Abortion is complicated

Abortion is complicated June 15, 2019

AbortionAbortion Talk

I had a young lady come into my life twenty years or so ago. I loved her like a daughter. She was precious to me and endeared to my heart. There were many times that we enjoyed just talking to the world. During those special moments, we never had a conversation about abortion that I recall. We would later, and my heart would break over it. It would also gradually change my black and white stance about abortion as my heart softened through the experience.

Abortion Tradition

My grandmother was Roman Catholic and a staunch believer. I remember her giving me a wooden Rosary and teaching me how to say prayers with it. To this day I can still remember what prayer to say on every bead. She talked to me about the fact that Vatican One was the old tradition of the church and that they had progressed on some issues and proclaimed a “Vatican Two”. Grandma said that “stuff was just nonsense”. I had no idea what that meant but I knew Grandma was serious about her faith. She also was anti-abortion and outspoken about it. I recall her bringing pamphlets with images of babies in the womb for us to read all about why abortion was bad.

Abortion and Babies

My mother was of the same opinion about abortion as my maternal grandmother. Mom drilled it into her five children’s minds that “killing babies” was wrong. Right winged conservative, mother often chose to vote for a politician based on whether they were against abortion. My father was a democrat but I didn’t know it until after I turned eighteen. There was never a comment that passed from him to me about abortion. He would say to me at times, “You know, them republicans don’t give a shit about poor people”. Knowing that my father loved me unconditionally, I leaned toward trying to please my mother and became a Republican by tradition.

Abortion and Politics

When I dove into non-denominational Christianity in my early twenties, I plunged to the bottom of the pool in regard to my faith. I bought everything they were selling and never voted Democrat. I was a staunch republican and devoted to candidates that were anti-abortion. Had you asked me at the time, I probably would

 have told you that God himself was a republican. I never bothered to consider the issue beyond that. I was part of the stumbling hoard and ignorant about what anything political. My vote went for the politicians that I thought were upholding my moral code.

AbortionAbortion is Painful

I was raped at the ripe age of eighteen. A young soldier dropped something in a beer he offered me and I woke up with him on top of me in his bed. A few months later, as a soldier in the Army myself, I was due to qualify at the range for my rifle. I ended up in an emergency room getting a procedure they called a “D & C”. I kept waking up screaming because they did not properly sedate me. On the paperwork I held in my hands at discharge, I read the words, “Spontaneous Abortion”. I felt guilty for years, believing that I had unconsciously done something to abort my baby because I didn’t want it.

Another Encounter with Abortion

While I was in ministry, I met a young woman named Julie. She quickly became precious to me and was a fast friend who kept in contact with me over the years. Julie had married and had children and then divorced. While she was dating and discovering who she was at the time, she met a man who was abusive. Something in her allo

wed him into her world, and she continued to see him even though she told herself, and me, that he wasn’t healthy for her. She let him do horrible things to her that I cannot bring myself even now, so many years later, to discuss. Perhaps she felt guilty and used him to punish herself? I do not know.

Abortion is not Flippant for Most

She called me one day and through tears confessed that she was pregnant. This was devastating for her as she weighed the consequences of being chained to the father. I tried to listen, but I couldn’t help voicing my preference that she keep the child. There was a moment when I lost my composure and I begged her not to get an abortion. It would be awhile before I heard from her again. I cannot tell you how brave I see her now, returning to a conversation with me to explain what she went through. She had decided to abort the baby, for many reasons that she began to explain. While I listened, my heart loved her, despite her decision. I understood. I wasn’t happy, but that wasn’t worth losing my relationship with her.

AbortionRevisiting Abortion

After my deconstruction, I shifted political opinions, finally listening to the now echos of my father’s words in the past. He was no longer around to advise me, but now I was becoming less like the person who wanted to please my mother and more like myself. My views were now becoming more like dads. Even more so, I leaned even further toward a more libertarian viewpoint. Along the way, I was forced to reconsider my views on the abortion issue politically.

Changing Views

Even though I personally have my own thoughts, I realized I had been wrong about the laws that I had once fought to pass concerning abortion. Allowing someone to make their own choices over the government forcing them to do things was what the abortion law I was interested in was actually about. It wasn’t the issue I once thought it was. My ignorance had caused me to make a wrong choice, even though it was my best choice. I now understood it as a right for women to make that choice based on their circumstance. The reason I felt this way is that every situation is different. To make a sweeping law would hurt some women in the process of due course.

Abortion Choice?

I also get it that some feel the need to speak up for the unborn. It’s an intense issue and will continue to be so as long as we are human. I’m not trying to sway anyone in one direction or another, I’m just trying to convey some thoughts in an effort to share my experience. My hope is that we understand that it is far more complicated than making a “carved in stone” law or not having a law at all. The issue is so personal that it causes a lot of tension on both sides. I just opened my heart enough to consider that choice may be our best option for now.

Another Story 

My office has a window that is full length from floor to ceiling so light from the Florida sun comes in quite nicely. I remember sitting there one day and meeting a woman in her thirties. Let me say that facts are about to be changed to protect her. She had blonde hair and bright blue eyes that looked like ice that is crispy cold. When she sat down, her body language showed me she was on guard. Her knee crossed away from me, and she folded her arms. After the formal greeting and explaining what it is that I do, she immediately told me she was not going to go into detail.

A Recent Abortion

All my life people have crumbled in front of me and poured out their hearts. Secrets have been spilled thousands of times that I never asked people to talk about. Whatever mojo I have, it’s been there ever since I was a kid when my childhood friend told me all about her parent molesting her while we were sitting underneath the trundle bed in a makeshift cave. It happens in restaurants, stores, gas stations and especially at work. It wasn’t long before she caved and told me she had recently had an abortion.

When it Rains, they Pour

Tears fell in abundance as this woman told me that she is punishing herself because she feels God is angry with her. I set aside my work agenda for several moments and allowed her to just talk through it with me. She has children, and she loves them very much. For many reasons, that she had carefully weighed, she had decided to have an abortion. Again, my heart went out to someone in pain over a decision they made that they couldn’t get back. I encouraged her about the love of God that was flowing toward her without judgment. She spoke of her faith and I encouraged her with parables about God’s love for her and how it was like her love for her children. I could feel her wrestling.

The Abortion Decision

She made a decision. Some decisions we cannot retrieve. She had actually asked God to put the baby back in her womb. I encouraged her that it would take time to grieve and to be patient with herself. Had I been the child I was thirty years ago, I do not think I could have given her the unbiased love and affection that I was able to without my past. Who am I to condemn her? My life circumstance was not hers. She had three autistic children, and she was already so overwhelmed with their acute care that she couldn’t face the possibility of another child that she will have to take care of for the rest of her life.

A Daughter’s Abortion

She tells me that she made the right decision “for her”. She says that if she could take it back, she wouldn’t. Her heart is at peace with God. I have chosen to believe her. Our relationship has broaden because of what she went through. I know that its hard for some people to believe, but we have both grown in our capacity to love and understand others who have faced the abortion choice. My point in sharing these stories is to simply say, it’s complicated. I would ask that we endeavor to love those who face that heart wrenching decision and choose the dark alley of Abortion. In loving, perhaps we can be a part of helping to heal their wounds.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • FrustratedGrace

    Kerry, thank you. I appreciate you confirming my hope. All the Best PK

  • Kathy

    You say things so beautifully, Kimberley!

    I was just like you. I remember actually doing a peaceful protest anti-abortion march when in my early twenties. But now, I’ve changed so much in my views of life. I believe it’s too complicated for us to make a hard-and-fast rule about.

    As I’ve become more new age in my thinking, I tend to see the soul’s incarnation upon this earth differently. I believe that we choose to come to this earth more than once to learn lessons. When a fetus is aborted, I’m not even sure the soul has come into it yet. I don’t even know. I read a story about a woman who had a miscarriage which really upset her. She had another child after that and when that child was a bit older, she said to her mother something like this: “I tried to come to live with you, but it didn’t work. But I really wanted to be in your family, so I came back again into your tummy.” I’m paraphrasing it, but it was similar to this. I believe if a soul wants to incarnate, they will, and nothing will stop them. Sure, that doesn’t excuse being careless about birth control, etc. Abortion is painful and we never know if it is a soul that only comes once to this earth – we don’t know anything for sure. But I’m convinced that shaming people does not heal. There are many valid reasons why women choose this route.

  • LisainSC

    Abortion isn’t complicated. People should mind their own business and leave the decision up to the woman whose body it is. See…simple. It only gets complicated when everyone else thinks they have a right to tell someone what to do with a body that isn’t their own

  • soter phile

    you said: people should mind their own business.

    that’s the same logic the average WW2 German citizen took about the concentration camp around the corner. laissez faire is never the right approach to injustice.
    terrible things happen when good people do nothing. millions and millions of deaths, for instance.

    you said: …leave the decision up to the woman whose body it is.

    a) the child has different & distinct DNA at conception. it’s not her body.
    b) if you don’t want deadbeat dads after birth, why tell them they have no say before?

    you said: It only gets complicated when everyone else thinks they have a right to tell someone what to do with a body that isn’t their own

    again, it’s not her body. you are advocating for the very thing you say others should not do.

    and somehow i doubt you’d maintain this claim when people are contemplating suicide.
    we gladly impose restrictions on those who are making egregious decisions – for self & esp. for others.

  • FrustratedGrace

    John, I can so appreciate all that you said, which is why “Abortion is complicated”. If it were not, it surely would not be such a hot bed of discussion. Thanks for your kindness, and, you are welcome. PK

  • FrustratedGrace

    You are entitled to your opinion, such as it is. Thank you for commenting…PK

  • Rudy Schellekens

    I am in favor of people minding their own business. But then, I am also in favor of people paying for their own abortions. So, the moment you foot your own bills rather than taxes or my insurance dollars, I think I have a right to speak about your business… After all, I am paying for it…

  • R/R 2016

    Hey, PK. Do you agree that to abort a pregnancy is to kill a child?

  • FrustratedGrace

    Hey R/R, I believe personally that I could never abort a child. My daughter, however, and other women I know have had abortions and I love them. That’s my best answer. I love them.

  • R/R 2016

    That’s not what I asked. Could you please answer my question?

  • Ursula L

    My grandmother nearly was killed by her first pregnancy. Medical advice was that a second would kill her. She got pregnant again – there wasn’t reliable birth control. That pregnancy killed her.
    Abortion isn’t murder, but a lack of access to safe, legal abortion murdered my grandmother.

  • FrustratedGrace

    Ursula, thank you for commenting. What a tragedy! I am so very sorry about your grandmother. This is one of the reasons I call it a complicated issue. There are far too many sides for us to demand anything. All the best dear Ursula…PK

  • FrustratedGrace

    You have my best answer R/R. All the best..PK

  • FrustratedGrace

    Kathy, thank you so much for your comment. I love trying to figure out the why’s of our presence here. Life is about that and I find your thoughts on that intriguing. Thank you for being a friend and for walking this journey with me. I believe…still…beyond here. All the best sis…PK

  • Ursula L

    I see absolutely nothing controversial or complicated about abortion.

    When women need to end a pregnancy, they will do so. It can either be safe and legal, or illegal and deadly. Those are the only two options.

    And there is nothing controversial about having a policy of safe and legal over illegal and deadly.

    Have you watched the latest season of Call the Midwife?

    Because there are as many reasons to not carry a pregnancy to term as there are pregnant women. Choosing to throw your life on the line, not for another life, but for the mere potential of another life, is an amazing risk, and not something to be forced on anyone.

    The only “pro-life” position is for safe and legal abortion at any stage of pregnancy. Anything else throws away actual living lives of real human beings, the women who are pregnant and who can be killed by pregnancy.

    The only alternative is a lot of dead people – women who were forced to carry pregnancies to and were murdered by that policy, and women who needed to end pregnancies, and did so, and are murdered because they could not do so in a safe and legal way. There is no “life” in that set of policies, and the people who want to ban abortion for the sake of “life” are lying liars who lie.

  • FrustratedGrace

    Ursula, I can see that you are passionate and absolutely a force for good. I appreciate your voice here and encourage it as we need people like you to talk about why abortion should always legal and safe. I have watched some of “Call the Midwife” and find it a great series so far. I’m a bit behind you though sister. Your words are welcome here, PK

  • Ursula L

    If you’re going to write about abortion, I strongly encourage you to watch the latest (8th) season of Call the Midwife. It takes a clear-eyed look at just what it means for abortion to be illegal. That is, deadly. It’s horrific – the doctor and midwives have to turn away women asking them for help with abortion care, and then watch these women suffer and/or die when they seek the abortions that are available. As medical providers, their hands are tied, even when they know that lives will be on the line when they tell people they can’t get medical care.

    It also looks at other situations where a pregnancy must be ended, such as a woman whose pregnancy is near-term developing eclampsia. The health care providers don’t hesitate to do everything necessary to save her life – sedating her, ending the pregnancy via delivery with forceps, without pausing to discuss whether measures to save her life might endanger the life of the child she’s carrying. This is in sharp contrast with an acquaintance of mine who developed eclampsia recently when having her child. She was allowed to have multiple seizures, her blood pressure skyrocketed, but treatment was limited because her caregivers feared that things that might protect her might also endanger her child. And it wasn’t presented to her as her choice – “we can give you this medicine to protect you from a certain danger, but there is a chance it might risk your child, what do you want?” but forced on her “we can’t give you medicine that will help you, it might endanger your child.”

  • soter phile

    1) “against my will” – this is the very point of debate. in well over 90% of the discussions, the reproductive action that created this scenario was not “against my will.” instead, the very obvious consequences of that action – now realized – are. and regretting one’s own previous voluntary actions is not a basis for ending someone else’s life.

    2) i’m not dismissing the 700 women. I’m pointing out that is less than one tenth of 1% the number of children being aborted. citing 700 to justify killing 700,000 is a travesty of justice. your own words (“they are disposable to you”) should be echoing in your ears.

    as for ‘sacrificing my life for your religion’ – how is that not exactly what you are asking these children to do? after all, your beliefs have relegated their lives to “disposable” non-entities.

    3) no, you do have a right to life – which you are already enjoying! you want to prevent the child’s same ‘right to life’ now by invoking your desired quality of life (a lesser concern) – and by ignoring the clear consequences of your freely chosen, previous action. that is not ‘protecting your body from harm caused by others’ – but rather is attempting to avoid the consequences of what you have chosen to do… precisely by harming the life that now grows within you.

    the very things you want to assign to me (bigotry, life-ending h@te, prejudice, etc.) are all exactly what you are doing to your own child.

  • FrustratedGrace

    Larry, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I loved reading them. Your heart appears to be on your lovely sleeve and I appreciate your passion for a real, honest and open relationship with God. You are appreciated! PK

  • Ursula L

    A study you may find interesting:

    https://psmag.com/social-justice/these-maternal-deaths-could-have-been-avoided-a-closer-look-at-a-major-new-study

    It’s not complicated – safe, legal abortion saves lives.

  • Ursula L

    I would also encourage you to read “Ministers to a Higher Law” available at the Judson Memorial Church website.

    http://classic.judson.org/MinistersofaHigherLaw

    And also “1960s-1970s, Abortion Counseling and Social Change”

    http://classic.judson.org/AbortionCounselling

    When abortion was illegal, Christian and Jewish clergy were instrumental both in helping make it legal, and safe, and in organizing so that they could help women find safe abortion care, even though it was illegal.

    They sought out (illegal) abortion providers, sent undercover “patients” to evaluate the situation both for medical and psychological safety, recruited the abortion providers into their network, and negotiated to lower prices in return for referrals and a steady stream of business from clergy around the US.

    Safe, legal abortion is very much a Christian issue, and has been since well before Roe.

    Yes, there was a time when, if you needed an abortion, the person to find was your pastor, who could refer you to a provider who, if operating outside the law, had been at least evaluated for safety, psychological safety, and price. Because it isn’t a complicated issue. Safe and legal, or illegal and deadly, Those are the only two choices when it comes to abortion.

    Or, as Fred Clark of Slacktivist points out, being against abortion is, for non-Catholic Christians, a political position that is younger than the Happy Meal. Not traditional Christianity at all.

  • soter phile

    you said: s3x MUST have deadly consequences, or else women might think we can have it just for fun…

    a) no, s3x doesn’t have deadly consequences. it can have life-giving consequences.
    abortion, on the other hand, explicitly does have deadly consequences.
    again, you are self-projecting.

    b) your “just for fun” presses for a discussion on the meaning of intimacy.
    that’s not a matter of legislation, unlike abortion – which legalizes the ending of a human life… unless that’s the part you have in mind with “just for fun.”

    you said: You’re furious that some woman might agree to have s3x with a man but then refuse to gestate his genetic material.

    nope, that’s an unrecognizable straw man.
    a) you’ve reduced a living human being in the womb to ‘genetic material’
    b) ki11ing a child is what has me furious – nothing less

    you said: IF you can get her into bed…
    your set of givens say much more about you than me.
    case in point: i’m married. i have kids. i care about human life.
    this isn’t some incel quest, no matter what you wish to project.

    i’m only “anti-choice” when ki11ing a child is being misrepresented as a legitimate choice.