The most oft used argument in support of legal abortion is that without the option to safely and legally receive an abortion women will end up destroying their health or ending their lives in drastic attempts to end unwanted pregnancies. This logic is at the foundation of an organization called Women on Waves—an NGO that travels the world on a sailboat to countries where abortion is illegal, picks up women, carries them out of domestic waters and performs abortions. The organization also performs its work by educating those in countries such as Tanzania, where abortion is illegal, how to perform “safe” abortions through covert methods.
Few Tanzanians are aware that a drug currently legal in Tanzania to stop postpartum hemorrhaging—the leading cause of maternal mortality in the country—can safely induce an abortion. Women on Waves is doing everything in its power to get the word out, holding conferences to educate locals on how to find the drug, how to use it to induce abortion and what to do in case of complications. According to Women on Waves, this is a necessary and humane work in a country where women frequently harm themselves in desperate attempts to stop unwanted pregnancies. The work of Women on Waves, however, is the perfect example of the illogic and self-deception of the abortion movement.
Indeed, the circumstances in Tanzania that drive women to self-induce abortions are unacceptable and the resulting damage to women’s bodies and lives is absolutely tragic. Women there often confront poverty, rape, war, AIDS and a host of other cultural and economic circumstances that make pregnancies and child-bearing enormously difficult. In far too many cases, these circumstances drive women to attempt abortions through the use of sticks, tinctures of cassava root, or even through consuming disinfectant. Women who attempt such desperate deeds clearly believe society has provided them no other option.
The solution provided by pro-abortion lobbyists—safe abortion—only reinforces this belief. Their motto is “A woman’s right to choose.” Yet, how is providing a safe means to accomplishing a tragic deed that society, politics and war have forced upon a woman providing her with a choice? Women on Waves and similar organizations do not provide women with real choices, they simply reinforce the fallacious belief that children are burdens and that in order to be free (or in some cases simply to survive) a woman must destroy what is most unique, beautiful and powerful about womanhood—the ability to create life. This is not empowerment of women—it is debasement.
To truly empower woman and give them the right to choose, women must be given true choices, not just a safer way to do the unthinkable. So next time you hear someone argue that abortion is necessary to save the lives of women, force them to defend how abortion provides any woman with real choices.