Teenage Abortion: Why it’s not so bad

Everyone brings, I think, a certain belief system to life. Yes, we all have our own manner of philosophy that we live by, whether we’re aware of it or not. Some view life as a lifelong competition where the winner is ‘the one who dies with the most (insert stuff)’. Some, almost inversely, dedicate their journey through this world as an example of the most sacred of human emotion – love. Some see their entire existence as a dedication and solemn swear to keep the Ten Commandments.

Mine, however, and luckily, that of my BM, is very simple. Put simply, I believe that a) life is dolorously boring and hence has no meaning whatsoever b) One need not look at the bigger picture but focus on the minor, daily joys to survive c) Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should and d) No one makes vast swaths of new friends by registering their pro-abortion views. It’s alright. It is, after all, a crazy mixed up world and we’ve all got to pick our paths and stick to them. The dilemma, however, is when we think we should force our own beliefs onto others, just because we undermine their way of thinking. The problem arises the moment we put on our self appointed moral guardian coats and openly judge others’ execute of their understanding of the philosophy of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I try not to judge harshly. Even I did, afterall, think that abortion was the meanest thing once upon a time. And despite having quickly made decisions for friends, based solely on their circumstances, I didn’t quite know where I stood myself for a very long time. Perhaps due to my lack of firsthand experience; abortion could be, one of those phenomena you need to experience to fully understand. A bit like a shoe really, only, a thousand percent more life threatening. Personally, from what I’ve witnessed from close friends, abortion is usually a decision taken calmly, sanely and rationally; and while its very reality is viewed with misery by many observers, the person most directly involved – the woman – knows that it is, by far, the lesser of two possible evils.

And so, to the latest statistics on teenage abortion. Let’s face it; the rise in teenage abortion is not the appalling statistic here. It is, at the end of the day, the teenage pregnancies that are the problem. Why are so many of our teenagers falling pregnant? There are a host of socioeconomic and cultural reasons – not least that our attitude towards teenage sexuality is confused and ultimately at odds. On the one hand, teenage girls are viewed as the essence of sexual desirability – and on the other hand those teenage girls who actually have, or want sex, are socially frowned upon.

Almost exactly half of the cause of teenage pregnancies – teenage boys and sometimes gospel artists – rarely, if ever, get mentioned. In addition, the ongoing belief that contraception is the responsibility of the female does, perhaps, explain why these girls are using abortion as a contraceptive. Using a condom involves a long, winding, tiring and often unfruitful discussion with your sexual partner. Walking the long walk to FLAS involves discussion with possibly your parents and ultimately nurses. Abortion, bluntly, does not. It is a decision taken by yourself, while sitting on the loo, and with the ‘right’ concoctions and enough courage, carried out alone.

But while these might be inconsiderate, hopeless, chaotic teenage girls, at least they have the sense to acknowledge that they are not ready to become mothers. The truth is though, we can all agree to bemoan teenage girls having serial abortions, understandably, I mean, where would this world end and stuff, but surely, a harsher reality would be that of teenage girls having a series of children they were not only unready for but would also realistically be unable to care for. A Nomcebo who falls pregnant and resolutely aborts and continues with her education or a Nomcebo who has three children by the time she’s twenty and winds up stuck at home with nothing to feed them as she also got chucked out of school?

Instead of looking down on these teenage girls who opt for an abortion, we should, almost defiantly, be appreciative for their resolutions. After all, nearly every single negative effect of abortion – hearing the baby cry at night, being alienated by society and the risk to future reproductive health – has an impact solely on the women having these abortions. They, very kindly – and potentially at great risk to their lives – make what could be a problem for us all, simply vanish. Personally, I don’t particularly enjoy the sight of unhappy, malnourished children. And, be honest, nor do you. 

*This article was first published in The Times of Swaziland on Thursday June 16, 2011

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