I’ve wavered for years about the abortion debate. I can see both sides of the issue; both camps have good points, and I understand that many situations arise in which abortion may seem like the best solution. Somehow abortion has always seemed wrong to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why.

Recently, though, I figured it out: Abortion is rarely anything but a selfish choice.

Whether you are pro or anti-abortion, it is hard to disagree with this statement. When a woman has an abortion, she is thinking entirely about herself and not about her child.

Abortion-rights supporters frame the argument as a women’s-power issue. That is exactly where I take issue with them. Yes, abortion gives a woman ultimate power over her own life. But it also gives her ultimate power over the life of another — whether you consider a fetus a life or not, it has the potential to become a child, and abortion irrevocably changes that outcome.

Yes, I know the argument that says that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body. But what if that action has the power to stop another’s life? Or, for those who believe that a developing fetus is not a child, is that fetus’ potential any less important than the realized child?

It is true that a child will have the best life possible if its mother is completely prepared to be and wants to be a parent. Thus, say many abortion-rights activists, it is better for a child to be aborted than to be born to a mother who is not prepared to raise it. But how is this a plus for a child or anything but a cop-out for the mother? “Well, baby,” the mother might say, “I had to kill you because I had sex before I was ready to have a child and my birth control failed. Sorry.”

Where is the justice in that? Any life is better than no life for almost every child. There are options for women who are pregnant but don’t want to keep their babies. Adoption is the best choice for everyone involved. There are many families waiting to adopt infants who would be more than happy to have those babies.

So the woman who makes the decision to abort her baby because she is not ready to raise it is simply shielding herself from the prying eyes of her family and friends. It’s sad, but avoiding awkward questions and looks is apparently worth the life of a child for many women.

Career and school considerations are important, too. But anyone who says it is impossible to go to school (or have a career) and raise a baby at the same time is lying.

Is it tricky? Yes. Tiring? Yes. Expensive? Yes. Unimaginably rewarding? Absolutely. Those women who make school or work an excuse for abortion are doing just that: making excuses.

Should rape be a reason to abort a child? Again, a selfish choice. If a woman cannot bear to raise the child of her attacker, the best option for everyone is again adoption. Neither the child nor the mother needs continue in a bad situation, and there is no need to compound violence with death.

Some exceptions are, of course, understandable. Some babies have painful and incurable disorders than can be discovered before birth with amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling, and a decision to abort one of these babies might be best for that child. In some rare cases, the mother’s life is at risk if she continues the pregnancy and abortion seems the best solution to a bad situation. These are genuine situations in which abortion is not just an easy out for people who didn’t realize what they were getting into when they had sex.

Women choose to have abortions because abortion seems like the easiest, most sterile solution to a messy, time-consuming and expensive situation. They choose abortion because it is the best thing for their lives. Unfortunately, no regard is given to the life that is being cast aside. It is unfortunate that in our enlightened society, the most helpless among us are seen as expendable; sadly, the only reason they are expendable is that they are inconvenient for their parents.

Jamie Seiberlich ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in English.