What matters is our attitude towards women’s lives as human lives. Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers usually want abortions to rather be avoided. While one side argues that that’s because an egg cell and a sperm cell together are already a human life (I’m not here to argue against that opinion – ultimately, neither of us can prove that it is or isn’t), the other side argues that it sometimes puts a strain on the woman*’s body, is a hard decision to make, can cause stress or could be an expensive and preventable medical procedure. Either way, the consensus seems to be that contraception should be the first choice (unless someone believes in abstinence only, which is not what this is about – for the rest of this post, I’m talking about pro-lifers that have the decency to think of women as actual human beings with some degree of bodily autonomy).
So if contraception is the way to go so that as few women as possible have to go through abortion, then why are there still so many places in this world (e.g. Austria or the US), where long-term contraception isn’t paid for by insurance/the state? Women* already have to bear the physical burden of long-term contraception alone, the added fincancial burden can keep us from getting it altogether. It’s rather interesting that those who want to criminalize abortion are often also against contraception being made free or even just cheaper. That shows that this is often not about believing those cells to be a human, but about controlling women*’s sexuality. If you really are pro-life, you should support free and accessible contraception as much as you can. The countries that have easily accessible contraception and adequate and early sex education have lower rates of teenage pregnancies and abortion – not the ones that make abortion hard and female sexuality a taboo topic (articles and statistics here and here and for Austria here and here).
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, here’s why, no matter what you believe in, abortion needs to be not only legal, but also readily available and why what happened in Argentina now is such a tragedy. Abortions will never be ended. You can’t get rid of them, you can only make them unsafe at best and deadly at worst. And that argument should be important to anyone who wants to protect human life – no matter which side someone’s on, nobody can deny that the pregnant human in question is definitely a human, and therefore has a life worth saving. If we look at the example of some US states like Texas, we can see that even if abortion is legal, making it hard to access means back-alley abortions, abortions without medical supervision, women* taking toxic cleaning products at the risk of their own life, throwing themselves down the stairs, crossing the border to a Mexican pharmacy and buying whatever someone whose language they don’t understand gives them there – and not no abortions (Info here [from min. 31] and John Oliver on the topic to lighten the mood here [What I mentioned here from 11:16 onwards]). Since unwanted pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood put many people in such a desperate situation where they will knowingly risk their own lives to prevent that from happening, making abortion illegal will only push them further into that hopeless situation. Sure, finally making dads* just as responsible for their kids as moms*, bettering the lives of mothers and having an excellent adoption and foster care system would take some of that pressure off. Still, it’s just not an option to criminalize abortion, since an unwanted pregnancy and birth can still be traumatizing enough for women* to try and abort unsafely, which will result in the deaths of many. And this is why, no matter what other arguments for or against abortion anyone believes in, abortion must be safe, available, and part of a bigger and better contraception and parenthood care system than we have now.