Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In The Pro-Life Closet

For a million reasons plus one, this article/personal opinion piece in the New York Times blog by a young pregnant grad student posting why she's going to end her pregnancy makes me very sad. I don't and really won't discuss abortion in this blog. I can't, but I'm having a gut reaction right now so bear with me while I work out these thoughts.

First of all, it's a hard subject to discuss with a group of women friends, with close family let alone the masses on the Internet. I am a woman and I could have walked in her shoes before. I never would have had an abortion at 22. However, I am not going to stand in judgment of her either. I can't. It's not my place. This is why I don't talk about this subject.

I've known women who have had them. I have friends who have accompanied young women to abortion clinics and I can't judge them either. I won't get up on a moral high horse or yell from my soap box that I disagree with their choices. They were theirs to make.

I will say my position has changed dramatically as I've grown up. In school, the naive girl I was, I had no idea what abortion was. I just knew we had to pray really hard for its end. When I was in school, the ten-year anniversary of Roe V. Wade passed and we had a teacher, a former nun, lead us in prayers to see an end to abortion. It left an impression on me, though, in college, my politics and identity as a feminist lead me to become pro-choice. Every woman I knew and friend I had was, and it just seemed to be the right position to take as a young woman. Thank God, I never had to make that choice. In fact the one time I thought I was pregnant, I hoped and prayed for it to be so, even though I knew I would have to do it on my own. Obviously, it wasn't meant to be. As I've gotten older, I've become anti-abortion. Possibly because I am older, maybe, hopefully wiser, and still hopeful that I'll still be a mother one day.

So it makes me very, very sad that this woman is choosing to end her pregnancy, but it is her decision to make. But I'd be one of many women in line to adopt that child or any child that isn't wanted. I guess that is what breaks my heart the most.

Recently, a young mother in Albuquerque, took the life of her 3-year-old son. It was tragic, devastating and unlike this girl, she felt desperate and didn't have the same choices this girl has. She didn't have anyone to turn to, she didn't seek any help and she did the one thing that she thought was best. To outsiders, it was unfathomable, devastating and tragic. To her, only God knows and how incredibly lonely and sad it must have been to feel so desperate that she took her own child's life.

Is this young grad student's situation any more different? If so, how? I can't believe I even wrote this post up because this is not something I feel like I can discuss, but since the death of Dr. Tiller, I've been struggling to articulate my feelings and I think because of his murder, I've gone further into the closet about being pro-life. I honestly don't know if that makes sense... I can't even imagine telling my best friend this.

I might pick this up later, because I do have thoughts about the death of Dr. Tiller, the pro-life movement, the pro-choice movement and why I don't think there will ever be common ground and why I think I like the closet best right now.

Also, this post might self-destruct.


Jeff said...

Maria, don't let it self-destruct. It's a great post.

I wish I had something more profound to say, but it's a powerful post, and I wouldn't want to do it an injustice by writing something without thinking about it for a long time.

All I can say is that my 14-year old daughter put together a pro-life presentation for her social studies class today (they were instructed to give a presentation on something they felt strongly about). Last night, as she was finishing up, she was asking me if she shut put graphic images in it. My wife and I advised her not to, explaining that we thought it would cause a backlash and backfire on her. She followed our advice. I called her today from work and asked her how it went... She said it went well, but that she was disappointed how her audience of fellow students thought of it as "something that's not real." She's feeling a bit strange over the whole thing in the aftermath.

Garpu said...

I really shouldn't have read the comments to that post. and I wish that those who spouted the pro-life slogans about choosing life had actually provided some solutions for her, not just for her pregnancy, but also how she's supposed to raise a child.

I'm quickly getting to the point where both "pro-life" and "pro-choice" people can go screw.

Maria said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the comment. I'll keep the post up, but I've always felt ill at ease discussing the subject, so I try to avoid it.

Your daughter's presentation sounds like something I went through when writing a paper in high school about Captial Punishment. It was something I worked really hard on, (I didn't have a presentation to give though) but it taught me a lot and cemented a point of view in my life that I've held onto since then.

I'm sorry the audience felt like it wasn't real. I'm glad she didn't put graphic images in her presentation. That stuff turns me off. I think she should be proud of herself for taking on such a heavy, difficult subject.

Maria said...


I should have put in a warning about the comments. I think since I made the post, they've probably grown. I won't go back to read them. I have a hard time expressing how I feel about this.

I will never jump on board with either side anymore. I think the pro-life side needs to work harder to support, help, counsel women who choose to have their babies. They can't just walk away after they talk a woman out of having that abortion. I think it needs to stop focusing on making abortion illegal. Abortion is never going to go away, be it legal or not, so both sides need to help young women and girls find alternatives or ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

I'm pro-sex education and in addition to teaching children that it's better not to have sex, abstinence is definitely good and ideal, but in the real world, it doesn't always happen. So, if they have sex, they need to know there are consequences.

I don't know... I'm going to start rambling and end up in a rabbit hole so I'll come back later to this.