Posted by: CeCe | January 27, 2012

Thoughts on abortion

In a previous post, a person asked in a comment why I hadn’t mentioned abortion amongst my list of atrocities.  I’ve given it some thought, and I’ve decided to go ahead and write out my thoughts on the issue.

Let me say first that I do not condemn any woman who has had an abortion.  I have several friends who have had one, and I love them dearly.  In most cases, my friends had abortions because they knew they couldn’t support a/another child.  In almost every case, I’m almost certain it was a heart-rending decision, and one they did not make lightly.   I have one friend (I hope she doesn’t mind me mentioning her here, since I’m not naming her) who had an abortion who once told me that she wonders what her child would look like now, and that she always remembers approximately when her child would have been born, and she solemnly marks the occasion in her mind.  I wonder how many women out there feel the same way she does.

So, to address the issue: To me, the worst part of abortion is not that it happens.

Wait, what?

No, really.  What I find more sad is that we live in a world in which there are women who believe they have no other choice, for whatever reason.

Social conservatives often focus on the number of abortions performed each year, and point to it as an enormous travesty.  I agree, it is, but I’m less concerned with the number and more concerned with the person.  I’m concerned for the 16 year old girl so terrified to tell her parents that she’s pregnant that she feels she has no other choice but to have an abortion.  I’m worried about the 24 year old woman with three kids who knows that she cannot support another child, and chooses to have an abortion.  I’m troubled by the 20 year old college student who is afraid that having a child will prevent her from obtaining her degree, who has an abortion because she feels it’s her only chance.

Are you seeing a pattern here?  Because I am.  Why are there so many women out there who feel that they have no other choice?

My answer?  Because in many cases, they don’t.  And that breaks my heart.

But what I think really doesn’t matter, in the long run.  The problem here is that both sides of the spectrum fail to see the larger picture, which is that we need to make some changes.  The pro-choice crowd is more concerned with preserving the right to an abortion, while the pro-life crowd is busy trying to emphasize the wrong, and still, millions of abortions are performed each year.

It’s time we moved the battlefield.

First, we need comprehensive sex education, and we need to catch these kids before they can learn from their peers.  If parents aren’t willing to discuss it at home, it should be taught at school.  Waiting until they’re eleven or twelve and they’re already having sex and getting pregnant (or getting someone else pregnant), well that’s just too late.  Age appropriate sex education is not going to make kids go out and have sex.  The truth is that at ten or eleven, they’ll be too embarrassed (and with any luck temporarily traumatized) to think of having sex.  And it needs to be pounded in their head:  Contraceptives even when used correctly are not 100% effective and there is still a chance that you could get pregnant or impregnate someone else.  They need to be told that even if they think it can’t possibly happen to them, it can.

Second, we need to make contraceptives widely available and easily accessible.  Look, I don’t want teenagers having sex any more than any parent does, but even so, I’d rather have them have safer sex than not bother at all because it’s too “hard” to get a condom and they wind up becoming a statistic.  There comes a point where we need to look the issue in the face, and decide which option is the lesser of two evils, and in this case, making contraceptives available is.  Of course abstinence is preferable, but unfortunately, it is not tenable.  The vast majority of teenagers have had or are having sex.  So if you are reading this and you have teenage children, odds are at least one of them if not all of them have had or are having sex… or they’re going to before they turn 20.

Third, we need comprehensive social programs for single mothers and fathers, and struggling families.  Yes, I know, we already have WIC and Welfare, but let’s be honest:  Food stamps don’t buy a whole lot of healthy food.  WIC will help put food on the table, but it won’t help pay rent or pay the electric bill or provide daycare or put gas in the car, and what’s more, children over a certain age are not eligible for WIC.  So what happens when they reach that point?  Yes, I know that some people take advantage of the system, but many don’t.  I think we need to raise the poverty line and take a deeper look at the system.  Is it working?  Are women (and men) able to use it as a hand-up, or are they made into dependents of the state?  Can a person use it to go back to school or find a better job so that they don’t need the help anymore?  Do they have the emotional support they need?  If the answer to the last two questions are no, and I have a feeling they are, we all need to work together to change that.

Finally, we need to stop stigmatizing unmarried women who become pregnant.  It happens.  It doesn’t matter whether she’s a Christian, an atheist, a Muslim, a Jew, or a Hindu, or a pagan, or whatever.  It doesn’t matter whether she was in a committed relationship or not, if she already has a couple kids, if it was an accident or if she and/or her partner thought it would be okay just this once to not use a condom.   We need to stop condemning, and start loving and helping.

We need to work harder to ensure that every single pregnancy is wanted, and in the rare cases where the pregnancy is not wanted, we need to make sure that the expectant mother knows all of her options, and that she knows she doesn’t have to choose abortion.  But first, we need to make sure that she has options.

Illegalizing abortion will not help.  Stigmatizing single mothers or fathers or reducing social programs will not help.  We need to have compassion, and we need to be realistic.  Until both of those happen, well, I’m not sure how many of us will have clean hands.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Hi CeCe,

    Intersting article. I have opinions (which guy doesn’t), so I thought I’d respond..

    You’ll see I’m pro-life, but don’t judge me just yet 🙂

    1.First I’ll say that everything (possibly) changes for a pro-lifer when he/she gets involved in the wrong situation. It’s so easy for us to judge, yet if we find ourselves hooked up with the wrong person with beer goggles on… Need I continue? Suddenly those ideals are no longer so ideal for us. And that’s just it… Judgment from people who have never been there…

    2.On the flip side I would question those women who did have an abortion performed. Was it a short-term, fleeting memory? For some, yes. For others, no – they never get over it, continue to feel guilty even years later, etc., etc. It seems there are severe consequences for some women’s morale when they have an abortion. And often these were not things they ever anticipated, or maybe the consequences were downplayed.

    3.As far as the people you mentioned, the 24-year old, the 16-year old, etc. I would ask the question, ‘What is the motive?’ As a Christian I know that there’s a daily battle between the flesh and the spirit. There is no common ground between the two, and every part of life, thinking, actions, falls in one of the two categories. This is my belief, as outlined in Galatians 5. Second, too many times I’ve found myself in a situation that lead to consequences I did not enjoy at all. Would I have given my actions a little more thought, then I would not have been surprised by consequences that later affected my life. So quite honestly, if ya don’t want a kid, then tie the tubes, be consistent on birth control, or don’t get laid. When there’s a chance of something happening, then inevitably, if we roll the dice enough, this chance will become reality. Simple chance theory… So I’m saying that a) many of our choices are often driven by selfishness b)many people lack prudence/ wisdom c)there’s always a way. (And by the way, I’m absolutely not diminishing or judging the woman who was raped. I’ve never been in that situation, so I don’t know what I would do. This response is merely a challenge to our thinking, today, in western society.)

    4.I should add that, while food stamps are only good for so much, 1)on the street they are sold for 50 cents on the dollar starting at 6am when the card is recharged (seen it many times, bought the stamps), and thus the stamps are used for something entirely different than what they were meant for, 2)I personally know a woman with 3 children, who rents her residence (no government housing or support), receives no child support, and was able to stretch her food stamps for the whole month, every month. So yes, it can be done.

    I’d like to add just a few more things. Take about 30 minutes and watch this video http://www.180movie.com/ and let me know what you think. It’s very interesting, I think you’ll enjoy it.

    Also, I happened to come across http://theresurgence.com/2012/01/22/15-things-to-consider-about-abortion the other day. I found it interesting as well.

    CeCe thank you for writing. I enjoy reading your stuff. I know you won’t take this note as judgmental, but for others who don’t know me – it’s not meant to be. I too have quite a few friends who have had abortions, and I don’t see them any different than me. I’ve had my share of issues in life, causing others to judge me, so I know the feeling..

    Later,

    Roy

    • Roy, I would never take anything you said as judgmental. Thank you for your response. I’ll consider everything you’ve written and get back to you! 🙂

  2. CeCe,, I guess it’s time for the right to lifers to post their thoughts on this issue. I understand and agree with a lot of what you wrote. Especially that we need to stop judging the teen or single woman who is pregnant. We don’t know the circumstances involved in the pregnancy. And, in my book, the girls who have the courage to give up the child for adoption when they are not ready to have a baby, instead of choosing an abortion are heroes.

    There are some areas where I would like to see more emphasis. I am opposed to most “Safe Harbor” Laws. Why? Because they are too limited in scope. Most only give a mom a few days to make a decision after the birth. It’s very easy for a young girl to decide when they hold that child to decide to keep the baby. But, it’s an entirely different situation when they realize they are not equipped to deal with colic or grocery store tantrums. A mom has to be judged as abusive or neglectful in most states if they decide they are not able to raise the child. Why not give that mom an option to give the child a chance at adoption at that point?

    To make abortion illegal does not solve the underlying problem…you have to tackle the root causes about why we have a need for so many abortions.

    I realize my thoughts may not be popular, but we do have to look at the toll that comes from abortion on demand. It ultimately means that one life is cast off for the rights of another person’s life.

    Where I differ from many of my pro-life counterparts is that I would not want to see abortion made illegal, even as a right to lifer. When I hear of countries like Peru, where 2 year old children are abandoned in the streets, because orphanages are overcrowded, I cannot see that as a viable option here. Largely because our country does not have the means to care for the population explosion that would occur.

    As a Christian, I have to wonder, what if we spent more focus on teaching our children and teens the value of delayed gratification, and self control? (In our faith, it is one of the fruits of the spirit after all). Instead of treating the situation as “hey, I don’t want you to do it, but if you are going to do it, here is how you protect yourself” There is a value in helping your children understand that there are things worth waiting for.

    I’ve conducted multiple informal surveys and have found the same results over and over. If you ask women about whether they wish they had started to have sex earlier, or waited longer before their first time, Over and over, I heard from survey respondents that they wish they had waited instead of rushing into sex.

    When we start to tackle the underlying reasons for abortions, then we can reduce the sacrifice of one life for the best interest of another person’s life.

  3. […] against women who have had abortions.  I previously published a post about abortion (here: https://aseekersmusings.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/thoughts-on-abortion/), and in it I’m clear that my problem is that women feel they have no choice but to have an […]

  4. Thought provoking. Some people are so bias that they can’t see both sides of this subject. But the one thing that irritates me to nooo end is that prolifers are usually against subsidies (food stamps, education) to give the woman who ends up making the choice and hand up. And when it is a man standing there protesting I feel like inserting a 10 pound watermelon in his innards. And leaving it for at least 9 months!

    • Thank you for your comment, Teresa! I agree with you, a lot of pro-lifers do seem to be against food stamps and other such things, even though government programs can help prevent abortion in the first place. I wonder why that is.

      • I don’t know why but maybe when they have been in that kind of situation they will have empathy for the women who get caught up in these situations.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: