Today is Blog for Choice Day and posts are popping up everywhere in support of Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose.
The labels that fly around show the biases of those who wield them.Â I could be called “pro-life”, “anti-abortion”, “anti-choice”, “crazy conservative religious wacko” or any number of names due to the fact that with the ability to choose, I believe there comes a moral responsibility.
I believe that one of the greatest gifts we have in this life is the agency to choose our own actions.Â Before we choose, we need to think about the natural consequences our actions will have on us and those around us.
At a pretty early age, I learned what happens when a man and woman engage in sexual intimacy.Â At a slightly older age, the mysteries of birth control were explained to me, along with their effectiveness rates at inhibiting pregnancy and STDs.
It is every woman’s choice what she does with her own body.Â If she chooses to overeat, smoke 10 paks a day, run a marathon, or have sex with another person, then she has the right to make that choice and deal with the consequences.
When her choices put her in a position to have a dramatic influence over another person’s life or death, she suddenly needs to act more responsibly.Â If her husband quits his job and lays around all day expecting to be supported, does she have the right to cap him off so that he’ll no longer be a drain on her finances?Â If her 18-month-old turns out to be a destructo and a nuisance and she can no longer go out clubbing every night, can she toss him down the garbage chute and move on with her life?
Technically, a woman does not have the legal right to choose either of these things.Â What if the baby was only 3 months old and had colic?Â Still not legal.Â What if he was in utero and just starting to suck his thumb?Â Many people would like this to be legal and at times it has been.Â What if his little heart and brain were still developing at an amazing rate and he was completely defenseless?Â Bing!Â At this point, our country considers it okay to terminate the baby’s life so that the mother can move on with hers.
What if the woman didn’t make the choice to have sex, such as in cases of rape or incest?Â Of course she should be given the choice to recover her choice that was taken away by force.Â What if the pregnancy puts the mother’s life at risk?Â Of course she should have the option of terminating her pregnancy in self-defense.Â Either of these circumstances would be agonizing but the mother should have the option to save her life or reclaim her body after it was taken over by violence.
Having carried 2 children to term, I cannot imagine thinking its okay to kill a child of any age simply as a form of belated birth control, because the timing just isn’t right or to avoid putting a crimp in my lifestyle.
I think of wonderful people like my sister who anxiously wait to adopt a child when millions are snuffed in a quick and easy procedure each year.Â The idea that the only alternative to abortion for the accidentally pregnant is a lifetime of unwanted motherhood is absurd.Â There are so many choices available.
Personally, I choose to be responsible for my own actions and accept the consequences that they produce.Â I choose to love and protect the most innocent and defenseless among us rather than subjugating their rights because they’re too little to organize a protest rally.
I agree with you and appreciate hearing such a cogent, well-reasoned argument against abortion. However, I guess I’m even more of a religious wacko because I can’t agree with killing a baby even if it was conceived through violence. It is not the child’s fault if the father is a horrible person. In those cases, the mother does have other options available, as you pointed out. What to do in case of a risk to the mother’s health, I don’t know. I personally would trust God to be the keeper of my life rather than kill my child. But that’s about the most difficult situation I can imagine and you can’t compel others to see things the same way you do. Thanks again for your post.
The Daring One says
Thanks Jen. I honestly don’ t know what I’d do in that situation. I can’t imagine ever being able to abort a child but I like to leave that circumstance open. It’s such a hard thing.
My senior project in college was a film about rape and sexual assault. I spent a lot of time talking to survivors and counselors and it is such a charged issue. I can’t imagine what it would be like to go nine months carrying around the evidence of that violence.
Like I said, I can’t see myself personally having an abortion either.
Mary C says
That was such an eloquently written post. I could not agree with you more! Everything you said was so well put. Thanks for writing this and putting it out there. I can not imagine how gut wrenching it would be to be a victim of sexual assault and have yet another choice taken away from you, but for people who just aren’t prepared to deal with the consequences of choices they make for themselves…arrgh! Anyway, well said.
Coming out of lurkdom to commend you, DYM. Well written. I couldn’t agree more and couldn’t have found the words to put it so eloquently. Thank you.
I whole-heartedly agree, and I have to say it really bothers me that you are being “encouraged” to post about a women’s right to choose, as if being a woman automatically makes you “pro-choice”. I have noticed that in women’s magazines too, the assumption is there. I would think that being a woman, especially a mother, would almost automatically make you “pro-life”. I remember with my first pregnancy how much stronger my conviction in that regard became. It has been strenghthened with each pregnancy. I can’t imagine feeling detached enough from the life inside to be willing to “terminate” it. As you said, there may instances when there was no choice in the first place, and that is a different matter.
Anyway, you did a great job writing exactly what my feelings are. Thanks.
Rocks in my Dryer says
Very, very well-said, my friend.
I was absolutely against abortion until I was 19 and pregnant. It is easy to say what is the right thing to do and what is responsible before you are in the situation. I chose to place my baby for adoption and have spent a lot of time encouraging other women to make the same choice. Being pro-choice doesn’t have to mean you choose abortion, it just means poeple should have a chance to make a decision they can live with. Adoption isn’t easy, abortion isn’t easy, raising a child isn’t easy, even in the best of situations. Pro-choice, to me, is about supporting other women in a dificult time, regardless of what they chose to do.
Lisa (qtpies7) says
Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
God gives us a choice and tells us what to choose and why!
As for when a woman is raped, having the baby actually helps heal a woman. Abortion adds trauma on top of truama. I know a woman who runs a Crisis preg. center, and she was raped before you could really get an abortion, so she was forced to have him. It took a long time, but the healing she got from having that child was something she never regrets. Her son looks exactly like her attacker. Adoption may be a better choice, though.
But only 1% of rapes result in pregnancy, its not that common.
I know what I would do if I had to choose my life or the babies, but I can say that I’m sure I have no idea how hard it would actually be. I’m committed to life.
But I am also committed to choice. Even though I disagree with abortion with every fiber of my being for any reason whatsoever.
Your choice ends where anothers choice is snuffed out. And even if your choice was snuffed out, it doesn’t enable you to do the same. But I completely understand the feeling that it will help for get the horrid rape, but it doesn’t. Doing a time of volunteering in a crisis preg center will show you that abortion leaves its own trauma, and the rape trauma isn’t helped at all.
You know that you have my admiration and respect, both personally and as a writer. This post is well-crafted, both in opinion and tone, and I applaud you for that.
I don’t happen to agree with you; to slightly change how Abbey put it, above, I think that being pro-choice OUGHT to be about supporting other women in a difficult time.
Personally, I feel that once you (that’s the generic “you”) start deciding which situations are termination-worthy, you’re on a slippery slope that ends with a painful collision, most likely with that whole pesky separation of church and state thing. Abortion after rape is okay? What about abortion after the father turns out to be an abusive bully who threatens to kill the woman if she gives birth? If we draw lines in the sand based on some hierarchy of morals, the waters are quickly muddied.
I’ve never had an abortion. I don’t think I ever could’ve (past tense, as I can no longer conceive and it’s a moot point). But I fear living in a society where abortion is unavailable, because yes, I believe that the alternative can sometimes be much worse. And I would never presume to know the right choice for someone else.
We’re all working out our own salvation, are we not? I appreciate your opinion. I believe you will, in turn, hear and allow me mine. What I love about you is that I think we can agree to disagree and THAT, unfortunately, is all too rare.
Thanks for posting this.
The Daring One says
I have never had a conversation about this topic where either person has changed their opinion, but on rare occasions, I think we have come out of it able to understand each other a little better.
Mir, I love you. Abbey, thank you for your candor. I can sense the sincerity in what you both say and appreciate the feeling behind it. Here’s my problem when we talk about lines in the sand. We all draw a line somewhere, a line that says when it’s okay to end a human life. It’s just a different line. My line starts earlier than yours.
I hope that no mother would support a woman’s right to kill or even abuse her children. This is a line everyone agrees on. I think much of the disagreement over a woman’s right to choose comes with the definition of what she’s choosing. You wouldn’t defend a woman’s right to molest or kill her child. You may support and love a woman who had done that but you wouldn’t defend her right to choose that action.
If I have the choice of defending an adult’s freedom vs. an infant’s life, I’d have to say I choose the infant’s life. I think we get to a scary place in society when the strong and mighty are allowed unlimited freedom at the expense of the small and weak.
Amen, amen, amen. Your post and your responses are excellent. Mine’s up too. Love you.
Heather from One Woman's World says
I’m about in tears. Thank you so much for writing this.
I’ve set a link to this post at my site. It’s a wonderful post and I hope more people read it.
I blogged about this tonight too…
I am really hesitating to post this, but I think it comes down to the fact that we are human beings, with an imperfect nature. I don’t think we will ever have a clear understanding of how to decide who gets to live and who does not. Politically speaking, I personally feel this is not something that should be legislated at any government level, state or federal. Just because a law written by imperfect human beings makes one decision or the other wrong or right does not make it right in the eyes of God. Does that make sense? Am I straddling a fence?
Great, great post. You really captured my beliefs in your thoughtful writing. Thank you.
tracy m (dandelion mama) says
I love this post. Very well articulated. I wish I had written it- but then I often feel that way about the things you say…
The part that slays me, is that if a pregnant woman is attacked and killed and her fetus dies as well, the attacker is charged with a double homicide. Is our legal system saying that only a wanted fetus’s death is homicide? I can easily imagine the day that a court battle ensues over whether or not the fetus had been wanted, or was slated for abortion at the clinic the woman was on her way to when she was killed. Y’know… “it was really just a single homicide yer Honor!” What a slippery slope of defining one’s humanity based on one’s desired-ness.
Frankly, the slope is already well greased and our society is on it, and it scares the ever living poo out of me.
Farm Wife says
Thank you for writing this. I am 17 weeks along today. I have the right to abort my baby without my husband’s say so. That is my choice. That choice is terrifying to me. It saddens me that there are people out there who would label the precious life growing inside me something other than “baby.” This little heart beat was strong at the doctor’s today. It’s as strong as mine. Why should I have the right to stop it?
I know this has been and will contine to be a hard issue to deal with & I thank you for standing for what you belive & sharing it with the rest of us.
I hesistate to write this also. I love the way you wrote your post. I also don’t completely agree. I like to think that I am in control of my body. Like you said, if I want to smoke 15 packs of cigarettes a day and die of cancer, so be it. A life is forming inside of (key word) MY body. I have my personal opinion of when I think the child is considered a life but I don’t think that my opinion should be forced upon everyone. I think women should be given their right to choose whether they want to allow that life to grow inside their body or not. I have seen the effects of children whose mother didn’t want to allow the baby to grow inside them. They do drugs, excessively drink alcohol and have seriously messed up babies.
An Ordinary Mom says
AMEN! What a remarkably written post! Thanks for voicing my feelings exactly.
“I choose to love and protect the most innocent and defenseless among us rather than subjugating their rights because they’re too little to organize a protest rally.”
Wow! Very well written. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.. I couldn’t agree more.
The Daring One says
You don’t ever need to hesitate when you’re sharing your sincere and respectful opinion. I understand the logic behind this thinking and yet I am left feeling that it’s not just the mother’s body that is being affected. The child’s body is being affected as well. The mother’s body and life will forever be changed by the pregnancy, but in most cases, she had some choice in causing the pregnancy to occur. The child has no choice in what happens to him and abortion has the most final of effects on his life.
As far as mothers with unwanted pregnancies abusing their body and the baby’s body, I think the situation should be similar to women with unwanted children who abuse or neglect themselves and their children. The children should be protected from the women who are harming them. In a perfect society, we’d never have to deal with these issues.
Since a perfect society is not what we have, I’m glad that there are people willing to frankly discuss the effects our decisions have on other people.
I think I’m with Liz (#16) but I don’t really think that it’s fence straddling. A long time ago (in another lifetime practically) I had one late period and wrestled with “what should I do?” I was living with a man, we were using birth control and I spent a few days wondering before reality hit me. If I was willing to have sex with him, there was no way I was going to give up (let alone abort) a baby we made. Period. And as soon as I stopped freaking out, my period showed up, naturally.
I only tell the story because it is how I came to my current position that making abortion illegal, no matter how many good hearted and logical arguments there are for that position, would have denied me this chance to really understand myself. I could never, ever abort a baby I was carrying. And I never would have known that about myself without staring it in the face.
I have a lot more to say so I wont hijack your blog, I’ll just sit down and write my own post. Thanks for bringing up this topic so thoughtfully and gracefully.
Your view is precisely how I feel, but stated much more eloquently than I could ever put it. Thanks for writing this.
The Wooden Porch says
This was written so well! I agree with you.
I’ve just now read your blog. I’ve seen you listed here and there and just about everywhere and now I can see why. Your writing is superb. I’m bloglining you right now.
I love this post and am so glad to see there are other women out there that are against abortion. This is such a heated topic so it’s not often I find a forum where the posts don’t turn into attacks. In school I did a research paper on Roe v Wade and abortion. It was very interesting to find that the arguments for abortion are often the opposite when I looked at the research. There was the argument to stop “dangerous” back alley abortions. In fact injuries and death related to abortion have increased substantially because the number of abortions has increased so substantially. The incidence of child abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse increases when a woman has had an abortion. The rate of depression increases. I think this “choice” that is supposedly so liberating for women is very dangerous and destructive. It breaks my heart that we live in a society that has made killing a defenseless person a legally and socially acceptable form of birth control.
Pam in Utah says
One of my children was diagnosed with a large hole in her heart prenatally, and I was insensitively encouraged to abort the fetus, as there was, statistically, a very good chance that that indicated other problems, and not much time to figure it out before it was “too late” to legally abort. To shorten the story, it was a very hard time, we did not have an abortion, the hole in the heart healed by the time the babe was born, and she is my sweetest, kindest, gentlest, child who always remembers to hug me and tell me she loves me every night. She is the one who comforts me when down, and she is my gift from Heaven. (I love my other wonderful kids too, btw!) I am so glad I didn’t refuse that gift!!!!!!!!
Great debate. You ladies are very well written and very diplomatic about the discussion. I’m coming out of lurkdom also saying that it does need to be a choice. I have put a child up for adoption when I was pregnant at 15. I also am an educated women and mother of three children ages 5, 3, and 9 month whom I love dearly. I think that we actually need to work on giving the children who exist in our society more a voice before the issue of giving a fetus a voice comes into play. Women abuse their bodies and the fetus while pregnant and that usually doesn’t change once they go through labor and go home with a baby. Our society gives the adults rights instead of saving the children. Parents destroy children everyday when they are outside the womb and our society does little to prevent it. I believe that it should be a choice. The benefit is for the unborn fetus as much as for the adult who may not want a child. We all know that adoption is not an alternative that is looked upon kindly – although if this changed my opinion may change. To many people talk about “giving a baby away” and how terrible that is – we need more support for the choice of adoption.
Oh, Amen DYM. Amen. And how very eloquently you stated it all.
I agree with Jen though. I don’t think we have the right to abort a baby in a rape case. Adoption is such a viable, ready option, and there are so many wonderful couples out there just begging to be selected to become parents.
When you first mentioned choice and consequences, I immediately thought of the emotional/physical consequences of such a choice: the years of guilt that are carried afterwards, the missing of aborted child years later, the burden of trying to conceive again later in life only to find out that you cannot carry a baby any longer…
But then I immediately ran to the ultimate consequence, the time when we all stand before God and account for our actions. I’ve enough to account for in my life; I don’t want to have murder or not protecting the helpless or innocent (as he commands us to do) on top of all my other sins.
grafted branch says
Abortion in the case of rape or incest? That doesn’t make sense. The baby is still a baby.
It would be a tragic, difficult situation for the mother, for sure — but this life includes tragedy and difficulty sometimes. And then again, sometimes the tragedy and difficulty that the Lord calls one to, is for the child (deformation/illness).
The situation I’ve struggled over is abortion of a non-viable fetus for the life of the mother (ectopic pregnancy). It may seem like a no-brainer, but when you face it, it’s not. It’s God’s work to create a life — does He ever give His permission for me to end it? Can’t He (and hasn’t He) performed miracles according to His will?
I continue to seek a true answer from His Word.
This is a good discussion. Kathyrn, a well written post that I totally agree with. And though by the time I post this, most people will have moved on to another post, I just want to say this, because it has not been mentioned.
Okay, so I have “choices” and it’s “my” body. Fine. But I think what women don’t realize or think about is that there is a guilt felt by women who abort their babies. Because they are (often) selfishly denying life to another person. They are killing an unborn child. I think that committing a “crime” like that will haunt you for the rest of your life. And yet we so rarely talk about this aspect or even present it to women who are considering abortion.
I mean, sure you can have the abortion and move on. But I don’t know that you can ever really “move on” from something like that.
Great Post. Thanks for taking a stand. I do have to agree with others, though, that rape/incest does not justify an abortion. Do we grant women the right to kill the perpetrator? Why do we allow women to kill the innocent child? Why should the child pay with his life for the crime of his father? We must continually land on the most important question: What is it that is in her womb? If it is life indeed, then there should be no exceptions.
I commend you DYM and others for being able to voice your thoughts, ideas and opinions so well. I agree with what DYM has said. Recently our state of SD had the opportunity to vote on making abortion illegal in our state. I struggled with this. I agree that abortion is wrong, but I wouldn’t want the back alley illegal abortions to come back either. I totally agree with what you said about the choices a women has. One of the biggest arguments against this law in SD was there were no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother. I did not neccesarily agree with this, but how many abortions are actually performed for those reasons. Not many. This means that abortion, in most cases, is being used as a form of birth control. Ultimately I did vote in favor of this law, but it did not pass. I believe we must first begin by educating our children and young people to make choices responsibly and accept the consequences for our choices.
I very much enjoyed this post.
I guess I’m commenting because I disagree with some of the previous posters. I couldn’t look a rape victim in the face and tell her she couldn’t have an abortion. I would hope that she would choose adoption, or raising the child, but it’s none of my business what victims of assault decide. When her agency was violated, that removed my opinion from the situation.
Thoroughly Mormon Millie says
Wow – this was an amazing post and I’m so glad you took the oportunity on a so-called “pro choice” day to put something else out there that was worth reading.
“I couldn’t look a rape victim in the face and tell her she couldn’t have an abortion” is exactly how I feel. What a tragedy, either way. I absolutely would not tell my just-raped daughter, who found out she was pregnant, that she must carry the baby to term. However, if I were raped and conceived as a result, I absolutely would not hesitate to give birth to that baby, and allow it to be raised in a home where it would be loved and valued. I can’t think of anything more healing than returning good for evil.
Alise (#30)’s comment made me realize that we really don’t put adoption on the pedestal it deserves. I’ve resolved to start being an advocate for adoption however and whenever I can.
I’m coming in late on this topic since I just found your blog – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed “catching up” on some of your most recent posts.
Here though, on this topic I’m stuck and can’t move on without commenting even though I know everyone else has moved on.
So many of the comments mentioned the effects of abortion on the woman – thoughts, opinions, knowledge gained from research on this issue but I didn’t see any first hand information here.
So here I am
I always said that I was against abortion except in incidents of rape or incest or maybe to save the mother’s life. But that was before I got pregnant when I was 20 and unmarried. All of that changed in my mind – the truth didn’t change – but what I truly believed changed and I acted on what I truly believed.
I truly believed that I had no other options, that I would be disowned by my family, my church and my friends. So I chose my own life and my own convenience and my own reputation over the life of my own child – that’s pretty disgusting but that is what abortion is.
The anger, the depression, the guilt and the shame almost destroyed me, nearly destroyed my marriage and ruined so many of my closest relationships.
After an abortion the baby is dead – that life is over but the baby isn’t the only one who dies. Slowly, that mother also dies little by little, day by day she dies spiritually, emotionally, and sometimes even physically. Abortion is essentially murder but it is also slow suicide.
I am thankful that I have not only been forgiven but Jesus has also healed all of those wounds left by that choice that was mine to make.
I believe in the sovereignty of God, I believe that He is the creator of life no matter what circumstances in which that life was created. To heap the consequences of abortion on top of even those most difficult circumstances is not the merciful thing to do, it is the most cruel thing to do.
i could write volumes in response, but i will say that i agree on every point. i see it this way – yes, we as women have a choice every day, and we excercise it. to me, the choice is not “do i abort this baby?” the choice is “do i have sex today?” the act of having sex physically opens your body up to becoming pregnant, period. we know this because no birth control method is touted as 100% effective. so there is a chance, every time. that is the choice. when God wants to create life, He does. and that is where our choice ends.
When I was 28 weeks along with Kristen, the doctor told me I had tested positive for rubella – I had never had a sick moment in this pregnancy. They told me it was not too late to terminate the pregnancy. At that moment, Kristen kicked me as if to say, “I’m okay, Mommy. Don’t kill me!” It was a defining moment in our lives as we decided that there was no way on this earth we would “terminate” our little baby, no matter what. A few minutes later they did another blood test and we spent an agonizing week-end waiting for the results – a lab error! Amen to your well crafted post!
I always have wondered, where are the women from BEFORE Roe v. Wade who had children they didn’t want? Why aren’t they rushing the talk shows, dragging in middle aged children by the ear and saying ‘This is the baby I didn’t want! Can I kill him now?”
I think that abortion ‘rights’ send the message that nothing in the womans’ life is going to improve. Isn’t that sad? Like, life is hopeless if you don’t get to have it exactly the way you want it.
That’s just stupid.
Whatever happened to a woman’s right to Hope? To Hope that no matter what happens to her, there is more to this life than getting what we think we deserve.
LOVED this post. And, what gracious commenters you have!