Better Half

Family, Life, and Politics from Wifey

Adjusting My Abortion Stance….Part II September 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 3:11 pm
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This will be a long one…..

Ok, let me say it clearly right from the start…I have NO IDEA where I stand on this issue.  After a week or so of digesting all the internet material on abortion I can find, I have to say that I am very, very, torn.  Is it possible to be both pro-choice and pro-life?

This is what I know for sure…no matter how you slice it, abortion is ugly, and disturbing.  While “pro-life” sites tend to describe the various methods used in abortion with the most heinous language possible, even the “pro-choice” and “neutral” sites I discovered had no choice but to describe the various methods used in almost equally gruesome terms.  It seems there is just no ‘nice’ way to detail what happens during abortion procedures.

When I was talking with my husband (Shaun) about the gruesome nature of procedures such as D&E and D&X (better known as partial birth), he looked at me skeptically and said “you didn’t know this?”  Honestly, what I knew of abortion was based in political jargon-I knew little to nothing about how the pregnancy was actually terminated.

MY PRO-CHOICE SIDE:

I feel strongly that partial birth abortion is wrong and should be out-lawed today.  The first time I read that a baby (in the third trimester) is partially delivered, has scissors injected into it’s skull, and has its brains sucked out so that the skull could collapse, I thought it was a “pro-life” exaggeration and couldn’t possibly be true.  But the more I read, the more this was confirmed by all sources.  This to me is unbelievable!!!

All that having been said, however, the fact is that this heinous practice is a third trimester procedure, and over 90% of abortions take place during the first trimester.  The first trimester lasts until week 12.  At this point the fetus is unquestionably not able to live outside of the womb and is only about 2 inches in size.  For some people this still constitutes a living, human being.  I understand that.  It does for me personally as well.  But I must admit, when Shaun and I had our scare at around this same time, I was not nearly as upset about the prospect of losing the pregnancy as I would be at this point.  As a matter of fact, when the doctor thought I had passed what he figured was “the product of conception” it didn’t look like anything more than a large clot of blood.  I’m saying all this to say that a fetus at 12 weeks gestation is not the same in appearance and functionality as a fetus at 20 weeks, and so on.

Besides feeling that there is no actual harm done to a fetus at 12 weeks gestation (I read that a growing fetus does not possess the neurological development to experience pain until about 20 weeks gestation), the feminist in me also cannot wrap my mind around the idea that a man can impregnate a woman, and then bail out with no consequence while the woman has no recourse but to carry the child and shoulder the burden on her own.  Nothing about this is equitable.  I also still believe strongly that bringing a child into the world that you cannot care for may be doing them more harm than good.  Not in all cases, of course, but in a good many of them.  I see it every day in the faces of some of my most neglected students.

I think there is space for compromise on this issue.  Many civilized European nations have very strict laws on legalized abortion.  I think I could support similar legislation here in the United States.  Many of these countries allow abortions only up to week 12. After that point, it must be a medical emergency in order to abort.  I see this as a very reasonable half-way point between basic human decency and not infringing on an individual’s right to be in control of their own life and body.

MY PRO-LIFE SIDE:
The fact of the matter is that while I believe there is an agreed upon medium we could come to, we haven’t. Abortion laws as they stand in this country are some of the most unregulated in the world.  I learned that many doctors ignore the restrictions put on late term abortions and perform them illegally with little to no oversight by any agency.  I also learned that the requirement that late term abortions be performed only in the case of the pregnancy posing a serious health risk to the mother can be as vague as the mother being severely depressed. This to me is unacceptable!!  It is unthinkable that a baby who at this point (late second and third trimester) could survive on its own outside the womb, and who now has the ability to experience pain, could have its brain sucked out and skull collapsed simply because the mother is depressed!!!!!

I previously thought that partial birth abortions had been made illegal.  Instead I see that George Bush signed legislation in 2003 banning the practice, but because three different courts issued restraining orders on the enforcement of the ban, these types of abortions are still happening today.

And while I do believe that women should have the choice to abort up to a certain point, I do not support the idea that any woman can have as many abortions as they want.  At some point it becomes a form of birth control instead of a one-time solution for a woman in a tough situation who has made a mistake.

All of this that I am saying (tighter regulation, restrictions on the term of the pregnancy, and on how many abortions a woman can have) is at this point hypothetical. As I stated, none of this represents our country’s actual policy on abortion.  As such, I just don’t think I can support it.  I cannot call myself “pro-choice” with the laws as they are.

There are circumstances under which I could support a woman’s right to choose, but these aren’t it.  So am I ready to pick up my poster board and march before the Supreme Court in a picket line? No.  I think there are more productive, less divisive ways to address the issue.  Am I ready to call myself a “pro-lifer” and vote based only on this one issue? Absolutely not!  I think this would be unintelligent and irresponsible.

So where do we go from here?  Do we continue to argue about it amongst ourselves?  What good has that done so far?  Do we continue to point the finger and call women evil baby killers while doing nothing to assist them in making a different decision?  I hope not.  Do we focus so intensely on this issue at the expense of others that affect far more people than abortion does (poverty, slavery, child pornography and exploitation)?  Who knows?  Really, who the heck knows?

*The numbers and statements I make here come from such sources as Planned Parenthood and Georgia Right to Life.  If there are other stats, or untruths in what I have stated, feel free to use the comments section to say so.

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9 Responses to “Adjusting My Abortion Stance….Part II”

  1. I love that you are wrestling with this… and that God is guiding you as you go through this… the next step might be grappling with the question of when does life begin… and at what point is the child a life? I think of what God told Jeremiah when he said, “Before you were in your mother’s womb, I knew you…” In other word’s, God had a plan for his life.

    I was speaking to a group of teens at a Summer camp one year, and I was talking about the fact that God had a plan, purpose and destiny for each of them… and one kid came up afterward and said to me, “But you don’t understand… my parents didn’t want me… I was unplanned… I was an accident… I was illegitimate.

    My comment back to him was that there may be illegitimate parents… but there are no such thing as illegitimate children.. God already has a plan for each of them.

    Just something to consider as you wrestle and pray through this very difficult issue… I am glad that you’re heart is open to God’s leadership… So many people are so set in their own opinions that God can’t speak to them… I appreciate your maturity in praying it all through.

    Blessings,
    Robert

  2. Allan Hoffman Says:

    “the feminist in me also cannot wrap my mind around the idea that a man can impregnate a woman, and then bail out with no consequence while the woman has no recourse but to carry the child and shoulder the burden on her own. Nothing about this is equitable. I also still believe strongly that bringing a child into the world that you cannot care for may be doing them more harm than good. Not in all cases, of course, but in a good many of them. I see it every day in the faces of some of my most neglected students.”

    Above was quoted from your writing. The problem is if God’s laws were followed it would be equitable! It is fooling around and poor judgement on both sides (IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO) –women dont lift your dress — men dont drop your drawers-except in some cases of rape by unknowns that causes the whole pregnancy mess to begin with. People need to think BEFORE they act!

  3. Annie Says:

    Thank you Robert for your comments.

    I am very much Pro-Life, but don’t understand why adoption is never bought up in arguments or discussions regarding abortion. Women are so ready to abort their children, but when faced with the option of adoption, their response is “I could never give away my child!” Hello! You’re willing to kill your child, but not carry it to term and place it with a loving family who so desperately wants a child? This just doesn’t make sense to me.

    By God’s Grace…Adopted & a Birthmother,
    Annie 🙂

  4. adam Says:

    great post.

    just seek God’s truth on the matter and it’ll come. things here hardly ever make any sense 🙂

  5. raitking Says:

    Robert-
    Thanks for your comment. I too believe God has a plan for each of our lives, although sadly, I don’t think most of us realize them. I too believe it is important for all of us (especially teens) to know that regardless of our birth circumstance, God still chose us and wants to use us. Thanks for the work you do in helping others understand this.

  6. raitking Says:

    Annie-
    I agree with you that adoption is an awesome alternative to abortion. I think the problem may be that women don’t exactly know how to take advantage of this as an option. Or maybe it’s that they don’t like the idea of giving the baby to a stranger who may or may not be good to it. Maybe they see abortion as the more sure outcome.

  7. ladebelle Says:

    it’s funny because i was just interviewed by cnn about this and told the world (lol) that i’m pro-life.

    i’m so pro-life because i believe that everyone deserves the chance to live. i believe that once a baby is conceived, they are a person. they have brain waves 8 days after conception.

    this sounds odd, i know, but i think that pro-choice is a selfish way of living. the only person who really has a choice is the mother. if the child was an accident, then why does the child have to pay for the mistake with it’s life? that doesn’t seem right to me…

    just my thoughts…

  8. Heidi Says:

    I would encourage you to not think about abortion in such a linear way. The reality is women are not linear beings and much make hard decisions for themselves and their families within the context of their lives and sprituality. The question is not, are you pro-life or pro-choice – its are you in favor of reproductive justice? That is when women have the freedom and support to decide when to have children, not have children, and/or parent the children they have.

  9. Tim Says:

    Most of the debate in American politics stems from the fact that the issue was decided undemocratically by the Supreme Court rather than democratically by a legislature.

    While there is probably room for middle ground on the issue, it’s a dead issue in the United States without a constitutional amendment. That’s because the “nine” aka, the Supreme Court of the United States, somehow found a constitutional right to abortion in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1973.

    Much of the debate in legal circles isn’t “Pro-life” vs. “Pro-choice.” As a legal matter, the more important questions are, “Who decides?” and of the potential consequences if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned (which is improbable, but possible).

    Additionally, what you’ve heard about D&X and D&E is true. It is also important to point out that it happens in a very small number of cases. D&X is technically illegal, but as long as they kill the fetus first, it is perfectly legal (and so it can still happen legally in this country despite the fact that if it were done to a living fetus, it’s a crime). Additionally, there’s nothing about D&E that is illegal (to my knowledge). I have also heard stories, albeit unsubstantiated, that when these procedures are botched and doctors have been known to kill the living babies on the table after the fact. It is important to note that however terrible, these situations are extremely rare.

    Post-viability, abortion can be regulated in the United States. I’m sure some states do it. Prior to viability, no state can regulate abortion.

    If you’re interested in the caselaw, I suggest that you read it. I think you’ll find a lot of good information in the supreme Court’s analysis of this issue if you are so inclined.


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