RomanCatholicBlog has a posting on his surprise that demographics show that women having abortions are already mothers. He states:
It is surprising to me that women who have already gone through a pregnancy and given birth, therefore fully understanding that a tiny, developing baby is growing inside them, would choose to abort their unborn child.
Sadly, it does not surprise me. I thought the same, since I have had the joy of bearing children, as well as the heartache of losing them through miscarriage. But when I was in law school, I came across these same women who had also given birth and yet were pro-choice.
Part of the reason I think was the ease that science and medical progress has brought to the Western world gave them a sense of invincible. They had the power to give life, and thus, they had the power to take it away, without ever realizing that in their grandmothers' times, women were dying in childbirth on a regular basis. Childbirth held a mystique back then, because it contained a sense of dread. The risks have been removed, just as abortion has removed the consequences.
But I think the significant reason was recently expounded upon in the Weekend section of last week's Financial Times of London, in an article called "Sweet Child of Mine." Written in the English style of rather tongue-in-cheek, it starts with a literary two-punch:
One of life's larger mysteries, though one not often addressed, is why people in developed countries persist in procreating long after children have ceased to offer their parents any practical benefit.
In centuries past, having children made sense: they worked for a living and were important contributors to the family's economic welfare. In the countryside they would be fetching water and minding the pigs or sheep by the age of six or seven, and with industrialisation they could be ushered into gainful employment in the factories, sweatshops or mines. Later in life they would typically provide the only means of support for any parents surviving into old age.
Now, however, children are worse than useless. Far from making any economic contribution to family life or even supporting themselves, they loaf around at school all day or otherwise while away the hours in recreation, devouring cash and drastically reducing the family's standard of living. Later, burdened by mortgages and student debt, they are more likely to be relying on their aged parents for even more hand-outs than offering to finance their retirement.
And so, we are presented with a paradox. Just at the point when children have become more expensive and more useless to their parents than at any time in history, they seem to be more adored than ever. Parents and society alike have become obsessively child-centric, tormenting themselves with anxiety over the safety and well-being of babies, toddlers and schoolchildren while simultaneously spoiling and indulging them with unprecedented levels of spending.
It goes on to look at the obsession that modern parents seem to have with their children, how the child must wear the best clothes, must attend the best pre-school, must have the very best time with Mummy and daddy when Mummy and Daddy ever find the time to have it with them. In short, the drive to have the perfect child experiencing the perfect childhood while receiving the perfect preparation for their adult life would seemingly exhaust a person . . . to the point where only one child is preferred. After all, why take the chances that number 2, or number 3, or even number 4 may not be perfect. And a helluva lot more work. So why do it?
I can see where it would be easy for someone to justify - albeit wrongly - having the abortion: I'm doing it for my child, since a sibling might take away the resources from it and it would not be fair - better to have one that can have it all than two or three that have to fight for my money/affection/time/attention. One happiest child is better than two who are, at best, adequatesatisfiedied. I'm not doing it for me!!
All those who had siblings, raise your hand (raising hers)! All those who had to fight for the last pork chop with your siblings, raise your hand (raising hers)! All those who had to - *gasp* - share a bathroom with your siblings, raise your hand (raising hers)!
All those who would have preferred to be an only child having grown up with your siblings, raise your hand!
(Sound of crickets chirping)
I thought so.
All you "plus 1" people (those born after the first child) who were born after 1973, go thank your mothers.