In May, a news report of a nun being fired from her administration job by the Catholic church for sanctioning a life saving abortion at a Catholic hospital in Arizona reheated an old debate about religion and life. You can click on the link to see the article at AZ Central.
For many years, I was a pro-lifer even before I knew that term. Abortion was wrong! People were killing these cute unborn babies. My strong reaction, even as a child, came from my awe with the fertilization and birth process (I use to read medical books as a child) and bewilderment as to why anyone would want to hurt a darling, drooling innocent with that oh so sweet addictive new baby smell. Afterall, I think conception and birth are the most obvious indicators of a Master Designer.
A few years ago I worked for an adult mental health organization. There was a client who had a number of children who were take away by the state because of substance use. She had found herself pregnant again (which is often the case) and both her and the sperm donor were heavy drug users. When I was told that she was thinking of having an abortion, I was unexpectedly elated. I had to stop and think about that reaction for a second. Why did I want the death of an innocent? The answer was this: Like her previous children, this baby will born addicted to her drugs and has to go through withdrawal as the first experience of life outside the uterus. There was also a very high probability of cognitive impairment. Because mental illness can be inherited, it will be very likely that the child will have a diagnosed mental illness. This child’s life could be difficult. My elation from her abortion decision truly came from ‘If we end its suffering now then great!’ Well, to my disappointment, she changed her mind, had the baby and like clockwork the child was removed from her. This was the beginning of my close evaluation and a change in thoughts on the abortion debate.
Abortion is not black and white anymore. I strongly am against it being a form of birth control for irresponsible females or as a means to cover one’s shame and mistake. As women, we have control over our bodies and if we are sexually active then there is always a risk of getting pregnant. However, no one venture to think that way until it happens. On the other side of the debate, women have chosen abortions for various medically necessary reasons. Rape is also another instance in which a woman or a child has to make a difficult decision. Rape is a life long psychological scar for victims and being pregnant by a monster is even more devastating. I can not image what a woman would have to go through to make such a decision and I certainly would not be the one picketing her home calling her a murderer if abortion is her choice.
Interesting fact: Norma McCorvey famously known as “Jane Roe” who was the center of Roe v. Wade Supreme court ruling on legalizing abortion wrote a book called Won by Love never had an abortion. Even though her fight gave her legal rights to terminate her pregnancy, she chose to have the baby. In the book, after years of advocating for women’s choice, she had a wake up call by a child and turned her life around to start fighting against the abortion court ruling.
I believe that there are a large number of men and women in this world who should NEVER have had the opportunity to be fertile. Kids today are so “screwed up” and there are times I say quietly to myself ‘you should have never been born.’ People can argue that I do not know anyone’s future and I agree. However, if you work in the prison or the mental health system, you can point out the future murderers, rapists and all around antisocial personalities. Now that is very scary. I know pro-lifers make the argument that abortion for any reason is playing God. I see their point but I can also see where every day in a hospital doctors ‘play god’ with bringing legally dead people back to life, organ transplants etc.
So what is my stance on this issue? I believe that the traditional use of the abortion procedure as a contraceptive is wrong. However, there are also exceptions when this is a legitimate option. I would never wish for any woman to be in the exception instances. In medically necessary situation, I would probably agree with having an abortion. In the rape case, I honestly can not say what I would do. Would I want to carry a child that I might hate? Give the baby up for an adoption? If I had a 12-year-old raped pregnant child what would I do?…. I am also ashamed to strongly believe that there are some children that should never be brought in the world because of their parents. It is hard to watch a child being severely emotionally destroyed by the people who are supposed to love and protect them. I know the Christian church has made a clear line about the situation but my line is a little blurry as I have had more experiences in this world.