Jennifer Gurry

The journey to becoming pro-life

AP Photo/Alastair Grant

A ‘journey’.

That’s the word that I have decided  best describes my move to a pro-life way of thinking.

Up until about 10 years ago I genuinely believed abortion was OK, particularly given specific circumstances such as rape and that the procedure was performed within the boundaries of a certain point in gestation, such as around 12 weeks.

I had no idea.

So what changed my mind?

A lot of things, really…most of them facts gleaned from getting up close and personal with women who have made or considered making this life-altering choice.

As a woman I was conscious of the reality that anyone who had to make a decision about an unplanned pregnancy was obviously in a serious predicament and in all likelihood experiencing real inner conflict and emotional stress. The challenges for women facing an unplanned pregnancy are broad and not to be regarded lightly. They are never simply short-term challenges, and the emotional and psychological implications can go on to haunt them for the rest of their lives.

And, obviously, the outcome of a woman’s decision is significant for their as-yet unborn child as well.

The first thing that challenged my view that abortion was OK was the truth about life in the womb. The ‘traditional’ arguments are rapidly diminishing due to advancements in science. Without going into a medical explanation of what each stage of gestation is called and why, science has shown that a foetus is a life at a much earlier stage of development than previously thought.

I began to ask myself, why should something (or someone) be terminated or have fewer rights than another because of its stage of development? Some would argue it should be allowable up to a certain point – and not after say 24 weeks – suggesting perhaps that at 24 weeks a foetus is a real life.

OK…but what was it at 22 weeks? A toaster? A cheeseburger? A brick?

Following this line of thought that it’s a development issue, should toddlers have more rights than newborns??

The logic seemed to puzzle me.

Others have suggested it’s only a ‘potential life’, dependent on its mother. I’m not really sure what a ‘potential life’ is, but if ‘it’ has a heartbeat, its own DNA, developing organs and brain waves, I would suggest that he or she is most certainly a life.

Maybe it’s the fact that he or she is dependent on their mother (another person) that makes their rights invalid or negotiable? Yikes! If that’s the case, then what should I do with my great uncle who is on dialysis and, having suffered a stroke, is incapable of functioning without the full support of my aunt?

Have I forgotten the mother in all this??? Definitely not. More than anything I, as a woman and as a mother, am passionate about the woman – the mother.  I had thought that abortion was a quick, simple, affordable ‘alternative’ for women slightly more involved than a tooth removal. I was so wrong!

On my ‘journey’, I have come to believe that without any consideration for the unborn, abortion is about the most destructive force on earth on both womanhood and the female body. In all the longitudinal studies I have read on post-abortion trauma, and through my own experiences with post-abortive women, I am yet to meet a woman who has not experienced some adverse affects of her decision to terminate the life of her unborn child. I have personally witnessed, and there are numerous studies to support the existence of, a raft of issues that accompany abortion: relationship breakdowns, trust issues, replacement pregnancies, guilt, shame, self-harm, nightmares, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol addiction and even suicide attempts. Often someone functioning seemingly fine suddenly exhibits self-destructive habits that can be linked back to their abortion.

I’ve heard it said before that ‘Women deserve better than abortion’. Surely the alternatives to abortion can’t be worse than the long list of potential after-effects?

I have learned to always ask ‘Why?’ Why do women think this is the best option for them? Why does abortion feel like their only option?  Maybe the answer to these IS the answer to the bigger question.

Maybe society or the government or community organisations or the church or even you and I could be the answer for a woman wanting to terminate her pregnancy because she needs help with her ‘Why’?

Maybe if she knew she was going to be supported by friends, family, colleagues, team mates and employers, termination wouldn’t be her first choice.

Or possibly, it’s our view on motherhood that needs to shift?

Perhaps the answer lies in easier accessible childcare, better contraceptive information, more information on life in the womb, more support from community organisations, more acceptance, more government assistance, greater flexibility in the workforce, more affordable housing. Could it be that the reasons WHY women want to terminate their pregnancy are THE issues, not the pregnancy itself?

If true freedom is within us, abortion does nothing to liberate women or offer true freedom and even less so the unborn.

Therefore, yes, my journey of thought and discovery has led me to a place where I am most assuredly pro-all-things-life…living life to the full, embracing life in all its stages and forms, giving life, and enabling every man, woman and child – unborn and born – to live their very best life.

Jennifer Gurry is the Executive Director and Founder of Diamond Pregnancy Support.

Jennifer Gurry

Jennifer Gurry is the Executive Director and founder of Diamond Pregnancy Support Inc. From a diverse corporate background to the community sector, Jenny enjoys being involved in governance and management. When she is not at her laptop or meeting with pregnant clients you will find her trawling through farmers markets or baking up a storm for her two year old.

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  1. DUBIOUS said:

    I think we should stop wasting our time with something as insignificantly unimportant as abortion. We should focus on the LIVING things that are actually suffering right now. Like animals and children that are being abused or staved to death. I bet Jennifer Gurry doesn’t cry when she sees a beautiful lamb being tortured in a factory she would say ‘it is just part of the food chain. Don’t you think a living things suffering is more important than a non living thing being aborted?

  2. Alycia said:

    Not a dig at TBS but i find this article ignorant and offensive. This woman is clearly pushing a thinly veiled religious agenda.

  3. Ted said:

    Very interesting to see this from a woman’s perspective. However I agree partially with the other comments: this could have been more thorough with some actual facts. Because it is such a controversial issue, your arguement deserves to have a stronger case made for it and I feel like so much more could be explored. That being said, if this isnt intended to be a deep scientific or psychological study then Im far more interested to learn more about your personal journey in less broad strokes but in a more intimate way. As a male who has wrestled with the pro life / pro choice argument for some time, its interesting to see that there are women out there who are pro life. And with no apparent religious obligation! Whereas often it can feel as if my view is invalid being a man and I would agree that its far more impactful and important to be coming from a woman. I think its a courageous move to put your voice out there and its incredibly inspiring. I would love to read more.

  4. MD said:

    I have had an abortion and I do not feel in any way this article represents my story. I understand wanting to help mothers who DO have serious regret or pain from the experience but don’t pain all of us women with the same brush. Well written though and great site. MD

  5. Nancyhaspants said:

    This article makes me want to punch myself in the face repeatedly. While I know it is an op-ed piece I expect sources or citations instead of a vague finger waggle and a wafty reference to studies. Really? I’m pro-choice and I have seen many peer reviewed studies that highlights the danger to women’s mental, emotional, physical wellbeing when choice is removed. When they have to travel interstate and overseas so they’re not forced to be incubate a blastocyst so as not to offend anyone’s delicate religious sensitivities. Are we fully entering a dystopian society? If I want to live in a country that treats women even worse and as an incubator for a potentially dangerous pregnancy I’d faff off to the USA or Ireland or another 3rd world country. Leave my uterus alone. Contrary to popular blue tie waving Liberal idiots who ruin religion for those who don’t manage to be a**hats and are in fact, genuine loving people, women do not go off on a whim and have a termination “just because. Or because after 5 they get a free manicure. It is not a decision to ever be taken lightly. Like actually bearing a child is not a decision to be taken lightly. This country does not adequately support Mothers returning to work, daycare is not readily available nor affordable for single or partnered partents. I am still on many waiting lists years after actually having a child. It’s poor women who are damaged most by this sort of reckless rhetoric. Rich women don’t have to be worried about potentially raising a child in or at borderline poverty levels because they couldn’t “choose” or worry if they are single parents, that the same government and people that discouraged a termination, won’t support them but will instead use them as fodder for “destroying family values” and raising delinquents and wh**es if they toe the party line. This article comes from such an insultingingly unaware position of privilege I almost feel like gagging. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
    Excuse me while I go and slam my head into the wall repeatedly to try and dislodge it.
    Just Ugh.

  6. Katy jp said:

    I don’t agree with this but I respect this article so much because its well thought out and intelligent. THank you to The Big Smoke for encouraging actual change!

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