"We're losing the 'Morals' War"
I have mostly been
Pro-Choice all my life, not wanting to make that decision for another person.
Like many women, however, I never thought I (the moral person that I am) would
have an abortion.... Then I was faced with an unwanted pregnancy. I never regretted
my abortion, nor did I ever feel guilty. In fact, I even prayed to God to make
me feel guilty if I should feel guilty about it. When the guilt never came, feelings
of anger started. I was angry that my Christian community had been feeding me
all this rhetoric about abortion and 'killing your baby' that simply was not true.
I was angry that other women like me were being made to feel ashamed of their
abortion, because of this rhetoric.
While working for the clinic my focus
has been on these women. Certainly this woman's life was more important than the
fetus inside her. I am outraged at the Pro-Life's importance placed on the not-yet
living or unassociated fetus over the alive and very associated woman. I have
witnessed a birth. It was a moment! Suddenly this was a child because suddenly
it was associated with the people around it. The feminist in me wants women to
know and believe they are important. I am glad to be a part of helping women continue
happy lives without the burden of unprepared-for children. By the same token,
I am happy we provide a safe procedure that keeps children from being brought
into unhealthy situations.
Through counseling women and hearing their stories,
I was reminded that although many or even most of the women are comfortable with
their decision to abort their pregnancy, many of these same women feel conflicted
about what others would think of them if they knew or what they think of themselves
after making this decision. I often hear verbatim some of the things we hear from
the Pro-Life movement. What the movement is saying to the world is definitely
sinking in. There is even a sense among some clinic workers that there is an unspoken
quota of allowable abortions a women should have. This says to me that we are
losing the "morals" war.
This is not something I have discovered.
The polls show that a huge number of people are "Pro-Choice, but Antiabortion."
Our Pro-Choice rallies focus hard on keeping the choice out of the government's
hands - as well they should. But is this all we want? Is this good enough? It
is not good enough for me. I want all the women who struggle with wondering if
they are wrong to have made this decision to be free from rhetoric. I want them
to know that they are actually doing a very moral thing. I want them to get a
medal. I'll tell you why.
Most women (and men?) want to have children someday.
It is one of the things we look forward to and one of the things our parents seem
to want us to experience. Because of this desire, it's disappointing not to continue
a pregnancy. What I am saying is that there are just as many self-serving reasons
to have children as there are self-serving reasons not to have children.
people should never be parents, some people should wait to be parents, and some
people were practically born to be parents. Women should absolutely not have
a child just because they got pregnant. This concept makes a mockery of motherhood.
Women have a MORAL OBLIGATION to make sound decisions about when it is a good
time/situation to bring a child into the world. The difference in this moral versus
the "moral" taught by Pro-Lifers is essentially the difference between
quality and quantity. Deciding which moral is based upon truth lies in our concept
of children. Are children just a chance to have a piece of us continue on after
we're gone, or are children a precious gift on loan to us from God, carrying with
them the charge to raise them to be happy healthy people who make the world a
This moral obligation that I speak of is sometimes eluded
to with the bumperstickers that say "Every Child a Wanted Child." The
word, "Wanted", unfortunately fuels the image that women just have abortions
so they can continue their careers, or so they don't have to work so hard with
adding a family to their list of responsibilities. It implies that abortion is
a cop-out. It focuses on women not "living up to their responsibilities."
We understand that this interpretation stems from this patriarchal society we
still have and its desire to put women in a box. What isn't understood is that
no matter what you think about women's role in society, it is entirely possible
and probable that children have a better opportunity to be happy and healthy when
the mother (and the father, for that matter) is/are happy and healthy. If a woman
recognizes she would not be happy with a child at that time, then it is probably
true the child would not be happy with the mother at that time. Perhaps it would
be better to word the bumper sticker, "Every child a child with great parent(s)."
It doesn't have a ring to it.
Women tend to be 'givers' whether or not they
should be. Many women believe they should sacrifice their own goals for their
children's goals. I don't think this drive in women should be practiced when referring
to fetuses. Some hardships can be avoided with better timing. It is quite sacrificial
to give up the chance to be a mother for the good of the child. If you believe
as I do in God and souls, will God not bring that soul into the world? Wouldn't
God want us to be prepared for the most important job of raising children?
think we could win the "Morals" War with quality over quantity. The
quality of children's lives is extremely important and deserves much more money
and attention than it is getting. Why is more money given to unborn fetuses than
to living children? Where are foster care homes/parents, drug baby adoptions,
homes for homeless kids, aid to needy families, or "It takes a Village"
I think the reason the focus on fetuses is because it feeds a
self-righteous need of the Pro-Life members with the least amount of effort. It
certainly is easier to stand in front of a woman screaming "Baby-Killer"
with self-righteous zeal than it is to offer your time, energy, and emotions to
be a foster-parent to a child who has been abused by their own birth-parents.
In addition, even statements like, "I think people should have the choice,
but I wouldn't have one," is self-righteous baloney. I would hope that everyone
would have an abortion if they weren't ready for parenthood, or would not be able
to give someone else the opportunity for parenthood, rather than put a child (a
precious gift on loan from God) into a bad situation.
To those who need
to hear it, I would like to say, "Bless you for giving up this chance at
motherhood for the sake of the child. I am glad you understand that children deserve
more than birth. I know it is hard to realize your own limitations, especially
in a world that doesn't support that kind of understanding. When or if you are
ready for children, I bet you will be a good mother because I see how serious
you take that responsibility. The world needs more people like you." We will
have won back some moral ground when people are no longer ashamed of having an
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picture of a fetus is only part of the story. The point is to make a responsible
decision about the child's future. Only the pregnant woman knows the full context
of her own and that child's future.