Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Life Aborted

You know how you see / hear / read certain things and they kind of linger in your mind for a while? Give off vibes and feelings that you can't shake off? Sometimes make an impact so deep that you know you'll never forget them?

Fellow blogger My Space's powerfully written, powerfully moving short story is one of those reads giving me a feeling that I haven't been able to shake off, especially since it relates to one of those things that I cannot forget.

I was in the ninth standard, close to 14 years old, when one day the entire batch of us were taken to our school auditorium. It was for yet another "awareness" talk, where a group of doctors and other trained professionals lectured us on menstruation, sex, pregnancy and other issues girls on the verge of womanhood needed to know.

We entered the auditorium and took our seats, chattering away merrily like most young girls. Our headmistress introduced the main speaker of the day, a middle-aged male doctor. All I remember of him today is that he was tall and wore glasses. He said that the session would consist of him giving a talk, us watching a short film, followed by some q & a time and the subject of the day was abortion.

He got started on the talk, and for the most part, we were quiet, although softly whispered conversations and gossip, hushed jokes and giggles, passing of notes and comments continued throughout the audience.

Then he played the film. And we all slowly shut up ...... stunned into silence. A few minutes in and some of the girls closed their eyes or put their heads down, simply unable to take any more. I watched, and kept watching even as tears burned my throat and I felt as if something were shredding my stomach to pieces.

Time has erased many of the details of the film and of the rest of the session, but what imprinted itself in my mind were the images: little bodies that had human form but no features, twitching in agony, and the most horrific of them all ...... the tiny foetus that couldn't have been bigger than my palm, lying bloodied, battered and broken.

I don't write this to gross anyone out; this is what I saw, what has stayed with me ever since and what flashes through my mind every time I see / hear / read the word 'abortion'. For me, those images reduce the whole debate on the subject to just one thing: abortion is murder.

For those who've simply been careless, or for whom a pregnancy at the time is "not convenient", or for whom, as in My Space's story, having a son is most important - you commit the cruelest sort of murder because the life you decide to take is life at its purest, most innocent and most helpless stage.

And yet, the matter isn't black and white when you consider cases where the health of the mother and/or baby is at risk, or in the worst possible scenario - where a rape victim gets pregnant. It is an unimaginably traumatic choice to make, but a choice that nevertheless must be made.

How do you decide what is right in such situations? As strongly as I feel on the subject, I have no answer here.


P.S.: November 2nd is celebrated as All Souls' Day. The Catholic Church observes a special Mass on this day to remember and pray for the souls of all the departed that they might rest in peace. On this All Souls' Day mass, the priest also prayed for the souls of aborted children. It never occurred to me to do so before, but its not something I'll forget now.


  1. I can understand what you are saying and I am also against abortion...if a life has come into this world, how can we take it away? But yes, I remember having a conversation with an aunt a while ago about what if a girl gets pregnant after being raped and what does she do with the child?? No answer. I guess some questions cannot be answered simply.

    I read that story by My Space a few days ago and it was one of the best ones I've read lately. Cheers to the blogosphere for touching subjects on such varied levels.

  2. Anonymous8:16 PM

    I agree with you, abortion should not be used as birth control. And there are other options, I mean so many couples are trying to adopt.
    Great post, thanks for writing it!

  3. I agree that the story was very touching. And I also agree that abortion is as good as murdering another being. However the choice is not black and white at all. I'm sure every woman who goes for an abortion - willingly or not, does go through the same pain of losing a child. I don't think any woman would go through an abortion willingly...or do they?

  4. Anonymous5:07 AM

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  5. Shalom..this is a very grey area..sometimes abortion is a medical nessicity..i wrote about this in one of my earlier posts baby oh baby..but to abort cos of gender..that definitely is murder!

  6. I agree with DeeplyDip when she says that no woman goes through the procedure without having a gone through hell.... but then i also believe that within 3 months its just a mass of tissues which cant feel nething... so in case it is being done within that period it is not something to feel very guilty about....

    abortion is also being taken as a method for birth control..... for that also i have also come across people who had absolutely no other go...and sometimes hav been pressurised by thr spouse to take the decision....

    an i completely concur its a grey area.... not black or white at all... :(

  7. Anonymous6:42 PM

    Sorry the link got cut of.

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    Come check it out!

  8. Smriti - we can only pray for such women who are faced with such a horrendous choice.

    Agnes - Thanks. Its one of the many ironies in life that people who don't want children conceive easily while those who would have made great parents and yearn for a child cannot.

    Deeplydip - I'm sure most women who go through it do suffer emotionally, but yes, there are also women who can be quite chillingly casual about it, and think nothing of having an abortion if the pregnancy is inconvenient to them.

  9. Agnes - many thanks :)

    My Space - we cannot even begin to imagine what the Mehtas must have gone through, probably what they're still going through .... your post was very well written.

    Amrita - Well, according to the videos we saw, the foetuses do feel! That's what made it so horrifying. And I think abortion as birth control is absolutely wrong....I mean when you can choose from a whole wide range of contraceptives and emergency contraceptives, why resort to abortion?