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Abortion stories
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-02-12 08:40:06
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It’s strange how to balance between the two sides of the abortion argument, since they both have strong arguments and, when you have a kid, furthermore a daughter, both sides can tug sensitive chords in your personal life – either way, logic and science in this argument cannot win. I think the best way, at least for me, is to remember some personal stories that have formed my opinion.

Back in the ‘60s most of the schools were either boys schools or girls schools. There were some mixed, but that was very rare and this went on till the very beginning of the ‘70s. At the rise of 1970, the whole spirit of equality hit most of the schools and they suddenly became mixed. I found myself in a school with the name 1st Boys School with…girls in the first year. I was in the last. The decision was that they start it slowly, with the kids coming from primary school gradually mixed together in the high school.

One afternoon my friends and I were behind the school when a girl from the first year came in tears. To give you an idea, we were all seventeen-years-old, with a couple of eighteen-year-olds, and she was thirteen. Of course, we were the old cool guys and all the little ones loved to be around us, imitating us all the time, such as the way we dressed, the way we talked and even the way we moved. There had been a couple of puppy loves as well and, despite the often repeated phrase, “Things like that never happened back then,” sex was part of our life.

Anyway, this certain girl was one of those who used to hang around us trying to be cool and clever. She used to tell us a story about her boyfriend from the college, but that afternoon she told us that she was pregnant! To her mind abortion was the only solution; I suppose it is the only solution to any thirteen-year-old girl. She asked us to help her by collecting the money, since abortion was something illegal then and she had to go to some kind of butcher, who performed the operation and due to his/her illegality had the right fee.

We did collect the money in a week and she was away the week after. When she returned she wasn’t exactly the same person, I think she had matured in an ugly way, but that was the first time I faced the dilemma of the abortion and that was as a distant observer. There was no way for the girl to say anything to her family, remember we are talking about the 1960s and 1970s, our parents grew up in the ‘30s when sex at that age just didn’t exist! Imagine being a mother at thirteen then.

The second time I had to face a similar situation was when I was at college. My then girlfriend brought a friend of hers to stay with us because she had been raped. I’m not going to go through the adventure she lived with the police and the questioning because that makes me angry; they often treated her as though she was responsible for some monster raping her. Instead, I will ask you to try to imagine, even for a minute, how this girl felt with the idea that she might be pregnant by that monster. There were nights neither of us could sleep, we were just there watching her, ready to stop her from doing something stupid like killing herself…the way she looked at me during those first days still haunts me.

Every man had suddenly become a monster ready to rape her and harm her. I couldn’t go more than a meter closer to her before she started screaming. And then came the second week when the idea of pregnancy crossed her mind; it was enough to push her over the edge and it actually pushed me over the edge. Sometimes while holding my daughter I feel so proud she has my nose, my eyes, she even makes faces the way I do, how could this woman be able to deal with the same situation? This second time I dealt with the possibility of an abortion and, if anything, it made me feel guilty for being a man and not having to deal with questions like that.

A few years later a very good friend came to stay with me in my holiday house for a month and I was surprised to find out that she had recently had an abortion. The doctors had diagnosed severe damage in the baby’s head and other organs, so they stopped the pregnancy. I have been very careful with the words here because that is exactly what the doctors did - they stopped the pregnancy.

In all the three stories, the girls either thought or did to stop the pregnancy. The difference was in the practice. In the first case, the girl endangered her own life by going to an illegal surgery in a place that could never guarantee anything, plus looked and acted like a butchery with results we often have heard. In the second case the girl was ready to take her own life instead of giving birth to a kid that would constantly remind her of the worst experience of her life, and in the third case the woman decided, instead of giving life to a kid that would constantly be suffering during its short life, to have an abortion.

I have a kid myself and I know what it means to have a kid. I cannot believe that there is a person who would like to kill a kid and I had this feeling from the moment she started kicking from inside the belly. And I am a man. I have seen thousands faces of mothers brighten when they see their kid, so please don’t tell me that any of these three women was a murderer. Please don’t tell me that all three of them didn’t put in front of themselves the interests of their own baby. They made a choice thinking the best for their unborn child. But then when they made this decision it was not even a child inside them, there was only a sequence of DNA.

Out of all the arguments against abortion, the only one I can understand is the one about the soul. However, I am an atheist myself and I believe in the power of the brain and not a soul. I never believed in Hell or Paradise, holy punishments and things like that, and I don’t think I am the only one in this world. In the end the best person to make this decision is the woman herself and no law or anything else has the right to take away this decision from her. After all, she is the one who has to live with this decision and be sure she doesn’t make it after a cup of coffee, but after many torturing nights of rationalization.

Most of all, legalization of abortion will give an opportunity for women to receive better information when considering this decision, since the government are obliged to help them with their decision and the other possibilities like giving up the child for adoption, since there are many couples who would happily adopt a child. But most of all, it will save lives. Not the lives of a DNA sequence, but the lives of women who, despite the legal punishment, have taken the decision to risk their own life by going to the butchery for the abortion with an incredible amount of damage to their health and their soul because of the memory - this is going to be my last story.

One night back in college another girl described her experience of one of those butcheries. It was like watching a horror film where the ‘doctor’ didn’t even wash his hands and was more interested in her body than the ‘operation’. The tools were primitive and she was fully awake through the ‘surgery’. There was no nurse and, at one point, she had to hand him a tool before he finally threw something covered in blood into the sink next to him.

That ‘thing’ was in her dreams night after night and her only escape had been alcohol. After being in a series of institutions to help her with the alcohol problem she died aged 28 of an overdose. Even until the last days of her life when I heard her on the phone, she was talking all the time about this ‘thing’ in the blood and it was like she was talking about something alien not a baby! I hope she found the rest she was looking for and I hope the people who committed the butchery never find rest.

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Sand2007-02-11 10:59:10
I fully sympahize with the sentiments expressed but it always amazes me at the full emotional consideration many people have in the tragedy of abortion and how insensitive people can be at the continuous and various forms of killing that floods life as the result of war, starvation, disease, religious fanaticism and just plain stupidity in current civilization.

Thanos2007-02-11 12:24:24
I totally agree with you and it is amazing that everyday 30,000 kids die in wars, natural disasters and starvasion (as you said) and the same time others arguing over something that hasn't taken shape yet!

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