"I think it is time to give women a say on their own reproductive rights,"...is the strap line of a beauty contestants recent intervention in Ireland. But the reality of legalised abortion does not follow that single narrative of the empowerment of women with respect to their bodies.
For some of us the availability of legal abortion releases us from the emotional and physical trauma associated with an unwanted pregnancy, but for others there can be various feelings which differ in intensity and depth. Therefore we can only be approximate about the possible effects of abortion and point out those who may be exposed to the threat of extreme long-lasting feelings. Those who appear to suffer, from moderate to severe feelings, tend to be women who:
- have little support, from family, friends and partners;
- wanted the baby but were pressurised into having an abortion by others;
- are already stressed, eg a recent bereavement;
- have a psychiatric history;
- show ambivalence during the decision phase;
- do not involve their partner in the experience;
- experience late abortion;
- are young;
- consciously or unconsciously use the pregnancy to resolve conflicts, eg bring their relationship back together;
- are deserted by their partners as a result of their pregnancy.
Source: Abortion and afterwards Vanessa Davies (1991), page 120.
It is only fair that women such as these, with different narratives, should also have their voices heard.