I was on the phone with my girlfriend on Sunday when our conversation turned to politics (surprise, surprise). We began talking about the different views of the the respective parties, including abortion. When I told her I was pro-choice on the issue, she was very surprised. Before all you other Christian righters go clutching your pearls, let me explain why.
First of all let me say that this is an issue on which my husband Shaun and I completely disagree. I would also like to state that in every area of my own personal life I am pro-life. Meaning, even when the decision was tough, I have kept all of my children and have encouraged others to do the same. For instance, I have a family member who has had four children out of wedlock by four different men. Never once during any of those pregnancies did I encourage her to get an abortion. As a matter of fact, I would have been dead set against it.
I’m not sure if Shaun has ever shared this part of our story. Shaun and I were married on Septmeber 22, 2001. Our first daughter Kendi was born on March 18, 2002. For all you math genuises out there, you’ve already figured out that the timing for a completely wholesome marriage and birth doesn’t completely add up. Yes…I was already about 3 months pregnant when we got married. Which is why at the ages of 20 and 22, we got married when we did (I always put out the disclaimer though that it was always our intention to get married, just not so soon). Anyway, when at 19 I found out I was pregnant, I was just a sophomore in college, Shaun was a senior, and neither of us had jobs. So my first thought was that there was no way I was keeping this baby. How could I? It just seemed impossible. Well obviously 6 years later, little Kendi is here (thank you Lord!), so I obviously made a different decision. Shaun talked me out of the idea of getting an abortion and we prayed for God’s guidance and direction, we repented of our sin of premarital sex, got married, and 7 years later know it was the best decision of our lives.
All that being said, I see this decision as a personal one. Everyone doesn’t have the supportive family structure that Shaun and I had to be able to bring a baby into the world unexpectedly. While my personal belief is that every child is a gift from God, and that life begins even before that baby is in the womb, everyone in this country is not a Christian, and I therefore don’t believe in the right of our lawmakers to legislate as though they are.
I thought a major principle of our constitution was to protect the rights of people against any type of religious tyranny. Yet, the way I see it is that the same Christian righters who are sending missionaries to Islamic, Buddhist, and aethist countries to convert their citizenry, are the same one’s who want to turn this country into some type of Christian state. It’s ok for us to force everyone to live according to our own personal religious beliefs, but not ok for other countries to do the same. We’re the first to protest about communism (which seeks to impose one way of living and thinking on everyone), and fundamentalist Islamic rule in places like Iran and Afghanistan, but we want to impose the same type of “one size fits all” system in America except based on Christianity. Say whatever you want about the extreme views of Islamic fundamentalists, but it seems they do what they do because they genuinely believe it is in coherence with the laws of their religion.
I say all this to say that while I am in favor of stricter standards regarding abortion (no late-term abortions, and limits on how many a woman is allowed to have-because I know that there are women who severly abuse the system), I don’t think it goes along with the principles of this country to make laws based on the religious views of one group.
I’m all for personal responsibility. I think that women should be more careful about the situations they allow themselves to get into. But I also know that good people sometimes make poor decisions. I’ve been there. I have 2 loving, Christian friends who are now happily married women with several kids of their own who 20 years ago made the very painful decision to abort an unwanted pregnancy because they were scared and alone, and didn’t see any other options. If they hadn’t, who knows if they would have the happy lives they have today. It worked out for me, but it doesn’t for everyone. So yes we need to be more careful, but for those times when our human nature wins, and we’re not, some of us just need a second chance to get it right. This is why I’m pro-choice.