By Michell Mor
Do you know there are women who are childless by choice? Despite common misconception, there are women out there who, for whatever reason, do not want to get pregnant, carry a pregnancy to term, give birth and raise a child; women that might choose to have an abortion.
Women who choose to remain childless commonly have to deal with comments such as:
“There are plenty of contraceptive options.”
“If you didn’t want a child you shouldn’t have gotten pregnant.”
“All women are biologically programmed to want children”
But breaking news: not all women fall into this, not all women want children, and we need to respect them.
Nowadays, we live in a world full of choices; some of them help improve fertility. When couples have a hard time getting pregnant, they can turn to in vitro methods, sperm injections, artificial insemination, corrective surgeries, and numerous other options that have been provided by contemporary science. If any these fail, there is also the option to adopt a child.
Considering all of the choices that exist to support women who choose motherhood, why, then, do we so dramatically limit choices for women who do not want to become mothers?
To Be Or Not To Be
When girls have their first boyfriend, she will undoubtedly hear comments along the lines of:
“Your life will be ruined if you get pregnant!”
But when a woman reaches adulthood without children, these comments transform into:
“Isn’t your biological clock ticking?”
These comments are designed to shame and stigmatize women, making them feeling insecure about what they want for themselves.
Pregnancy is no easy task; pregnancy causes significant changes to women’s bodies and hormones. For many, the sole idea of getting pregnant triggers anxiety and more; yet these feelings are not culturally validated.
IPSOS, a Spanish market research agency, lead an innovative study, in which women wrote their dreams and fears in a “secret” diary. For some, motherhood is not a goal — a truth they cannot translate into words during a normal conversation.
Women’s conception of maternity may differ from what society still has normalized, just like Vicki McLeod pointed out during her TEDx Talk about the stigma, trends, and social impacts of choosing to be childless. “My womb was so interesting to people”, a statement that echoes this belief.
And what does this has to do with abortion? Simple: The probability for women accessing reliable abortion information decreases due to the current stigma on maternity and abortion. The fewer the options to decide over their bodies, the less likely women will have access to safe, informed abortion care.
Childless By Choice And Reproductive Health
Sexual and reproductive health is also important for any childless woman by choice. Indeed, they also need to have access to reproductive health options, just like any other person and this includes safe abortion.
That’s why one of safe2choose’s main objectives is to facilitate safe abortion information by a simple click, because we believe that this is also a way to respect women’s decisions and protect them in-between.
Motherhood and abortion are common experiences in human history. Abortion-specific, the Guttmacher Institute has pointed out, on their most recent study Abortion Worldwide: Uneven Progress and Unequal Access: “abortions occur as frequently in the two most-restrictive categories of countries (banned outright or allowed only to save the woman’s life) as in the least-restrictive category (allowed without restriction as to reason)—37 and 34 per 1,000 women, respectively.”
So what if instead of trying to block women’s access to abortion, we try to balance the options so everyone can live their chosen maternities and their childfree lives happily?
Now tell us here, what do you think about childless by choice women and their right to reject maternity in this modern era? Let women know that they are not alone, your words can help us stop the stigma, and together build a world where no one is afraid to move towards their chosen direction.
Want to read related stories? We recommend: The role of schools in bridging the abortion information gap