Why do so many people act as if our views on abortion are a badge of political allegiance?

To suggest that abortion is selfish completely ignores the painful choice women have to make when considering abortion.


Mehdi Hasan, the social commentator and political director of the Huffington Post UK, has written an article about abortion which has prompted me to make an immediate response.  After some thought, it is the premise of his piece with which I take an issue, framed perfectly by its title: “Being pro-life doesn’t make me any less of a lefty”.

It saddens me that a view on abortion, whether for or against, is considered to be a badge of political allegiance.  It is so emotive a matter that to frame it as a matter of left-versus-right is reductive, and, I think, quite wrong.

The key source that Mr. Hasan quotes in his post is that of Christopher Hitchens, who wrote of left-wingers and their “’Me Decade’ possessive individualism”.  Mr. Hasan enlarges upon this theme by writing of left-wingers who ‘fetishise “choice”, selfishness and unbridled individualism.” 

The tone of these quotes – “unbridled individualism”, “Me Decade” – imply that to support abortion is to support narcissism run riot: that the Left’s obsession with personal autonomy has created a monster where the majority of women have abortions as a casual lifestyle choice.  From my limited knowledge of this issue, this stance is very far from the reality.

"I have never known a woman who has taken that choice lightly"

So often – too often – on the issue of abortion, I hear people comment “But what about the unborn child?”  I have never known a woman considering abortion who has not thought, long and heart-breakingly hard, of the unborn child.  I have never known a woman who has not thought deeply about the life that they can give that child, with all the surrounding circumstances that still make being a woman, and doubly a mother, in today’s society so difficult.  I have never known a woman who has taken that choice lightly: who has not acted with an astonishing bravery when choosing to have an abortion. 

To have an abortion, after all, is to say goodbye to a child you will never meet; which, when all is said and done, is perhaps the loneliest of all walks that a human being will ever take.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Graduate Recruitment Resourcers - Banking Technologies

£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...

Implementation Engineer

£150 - £200 per day: Orgtel: Implementation Engineer Hampshire / London (Gre...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Pharmacuetical

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Real Staffing, one of the UK'...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise  

The UK economy may be back on track, but ordinary people are still being left behind

James Moore
The Independent journalist James Moore pictured outside Mile End underground station in east London  

The true cost of being disabled goes far beyond just the physical

James Moore
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform