Monday, 2 August 2010


Abortion. The great divider. Pro choice vs. Pro life. Both have their beliefs, their values, and their ideals. But two very different ways of dealing with the debate. Such a sensitive topic. Even the word "Abortion" can bring people to great emotional reactions. I know some people who can’t even hear the word.

I'm pro choice, although I doubt I'll ever be able to have an abortion. Not because I believe God will punish me, or because I feel I'm murdering a child, or because of the negative reactions doing so may garner me. Because I fear doing so would mean I would lose out on my only chance to have a child. Who knows what the future holds. I may only ever get pregnant once.

I believe that some people and their situation don’t lend them to a life of parenthood. Through some twist, be it faulty birth control, rape, they find themselves pregnant and unable to deal with the responsibility of having a child. Or maybe an illness means that following an accidental pregnancy to its close will cause the mother serious illness, or even death. And please don’t think I’m exaggerating there. I know someone whose girlfriend found she was pregnant; elated she went for tests to find that keeping the baby could kill her.

Of course there is the option of giving your baby up for adoption. How many of you would be able to carry a baby to term, give birth to it, and then give it up without serious distress? Giving up a baby could have serious issues for young women, women in already high stressed situations, women already on the edge. I admit, it’s a more palatable option. The baby lives, and goes to a loving family that so wants a child. But what of the mother and the emotional fallout for her?

I’m by no means saying that abortions are free of stresses and emotional turmoil. It is, believe me, I know people who have gone through the wringer because of aborting an unplanned pregnancy. But the option to not go through nine months of bonding with a child you won’t keep, surely that is better? What makes the emotional pain of abortion so bad, often isn’t getting rid of a child, but the fallout from the people close to them. The judgment, the guilt laid on them, the persecution, the hate. The judgment of strangers.

Now don’t for a second think that I stand behind people who use abortions as a form of birth control. They abuse a system designed for those in need, and give a bad name to women in dire straights, all because they don’t feel like being safe and using protection. Why should so many women, who through no fault of their own end up pregnant, be treated with distain because of a few who think it’s OK to leave their bodies open to infection and pregnancy instead of taking proper precautions? Why should a rape victim be treated the same as a women who has had 4 abortions in a year instead of using a condom?

While I believe that every person is within their rights to believe what they will about this debate, I know many people both side of the abortion fence, I don’t believe they should force their opinions on women who are already upset enough about going through with an abortion by picketing clinics, hurling abuse, wielding signs that depict Gods wrath or pictures of aborted fetuses. It’s unfair, and as most protesters are Christian, shows a distinct lack of grace that Christians are meant to be filled with.

How do you think a woman who has been told that she has to have an abortion or risk her own life would feel seeing a picture like this:

Or this:

Or this:

Why should women be forced to push their way through throngs of screaming people hurling hate at them, get kicked, slapped, have their hair pulled, just to exercise their freedom of choice? To do what they think is right? To make the only choice they feel their situation allows them?

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the views of pro lifers. I do. I understand that every life is a gift. I understand that you feel that by aborting a fetus a woman is throwing away one of Gods creations. I understand where pro lifers stand, and if I hadn’t seen first hand how sometimes abortion is the only viable option, I would probably agree. But I don’t. And I think that maybe more tact is needed. That people shouldn’t be treated as criminals and murderers for doing the best they can.

Some States and countries have abortions as illegal. Something I cannot abide. I think that everyone should have the option to do as they see fit with their body. Making abortions illegal only serves to push women into dangerous “back ally” abortionists that risk their lives. Unfortunately I can hear the cries of “Good! They get what they deserve!” from some pro lifers and that upsets me.

I’m not tarring all pro lifers with the same brush. I know many who are wonderful people who don’t abuse or picket people that make the big choice they don’t agree with. My friend Jon is one of them. But there are so many people out there whose viciousness knows no bounds. Clinic workers have been attacked, doctors killed, clinics vandalized. None of which is necessary. None of which is Christian. All of which shows such a lack of good will and grace that it makes me want to cry out for the world and the place it’s in.

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