Oh, how heavy my heart is right now. I have been researching abortion for weeks now, trying to understand truly the mindsets of those involved in both sides of the argument and to flush out my own thoughts more fully. Tonight I had planned to finish writing what I had started and stopped writing many times before. Then I ended up referred to an article entitled “If You Don’t Want a Baby, Just Don’t Have Sex?” I thought, “Wow, imagine someone actually suggesting that as a viable option.” Well, I was sadly mistaken in thinking that was the intent of the article. In essence their idea was that there is no need for us to connect sex and procreation anymore. I want to go over so many harmful things I noticed in the logic of this article, but I feel the need to let that be and focus on this: choices do have consequences. So many people seem to have actually managed to believe that we can truly choose the consequences of our actions all the time these days. Well, that is not how agency works. We are free to choose, but once the choice has been made, the results are typically out of our hands.
I am not so naive as to think that purely focusing on abstinence education will solve the problem of all unwanted pregnancies in the world. But I am also too much a realist to not recognize that when that aspect of sexual training and education is left out – the option of abstinence I mean – then the numbers of unwanted pregnancies will increase. I get so tired of the voices of the world trying to convince all humankind that we are too base of animals to choose to not have sex when the time is right for abstinence. I saw this in one discussion of abortion, “Telling teenagers to abstain when hormones are most active is just absurd.” Actually,this is exactly the best time to teach abstinence! Well, I am so grateful my parents told me to abstain! I had so many people mock me in high school for honestly and genuinely deciding to never have sex until I was married. They would tell me it was an impossible thing that I was seeking. Well, I did not take the opportunity to declare my virginity to them on graduation day, but I think I would have enjoyed the shock on their faces if I had. I think most of them would have passed out with the shock to have had many of my other friends that had made similar choices to mine that were also graduating high school as virgins, happy in our power over our own lives.
Those in the “pro-choice” movement keep talking about the wrong choices. We have to focus on truly empowering women, and men, to have real power in their lives, sexual and otherwise. Education in ALL the possibilities is absolutely key! That CANNOT exclude abstinence as a genuinely viable option! I know that many people will still choose to engage in sexual activity, and some even at young ages, but they should not be made to feel that if they choose not to, they are broken in some way. The pressure to engage in “recreational” sex comes from peers, the media of all varieties, and even from teachers, and our government itself. The first two may never stand a chance of going away, but there is no excuse for the last two on that list to be contributors in adding approval for and even encouragement for people to engage in something that causes so much disease, heartbreak, and even unwanted pregnancies.
To those that are reading this with the eyes of a “pro-life” advocate, allow me to mention that we must not pretend that abstinence is the only way to help prevent those pregnancies that might leave someone carrying a baby they don’t want. We must work to teach about the risks and benefits of all varieties of contraceptives. From calendaring to condoms and IUDs to surgical sterilization, there are options for those that choose to engage in sexual activity – married or not – but that wish to avoid having children. Please, let us not be blind to the real possibilities to help those that want the sex, but don’t want the pregnancies.
Now, I have heard so many term abortion as a form of “birth control.” Well, that is not what abortion is. Neither is that what a condom is. Condoms, IUDs, “the pill,” sterilizations, and so forth work to prevent conception. Hence the term contraception. Some contraceptive methods may also be able to claim the benefit of protecting from the contraction of certain diseases. However, no contraceptives can claim to control birth, since if they are doing their job, then no baby is formed in the first place. Abortion does not prevent birth either, it simply forces birth to occur in a way that kills the baby in the process or shortly thereafter. The baby may not be birthed whole, but in parts. Either way, the baby must some out of the mother, which is the definition of birth. So really, abortion is a birth inducer. I am not sure why the choice to focus on the term “birth control,” but is leads me to think it is another ploy to make it seem that women can have some overpowering control over the consequences of their actions.
When someone goes to Las Vegas and takes a bankroll with them, they knowingly take on the potential risk of losing it. They don’t want that consequence, but it is part of the reality. They may take precautions to protect themselves from that outcome. They may take their lucky rabbit’s foot or wear their lucky socks. They may count the cards. They may even have some kind of “foolproof” system for tracking every single possibility in the game they are playing and have only a one or two in a thousand chance at loosing. But as long as they hit the table in Vegas, there is a chance, no matter how much they reduce that chance. Perhaps they will truly be the luckiest and best player ever and not loose a dime, but even then, they know as well as everyone else, it only takes one distraction in their concentration of executing their foolproof plan to have all of that dumped on its head. If they did run into that one in a thousand goof up and loose their whole bankroll, what would their options be? Would it work to have them simply walk to the cashier’s desk and demand to walk away like nothing had ever transpired – full bankroll in hand? Not likely. What if they simply shot the dealer and walked away with bankroll in hand? So not going to be OK with that situation either.
Why then is it OK for women and men to choose to have sex, no matter how many precautions they have taken, and expect someone else to make up for their “mistake” if they do end up pregnant? Why would the world put a stamp of approval on murder as a means to get out of the situation? Especially if the one being murdered is innocent of any wrong? “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil…” (Isaiah 5:20). In essence, we as a society are trying to place a positive stamp of approval on the murder of innocent children for the sake of parental selfishness. At the same time we look on self control leading to abstinence as some kind of harmfully unrealistic ambition. Wow! I can only imagine the tears our Father in Heaven sheds over such a state.
Now, there are some “But what about…?” questions that inevitably come up in any discussion of abortion that I wish to discuss. First is the question of life. Is a baby that is yet unborn actually alive? How big must it be to be considered alive? And so on goes the question about the life of the baby. To that I answer with a few thoughts. I have heard this phrase almost word for word dozens of times and find it somewhat unrelated, but still important in this discussion. “If scientists found a two-celled organism on Mars, it would be hailed as a discovery of life and touted as one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our time.” I guess that means that the two-celled development that begins at conception better be called life too. Also, upon conception, new DNA is started. It is unique from both the mother’s and father’s DNA. It is not a simple extension of the mother’s body, it is separate and new. But, does that constitute life that is eligible for protection under the constitution of the United States of America?
The opening of the Constitution says, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Golly, every time I read that, I simply get goosebumps! But let me take some of the tings in the midst of those beautiful words and relate them to the topic of abortion. I want to hold off on the phrase “establish Justice” for the moment, because I want to answer that in the next question. Next comes “insure domestic Tranquility.” Some may argue that adding a baby or even a pregnancy can disrupt or destroy the parent’s domestic tranquility, which may be true enough. However, there is absolutely nothing tranquil about an abortion. I don’t know how many of you have seen an abortion, but it is horrific and utterly destructive and violent. Nope, no tranquility. As for “provide for the common defence” goes, while a baby may disrupt the tranquility of a mother or father’s life, generally they are not in any danger from the situation and are not in need of being defended. The child is completely defenseless and most certainly is in need of defending. The numbers of abortions performed have often been related to the horrors of what Hitler and others have done. Surely participating in so many innocent deaths is not in harmony with the Constitution’s call for providing for the common defense – common, not just for big people, but for all. I think “promote the general Welfare” is much like the item about domestic tranquility, though I am led to believe that this welfare is not simply physical welfare, but includes emotional and spiritual welfare as well. Surely the general welfare of the babies is harmed, but for many women, abortion is highly damaging to their emotional and spiritual well being. Some of the various potential side effects of abortion can also do incredible damage to the physical welfare of the mother – even up to the point of death.
Then comes the biggie. This is the one that the idea of the “pro-choice” movement must surely depend upon most directly. It sets out to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” I have had someone tell me that by supporting “Pro-life” principles, I am in essence sentencing those women carrying unwanted babies to a life of slavery for at least those nine moths, and for life if she raises the child herself. I suppose I can understand that notion, since I know there are surely days that I feel like a slave to my kids and did on occasion while pregnant as well. However, this was a self elected slavery. It is my indentured servitude that I give in exchange for being able to receive the amazing rewards of motherhood. For a woman that did not want to become pregnant, I can see them saying, “But I didn’t want to have this indenture.” To that I would respond that while they gambled to get into their indenture rather than simply signing up with full expectation of what was coming, they still played the game. They made their choice, made in freedom, to have sex which opens the door to potential indentured-ness. Once they received their payment, the sex that they wanted, they are no longer free to rescind on the other half of the gambled for agreement. Part of the blessing of liberty includes the resulting consequences – for good or ill – that some from the choices we are free to make. I also must point out the end of that phrase does not end with securing those blessing for ourselves, it takes the additional step to secure them for our posterity. That is exactly what the child in the womb is and they have had their right to liberty secured by the constitution every bit as much as any of the rest of us. I never saw a disclaimer that negated the Constitution for everyone but the most helpless and innocent among us.
Now, no doubt some would raise the question against my comparison to an indentured servitude in the case of rape or incest. Surely they did not voluntarily become indentured by their own accord, but by the choice and actions of another person. Even though the percentage of abortions done for those reasons are relatively few, I have often struggled with this topic myself. I have honestly vacillated about the answer for this. I know that I would still not choose abortion, but can see that the whole harm to a person’s domestic tranquility is even bigger than it would be otherwise. I had always considered the instance of rape or incest as somehow “exceptions” to the wrong-ness of abortion. And I can very much see how many could see them that way. However, I was watching a YouTube and I finally found my place of peace in that as well (as strange as might be from some random YouTube video). He pointed out that we would not take someone that was not responsible for someone else’s crime and put them to death for it – at least not if we knew they were innocent. That is what abortion in those tragic cases represents. It is killing a child because its father broke the law. We would not do that with any other circumstance or their would be outcry of “foul play.” If my father did something worth of a death sentence, they would never kill me in his place. And while carrying her attacker’s child may cause additional hardship on the mother at what is already a devastating time, avoiding inflicting additional pain to her does not trump the right of the baby to live. My heart aches for anyone that would have to endure such a horrific experience, but by giving another person the chance at life they may find some level of healing, that is if those helping her through the experience can help her to see it in that light, rather than focusing all of their energies on blaming the child for the mother’s pain. Let blame lay with the guilty party and let both of the other people involved come out better and stronger and alive in spite of the wretchedness of the father and the situation. It is truly amazing to see how someone can take something so evil and allow it to be turned to become something so beautiful as new life.
But what if that new life can only come at the expense of the life or health of the mother? That is the only “What if?” question that I feel deserves a slightly different possibility list. Allow me to express why. First, if the health of the mother is compromised, but not actually causing the danger of death, then, live with it. Both mother and baby can LIVE with it. I don’t say it like that because I don’t think it’s hard. I’ve been on bed-rest with other kids, a job, and a home to worry about, but in order to protect the life I was responsible for, bed-rest and extra doctors visits seem like such a small thing. If the mother is so sick that for some reason the life of the mother is in eminent danger, then it seems like there would be a responsibility to carry the baby as long as possible and then attempt, with all the best possible efforts available, to deliver and save the baby as well as the mother. It is amazing how early a baby can actually be born and still survive so well. There is no excuse to carry a baby to six months and abort the pregnancy instead of trying to save that baby’s life. If holding out as long as possible and then delivering the baby with the intent to help it to live is does not provide a long enough time in the womb for the baby’s survival, then perhaps we could work to spend money and time developing ways to do surrogacy at that point. Or even work to develop medical methods to simulate the womb to care for those babies. That would be a much more humane use of time and funds than spending money on performing and perfecting abortions. But, just like there have been mothers in war-torn areas that had to choose to permanently silence a baby to keep herself and the rest of the people around her safe, perhaps I can see in those very rare circumstances having abortion be an option to consider with the deepest consideration by all those that will be affected. Just like a mother in such a deplorable situation due to war, the aborting mother will still have to live with the knowledge of what the choice to abort means for her and for her baby. That is a burden that must be considered, as well as the life of the baby and the mother, when deciding to abort to protect the mother’s life. And protecting the mother’s style of life, does not count here.
Now comes another “What if?” question. What about when the mother truly does not want the baby? Is that kind to the baby to be brought into life with a mother that does not want him/her? Absolutely! At least, absolutely when the consideration of adoption covers the tragedy there. I have a very strong and personal idea about this thought. I have far too many friends that have waited and waited and waited to be able to have the chance to adopt a baby because they so want to be parents. All of those dear friends would be grateful to the core for some mother to give them the chance to love and raise a baby that would otherwise be unwanted. How useless and senseless an idea it is to suggest that just because they are not wanted, those babies should die. Then rather then having protective services come in and help kids that are being neglected or abused, perhaps they should simply come in and kill them instead. Right? No! However, it is not any less repugnant to act like abortion is not only an option, but a perfectly appropriate option.
I guess that if I had to sum this all up I would simply have to say, I love babies. I love life and do not believe that anyone has the right to take another life unless it is to protect their own life—not lifestyle—or the lives of others. I think that the very best summary is provided right in our own Declaration of Independence. “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (I didn’t notice a “But…” clause in there excluding those that are still residing in a womb. Did you?)