Pro-Life Song Misses the Point

I just came upon the lyrics to a pro-life song. It’s called “Mommy Don’t.”

“I could lie in your arms
on a snow bound afternoon
you’d sing songs to me and God
and make up pretty little tunes
I’d wipe away all your tears
and make you laugh at your lost career
Oh, Mommy, Mommy don’t”

Wow, what honesty! So, woman who is unintentionally pregnant, just ditch your career and have your baby! It’ll be worth it, we promise! 

When a woman has an unintended pregnancy, she doesn’t face it in a vacuum. She has to think about not just whether she wants to bring a child into the world but also about what kind of maternity leave her employer offers, how much daycare costs, etc. Without programs providing social and emotional support, plenty of women can’t simply dump their careers and quit their jobs.

Someone who is truly “pro-life” should support things like paid maternity leave and subsidized daycare, without which many women facing an unintended pregnancy simply can’t see it through. But no. Instead, the solution this song offers is that women should just quit their jobs and stay home. Because, you know, that’s where they should be anyway. But it’ll be worth it! Have you ever heard a baby coo?

But of course even if there were all the necessary programs, I would still have a huge problem with the idea of dictating women’s lievs by banning abortion. Even if a woman can afford to dump her career or quit her job, she may very well not want to. Even if a woman can afford another child, that doesn’t mean she wants to raise that child or should be forced to. This is why we use the label “pro-choice.”

“And you’ll never know the sorrow
that will call from an empty place
or wonder at the kid next door
cause I would have been that age
and the haunted hall won’t whisper
cause I’ll be running there to kiss ya
Oh, Mommy, Mommy don’t”

Funny story. I often wonder about the child I didn’t have. My two children will be as far apart as I was from child number three growing up. In other words, in the time I’ve had two kids my mom had three. And that child I could have had, between these two, I wonder about that child sometimes. Would it have been a boy or a girl? What would he or she have looked like? And on and on. And you know what? This is a child I never conceived. It’s a child I chose not to conceive.

So sure, we often wonder about the possibilities of how we could have done life differently. Instead of getting married I could have joined the peace corps. Instead of going to grad school I could have gotten a job. Instead of having a child right off, I could have waited ten years. What would that have been like?

If I ever were to have an abortion, I think I would view it the same. Continuing that pregnancy to term would be a path not taken just like not conceiving a child between the two I have is a path not taken and getting married instead of spending my twenties single is a path not taken, and on and on.

There isn’t really a point to this post except to point out the obviousness of the “just quit your career and be a mom, it’s better” rhetoric here and to point out that we always, always, have paths not taken.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.