The abortion debate is…
There does not seem to be a meeting place in the divide. Will it always be a screaming match? One side yelling over the other, paired up, gathering in crowds until we don’t see faces anymore, just hate? It is heartbreaking to watch my fellow humans engage in this destruction. Words matter. Understanding matters. Mindset matters.
Stay with me.
I cannot change your mind, for to you, taking the “right” to abortion away is me forcing myself on your body, violently, choosing what you will do with your limbs and organs. You shout for women, marching and yelling, righteousness building within you as you feel you are fighting again the battles that your mothers and grandmothers fought. You are riding the swell, angry and heartbroken yourself, imagining the young, destitute women who “need this choice” to carry on in life. I am heartbroken too. You also cannot change my mind. Because to me, you are screaming for the right to kill. You are marching for the “right” to destroy a young innocent life and I can never agree. Do you remember we are screaming about whether it is a “right” to destroy the first stage of human life?
Where does this leave us though? Conflict is neither enjoyable, nor productive in this case. We are tearing each other down and suffering for it.
You will not agree with me and I will not agree with you. To you, it is a fetus which you do not believe has any rights because that word and the womb covering it and the woman carrying it stand before you. To me, fetus is simply a developmental stage, if you do not apply violence or poison, that fetus will blossom into childhood, just as a planted seed is not yet a tree but will become one if left in place and not uprooted or poisoned.
Must we continue screaming at one another and fighting in every corner of every online space and political gathering? Must we divide ourselves into separate states turning our United States into something so broken and angry?
This situation is heartbreaking.
Can we step aside for a moment? Can we cross a bridge to no man’s land and stand in the middle together looking out over the stream of life it crosses and discuss? I want to sit and talk with you. I know I cannot change your mind, and I have no intention of ever changing mine. But is there NOTHING we can agree on? I can’t believe we are that far gone.
Where can we agree?
Can we agree that motherhood is life-changing, challenging, time-consuming, exhausting and yet so beautiful, WHEN IT IS WANTED? I think we are together here.
Can we agree that IT TAKES TWO? That men are equally as responsible for the life created and that women should not have to carry the burden alone for even one second? I think we are together here.
Can we agree that while motherhood is always a challenge, that there are certain times in life that are more ideal for carrying it out? I think we are together here.
Can we agree that children deserve food, safety, comfort, security, health and all these simple things that lead to a stable adulthood in their future? I think we are together here.
Can we agree that no woman deserves to feel frightened, alone, shunned and abandoned by her partner, family and society for becoming pregnant “at the wrong time”? I think we are together here.
Can we agree that pregnancy is a major event in a woman’s life? I think we can agree here.
Can we agree that giving a child up for adoption is a devastating decision to make? I think we can agree here.
Can we agree that women’s bodies should never be touched against their will? I think we can agree here.
Can we agree that sex can be fun and easy to desire even if one has no interest in having children? I think we can agree here.
Where else can we agree? There is so much more. Can you share where else we can gather together?
Often, even for those of you who are adamantly pro-choice, I have heard that you “would never have an abortion yourself” but you want every woman to have that option if needed. I have often heard that you “don’t want it used as birth control” but only as a last resort measure.
Couldn’t we work together on reducing the “need” for abortions? Whether legal or illegal, if they weren’t ever needed, would our screaming, marching, angry argument even matter anymore? It’s not like we are fighting over the right to food. We are fighting over something that even you who adamantly support it don’t celebrate the actual event I think? You celebrate the freedom for the woman from the responsibility of a child, but you aren’t rejoicing over the act of removal of that potential human life I think?
Where can we meet on this? I want to share with you. I cannot change your mind, and you cannot change mine. Where can we start TOGETHER though?
What could a woman and man choosing an abortion have done differently BEFORE reaching that moment?
What could their families have done differently to support them BEFORE reaching that moment?
What could their friends have done differently BEFORE reaching that moment?
What could their community have done differently BEFORE reaching that moment?
What could their culture have done differently BEFORE reaching that moment?
What could their state and country have done differently BEFORE reaching that moment?
There is so much we agree on in addition to what I said above: sex can be enjoyable, people’s bodies and choices are their own as to when to engage, parenting is beautiful when wanted, devastating when not and challenging regardless.
Could we stop discussing unwanted pregnancies as if they spontaneously occur as a part of puberty though? I have encountered this apparent idea repeatedly in the last weeks and it is frustrating. HOW women become pregnant is not a mystery. We know the science and process involved. There is an easy way to never have an unwanted child, never have sex. If that is not an option, as having sex is a fun and natural part of the human experience, then know going in that there is a responsibility to avoid becoming pregnant. (The most painful and difficult situation is when the pregnancy is the result of a rape. What is the answer here? For this moment, I am excluding these, because these pregnancies deserve a place and discussion of their own.) But in every other circumstance besides rape, if you are not on contraception or do not have other birth control methods at hand, you have the individual responsibility to not engage until you do. Responsibility is not always fun, that doesn’t release you from its bounds. If you want to have sex, and you don’t want to have a child, then it is your responsibility to prevent that occurrence. If you DO act responsibly, you are using birth control methods and you STILL become pregnant, that is where our discussion begins.
Do you owe it to this still barely developed life to grow it, raise it and care for it?
Does your desired life plan outweigh the claim this new life has to their own?
I know the way it is often phrased in pro-choice literature is absolutely not. I know this spark of life is treated as a parasite, to be removed as you would a virus or any other disease. Even the thought of nine months of pregnancy to then give up the child for adoption is treated as “traumatizing” both for the physical effects and for the societal effects during that time, as well as the ongoing knowledge following, that your child is being raised by someone else. I have heard people state that they would rather abort their child than have them raised in an unknown situation with an adoptive family.
These are deep issues! They are not easy. Not in the least. We get that! Even on the pro-life side, we get that. I know within the shouting that is often lost and you think that we are boiling a complicated subject down too easily into black and white. We are not. The extreme difficulty of the decision is not lost on us.
Those choices are life-altering. We know it. We only get one life to live. We know it. Babies can take over and change everything. We know it. Pregnancy can have lasting effects both emotionally and physically. We know it. Where you lose us, is we stretch as far as we can with you, and then we cannot take that last leap to say that your desired life plan and your desires for at minimum your next nine months, justify snuffing out a life. It is that one last step we cannot take with you. If you agreed with us that life is precious and that life begins at conception, could you? If you justify the removal by saying it is not yet a life, and that is what allows you to carry out the abortion act, could you still do it if you, with us, considered it alive and thus murder? You wouldn’t kill my three year old even if I was struggling emotionally, physically and financially to raise her would you? My struggles wouldn’t justify her death? What about my one year old? What if I had everything set up to raise them safely, happily and well-off but that had changed and I couldn’t handle it anymore? That wouldn’t take away their right to live would it? For us, we can’t so neatly separate out my three and one year old from your pre-born life you carry or remove at will. They are one and the same. Can you at least understand our struggle?
These are not easy decisions. These are not easy moments. We are not trying to control other women’s bodies. But we are trying to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. This concept applies to so many areas of society. How much of your time, attention, finances, and interest do you owe to others? Are we individual silos with no need to give of ourselves to others? Or do the poor, the helpless, the sick, the injured, the less fortunate, the children and the babies have a claim on our assistance?
I know I cannot change your mind. I know you will never change mine. But I would so much rather sit with you on this bridge in the middle and talk it all out, over and over as many times as we want or need to feel for one another and understand. I don’t want to yell at you. I hope you will lose the desire to yell at me.
Where can we support our young women better? Where can we educate men and women better? What resources can we provide? Where can we volunteer our time? What community programs can we create together? What individual responsibility can we instill and act out?
How can we reach the point where legal or illegal no longer matters, because abortion isn’t needed?
Please, reach out. Please, let’s talk. What can we AGREE ON? Where can we begin TOGETHER?
As a final note, I would like to say that I know numerous young women and men whose lives are directly relevant to this issue. Some I am related to, the others are children of friends or acquaintances. Some of those children did not make it to see the light of day. Many of them did, and are thriving children or young adults now. If myself and these other mothers listened to what our culture tells us, which unfortunately a few of them did, that our planned life goals and path are of more value than an unplanned baby’s life, it is these young people specifically, who would not exist. These children were a small piece of tissue at one point, they were a fetus at one point, they were an unborn baby at one point within mothers who were not “ready”, mothers who had not chosen this time, and mothers who were young, busy, and had challenges ahead to make it work. But many of us realized that it was US who needed to adjust our plans, it was US who had the responsibility and it was US who did not have the right to cancel their life, to continue comfortably in ours.
When did comfort and ease become more important than life?
Please, let’s talk. I am so dismayed by this explosion of hatred evident everywhere I turn.
We on the pro-life side are as horrified by abortion as we all were by the shootings in Uvalde, Texas. Only the cause for our devastation happens on a DAILY basis and has FOR YEARS with proponents who CELEBRATE it. Can you not understand even in the slightest? Must we go on screaming about it like this?
P.S. Please comment your suggestions on how we can meet, come together, and work through this, not how much you may hate me, my views or anyone else. We can find those views and comments already, strewn all over the internet, on every media channel, social media outlet and gathering place we enter. Let us be kind.