1. Choice = Informed Choice
This is unquestionably not the case. I have yet to find a pro-choice website which advocates that women inform themselves about what they are doing (or are about to do) to themselves and their unborn child. Information regarding the long-term physical and emotional effects, the stage of the baby's development, pictures and the like, are kept to a bare minimum if they are provided at all. "Choice" tends to focus around a nebulous term referred to as "reproductive rights," and these rights focus almost exclusively on what is legal in Canada.
2. All pro-lifers hold the same views.
There is a wide variety of differences between pro-life views. Not everyone who is pro-life is necessarily religious (although they are the majority) and not all pro-lifers believe that the abortion problem can be corrected in the same way.
3. All pro-lifers are right-wing religious fanatics who believe in shooting doctors who perform abortions.
This is a caricature, and an incorrect one at that. Very few pro-lifers believe in shooting abortion doctors. Most of us know that is not the way to solve the problem. Extremists are exactly that: extreme. They account for a very tiny percentage of the population.
4. All pro-lifers believe in the removal of your reproductive rights. They believe in compulsory pregnancy.
This is not so much a caricature as it is stupid. There is no such thing legally defined "reproductive rights" and there is no such thing as compulsory pregnancy. These are terms concocted to obfuscate the situation.
5. Before abortion was legalized, thousands and thousands of women were dying from self-abortions. Without legalized abortion, women are at risk and will die by the thousands.
This is patently untrue. There were a few cases of women dying from self-abortions. Despite the fact that abortions are widely available in Canada, there have been at least a few cases of women who insist on self-aborting (ie: Drummond) and who have died as a result (an unnamed university of Waterloo student in 1989/90). The current situation is actually more dangerous for women than it was prior to the complete legalization of abortion.
6. You have the right to an abortion.
Actually, you don't. We do not have a law that says you must be given an abortion if you request it. A doctor has the right to refuse. As far as I am concerned, this is a good thing.
7. Having an abortion will not affect your long-term physical or emotional well-being.
This is patently untrue. Long-term physical effects can include such things as future infertility and even breast cancer. The long term emotional side effects can vary from mild depression to suicide.
8. Canadians are generally in favour of the abortion situation in Canada.
The truth is that most Canadians are unaware of the situation in Canada. The overwhelming majority falsely believe that our laws mirror those of the US. The situation in the US varies from state to state and abortions may be forbidden anywhere from 16-24 weeks.
9. A fetus does not feel pain.
There is no scientific evidence to support this fact. Pain is simply an extreme sensation in the nerves. Neural tubes begin to develop somewhere around four or five weeks.
10. A fetus is just a blob of cells.
I will be dealing with this myth in an upcoming post.
11. Most abortions are performed to save the life of the mother.
The is untrue. The overwhelming number of abortions are performed as a method of late birth control.
12. It's the woman's body.
This is perhaps the worst myth of all since it is the key argument that allowed unnecessary abortions in the first place. The fetus is not a part of the mother's body. It is not a limb or an organ. It is a distinct entity carried within the mother. I will explore this myth further when I write about fetal development.
13. Some children are not wanted.
That some children are not wanted by their mother does not mean that they are not wanted by anybody. There are thousands of women in this country who are infertile and cannot have children of their own. Unfortunately, the adoption process is not always that easy.
(Note that I will add to these myths as I remember/encounter more.)