The subject of abortion is always somewhere on my mind and close to my heart, especially during pregnancy and in the early weeks following birth. Pregnancy and birth and babies are these awesome miracles that inject life and beauty into the world and abortion is this ugly and evil black hole that sucks all that beauty and joy away from the world. And everyone walks by like it’s all ok. And now, with the news that the late Dr. Tiller’s abortion (‘Women’s Health Services’) clinic has a new owner and will most likely reopen soon, I’m thinking about this even more.
What happened to Dr. Tiller was sad. I truly pitied him. (This may seem odd but I pray with the slightest glimmer of hope that in God’s infinite mercy he is able to pray for us in his time of purgatory for the end to abortion.) Yet, to think that his clinic will reopen and more innocent babies and women’s lives and bodies and their families will be destroyed in that awful place breaks my heart. I pray that somehow this will not come to pass.
I have various thoughts and feelings about abortion. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a mother of four now of if I’m older or maybe a bit of both but I feel more…compassionate and charitable in my thoughts now compared to even a few years ago. When I was in high school/college I had the energy to go out and pray at the clinic and march on the streets of Washington for the sake of the babies. I ashamedly admit I had very little pity for the women who could do such a thing as kill their own child. I couldn’t see past that. (It’s still hard to.)
Now, I think about things a little differently. I’m tired of all the stupid squabbling between the “pro-choice” and “pro-life” camps yet I’m still very “pro-life” (yes, I’m also ”anti-abortion,” duh, but not anti-woman) yet my passion is deeper, more…ordered.
I think about the other women out there and their babies hidden away quietly in their wombs. I think about my struggles in pregnancy and then think of those who have far worse experiences beyond the nausea, occasional vomit, overwhelming fatigue, and physical/mental exhaustion. Then, I think about those women who have no one to support them in this time. I think of those who, by whatever circumstance, are pregnant but have no joy in it, only pain and sorrow. I think of them, I pray for them, I love them through my prayers and daily sacrifices. I care about these women. My heart groans for those women who feel there is no other escape from their misery but to ‘terminate’. They have “no other choice”, they say, “it’s better for me this way”, or, somewhat surprisingly, ”it’s better for my baby.” You see, these women know the ”it” in them is actually a baby–a tiny human person. (What else would it be?) Yet, they can’t see beyond their present situation, away from the grief. A better life for them, least their baby, isn’t possible so in a confused sense of motherly protection, they feel that ending things now, is somehow in the best interest not only of themselves but of their babies as well. They are protecting them from future pain by ending their life now. It doesn’t make sense, but I’m willing to bet that for many women who choose abortion this is how they rationalize their decision to abort their child; their own flesh and blood growing inside of them.
I think about those who rally for abortion-on-demand (“women’s rights” as they prefer). I try to think beyond the projected image of scary ”pro-choice” women wearing pink shirts with no bras sneering at us prudish “pro-lifers” for infringing on their rights and sexuality. I try to see past their pain — what have they gone through to lead them to think this could be a proper choice or ‘the only choice’ for a woman…for a baby? Instead, I try to see their compassion, even if disordered.
The funny thing about abortion these days is that most women who choose it and those who defend these choices rationalize them with good-sounding intentions. In a way, this is a good thing, it means these women and their proponents aren’t monsters who care nothing for anyone but themselves. If we dig past all the politics and vitriol of abortion, we may see a tiny piece of common ground between the ‘pro-lifers’ and the ‘pro-choicers’; at the roots of both sides there is a genuine concern for the women and their babies.
Beyond these intentions, however, an absolute truth remains: the intentional yet unnecessary killing of an innocent human being can never really be justified. These tiny persons deserve life just as much, if not more, as any other person. From the moment of their conception to birth, a human fetus is as human as a human infant, a human child, a human adolescent, a human young adult, a human adult, and a human elderly “senior”. The only difference in each of those is which stage of development that human is currently in. A baby’s gender, genetic constitution, and the circumstances surrounding the conception of a new human being – whether they be planned, unplanned or even forced – do not alter his or her essence. A person is a person even if his or her mother wants her child or not. And even if she doesn’t love her baby, he or she has nothing but love for her; he’s her baby not some monster (or flood water) she needs rescued from.
Aside from the part about the babies (even though we shouldn’t have to say anything further), abortion is not real medicine. A new peer-reviewed medical study confirms “the reduction in the MMR [maternal mortality rate] is not related to the legal status of abortion.” The study also states:
- As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynecology, we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.
- We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.
- We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.
So if direct abortions are not really medically needed to save a woman’s life and the offending ‘objects’ of the abortions are actually living human beings deserving an equal chance at life outside of the womb, why are we doing this? After all the best intentions and arguments what’s left? Innocent babies and their mothers desperately in need of our help, our support (financially and emotionally), and our prayers.