these four to share because they represent a spectrum. There is no message here. There is no “here’s what is wrong”. I am simply intrigued. Therefore, as I had sent out that text earlier today, I now ask you: How do you feel about abortion?
As always, lots of love and kindness.
Your favorite girlchild.
girlchild is the pseudonym for a feminist who is aggrieved by the pervasive nature of misogyny in Liberia. Having lived in a patriarchal society, and experiencing first hand the harms caused by the social construct of gender roles, girlchild values gender equality, individuality and economic independence.
Featured picture by Saatchi Art