Giving Women a “Choice” is Callous, Not Compassionate

I had planned to write a nice, sappy little post today about all the things I love and miss about my ugly-as-sin home state, Texas, but that’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. Just about an hour ago I received a series of comments on my post from Sunday regarding my position on abortion, and I feel compelled to state my position unequivocally.

Please understand that this is not a post inviting dialogue. I will leave comments open, of course, and you can feel free to tell me what you think. I welcome all comments, always. But I’m not going to hash this out in the combox. It’s not because I’m afraid to lose or being “close-minded”, but because that’s simply not what my blog is for. If that’s what you want, please go see the gracious, lovely, patient and thoughtful Leila. I also don’t actually have time to have a comment-box battle over abortion, seeing as how I’m in the middle of raising some kids, starting a jewelry business, and attempting to keep my house from being overtaken by filthy laundry.

Choice said the following:

Actually, what a woman “in crisis” needs is support, and the chance to decide for herself what course of action is best for her. She needs nonjudgemental information, and a safe place to go regardless of what decision she makes. Being forced to have a child may have been a great thing for you, but it may not be so for other women. Some women’s greatest goal in life is not to be “barefoot and pregnant,” at least not until they’re ready and willing to do so. Please, don’t be so close-minded as to think that the path you took is the right path for everyone. Life is about all of us finding the path that’s best for us. 

First, I’m going to address the personal insults, then move on to the actual issue at hand. In fact, I am neither a close-minded nor judgmental person, and neither was my greatest goal in life to be barefoot and pregnant. If you, Choice, had actually bothered to read any of my other posts instead of letting your own pre-conceived notions of who I am and what I think color your comments, you would quickly have realized that the struggle to come to terms with being a stay-at-home mother is one of the defining issues that I write about. I had never wanted children, had never wanted marriage, and had always seen myself as a career-minded, career-destined individual. The trajectory my life was on changed rapidly, and it’s taken me many years to accept that where I am is God’s will for me.

Now, of course what a woman in crisis needs is support. But telling a woman in crisis that having an abortion will kill her child and will leave her with deep, dark and abiding scars is not being judgmental, it’s being honest. I do not care what belief system you ascribe to, or if you reject all of them; regardless, you should be aware that abortion is a terrible thing for all involved. In fact, you seem to admit this in your later comment when you say, “I think abortion is an awful, terrible, painful thing and I wish it didn’t exist. I wish the world was perfect and no one ever found themselves in a situation where they were unwillingly pregnant.” I can’t understand why, if you’ll admit that abortion is awful, terrible and painful, you would think that that choice should be given to women as an option? Why, when a woman is in a place of crisis, should she be offered yet another choice that will push her further into despair? Isn’t it so much more compassionate to say, we will support you and your child? We will give you a safe place to live, counseling, medical services, and if, in the end, you simply cannot cope with the prospect of motherhood, we will find your child a loving, stable home and continue to help you to deal with that pain? (By the way, I happen to agree with you that a woman should have a safe place to go regardless of her choice. Women who have had abortions are in terrible pain and need love, support and counseling.)

I don’t think the path I took is the best path for everyone. I had many advantages other women don’t. Sienna’s father is a man’s man, who stepped up and married me, who supported me in every way, and who has been a remarkable husband and father. Both our families were supportive (not of our terrible choices, but of our marriage and journey into parenthood) and continue to be so.

Some women find themselves without these supports. Some women find that they cannot physically care for a child, or they cannot emotionally cope with abandonment (by the father) and the presence of the child. Some find that, in fact, they cannot resist the siren call of addiction and thereby would put their child in danger. For all these women, adoption is a wonderful option, one in which a baby is not killed and the mother is not left with the haunting knowledge that she killed her child, but rather the assurance that her child is safe, cared for, and loved.

But when you present a woman in crisis, or any woman, for that matter, with the option of abortion, you are not being compassionate. You are not being open-minded, or tolerant, or respectful of her beliefs, or any other meaningless catch-phrase the pro-choice crowd likes to toss around.

Make no mistake about this: there is nothing compassionate in presenting a woman in crisis with the option of abortion. All you are doing is handing her the proverbial ten feet of rope and watching coldly as she hangs herself with it.

  • Sheila

    Thank you for this beautiful post and the original one, as well. You're a great voice for life, having faced a tough situation and made good out of it.Most women who have abortions, as far as I know, do suffer psychological problems, such as regret or depression, afterward. But just because a person can prove to me that someone felt great about their abortion afterward doesn't mean that it's right. Their child never had a CHANCE to rise above or get past their situation. It's all very well to say they MIGHT have been unhappy. Maybe they would have been happy. We can't know, but we're taking away the child's chance to make good out their situation.As long as abortion is legal, women will be pressured into it. By parents, boyfriends, doctors, friends, even society as a whole … society that tells us, "I won't support you because YOU CHOSE to have a child." What if we acknowledged that sometimes it's not a choice? If you believe (as I do) that a child is a child, and the moment birth doesn't change that (and neither does whether or not you want a child), it ISN'T a choice. Any more than I would tell you, "You don't have to be poor; you could steal money instead. Being poor is YOUR CHOICE."This isn't coming out right, but what I'm trying to say is, a culture that normalizes abortion will no longer have room for those who don't choose it when they "should." They no longer offer support. Women don't know other women who have gotten through "crisis" pregnancies and kept their babies; they don't know birthmothers of adopted children. They simply know that when you're in a bind, you get an abortion. I don't think that's fair to women, and I don't think that's fair to babies.

  • Anonymous

    I have always thought how interesting it is that when the child is wanted or planned and something happens the parents/parent grieve the loss. Does not matter how early in the pregnancy it is. If it is an unwanted Prenancy then abortion is okay, it was not a human being yet. He/She was not alive yet. It cannot be both.

  • Jodi S

    Thank you so much for this. It is so truthful and kind. I am a woman who has had abortions and I now offer support and counsel for others like me. I love that someone took to the time to stand up and love me openly like this. God bless you.

  • betterlaid

    The effects often come much, much later, in unexpected ways. I am a gynecologist in a completely public setting, at a major hospital that performs many abortions. I have had patients come to me two months after abortion, as well as twenty years after. It seems to happen a lot as women reach their menopausal transition and think of the baby they didn’t have, and how they can’t have any more. Please keep supporting your friend and let her know any feelings that come are welcome for sharing.

  • betterlaid

    I’d add that it really doesn’t matter much whether people are sad after their abortions or not. A person with an ill-formed conscience may not feel remorse after mass terrorist attack or intentional slaughter of a neighbor’s pet or for whatever obvious sins, and said criminals may also be less culpable for their actions, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us who know better should encourage their journey into oblivion. To do so really would be so callous!

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