Thursday, March 24, 2011

Women and Children and the Choices we Make

"I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives," [North Dakota governor] Daugaard said in a written statement. "I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices."

The governor said state attorneys have agreed to defend the law and that he's spoken with a sponsor who has pledged to finance the state's legal costs, the Associated Press reports.   --  Politics Daily, 3/22/11
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I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is trusting the individual to make the right decision for herself and her family, and not entrusting that decision to anyone wearing the authority of government in any regard. --Hillary Clinton

 In the summer of 1954, just before we entered our Senior year, my friend Rosie, with no forewarning or even a goodbye, went to live with her aunt.  A week or so earlier, we were leaving a drug store after having a couple of cherry Cokes and she fainted dead away, crumpling to the ground right in front of me.  It was a hot day and she convinced me that the heat had caused it, but when I called her house and her mother told me she had gone to live with her aunt in a town many miles away I put two and two together and realized with a shock that she was pregnant (or PG as we said back then). None of us who had been Rosie's friends knew the torment she was going through; nor did we ever hear from her again.  Later, we heard that she had given her baby up for adoption.  Shame was the reason she didn't tell me there on the sidewalk, and shame was the reason she never kept in touch with any of us.   

Shame was big back then.  When I was a young mother myself, living in neighborhoods where most of us barely had a pot to pee in, shame kept many of my friends from admitting they were pregnant until the evidence was beyond the point of ignoring.  Then the coffee table conversations went something like this:
 "Well, I'm PG again."
"Oh, no!"
"oh, GOD no!"
"_______'s gonna kill me."
(Crying here.  Sighing. Muttering.)
"I can't have this baby!"
"Maybe it'll be okay."
"No, it won't."

It was always the woman's fault.  Birth control was either with condoms or diaphragm or the rhythm method, and if they failed it was because the woman did something wrong.  That accusation was so ingrained, the women themselves believed it was their fault.  There were the lucky few who welcomed another pregnancy, but many, many more were devastated.  I can't say I knew any woman who went the coat hanger route, (mainly because they never would have admitted to it), but many of them tried drinking supposed miscarriage herbals or douching with chemicals or bumping into things or "falling" down stairs. 

 The feminist movement and Roe v. Wade, if they hadn't ever done anything else, can be credited with changing the prevailing perception that there were no choices for a person in a woman's body.  The fact that the works for conceiving were built into them no longer meant that women would be forced to conceive. 

That is the underlying wisdom of freedom of choice and it's what the Supreme Court saw as a constitutional right.

If, since Roe v. Wade, every child born in this country was afforded the kinds of protections necessary to ensure health and happiness, safety and well-being,  the argument that a fetus must be saved at all costs might hold water.

The sorry truth is that 14 million American children live in poverty right now.

Over 17 million children live in households where there is not enough food.

1.5 million kids go to sleep without a home of their own each year.

In 2007, approximately 5.8 million children were involved in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse reports and allegations. 

A woman who makes the choice to abort a fetus can never be accused of doing it lightly.  That is a cruel falsehood perpetrated either by men who will never know the pain of having to live with either choice, or by women who consider their own life choices so superior they have no problem with forcing others of their own gender to bear children--which they then have no problem forgetting about completely and entirely.

None of them lose any sleep over their own actions, but will band together, collecting millions of dollars that could be used to save children living in misery and instead use it to convince the public and a few callous legislators that aborting a fetus is akin to murder and should be outlawed.

Children are our precious gifts and should be our foremost obligations.  There is something crushing and terrible about the fact that lawmakers across the country are systematically defunding social programs currently helping families to just get through the day, if nothing else.  Many of those same lawmakers vigorously support the supposed pro-life groups without once considering the damage they're doing to the children we need to protect.  These children, no longer fetuses, need us.  The women who make the decision to terminate a pregnancy are not pariahs.  Our moral obligations are to the lesser and to the helpless already in our keep.

Shame on anyone who works against that very basic societal tenet.  Most of us are better than that.

Boy with Frogs - Brookgreen Gardens
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