| 7.8°C Dublin

No woman should be forced to choose an abortion just because she can't afford a baby

Abortion is a deeply emotional issue, not only for those who have an opinion on it, but also for those who go through with it.

Some women have terminations after thinking long and hard about the issue. Others panic.

Those who panic may experience a turmoil of remorse afterwards.

Sometimes, in my experience, they completely dismiss the fears that led them to seek an abortion but which were very real at the time.

These can be fears about the reaction of the family to their pregnancy, or the woman can be panicked into a termination by a boyfriend.



Financial

Termination of a pregnancy needs to be thought about very carefully and I fear for those who are driven by financial worries to have an abortion.

I can understand it, though.

If you've had your pay cut, or lost your job, or if your partner has lost his job, the future can look very scary indeed.

It is concerns like these that have brought many woman to the Well Woman Centre to discuss their options.

The trend is revealed in a recent report by the Well Woman Centre.

Not all will go through with a termination and some who do will, of course, be fine.

But others may suffer a lot of emotional distress in the future.

If we don't want women to face these choices -- or if we don't want money worries to be the major determining factor in abortion -- then as a society we need to create better choices.

We need to see energy and determination going into devising ways to help people who are terrified of losing their homes as they struggle with mortgages.

Yes, "something" is on the way to help, the Government assures us, but what? And when is it actually going to happen?

Even the International Monetary Fund wants the Government to get on with sorting it out. We also need to build on such meagre childcare services as we have already.

In tough financial times it is harder and harder for women to give up work to look after their children, especially if they are paying Celtic Tiger mortgages, if their partner's job is under threat, or if they are raising children on their own.



FEAR

Help with mortgages and more affordable childcare would do more to reduce the pressure for termination than any wringing of hands we might be tempted to engage in.

As I said, many people are sick with fear about the future, and it isn't really surprising, therefore, that some see termination as the answer.

But it isn't the answer for all and as a general principle I would say that if a woman is not sure about it, she should not go ahead with it -- she should even feel free to change her mind in the clinic.

But the wider society, instead of shouting about what's happening, needs to examine its own conscience.

Did we create a family-friendly society when we had money? And if not, are we willing to do something about it now?

Padraig O'Morain is accredited as a counsellor by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.


Privacy