Letter: Pressure to 'choose' abortion

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The Independent Online
Sir: Helen Bailey (letter, 20 July) writes about the pain of the pregnant woman who, for "social reasons" feels it necessary to abort her baby. A lot of this pain occurs because the Abortion Act, rather than giving real freedom to women, has enabled others (and not always men) to put enormous pressure on women to "choose" abortion.

Sometimes this pressure is blatant, but more often subtle, with veiled threats or a totally negative attitude towards the pregnancy that leaves the woman feeling alone and vulnerable and therefore more ready to agree to something she instinctively feels is wrong. As a pregnancy counsellor, perhaps the greatest pain of all that I see is the pain of grief and guilt of those suffering from post-abortion trauma. This can occur even in women who felt, at the time, that abortion was their best choice, but later the pain of knowing that they deliberately chose to end the life of an unborn child can seem unbearable.

It is not so much "choice" that women with a problem pregnancy are seeking, but care, compassion, practical and financial help to enable them to cope; and it is an unjust, uncaring society that offers abortion instead.

Mrs JEAN PAYNE

Dinedor, Hereford

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