Choice and Freedom
Posted by Rhoslyn Thomas on 28 August 2014
It was Goethe who said that "none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free". This was a comment amply confirmed by the events of the late 20th and early 21st century. In a world that has seen the horrors of fascism and the tyranny of communism, the relative worldwide freedom of the post Berlin Wall era has often simply led to more and more consumerism, not to more respect for human life.
Somehow, the mere fact of choosing is seen as its own justification for the heinous choice of abortion. No longer is there a right or wrong decision: any exercise of choice is beyond reproach. What is seldom mentioned, and is seemingly forgotten, is that actions have consequences, and that we have a duty to foresee and avoid causing certain consequences, for others and ourselves. If aborting a child is a blameless decision, then why do countless women struggle, years after, with the emotional trauma of abortion?
A traditional argument of the pro-choice movement is that abortion is an integral facet of female equality. However, Sylvia Pankhurst, one of the founding mothers of the feminist movement, as well as Elizabeth Blackwell, to mention just two feminist campaigners, were horrified at how abortion stripped a woman of motherhood, seeing it as a ‘gross perversion’. These early feminists strove for female dignity, and were strongly against the exploitation of women.
It has been easy for liberal movements to convince us, appealing to human weakness, that choices that severely harm ourselves and others are morally justified. Personal freedom has turned into ‘my right to make the wrong choice, for my own reasons’. In order for society to avoid having to accommodate their rights and needs as parents, women are told that their child will be a burden. The tragedy is obvious.
Telling people they are free to choose and placing a knife in their hand can only lead to unnecessary casualties. On the one hand, freedom is said to have increased, as we can play god with our children’s lives. Yet freedom to kill the innocent can never, try as we may, bring true freedom, peace or solace to our world.