I tend to stay away from hot button issues like abortion. And I think that’s because I don’t tend to take a firm stance one way or another. I can see things from all sides and it just comes off like I’m soft I think. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of getting up on my soap box and preaching to people about things, especially on things I haven’t personally experienced.
I haven’t personally been affected by gun violence. It has hit too close to home, but I don’t know how equipped I am to say someone who has lost her child to gun violence is wrong for wanting gun control. If I lost my child to something like that I’d probably want change too.
Same thing with abortion. I’ve never had one and it never crossed my mind to have one. I do however have a friend in college who contemplated abortion and I watched the torment she went through in making up her mind. She ultimately opted to not abort and I haven’t heard any regrets about that choice. I also know what she went through to come to that decision and it took almost losing her to make her come to the realization that she couldn’t go through with the abortion because she loved her already.
I Didn’t Know How Much I Loved You Until You Were Gone
When I had gotten pregnant with my angel baby I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was in my 2nd trimester with her. Almost as quickly as I found out I was pregnant it seemed I had lost her though. I tried justifying it in my mind at first with the whole we weren’t ready to handle another and it was meant to be. But her loss has left a hole in my heart none the less. Immediately after I had given birth to her I felt such relief that it was over. I slept. I slept hard and I dreamed of her and I woke up bleeding and aching. My heart was aching and the only thing that could heal that ache was her. I had to hold her. I did hold her. I cherish those moments.
What does this have to do with abortion you ask? Well, for the entire time I knew I was pregnant (about a month) I didn’t feel connected to her. I mean not in the way I had felt a connection to my other children when I was pregnant with them. I thought we were done having children. I wanted her, but I didn’t know I wanted her. Not until she was gone.
I suppose I easily could have chosen to abort her (if I had found out I was pregnant earlier). We couldn’t handle another child at that time. We were just starting to get my son, who had a very rough first year of life, back on track. We were living in a much too small apartment for five people, let alone six. I had no idea where we would have put her when she got here or anything. The timing really was bad and had I chosen to abort her I would be grief stricken like I am today, but the difference is I couldn’t have said it. It would have been my choice and no one would be able to understand that kind of grief.
Sixteen years ago when my friend was torn over what to do, it was extreme cramping and an ultrasound where she saw her baby which made her realize how much she loved her child. She couldn’t go through with anything after that. No matter how difficult of a place she was in. No matter if it meant giving up her scholarship and leaving the college dorm. She couldn’t turn her back on her child.
I took her to one final clinic appointment where she told them she wasn’t going to go through with it and we left. And today she has a beautiful fifteen year old daughter. She has gone on to have three more children. She has a good life and she’s happy.
This is where we fail women I think in making the choice. I think we’re so concerned about interfering and feeling like we’re twisting their arm that we forget this is a huge decision which we should not be making lightly. And it should not be made without considering everything. Which includes the toll it could take on a woman after she has an abortion.
The Changing Face Of The Pro-Life Movement
I read an article recently about some kids in a van changing the face of the pro-life movement. The call it the Stork Bus. This might be the changing face of the pro-life movement (at least I hope it is). Perhaps this is leading to less sidewalk protesting and even worse the bombings. Yes, I will agree the idea of killing people to send a message not to kill babies is completely absurd. I would say the majority of Pro-Life advocates wish there weren’t people like that mucking up the cause, but there are extremists on all sides of an argument.
So more and more these pregnancy crisis centers are popping up. Which of course have the pro-choicers up in arms because they say they are pushing an agenda. They keep women from having an abortion with stall tactics or forcing unwanted tests on them. And these kids in a van ultimately are just a mobile version of these pregnancy crisis centers. What they are doing is driving around and offering counseling and sonograms to women who are walking into an abortion clinic. They aren’t kidnapping them and forcing them into a procedure they don’t want. They are simply giving them a chance to see what it is they are choosing to terminate. They are offering them another choice.
What’s so bad about that? Even better question is why don’t abortion doctors offer their patients a chance to see their unborn child? Why aren’t we offering them counseling and alternatives to this choice? Because they know what they want? Well, what about our teenage daughters who sneak off to have an abortion without parental consent? Do they know what they want? Do they understand the gravity of what is happening to them? Because my 20 year old college friend didn’t fully grasp the reality of it until she was faced with the harsh reality of what it meant and how much she loved her child already. My 30 year old self honestly didn’t know what I had until it was gone. We expect our teen daughters to understand this?
Maybe, just maybe these birth crisis centers and vans offering mobile sonograms have the answer. If women are choosing to not have an abortion after talking to someone about their other options or after seeing the beating heart of the baby inside of them, then why is that a bad thing? Why is it bad to arm women with all of the information? Why is it bad that they see their baby and decide that they can’t go through with the abortion? I mean isn’t it possible that they weren’t that sure about their decision to begin with? Isn’t it possible that the reality of receiving an abortion that you weren’t emotionally ready to handle could cause more problems? Women suffering silently after making a choice they weren’t prepared to make without all of the information.
Lets give women a chance to make truly informed choice. And that means showing them exactly what they are giving up. That the fetus as it’s so clinically referred to is more than just tissues and cells. That might make it more comforting to look at a baby that way in early pregnancy, but we know deep down it is more than that. And these feelings will come out eventually and we want to make sure there’s no room to say, “I didn’t know!”
It Doesn’t End There
We need to continue to council women after no matter what choice they do make. But especially if they choose to have an abortion. Women can and do experience depression after having an abortion and feel a great sense of loss. Even if it was her choice that doesn’t mean we should blow her off and say well that was your choice. We make bad choices all the time, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve some empathy and understanding. If you are a woman having a hard time dealing with your abortion, then I encourage you to seek help. Don’t suffer alone.
I do hope to see a change in the look of abortion in my lifetime. Not eliminated. I do think in some instances it does have its place, but we have a responsibility to make sure a woman is fully educated in this choice. That she does know that this fetus is more than just a bunch of tissues and cells. The heart develops just 5 weeks into gestation (or 3 weeks after conception). That’s more than just a bundle of cells.
Lets trust women to know what’s truly in their best interest by arming them with all of the facts. This includes counseling, alternative options to abortions, and showing them exactly what they might be missing out on. If all of this makes a woman decide not to have an abortion, then maybe she never really wanted one to begin with, but didn’t realize she had options or didn’t understand what she would be giving up.
What do you think about the Stork Bus?