I don’t support the Pro-Life movement, but I’m not pro-abortion

Earlier this year, I wrote for the first time about abortion and some of the thoughts I was developing about it. Since then, I’ve struggled with where I stand on the issue, and tried to figure out ways to express it.

Thankfully, I have a friend who is great at tagging me on posts with articles all about these kinds of issues, that have helped lead me to where I am today. She also is the reason I realized that although I am against abortion, my views actually set me apart from the Pro-Life movement.

Here’s the thing. I don’t agree with abortion. As several women who I respect and admire once told me, being pro-choice is not the same thing as being pro-abortion. Not everyone who is pro-choice supports it.

What we support is the ability for a woman to have safe, free access and to make the choice for themselves.

I used to think the issue was clear-cut black and white. Abortion is murder, period the end. There are zero circumstances in which it is okay. Until I started reading stories from women who were left without much choice, support, and had to make the hard decision.

You see, being a Christian, I’ve grown up hearing all the horror stories. The women who were broken-hearted that they had gone through with an abortion, the women who felt there was no other choice and ended up emotionally destroyed because of it. Girls born out of rape who have come to be big, life-changing women and men, who speak out about how their mothers carrying them to term was incredible.

And it was. These stories are heart-wrenching, they’re filled with truth, and they’re filled with words we need to hear.

But here’s the thing. These stories don’t show why abortion should be illegal and why we need to force women to STOP having abortions.

What it tells me is that we have failed many, many of these women. We failed them, because instead of focusing on increasing funding so that there are more options of support and counselling for women who feel it is their only choice, those against abortion are too busy screaming MURDER and picketing to have abortion clinics closed.

When I started hearing stories from the other side, I realized this issue wasn’t so black and white. That the stories shared as part of the Pro-Life movement pull on our heartstrings, but are used in a way that hide part of the truth.

Earlier this year, I read a story of a woman who chose to have an abortion because she couldn’t afford another child. You see, she was the mother of four kids already. The father had walked out on her the year previous, and she was struggling to make ends meet. To make matters worse, she was raped by a friend and ended up pregnant. She couldn’t afford to feed another mouth, but even worse, she couldn’t afford to be pregnant. After seeking a doctor’s opinion, she was told there were a number of health risks associated with this pregnancy and she would likely have to be on bed rest for quite a while. Maternity leave would have left her unable to pay the bills and feed her children.

The article was one of the most heart-wrenching stories I had ever read. This wasn’t a decision the woman took lightly, and it wasn’t one she made with joy or celebration. It came down to whether or not seeing the pregnancy through was worth the risk of the lives of her already existing four children.

At that point, I decided that I was pro-choice for early abortion, but not for late-term abortion. How could anyone at all think it was okay to abort a child that was almost fully developed in the womb?

I felt that way right up until I saw an article about a woman who felt the same way, right up to the day where she had to make that call. Her baby had severe, severe development problems, which would have been uncontrollable my medication, could leave it in a vegetative state, and having to rely on feeding tubes for the child’s entire life. The child wouldn’t have the capability to live a life at all.

I decided to do further research, and found that in most cases a late term abortion isn’t because a mother randomly changed her mind, but because the complications with the pregnancy were too high, and often the child would be born with too many difficulties.

I know people who have been in that position, advised to abort, didn’t and are happy putting in the extra attention and care to the medical needs of their child, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it takes a very, very strong person to be able to do it. But not everyone is cut out for that kind of parental job. Not everyone has the patience, or the financial capability to make their life 100% about that child.

I can’t support the idea of forcing a parent to give birth to a child that would consume their entire lives in ways that parents of healthy children could never imagine.

Don’t get me wrong when I say any of this: the idea of abortion, of any child being killed breaks my heart. But when we make abortion illegal, when we tell women that they have to go through with all pregnancies no matter what, we’re telling them that their lives are not nearly as important as one that has yet to be fully formed.

When we tell women that they can’t abort from a rape because God ‘ordained’ this child to be born, we’re telling those women that the loving God we’re trying to show someone is okay with the kind of violent horrors that were done to that woman solely for the purpose of having this child come into the world.

We’re telling women that they don’t matter; only what is inside them does.

And let’s face it. Women are going to continue to seek ways to abort even if it’s illegal. And those ways are damaging emotionally, physically, and often end up with the woman dying. Making abortions illegal isn’t going to help push women to seek the alternatives. What it does is makes them afraid to express the reasons why they don’t want to have this child; it makes them afraid to speak out and possibly even seek help.

We are failing women. And as a Christian, I believe that supporting the Pro-Life movement is failing women far worse than the Pro-Choice movement is. If we were to focus more on loving and supporting women, on giving them a safe space, then maybe, just maybe, we would see the number of abortions decrease.

This post is part monthly link up called The F-Word, all about feminism. This month’s topic is reproductive rights, and you can check out the main post over here, called I Want a Government So Small, It Fits Inside My Uterus.

Comments

  1. Brita Long

    I was not sure where this post was going when I read the title, but I read every post that links up with me.

    This is SO beautiful. Your words are so full of love and conviction.

    My grandfather was an OBGYN prior to Roe v. Wade. I never heard his stories, but my mom did. My mom had the greatest faith of anyone I knew. She was loving, devout, curious, and so on fire for Jesus. Whatever stories my grandfather had of women dying and becoming infertile, they convinced my religious mother to be pro-choice. Because no matter how anyone feels personally about abortion, no matter how much those personal feelings dictate public policy, there will be women who seek abortions.

    We have so many options available that would actually reduce unwanted pregnancies, which would actually reduce abortion, but the pro-life movement isn’t interested in those options. You’re Canadian, so I’m not sure how much you know about US schools, but much of are schools still teach abstinence-only education. How can young people prevent unwanted pregnancies if they don’t know how to have safe sex? That’s just one change that could reduce unwanted pregnancies, but then it would “teach teens to have sex.”

    The more I delve into pro-life rhetoric, the more I realize it’s mostly about punishing women for having sex.

    1. Post
      Author
      TabithaWells

      Thank you. And I agree. Honestly, I wouldn’t touch the abortion topic for years, mainly because I didn’t want to be involved in something that causes so many people on either side to get so hateful. But I realized it’s kinda hard to talk fully about feminism and faith issues if I’m ignoring some of them.

      When I started researching it, I couldn’t believe the damage it was causing. There are personal reasons too why I started looking into it, and that was part of what made me question the Pro-Life movement.

  2. Brianna

    I can hear your heart in these words you wrote. It is SUCH a weighty issue with so many shades of gray and unfortunately most people are uncomfortable with gray so either they avoid the topic or choose “a side” but honestly neither helps what the real issue is for many of these cases. Thanks for being real, honest and brave when deciding to write about this very difficult issue on life.

    ((hugs))

    http://unveiledandrevealed.com

  3. Clare Speer

    I love this! I love this! Such truth and it’s so easy for us to “judge” when we don’t know what a lot of these women have gone through….. truth be told – like you said – we have let down and not supported a lot of women in their time of need and crisis! You have done your homework and I appreciate your perspective! Thanks!

  4. Lauren Bersaglio

    Thank you for this article! I come from the same perspective; but have never been able to put the right words to describe it (partially because I feared the harsh judgement I may receive for merely whispering “pro choice” amongst fellow Christians). I love what you say about needing to have better resources and options. Have you heard of Signall Hill? Their Executive Director visited my psych class a few years ago. I think you’ll like what they do: https://www.thesignalhill.com/causes/baby-bumps (OK so originally they were strictly a “pro choice, anti abortion” organization. But now I went to their site and they’ve broadened their mission. However that specific link goes to a program they run called “baby bumps”, which seems to be what the initial organization’s main focus was) xLaurenB

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