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I had sex for the first time at fifteen years of age. Unprotected. Twice. At the time, the idea that I could get a girl pregnant was so far outside of my mental wheelhous that I didn’t even consider it to be a possibility until after I was done having unprotected sex.

For the next three weeks the back of my head filled up with worst-case scenario, one after the other. I never got to find out if any them would become true, because the girl never got pregnant. I can’t even begin imagine what going through that - as the boy or the girl - is like. It must be a life-changing experience; one that I have great sympathy for.

Being a man - a sentence I try to say as rarely as humanly possible - in this situation presents its own complications. You’re unsure how you’re allowed to act. I personally don’t how what I would do if I wanted my girlfriend to get an abortion and she didn’t, or the other way around. It’s difficult to even word my opinion in this essay properly, because every sentence has to be combed through in order to ensure that due respect is being paid to every side of this issue, and there are so many sides.

It’s more than just based in gender, abortion is something that touches on people’s belief systems, their religion, their upbringing and sometimes their own personal experience.

There is also a lot of emotion that goes into someone’s view on abortion. Talking to some groups of people about abortion can be like drowning in a sea of anecdotal evidence. I’ve seen men casually purport to know what a woman goes through when she considers abortion,and progressives demonise anyone who views a foetus as anything but inconsequential waste. There are fundamental differences of opinion on the subject that seemingly prevent any kind of legal or civil discourse from happening. I sympathise with the deeply religious as much as I do with a teenage girl; I can’t help it, I see why both sides believe in what they do so strongly. I wouldn’t expect either of them to change their opinion.

That’s why - to me - opinions don’t matter when it comes to abortion. I haven’t given mine because I don’t think it’s of any consequence, and I don’t personally care what yours is either. In different parts of the world we see entirely different perspectives on the matter. This January, President Trump rolled back even more abortion laws in the United States, making it even harder for American women to get an abortion (with abortion clinics being closed across the country). In Saudi Arabia, abortion is illegal with very narrow exceptions, and these exceptions do not extend to rape. However, we only have to look to China to see an entirely different reaction. As a result of the one-child policy, women were forced to have abortions up until the late 90’s/early 00’s. This is a dramatically different view, and the response is for a vastly different reason.

My point is, the reason opinions don’t matter on this issue is because we’re never all going to agree. My born-again Christian father from Texas shouldn’t be expected to hold the same opinion on abortion as his 19-year old son from London who was born in 1998. The only opinion worth paying attention to, isn’t an opinion at all. It’s a study published by the WHO (World Health Organization) and the Guttmacher Institute in September of 2017. It revealed that in countries where abortions are banned, only 25% of the abortions that take place are safe. That means that there are places where only 1 in 4 women have medically safe abortions. It also noted that the places with the safest abortion laws have the lowest abortion rates.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, what I believe regarding a woman’s right to determine what to do with an unborn foetus is irrelevant. Whether I do or do not, a woman should not be denied access to safe medical procedures based on my ideology. I know it’s a boring answer, but as a man, I don’t feel there is anything else to say.

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