On June 19th, 2018, I will have an operation. It will be paid for by the NHS. It does not resolve a life threatening condition, but it aims to improve my quality of life. It may not work out. It may do me harm (all interventions have a risk of harm). It is optional in that I could carry on without it at a pretty high level of functionality.
It is surgery to correct arthritis induced deformity of my right hand that restricts my ability too grasp objects.
This is a terrific medical procedure. It offers me hope for a better life. It required tons of research to get to a point where it was possible and lots training of the people who are carrying it out.
The cost will not be directly borne by me as is sensible for most medical procedures (thanks NHS! thank you people of the UK!). If successful it will probably moderately improve my productivity and (healthy) longevity but not in a dramatic or direct way.
If I explain the procedure, people think it’s cool and amazing. They are generally pro-hand-surgery-to-correct-functionality-inhibiting-deformity. Not that they want one themselves, of course, but hey, they don’t need it. They typically think that whether or not I have it is up to me. They generally think it’s a matter for me and my doctor too figure out. Some might ask about the risks and benefits and overall cost effectiveness, but they tend to be wonky types. Some assholes (not of my near acquaintance) might go on about cancer patients, but they aren’t common.
This is the normal and appropriate reaction.
Abortion is a similar procedure (or rather family of procedures/treatments). Abortion has many cases where it is live or health saving, but a lot of abortions are “of choice” that is they are performed to improve the quality of life of the woman. There are lots of very clever techniques and the early term drug approaches are particularly impressive. They also are, overall, very cheap, so tend to produce great outcomes for low investment.
Thus, by default, the appropriate reaction to chosen abortion should be similar to the reaction to my hand surgery: cool! yay! it’s up to you! glad I don’t need one! Plus, some of the assholes should shut up since abortions typically save the system money.
This is why I’ve said for a number of years now that I’m pro-abortion, not just pro-choice. I am, of course, pro-choice: no one should have an abortion against their will. But no one should have hand surgery against their will either. It makes sense for people to consider hand surgery and for a lot of people it will be the right choice. Contrariwise, homeopathic remedies are never the right choice, though if people want to waste money on them, I can be convinced to let them. (I’d support a ban, though.)
Abortion is a medical procedure that saves lives and makes lives better. I think that’s awesome.
Of course, just because something is a default doesn’t mean it’s correct. But I have a high bar for deviating from this default. I won’t rehearse all the reasons why there’s not even the start of a question for early term abortions whether there’s a second person involved. No one believes that a blastocyst is a kid. No anti-abortion groups picket fertility clinics. No anti-abortion funders put money up for research reducing the wastage in IVF. Vehement anti-abortion folks are often perfectly fine with IVF and give it the default treatment.
I’m pro-abortion! I think all women should have access to this family of procedures!
This is first of a short series, I think, prompted by a truly inane commenter over at LGM. I didn’t want to feed the troll further, but I had some thoughts about abortion and some impetus to write. It started as one post but then got far too long.