Is Abortion a Tragedy?

I recently read a post about abortion written by progressive Christian Patheos blogger James McGrath. In it he said the following:

So what is my view? I consider abortion a tragedy at any stage. But I do not consider it equally tragic indifferent of the stage at which it occurs. And I therefore consider it appropriate that the woman who is pregnant be the one to decide whether ending the pregnancy as early as possible is more or less tragic than the possible impact of not doing so. I do not think that anyone actually desires to have an abortion, unless it is as an option weighed against alternatives that they find to be more tragic, whether it be the likelihood of having to drop out of school and thus be unable to care for oneself, much less the child, or the serious possibility that the mother may die resulting the loss of both lives.

McGrath, then, argues that abortion is always a tragedy, but that women choose abortion when that choice is less tragic than the alternative. McGrath’s post actually made me think of another recent post by the anonymous OB who will be soon traveling to Wichita, Kansas, to replace the late Dr. Tiller.

Why, then? Why do this work? One answer is, because I love it. It’s not tasteful, these days, to admit taking joy in abortion. We’re supposed to regard it as a necessary evil at best, a minor tragedy. But there’s nothing I love more than being able to take the hand of a desperate woman and say to her, yes, I can help you. There’s nothing more rewarding to me than the palpable relief and thankfulness when I tell a woman that she’s no longer pregnant. With a five minute office procedure, I can help someone take back her life. I am incredibly excited and blessed to be able to do this work for women who would otherwise have no choice.

This abortion provider straight out says she does not consider abortion a tragedy. Instead, she sees abortion as a way to help desperate women take their lives back.

My view? Abortion isn’t a tragedy. The unwanted pregnancy that threatens to completely upturn a life, or the wanted pregnancy blighted by fetal abnormality or maternal health condition, that is the tragedy. For many women, then, abortion is the way out of a tragic situation. This is why the most common emotion women feel following an abortion is relief. The abortion itself is not a tragedy. In fact, the abortion itself is usually a blessing, a grace, and a gift.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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