Monday, January 23, 2012

{ i was pro-choice }


As a preface to the following post, I have to state that this is not a place I consider an appropriate political platform so don't fear or expect that I will use it as so. I write today's post on abortion as an expression of a personal conviction I have arrived at over the last few years. It will likely be the only controversial topic I will touch on... ever. 

I remember being freshly graduated from high school 

and logging on to my AIM account to chat with my husband before he was my husband. 
I know. AIM. Old-school. I've known Phil since I was 15 and he was 17. 
When I met him I thought he was a goody-two-shoes, Jesus freak. I thought he was nice... but weird. 
Then and now he's been a man convicted of many things, of which one is abortion.

That particular night we spent hours typing long paragraphs taking a stance for and against abortion.
I was for it. He was not.

I told him I believed that no woman should be legally obliged to give birth to a baby 
after having been raped. 
I told him I thought that no woman should have to raise a baby in a world 
where she can barely support herself.

In what I really felt was a compassionate manner I said, 
"What kind of life would that be for the baby?"

I looked up statistics. I shared them with him.
He made his rebuttals, quite well I must say.

I know now that my pro-choice perspective was rooted in the fact that I was afraid I might face that choice one day... and I didn't think I would be brave enough to make a choice for life.

I can't remember when or how I made the transition into the other side of the issue.
I know the Lord was working fiercely in my heart at that time and this transition is just one of very many that I have no real reasons or explanations for. 
He changed my heart. Period.
I'm okay accepting that.

In the time immediately following my conversion, 
I think I found the logic and justification for being pro-life in what the Church taught.
I used it as my back-up source when I managed to get myself into touchy conversations.
It worked. I made my way through those discussions usually unscathed 
and hoping I had planted a seed of doubt in friends that defended the pro-choice point of view.

When I was pregnant, the entire discussion took a turn for me. 
I was already gung-ho about the pro-life stance... 
but feeling that little person inside of me just cemented my beliefs.

It was week #8 when I first saw that little peanut in a sonogram. It was week #20 when I saw his feet, hands, and his little nose for the first time on a screen. It was week #42 when I felt his smushy face for the first time. A human being had developed and grown inside of me. 

There were no complications throughout my pregnancy, 
but on his birthday I realized that every single baby is a miracle. 
What else would you call growing a whole being from almost nothing?

Now more than ever I understand why people consider, and go through, with abortions. 
It's frightening, it's terrifying to feel your way through a pregnancy WITH a supportive husband 
I can't even fathom going through it alone.
What comes after the pregnancy is even scarier. 
A young girl who can't count on the support of her boyfriend or parents. 
A girl who can't remember just what happened with that guy three weeks prior. 
A woman involved with a married man. 
A married woman who feels she can't afford another baby. 
They feel alone and, I believe, rightly so.

Yet I don't think we can begin to seriously discuss overturning Roe v. Wade 
until we understand isn't only about a woman. 
It's about another life -- yes, life -- within her. 
A human being. A baby. A soul. 

I very personally believe that abortion is about fear and cowardice. 
I understand it. I think I would have likely been a coward if I found myself in that situation too. 

Why a coward? Such a harsh word. 
Because a coward is 
"a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things." 
I took that from the dictionary, ladies and gents. Don't hate the messenger. 

It takes a courageous person to choose life for someone else, 
to decide to give life to another human being 
who might very well change the world if given the opportunity.

It takes a brave person to see that as soon as those two lines come up on a pregnancy test, 
it's just not about them any more. 
It's about a little peanut growing arms, legs, lungs, fingernails, and a heart. 

Today, there are thousands upon thousands of people marching on the streets of Washington, DC resonating the same things I have just said. They will stand in front of the Supreme Court begging to give unborn children across the country the right to live.
Sadly. 
The news will likely not cover this March for Life... 
definitely not enough to properly convey it's message and magnitude. 

While I may not reach the country or the world with this little rant I've published, 
I nonetheless hope that God will use it for His goodness. 

If you find yourself in an unplanned pregnancy, do not despair. There is help. 
Be courageous and please convince yourself that you are not alone. 
Here are a few links to help you in your journey: Good Counsel Homes + Catholic Charities Adoption.
Choose adoption, not abortion.
There are millions of men and women eager to give your baby a good life.

If you are a woman or man who has already gone through an abortion 
and feel a need for healing, visit Rachel's Vineyard. It's never too late. 







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21 comments:

Farmer's Wyfe said...

Very well written. Thank you for giving voice for the tiny souls who can't.

Anonymous said...

Esther me encanto esto q acabó d leer,me parece exelente. ! Está bellísimo !

hannah singer said...

esther. this is beautiful. thank you xoxo

Jess said...

"Yet I don't think we can begin to seriously discuss overturning Roe v. Wade
until we understand isn't only about a woman.
It's about another life -- yes, life -- within her."

That sums it up so wonderfully :) It's good to know there are still people who take a stand for what they believe instead of what society says is "fair/right". Beautifully honest post.

Anonymous said...

I think it is amazing how willing you are to be honest about your opinion on this important issue and I really enjoy reading your posts! I also think it is important to note that, when looking at the bigger picture, overturning Roe v. Wade would not turn women away from abortion, but result in the same amount seeking unsafe methods to reach the same end. For those who cannot carry a baby to term or who face great consequences for going through with a pregnancy, is it worth a woman dying in the process as well?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/world/12abortion.html

carina@a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. That is courageous. I feel the same as you... I know that the decision is so often made out of fear. We have to give women hope and options and support, and most of all - love.
blessings to you, friend!

kinze said...

amazing ... thanks for sharing ... may it minister to hearts! and thanks again for linking back to my blog the other day ... so appreciate it. just lovin your blog and your love for God!

Phil said...

Anonymous, if you aren't willing to admit that a baby in the womb is a human being, deserving of the same rights that all humans are promised by our constitution, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then you will always be able to create a reason why abortion is okay.

I am very concerned with the lives of women, but those women have a choice, unlike the 1 million+ babies every year that are killed in our country because people think that their choice is more important than a babies right to life.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely not looking to start an argument. Whether or not you believe life begins at conception is a whole other issue. It has been proven that fighting to ban abortion will result in an increased death rate for women because they will seek out these services no matter what. There is no denying how awful it is for someone to face a decision like that, but "coward" or not, someone who is unable to raise or birth her child will find a way even if it means risking her own life.

I worry for the women who are the victims of incestuous rape, who face being killed by the father of the child for being pregnant, and for those who are put at risk medically by completing a pregnancy. For these women, as well as those who might contemplate suicide over facing the challenge of raising a child (and the many other reasons that completing a pregnancy might be life-threatening), I firmly believe that abortion cannot be outlawed safely. The numbers do not lie, women will continue to find ways to end their pregnancies. Even if the action does not match with many of your readers' morals, I cannot see how swapping the life of one person can replace the life of another.

Phil said...

Anonymous, whether life begins at conception or not is not a "whole other issue. It's the central issue". If life begins at conception, then a baby in the wombs right to life trumps all of the situations you've stated, as trying as they may be.

Also, many organizations exist to provide assistance to the people you are referring to. Esther and I have been to a home run by one of these organizations (http://www.goodcounselhomes.org/) and have even offered to help take newborns into our home when the mother needs some extra help to figure out some of these tough situations. Maybe we should stop assuming that the best way out of these tough situations is to kill a baby; and start offering services that actually help.

Also, I don't see why you would advocate abortion for the sake of women "who face being killed by the father of the child for being pregnant". Do you really think that a woman having an abortion in this situation solves her problem when she is with a man who is willing to kill her for any reason whatsoever? I would think the first step would be to end that relationship before making the decision to end the life of an innocent human being.

Joanna said...

We are talking about two lives here - the woman and the baby/fetus (choose your language) - and this discussion will always be a controversial one because in each case, on each side, the rights of an individual are being infringed. Pro-life infringes the woman's rights; Pro-choice infringes the baby's rights. No one position is 100% right in my mind.

But I have to come down on the side of choice, I've never met a woman who had an abortion lightly. They struggle, seek counselling and if they make that choice it's a very hard choice and a painful one. They mourn the loss. I think it's a very personal choice but I don't think it should be taken away from women.

I do however, encourage laws that require mandatory counselling and education before that choice is made, so that every woman is informed about her options, and gets help for any situation she may be in.

That's my two cents. Thank you for listening.

Phil said...

Joanna, good input. And I agree, it's not an easy choice.

Let me ask you a question though, if my wife decided that 5 minutes after my son was born that she didn't think I could raise him anymore because it was emotionally stressful to imagine having to deal with all of the bills associated with his life and to have to give up on certain dreams that she has that he would get in the way of, why doesn't she have the right to kill her son and be free of the responsibility of raising him? Why does the government infringe on her rights by making her provide him with the necessary things he needs to survive or send her to jail for murder if she doesn't?

So what changes between the time the baby is in the womb and comes out of the womb? Does some miraculous transformation occur that all of a sudden transfers rights away from the mom to the baby 100%?

Why don't we offer the same rights to the baby in the womb as we do outside of the womb? It seems to me that a change of location is an odd way to determine when a babies gains the right to live.

Phil said...

P.S. Please excuse some of my obvious grammatical errors.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Jo. And Phil, I think this is where the discussion does cross into life territory. Most reasonable people, I would hope, have no desire to murder anyone. As someone who does not believe life begins at conception, I have less of an issue with those who chose abortion for whatever reason. I can completely understand that for others, that is not an option. Religion, personal morals, etc. establish how many feel regarding this issue and that is the beauty of a system where there is choice. All are entitled to their opinions and can choose to engage or not engage in whatever actions they take.

There is a distinct reason why late-term abortions are more controversial than those performed earlier in pregnancies and that is because the vast majority of people would define the fetus as being "more alive" than before. No one would condone a mother killing a child post-birth (no matter the reason) because no one can argue that the child is not alive.

I think that what Esther so eloquently stated early on in her post is particularly pertinent. You are both fortunate to be in a supportive, loving relationship. It is wonderful that you are willing to help out others who are not quite as fortunate. For many, there is no one to help them, no matter where they are located. In addition, I think the emotional burden of adoption is often underplayed. Can you imagine being told you had to give up your child?

Just out of curiosity, Phil, if life starts at conception, as you insinuate, do you agree with birth control methods that may block embryo implantation? I really am just curious because I find that many pro-life individuals do not believe that birth control should be outlawed, but are firmly against abortion.

Anonymous said...

And what I was trying to get at earlier was that the implications of overturning Roe v. Wade extend beyond an increase in babies being born. Many more women would die as the result of unsafe medical procedures and I don't think that fact can be ignored.

Phil said...

Anonymous, in response to your question, no, I do not agree with birth control methods that may block embryo implantation. For a great read about birth control, I recommend a great document called Humanae Vitae.

As to your statement about when life begins, I'd like to ask, when do you believe that life begins?

Also, all of the other situational points you make really mean nothing compared to the damage an abortion does to the life of a human baby. Most of the situations you describe have to do with hardships of life, something we can never 100% eliminate anyway because life always naturally brings about trials. Abortion is never a final solution to life's problems. Should we try our best to make life easier, sure, but it seems like when it concerns the life of a baby, we should put the life of the baby over our desire to eliminate life's hardship.

Maybe we should take all the funding that goes into abortion and use it to make sure that there is help available to those who need it everywhere?

Anonymous said...

All I am saying is, and it has been proven, that women will continue to seek abortions whether legal or not. And those that are living in areas where it is illegal, no matter their life situation, will be among those who ask for such care. It is more likely it will be unsafe and more likely that they will die. Please see the New York Times article I posted.

As for the birth control issue...many forms of birth control act to both impair the sperm from penetrating an egg and also carry the possibility of preventing endometrial implantation. This issue would make it difficult to allow many forms of oral contraceptives, IUDs, etc. to be outlawed (see why Mississippi did not pass its "personhood law"). Outlawing such forms of birth control would have, no doubt, serious consequences.

When does life begin? That's a great question that I think everyone grapples with. I don't have a clear answer, but I do know that I don't consider a blastocyst a human, or really anything that lacks a nervous system (which takes at least 4 weeks to be fully formed during the embryonic period).

Phil said...

If it's not a human, what is it? A dog, a horse, a basketball? I've yet to hear of any conception between a man and a woman produce anything other than a human being.....with it's own unique human dna.

Also, the argument you make based on the NY Times article would be the same thing as deciding to legalize all currently illegal drugs and giving them out in safe doses via a clinic, therefore preventing the possibility of an overdose. Why don't we just do that also to prevent all of the deaths from overdoses every year? We could save a lot of lives that way.

Christine said...

Amen and Amen.

Esther, you are very brave to post this. I very much appreciate your stand for life. Thank you.

~Christine

TicoTina said...

wow. that is just amazingly well put. it's Truth.

Michelle@ourwonderfilledlife.com said...

I am just seeing this post now and I appreciate your bravery in doing so. I was told to reduce two of my children, and looking at their faces today, hearing their laughter, seeing their wonder, pure and honest and such a gift from God. I can't imagine them not being here. While there were many risks to having them and incredible faith needed by our family to move forward, He covered us with his strength and grace. I am so glad that I chose to not listen.
{children ARE a gift from the Lord}.

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