A better deal
We do not believe that society really wants to push women into abortion due
to external pressures of finance, education, employment or attitude. However, it
is clearly more difficult for women to cope with an unexpected pregnancy if they
are not financially secure or not in secure employment or not completed any
education or training they are pursuing.
We would like to initiate a national debate as to how society might
help. Some suggestions are:
- Maternity and paternity benefits should be paid for centrally by government
rather than by individual companies. So that companies need not feel
penalised when women get pregnant and so their career prospects suffer less.
- Maternity pay equal to the best of other European Union countries. So
that parents of young children are more financially secure.
- Maternity pay available till the child goes to primary school. So that
women do not feel under severe financial pressure to get back to work which
may be very difficult with a young child.
Employment and Education
- Convenient re-entry into education (school / university) and employment
after having a child (regardless of previous time in post). So that having
a child does not destroy education / career prospects.
So that mothers do not feel that another pregnancy is a huge burden.
- Easy access to childcare whilst in education or in employment. So that
care arrangements for the child are feasible.
- Flexibility with regards to term-time and school hours working. So that
care arrangements for the child are workable.
- A more flexible attitude by universities to women students who become
pregnant and wish to modify their degree course. So that women can adjust
according to their new and unexpected situation.
- Statutory help for parents struggling to cope with young children similar to
that currently provided by charities such as Homestart
- Support for grandparents reducing work and other commitments to help look
after a baby if a mother wishes to return to work. To enable the wider
family to share the work involved in caring for a baby.
- Thought should be given to ways of keeping contact with children eg
long-term fostering rather than adoption. So that women who give up their
child do not feel they have lost them forever.
Attitude of society
- The Catholic Church could take a lead in arguing for simple human kindness
when dealing with women in find themselves pregnant in what might be
considered "less than ideal" circumstances.
- The Catholic Church could take a lead to improve the attitude of society
towards single mothers.
- Education of young men at school as to how to deal with an unexpected
- Needs to engage with the abortion issue and develop research to analyse what
makes a pregnancy a crisis pregnancy and what makes a woman in a crisis
pregnancy choose abortion – with a view to resolving these issues.
We believe that when women are making a choice about whether to have an
- Those caring for them should recognise that often they are in turmoil and
that their request for an abortion could be a cry for help.
- There should be honest counselling with fair mention of the psychological
trauma sometimes involved.
- This counselling should be private so that women are not coerced into an
abortion by other people.
- They should be entitled to a discussion about alternatives to abortion.
- They should be given information about organisations such as LIFE or CARE
which will support them in keeping their baby.
These are ideals and will clearly cost money. However, we believe that there
is scope within society for these costs to be met. Only when we have made
changes such as these, can society start to say that we are giving women a real
choice on abortion.