Very few people understand my views on abortion. Even fewer people understand how I came to feel the way that I do. It is true that I was raised in a conservative, Christian home where abortion was considered wrong. I was raised to believe that life begins at conception, and that if you were able to have sex, you were able to have a baby. If you were raped, adoption was the way to go. The only acceptable condition for which to have an abortion was an ectopic pregnancy.
My thoughts started to change once in 2010 when I had to do a persuasive research paper. I chose to write about abortion, I was planning to try to persuade my class to go the pro-life route. But by the end of my research, I had managed to do the opposite...to myself. My research started out on simple abortion. I figured, a girl gets pregnant, panics, goes to a clinic and her problem is gone forever. Well, right off the bat, I realized that there was much more to it than that. No one WANTS to have an abortion. It's not on any little girl's list of dreams. Girls get pregnant...all the time...under all kinds of circumstances.
My "typical" abortion research soon went deeper, and before I knew it, I was researching late term abortion. Before this paper, I didn't even know that late term abortion was in the realm of possibility. I knew that you could have a vacuum aspiration abortion. I knew that you could have a D&C. But I had no idea that there were procedures to stop a baby's heart, or that you could choose to terminate a pregnancy and then deliver your baby through a labor experience. I had no idea that in Wichita, there was an entire WAR on abortion, based on one man and his clinic. At first, I was horrified. I had nightmares. Needless to say, I bought the propaganda.
Finally, I started coming across personal stories from women who had had these late term abortions. I read their stories and cried. I read with excitement about women who had tried for years to get pregnant, and finally did...only to cry when I read that when they went for their anatomy scans (or before, or even later), they found out that their baby hadn't developed a brain, or had multiple broken bones, or their intestines had developed outside of their little bodies. I thought of my own children, and the excitement that I felt with every pregnancy and every ultrasound...and how devastated I would have been to find out that one of my children was suffering. I thought of what I (and most women I know) would do if they were able to take their children's pain away. And that's when it hit me, these women weren't killing their babies for the hell of it. They weren't even "killing" them...they were letting them go. Letting them go from a short life of suffering. And these women, they didn't really feel the relief that I always assumed women who had abortions felt afterwards. No, these women were broken. They were devastated in a way that a woman who lost a baby to miscarriage would be, and in some cases, even more so...because they were the ones who made the decision to end the suffering, it wasn't made for them.
Of course, a lot of people think that's the point. That the decision wasn't made FOR them. It's something I understand. After all, people tend to forget that I came from the pro-life side. I get it. It is a personal issue that differs from person to person and from situation to situation. I can see how people feel that only God should decide if a baby lives or dies. But part of me also feels that God has given us the ability to detect these things, and to handle them how we feel best.
So, after taking in all of this information on late term abortions (which seemed ENDLESS), I got to thinking again about all of those early abortions. All of the ones that I figured girls just "had" because it was an easy fix. I started talking to girls that had had them. Not one girl I spoke with didn't have some issue with the abortion she had had. Even if she now felt that she had made the right decision, every girl I spoke to was still sad about it. She still felt a loss.
I finally came to the conclusion that abortion wasn't something that anyone "just did". It wasn't the easy fix. It came with a whole set of problems on it's own. Whether we're talking about a 17 year old girl who got pregnant or a 30 year old woman who finally got pregnant after trying for 2 years with her husband....these women were all losing something. Even if only their naivety, something was being lost. And usually, it was much more than that.
In all of this internet mumbo-jumbo, I came across a quote that stuck with me. As I was watching an interview that George Tiller did, he said that he realized that abortion was a matter of survival for women. A matter of survival. Was it? That seems extreme. But it was true. The women who have 3 children that they can barely support, and while being responsible with their sex lives, they end up pregnant again...for the 12 year old girl who is raped by her step-father...for the woman who knows just how badly her baby is suffering with every moment longer that she's pregnant....it is a matter of survival. Adoption can't always be the answer. And even at our most responsible, life can still just...happen.
So here we go. I'm sure I'll catch more hell for this blog than I can even begin to expect, but here it is. How I feel, in black and white.
Please feel free to comment, but also remember that your views (regardless of how they may differ from mine) are RESPECTED, so the same courtesy is expected of you. Our views on abortion do not equal who we are as people, so please keep that in mind.