As a mom who spent a little more than a trimester of pregnancy being very sick, I understand how taxing carrying a life can be. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, before I discovered I was pregnant, I thought that I was dying or at the very least, deathly ill. In fact, the night I took my pregnancy test, I was only doing it to rule out pregnancy as a possible factor to why I felt so horrible and strange. I had a fever, chills, weakness in my limbs, walking from the car to the house was a struggle. I had no desire to eat, which, if you know me, is highly unlike me, but I had every desire to throw up repeatedly.
Once I discovered I was pregnant, while happy and overjoyed, I was still extremely sick. In hindsight, clearly I was being a bit melodramatic when it came to the whole dying thing, but there was an impact on my body and at the time that pain and sickness was both extreme and foreign to me. Many days I would lay in bed, unable to eat or do much of anything. My midwife had given me all of the approved nausea meds for pregnant women; nothing worked. Even the medication chemotherapy patients get didn’t work for me. In my first month I lost weight and over the next few months my doctor and I were just happy I held on to the weight I had left.
Now taking all that into consideration, the physical and mental toll that struggle had on me, I know it was the love of my unborn child and my faith in God that got me through. I could not imagine what that experience would be like if I didn’t have those things. What would the impact be on me if I didn’t have a love for and a desire to have my child? What if for whatever I felt I could not or should not have this child? Would I have made it through the same ? Would I have been able to deal physically? Mentally? Emotionally? I can’t imagine it.
Anti-abortion bills like the ones in Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Georgia, Utah, Mississippi, Ohio, and Arkansas are demanding women do more than just imagine it! In some states the law is so extreme that if a woman has an abortion they can face harsh penalties, like life in prison! In Alabama, a child, even one who conceives against their will may be further punished by having to go through full-term pregnancy. Even if she gives the baby up after the birth, the emotional and physical pain that the child would go through could leave her traumatized for life, both children could be traumatized for life.
While I understand the desire to protect the life of those who cannot protect themselves, I am conflicted as to whether the protection of the unborn life should be at the expense of the life of another being, whether that is harming their freedom or quality of life. What kind of life do we expect the mother or that child to have?
By the American standard of Pro-life, I am unclear at what begins to define “life”. I am not speaking in the scientific sense of the word, like when does life begin. What I am referring to is the quality of your time here on Earth. If we have such a concern with “life” then is abortion really the place we want to begin the fight for it?
Abortion is a symptom of bigger problems and to address it with such brute force without addressing the underlying and mitigating factors that cause it, is to be dismissive of people. One could even argue that abortion only exists because of the disregard we can have for the lives that already exist. If life occurred for you as it does for many of those who have in some way been disregarded by our society, would abortion seem like a viable option for you? If we lived in a society that looked to make sure every mother and child was fully supported would the abortion rate be so high?
Poverty is one of these factors that plays into the abortion rates. Some women who have abortions would love to have a baby, but they literally cannot afford to have a child and survive. According to an article on MarketWatch.com “nearly half of women who have abortions live below the poverty level.” I have personally had conversations with women who have had abortions because of poverty. For these women, an abortion isn’t the easy way out, its not their preference, but it is the only way they see for survival.
There are children being shot down everyday by police and killed by violent individuals in our society. The perpetrators of these crimes are too often getting away with it. Are black teens and young adults less valuable than unborn ones?
There are children that are currently being kept in cages, 6 of which have died that we know of. Where is the outrage and extreme laws to protect them? Are Mexican and other immigrant babies lives worth less than the unborn ones?
There are 16.2 million children who live in homes that lack the means to get food on a regular basis. This is in the United States! Is the unknown potential of these children not so much our concern anymore?
In the first 23 weeks of 2018 their were 21 school shootings, 180 days of school and about 113 children killed. If the guns are what is killing our children then it’s okay? It makes more sense to regulate women, who haven’t been known to kill in the masses than it does to regulate guns?
A Loaded Conversation
I could go on and on about this as I am sure most of you could. This topic can be very polarizing and honestly a bit confusing. It is hard to just be one sided on this. Being pro-choice certainly doesn’t mean you are against babies, you are just for a woman’s right to choose. Being pro-life doesn’t mean you are against mothers, you are just for a child’s right to exist. In that argument, things can get tense and very extreme. People who are in the middle can find themselves pulled to one side because the opposing goes too far.
It is easy to make rules regulating how someone should do something when you are not in that person’s shoes. There is more to having a baby than just pushing it out. It is taxing on the body, on the mind, on the time, on the finances and so much more. Can we consider the possibility of remedying all the other factors that are broken in this system rather than attacking what people are doing to survive?
Can we educate people so that they are having sex responsibly and there are less unplanned pregnancies? Can we support those that are struggling such that they don’t feel they are limited in options? Can you provide proper medical care before and after delivery? Can we provide more community programs that support mothers? Can we take better care of the orphans we already have? Can we stop the senseless killing of people’s living and breathing babies? Can we feed all the hungry babies we already have? Can we save the lost children from trafficking and abuse? Can we get a better understanding of all we have overlooked on our road to passing judgment?
These aren’t just questions to our government but to you and I. Before you pass judgment and rally behind extremism in either direction, how can we be the difference? How can we offer a hand so that someone isn’t feeling alone in the making of this hard and permanent decision?
I am curious, what do you think? Are these new abortion laws too extreme? Is there a happy middle ground where all parties are cared for?