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The Josie Cunningham Abortion Debacle

Josie Cunningham’s will she won’t she terminate her pregnancy debacle has whipped up a tempest of public emotion but have we been missing the point? 

When Josie Cunningham told the Mirror “An abortion will further my career” the ‘average Joe’ with a Twitter account went apoplectic with rage and Facebook users weren’t far behind.

The 23-year-old glamour model was threatened with acid attack, murder and streams of insults after she announced that she would terminate her 18 week pregnancy for a chance to star on Big Brother.

As the bandwagon of Josie haters threatened to topple over, the Guardian suggested that we should “Defend Josie Cunningham’s right to abortion.” And explored the idea that it was “Basic snobbery” that had led to the social media backlash.

Would we look equally upon a woman who chose a termination because she’d just made partner in a law firm and one who made the same choice so that she could get a glamour modelling contract?   

Perhaps the bigger issue is the startling lack of concern with which this woman and many others treat their bodies. We’ve all heard the phrase “Your body is a temple” yet many women allow theirs to be used like a public convenience.

By all means sleep with an entire football team if you wish, so long as you can still respect yourself in the morning and you use contraception to protect both yourself and your partners from disease and unwanted pregnancy. Abortion is not a form of contraception.

GP’s will kit you out with contraception for free, as will family planning clinics; they are happy to furnish you with bags full of condoms! Josie claims there are two potential fathers to her baby; with one she used a condom that split and with another she didn’t use any contraception at all.

Josie’s hate campaign could’ve been avoided if she’d have popped to her local pharmacy for the morning after pill when the condom had split and she’d insisted the other fellow use protection. Instead we have a country divided and comments that have potentially set back a woman’s right to choose by about 50 years.

We are so very lucky in this country to have such a choice available to us. God forbid we should go back to a time where frightened girls find themselves being carved up by back street abortionists because they are too ashamed to seek help. But with the privilege of this choice there has to be responsibility.

If a woman chooses an abortion she has a responsibility to her mental and physical health and to the life she carries within her, to make the decision to terminate as early into the pregnancy as possible. Was it Josie’s decision that offended the nation so much or her cavalier attitude towards it?

A woman should not have to shoulder a life of guilt and regret after a termination but at the very least the decision should be laboured over and the subject treated with reverence, not gossiped about like a new haircut.

Most people would defend a woman’s right to choose, what we not should defend is people who choose to behave in an unintelligent, irresponsible and disrespectful fashion towards themselves and those around them.     

I am a mother, a writer, I bake cakes for a living and I am studying part-time. I love family and food and fashion.
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