One cannot explain how thankful we are that women are being genuinely given voice in matters to do with abortion. This is very fair, and long overdue.
It is right that now we can hear not only the story of teenage mothers who had ample support from their families, but also the dire suffering of mothers who experienced a pregnancy and not only got no support, but felt they had nobody to turn to.
This often amid the horrid expectation that this pregnancy would make their difficult life even more difficult. For life is already difficult when a mother has been forced to have sex irrespective of how this would affect her.
It is already difficult if she is locked in a relationship with a man who abuses her in more ways than one. Think of the situation of rape: how can life be worse? Still, to this is added having to find a way out secretly, often with danger to your health, otherwise you risk being treated like a criminal.
We are very concerned with the dire need for the weaker members of society to have voice. Men have lorded it over women for much too long, and it is about time women speak and strike back.
We are concerned for women, because they are people who have been dominated and abused. Over and above, we hope that, as women gain a voice, this paves the way for other weak groups to gain a voice too.
By the way, we have not introduced ourselves. We are those who are most affected by abortion. How shall we describe ourselves in a politically correct way and still call a spade a spade? We are actually the people who have not yet been given the time to speak up in the abortion debate.
We are female and male and also from other or unspecified genders. We are those whose life has been cut short through abortion. From where we are, our hope now is that, once people realise that women must be given the voice they have been deprived of, then they might think of giving voice to us, too.
We are sad when we are told that we are second-class humans, a bunch of genetic material, or ‘eight cells’, or that we are part of our mother’s body until the day we can survive outside the life-support system that she provides for us, or even that we can be subjected to infanticide, pure and simple.
Why talk of universal human rights and equality when some are more equal than others, and we, not being members of the club of the born, are considered to have a second-rate life, ready to be snuffed out for the sake of the well-being of another?
‘Half-life’ is what happens to atoms, but people are either human beings or not human beings, and there are no human rights ‘by half’.
We are female and male and also from other or unspecified genders. We are those whose life has been cut short through abortion
The world has opened its eyes to the right of the disabled to have life’s opportunities, not to be overprotected from challenges, to bear the burdens and satisfaction of life like everybody else.
The born are given the rights of citizenship, of free assembly, to free speech, to be free of inhumane treatment, to due process, to property. But they’re telling us that these rights do not exist for us. ‘Live and let live’ is what they preach – yet, they do not want to let us live.
Of course, you might say, how can you prove that we truly exist? In the world of today, people believe only what ‘science’ proves, and all the rest is optional, so everybody is free to believe what they want. We beg to differ: we should open-mindedly look at the evidence, and evidence is not only in physics and biology.
Well, it is rather embarrassing to have to prove that we exist as human beings, when we know so clearly that we do. But we draw attention to interesting research that can throw light on the matter.
Recent research on near-death experience shows many repeated cases of a person’s psyche or soul, or whatever you would call it, not being confined to the body, but to travel around and perceive and remember things observed while its brain has ceased functioning, see while bodily eyes are closed, read people’s thoughts when they are not expressed aloud, see things that are not visible from where the body is.
Eighty per cent of blind people, including ones blind from birth, have been found by researchers Ring and Cooper to have actually seen events during their near-death experience.
The soul or psyche exists and interacts with the body and acts through the body but is an entity that can be independent of the body. Humans need the body to start existing but are much more than the body. To discount us and see us as possessing no right to live on because we have not lived much yet is really putting the cart before the horse, inflicting deprivation on the most deprived.
It is not fair to claim the right to directly and deliberately end our lives because our chance to live out our life has not yet quite got off the ground.
You members of the club claim the right to have your life protected. So much so, that no medicines or operations are allowed before tests show with near-certainty that they do not harm you.
Why do you leave us unborn out of that club? Where can you draw the line, along the time we spend developing in the womb, before which you can be sure that you are not doing harm, ultimate harm, to a human being, sporting a soul or psyche that is the basis of embodied personhood, and which is, after all, why born persons are respected and protected?
A women’s movement wants a Voice for Choice. We, on our part, wish we had choice. In questions of abortion, we are the weakest: so common humanity and respect requires that we should have the choice.
But for the moment we wish to start by just asking to have a voice. So, we appeal to all persons of good will to open up the doors of the club, and to join up in a movement which we, for the moment, wish to call, ‘Voice for Voice’.
Charles Pace is a specialist in social policy.
This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece
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