Abortions Can Save People in Non-medical Ways

by Anonymous

October 18, 2022

When I woke up on Saturday 25th of June in New Zealand, in an admittedly unhealthy habit, the first thing I did was open Instagram. It was still Friday 24th in the US and my feed was full of posts about the Supreme Court overruling Roe v Wade. Since then, abortion has become completely banned in twelve states (with more looking as though they may follow [1] ), and Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed a bill that would ban abortions across the whole US after 15 weeks.

I believe that people should be able to access abortion no matter their reason. However, it seems that some people need to hear the drastic effects of forced pregnancy to understand the weight of abortion restrictions. So here is a story about how abortions can save people in non-medical ways.

When I found out I was pregnant I had only been with my boyfriend for a couple of months and was nowhere near finishing my studies. At the time, my relationship still seemed pretty normal. But a while after we broke up, I would tell my friends that, in hindsight, it was like a staircase into hell. Each step didn’t seem so bad compared to the last, until one day I realised that I’d just become accustomed to it. The relationship dripped with threats of violence and was ruled by an invisible timer, ticking down until his next angry outburst.

I was miserable. At parties I started imagining myself trapped behind a pane of sound-proof glass, knocking for help. While we were together, I didn’t blame him for his behaviour. He seemed to have so many problems weighing him down; a heavy blanket that he couldn’t shake off. It took me a long time to realise that those things weren’t the cause of his behaviour; they were caused by it. The heaviness wasn’t on top of him, it was in him. Now I imagine he was probably standing behind me in that soundproof cage, saying, in a very Alien-esque way, “no one can hear you scream”.

It took me a while after the breakup to understand how intentional so many of his actions were. But even while we were still together, I was grateful that I never had a child with him.

Anti-abortion actors in the US  would have preferred me to have a child with a person who threatened to kill me multiple times, cut himself in front of me, would punch himself to the point where he often had black eyes, and once, in what I assume was an attempt to scare me, told me that he was going to cut up his pre-school-aged relative and feed him to their dogs. And while he never hit me, I think back to all those times that I wondered if the anger that erupted out of his mouth would ever make its way down to his hands.

Most abortion restrictions in the US cite a variation of rape, incest and a threat to the pregnant person’s life as exceptions. This is not enough. There are multitudes of ways that forced pregnancies could shackle a person. In my case, I often feel that I might still be with a partner who was threatening my safety more and more. In the end, I broke up with him because I was afraid for my safety. And I realised that staying in the relationship to help him was pointless because he didn’t want help, he wanted me to think that he needed me so I wouldn’t leave. I can’t imagine how much stronger the responsibility to stay would have felt if we had a child. And if I had stayed for longer, I don’t like to think how much more more frightening the relationship would have become. Not to mention the impact a parent like this has on a child, both in terms of trauma and role modeling.

Children can make it harder to leave an abusive situation for many reasons. The abuser might threaten to hurt the children if you try to leave [2], you might not be able to afford to provide for the children on your own [3] (this might play a larger role if financial abuse has happened), you might feel guilty about disrupting your children’s lives and breaking up the family [4], or you might be afraid of losing your children [5]. Furthermore, narcissists and other toxic people will sometimes purposely try and get their partners pregnant (or get pregnant by their partners) in order to trap and control them [6].

Some people think you can legislate abortion exceptions to avoid horrible consequences. Even if abuse became an exception, in the United States, 41.6% of victimizations were unreported in 2019 [7]. In New Zealand, 80% of incidents of intimate partner violence go unreported [8]. And, as I said above, this behaviour was not happening in my relationship until after I had the abortion, so I could not have gotten an exception or even known that I might need one.

There is a lot of online rhetoric saying that abortions wouldn’t be necessary if people were more responsible. Aside from the unforeseen medical reasons why people might need abortions, there is also no form of contraception that is 100% effective [9]. Methods like the rod, the IUD, and vasectomies have higher rates of effectiveness, but are also more invasive, so some people simply do not want them. According to Family Planning New Zealand, condoms are 98% effective when used perfectly, but, in reality, are typically about 85% effective because people put them on wrong [10]. There is also the issue of stealthing and other situations where a person might become pregnant because they were deceived into thinking that contraception was being used when it wasn’t.

When the Roe v Wade decision was announced, I remember hearing a New Zealand radio host saying that New Zealand didn’t need to worry about it. To everyone in any country who takes this view: first of all, you should care about people in other countries. Secondly, abortion has only been decriminalised in New Zealand for about two-and-a-half years (my abortion happened before this law change), and Roe v Wade was passed nearly 50 years before it was overturned, so we cannot take this right for granted in any country. Thirdly, standing together across countries means strength in numbers. And lastly, it is plainly ignorant to say that what happens in the US doesn’t affect us elsewhere. Not only does it start anti-abortion conversations, but other countries import so much ideology from the US (as evidenced by the global spread of Q-Anon) [11].

There are so many dire impacts of forced birth. And you shouldn’t have to fit into a exception category created by politicians unfamiliar with your situation in order to choose your own future. That is not life.



[1 ] Abortion Finder. “State-by-State Guide.” Updated October, 2022.

[2] Atkinson, Angie. Narcissists Keep You in Control With Surprise Pregnancy – Reproductive Coercion. From YouTube. Video, 10:54. Posted by Angie Atkinson, March 1, 2019.

Family Planning. “How Effective is your Contraception?.” Updated April 1, 2014.

Gupta, Sanjana. “Why It Can Be Hard to Leave an Abusive Relationship.” Very Well Mind. Updated June 23, 2022.

Hall, Kristin. “Violent messages among misinformation at Parliament protest.” One News. Updated February 17, 2022.

Hammock, Lee. Narcissists and toxic people will try to get you pregnant or get pregnant by you. From YouTube. Video, 3:00. Posted by Mental Healness, June 8, 2022.

Leask, Anna. “Domestic violence increases rapidly in New Zealand – strangulation, beatings ‘commonplace’ in 2020.” New Zealand Herald. September 2, 2020.

Morgan, Rachel E., and Jennifer L. Truman. Criminal Victimization, 2019. NCJ255113. U.S. Department of Justice, 2020.

New Zealand Government. “Barriers to seeking safety from family violence.” Accessed September 18, 2022.

Zihiri, Saifeldeen, Gabriel Lima, Jiyoung Han, Meeyoung Cha, and Wonjae Lee. “Qanon shifts into the mainstream, remains a far-right ally.” Heliyon 8 (2022).

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