Is Abortion Natural?

All signs point to yes; aborting a pregnancy is a natural response in female mammals.

Ludek Bartos from the Institute of Animal Science in the Czech Republic recently led a study that suggests that female horses have adopted “abortion strategies” and that they can “choose” to terminate a pregnancy if they are put in a position where the foals paternity may be uncertain.  Published in the journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, this study has caused many anti-choicers to exclaim that the creators of this study are simply assuming the horses intentions. They argue that the phenomena should be referred to as “miscarriage” instead of “abortion.” Some have even proclaimed that it’s impossible for animals to choose to terminate pregnancies, because they don’t have the medical technology to perform surgical abortions.

What these critics fail to acknowledge is that abortion does not have to be performed surgically, in humans or in animals. Herbs like penny royal and chamomile have historically been used, rather successfully, to cause pregnancies to abort in women. Of course, this has varying results, is not always safe, and is only successful in very early stages of pregnancy. Other ways of self-induced abortion include various other herbal concoctions, applying pressure to the uterus and of course the now legendary coat-hanger type method. Some women have even reported successfully self-aborting by ingesting certain herbs and meditating. In animals, hippos, armadillos and rabbits have all been know to suddenly miscarry when their environmental conditions are unfavorable, or because they are such that giving birth would potentially kill them. The reason that scientists choose to call this a self-induced abortion instead of a miscarriage is because the pregnancies are typically lost before the mother animal begins to feel negative effects from the strain of carrying a pregnancy in a hostile environment.

Ultimately, what these sorts of studies accomplish is that they challenge the long held belief that a “mother” only acts in certain ways, and that to act in a way that is not considered “motherly” is to defy nature. In fact, it is completely natural for mammal mothers to abort, abandon or even kill their offspring in order to protect or better the lives of themselves, their current offspring, or the future of their bloodline. Now, certainly human beings are different from animals, but human history is filled with examples of societies where abortion or even infanticide was considered normal or acceptable. For some reason, though, many people in the United States seem to think that the fact that a woman may genuinely want to have an abortion is impossible, indeed unnatural.

Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion about the morality of abortion. However, it’s important that we lay to rest any misconceptions about what is a “natural” mothering act and what is not. The reality is that there is no universal in regards to mothering. Wanting to abort is a perfectly understandable and acceptable response to an unplanned, unwanted, or unfavorable pregnancy. That is indisputable. Now, whether or not women should be allowed to act on those desires, that is up for debate.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Is Abortion Natural?

  1. Terrance H.

    Natural abortion, or miscarriage, is natural. But sticking a foreign object into your body to terminate a pregnancy that your body has not terminated itself is not natural, and no matter of ranting is going to change that.

    You fucking people are so disgusting.

    • Rose

      Terrance, please read BOOKS about abortion. The internet is not enough. You will find that this is a very complex issue that does not have a one-size-fits all answer. You sound like you are making assumptions about women who have abortions.

  2. JS

    Thank you Terrance, there is nothing natural about someone entering a mother’s body to intentionally kill the unborn child. The issue is the morality of abortion, how often it occurs in nature has no bearing on whether it’s right or wrong.

  3. blah

    im sorry js…this isn’t about morality. this is about nature which often, far removes us from the luxury of morality. i agree that sticking something foreign and rusty up your vagina is not natural, but then not all of us women considering aborting an embryo (not child…’embryo’) would EVER consider a coat hanger thank you. as for terrance…don’t you have a penis? do you have any right commenting of this article’s validity from an ethical standpoint? YOU terrance, have the evident luxury of never having to choose because well, it would be unnatural for a man to get pregnant in the first place. And btw….nice choice of words…i can tell you are a stable, studious, and scientific man not given to emotional extremes.

  4. JS

    I understand this particular post is about how natural abortion is not morality. I am just saying it seems unecessary to speculate over how natural abortion is because that factor does not determine if it is moral or not and the morality of abortion supercedes how natural it may be.

    I didn’t say anything about using a rusty coat hanger, I’m saying abortion is not natural no matter what kind of equipment is being used.

    By the way, the word embryo describes the development stage of a child, the term ‘embryo’ does not negate the word ‘child’. It’s a specific stage of a child.

  5. Woolstonecraft

    TOTALLY with you, Katie. Women have been controlling the fertility rate in their respective society since people began forming societies– and as you pointed, far before that.

    It IS natural for many animals and humans to determine, through instinct or analytical thought, whether to proceed with a pregnancy or not. When creatures (including humans) deem an environment to be hostile or beyond sustainability, they exercise any number of behaviours that may result in a “spontaneous miscarriage”– from eating, as you say, specific herbs, berries, or plants to starving themselves or engaging in particularly stressful physical activity. This is an instinct that the creature(s) and WE are born with. A “gift (if you must believe) from God.”

  6. staygreen

    I agree with woolstonecraft. I don’t believe in ‘unnatural’. I don’t think that the human species is any less animal than other species. We are mammals in the animal kingdom. I’ve also heard of other animals having miscarriages and I have seen video of a zebra ‘releasing’ its fetus when chased after by a lion, allowing the zebra to escape. Therefore, if someone forces you into an abortion and you think they might just kill you if you don’t do it:
    1) this is first because they ‘deem an environment to be hostile or beyond sustainability’ for the child, (either including or excluding themselves),
    2) it is easier for them to think in ‘logical’ terms of survival when they themselves are not the ‘emotional’ pregnant mother.
    In this case…it would not be unnatural for the would-be mother to find no option other than termination (homicide is the #1 killer of pregnant women).
    FACTS.

    Morally speaking, it is a completely different issue. First, we must say that our nature is changing due to ‘logic’. This goes back to redefine our nature in our specific species, but none less animal. The logic that says ‘we cannot have children because i work at burger king’ is a WHOLE WORLD different than ‘I am feeding this lion our child or else it will eat me and we will never be able to have children in the future.” The zebra comes from a more instinctual stance (miscarriage), as where the human comes from a more logical stance (abortion). Miscarriage happens internally as where abortion requires an external force. Miscarriage does happen in humans, but not always. This is because:
    1) at this point, few people in the human race die of starvation or get chased by lions. (safety)
    2) you have options: adoption, alimony, welfare, shelters. (security)

    Q: If you feel safe and secure, why would you miscarry?

    Humans can also prosecute/be prosecuted by law for unjust crimes such as persuasion, murder, abuse, assault…but this doesn’t always matter in this case and I’ll tell you why:
    The justice system only works if the crime is known and considerably immoral. No one is protecting the mothers who walk into the abortion clinic and lie about wanting an abortion, and because all abortion is not punishable by law, it has thus been accepted as moral, and therefore cannot be punishable to the mother. Instead, once they come out, someone calls them a baby killer and shows them pictures. The logical part of society is pro-chioce and the emotional part is pro-life…and the profilers have no idea they may be punishing a victim.

  7. Malismad

    We as humans seem to feel that we can overthink our own instincts. I don’t know if i believe 100% in free will. Our emotions and actions are controlled by our brain just like our heartbeat and breathing. So tell me what seperates the two, the fact that we think we are making a decision. Our enivornment and what we injest seems to make more decisions then we do. If we use drugs we become high, if your depressed you take a drug to make you happy, if the sun is bright we tan. Why does making the decision to abort be any different. Our instinct is self preservation, and if our body and mind feel like a baby that it is currently carrying is going to endanger itself or current offspring due to lack of food or shelter, dimished mental state, or just the inability to care for young then it will react accordingly. Due to modern technology and the need for profit, humans dont have to resort to hangers or finding a herb amist the forest. I currently am in a situation where I have 3 children and after a second failed IUD I am in a situation to where a fourth child will dimish my ability to provide the qualilty of life that I want for me and my children. It also is threathing my mental state. So do I do what my mind and body is telling me to, which is abort, or do I do what my heart and society is telling me to and keep it.

    excuse my misspellings

  8. Clare

    This is absoutely correct. Abortion is acting on a human insinct as natural as mothering instincts.

    As for the pro-lifers on the page…we’re disgusting are we? And thinking that a foetus has a right to remain in a woman’s body against her will isn’t? That way of thinking makes any mothering instincts that the woman may or may not have completely irrelevant.That’s what’s disgusting.

    Women are people, not incubators.

  9. Anon female

    I like how a horse has more rights to its own uterus then me.

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