To the woman heralding her abortion as “life-saving” in one way or another on this new trending hashtag – I see you.
To the woman who is angrily blowing up and blowing off every judgmental dissenting opinion that comes her way – I see you.
To the woman saying she had an abortion of her own choice – I see you.
Maybe the guy you conceived with abandoned you after he got what he wanted. Maybe you were in a relationship, weren’t careful enough at one point, and weren’t “ready” financially or emotionally for the responsibility of raising a child. Maybe you were raped, and every voice around you made you even more afraid that birthing a child conceived this way would be a daily weight upon your back, pressing down and suffocating you with its reminders of that horrible moment of your life you’d rather forget.
Maybe your family wanted you to “get rid of it.” Maybe they didn’t even know, and the thought of telling them was what pushed you into going to the clinic. Maybe your daddy threatened to kick you out of the house if you didn’t have an abortion, or maybe he wasn’t around at all. Maybe your mama was going to make your life a nightmare if you had a baby. Maybe she wasn’t around either. Maybe you lived with very traditional extended family – or you were a foster kid. Maybe you ran away. Maybe you lived alone, and didn’t make enough money to even support yourself most days. Maybe you conceived selling your body in the night, and you knew that was no way to raise a child, but you didn’t believe you had any other choice.
Maybe there was something wrong medically, and the doctors said you’d never live if you had the baby. Maybe you were terrified of passing on a disease or a mental illness – something you could never bear sharing with another human.
Maybe, to tell the truth, it wasn’t entirely your “choice” rather than a reaction to the circumstances, to the thousands of little voices in your head saying “you can’t.” Maybe you weren’t in the best state of mind to be making that choice. Sometimes, circumstances make it incredibly difficult to think clearly, and even when one thinks they’re thinking clearly, it’s all foggy and based on emotional logic.
Now, here you are – days, months, years later, and there’s a new voice. One telling you it’s okay. Be proud. Be angry at the people who stand outside the clinics (or hide behind their computer screens) and tell you that you took a life…because after all, you did what was “best for you,” right?
I want you to know that I. See. You.
I do not know your story. Your circumstances are unfamiliar to me. But I do know that most likely, it wasn’t 100% your choice. You didn’t wake up thinking, “Oh, I’m pregnant…well, I’ve always wanted to have an abortion!” I want you to know that it’s okay to be angry at the voices who pressured you into thinking there was no other way out, that you couldn’t handle this. But maybe…maybe it isn’t okay to fall for this new voice. You are so, so loved. By at least one other person in your life. Nobody walks through this life completely alone. I can assure you – you are worth more than this new voice. You do not have to hide in silence – but you should know that you are valuable and seen without proudly baring your scars and history for all to see. You do not have to “shout” your decision, but you do not have to be silent.
I also want you to know that you had options. It wasn’t a matter of “keep the baby or abort it.” There are places all across the country built to help others in your situation. My city has CareNet billboards everywhere, as well as unexpected-pregnancy hotlines to call and get help. Our adoption system here in the US may be a hot mess, but it is an available option…especially if you do your research and find a kindhearted, reputable agency. If there was a medical situation, it was okay to fight back, to believe differently. Doctors aren’t always right. Miracles happen. Sometimes, people fight back so hard and take care of themselves well enough that the issue just disappears. The human body is so much more powerful than any of us truly realize.
I do not condemn your choice. That said, I do not condone it, and I do disapprove of it as someone who believes in life at conception, but I understand where your mind and heart were. You are seen. You don’t have to shout. If there is hurt lingering in your heart, I pray you find peace.
I now speak directly to my so-called “pro-life” friends. I speak neither as a liberal or a conservative, but as a human being with basic human decency. With that out of the way…
It is downright shameful for us to not be putting our efforts and money towards resources in the communities to help pregnant and struggling/medically at-risk women to keep them from aborting their children. How dare we shame their lack of humanity at choosing abortion when we showed our own lack of love and compassion when they were pregnant and needed us to show love instead of judgment. Is there compassion left in our hearts for women who didn’t think they had a choice? We shouldn’t be saying that a woman with an unplanned pregnancy “messed up and should deal with her mistakes.” We ought not to be using the past as a tool for condemnation, but to help inspire change. We should instead be saying, “okay, you made a mistake,” (or “okay, you were raped, and it’s awful and inexcusable that a sorry excuse for a man would do that,”) “but it’s in the past and it’s over now – so how can we help you to your feet and teach you to fly?” Sure, there is a fine line between accepting help and freeloading, but compassion knows these bounds and is an absolute MUST. “Anti-abortion” does not mean “pro-life” – “pro-life” means willing to work to find a solution that will help both woman and unborn, be it medical or economical or whatever else. It’s not as simple as “keep your baby and deal with your sins.” This isn’t The Scarlet Letter. Black and white isn’t a real thing in today’s world – and as we saw in that book, it’s never been a real thing.
To add to the definition of “pro-life,” we must also look at post-birth. What about the mother who came to this country with several children for a better life…and is struggling to make it by, even though she’s working as hard as she can? I’m not saying people should come here and live for free and get cash under the table and not pay taxes, but I am saying that if someone comes here without an identity and works hard and still struggles, we should probably help that person and her children get identification and any other help they need while they get on their feet. Are we that selfish as to let a family starve because “they aren’t American?” I admit, our compassion does need limits – especially when people use assistance as an excuse for slothful behavior. But if there’s hard work being done with no reward, something needs change.
And what about the woman in the store who is clearly having a rough day – and her toddler is screaming bloody murder for no reason? The pro-life response should not be “beat your child into submission.” It is stepping in and saying, “Hey, you look like you’re a little frustrated – is there any way I can help?”
There are thousands of other scenarios to be accounted for, but the point of this is that the “anti-abortion” community is just as selfish as the “pro-choice” community. If we just loved people, plain and simple, pro-life would blossom into a real thing…and I suspect abortion would decrease drastically, too. Until the “pro-life” community can take a stand for what it really means to be “pro-life,” what use are we?
I am not allowing comments on this post, because it’s not a post up for debate. My opinion will not be swayed, and it’s not something I want to argue about. This post is for contemplation purposes – because no human is perfect and we all need work.