About Abortion

by SixofNine 2 Replies latest jw friends

  • SixofNine

    Food for thought from a blog I read:


    I originally posted this as a comment in another diary, but it got rather long, so it was suggested I post it as a diary. Let me say at the outset that I do not presume to think that my feelings are universal. I don't think that every woman should feel bad or sad about having an abortion, or find it a difficult decision. Some don't, and that's fine. We are all different, but I am specifically speaking here of those who find it difficult.

    Often, in talking to pro-lifers, their stance is rooted in their own emotions, in their own feelings about pregnancy. Statistics aren't going to change those feelings. How can they feel the way they do and not be against abortion? I'm not speaking of the hard core loonies, but mostly women who would vote pro-choice if they could get past the thought that being pro-choice negates their personal moral feelings. So I try to show them how you can love babies and treasure even the unborn, and still be solidly pro-choice. I give them one concrete example. I sit them down and tell them about who really has abortions, and it's not just the people they think. I tell them my own story. Sometimes I sway them, because I am very much like them.

    I was happily married, had two children, and was on birth control. My mother-in-law had been diagnosed with a severe illness, so we had moved to her home to care for her.

    My children were having difficulty adjusting to a new school, which was much worse than their former one. Abysmal, in fact. One child had mild cerebral palsy and learning disabilities, so I was practically having to home tutor her. My husband was working long hours, as was I - about 50 hours a week with a 45 minute commute one way.

    My mother-in-law was a wonderful woman, who became very afraid when she got her diagnosis. She was not the least bit afraid of dying. She was afraid of leaving her home, of being sent to a nursing home. My husband and I sat by her bedside and swore to her that she would be in her home, cared for by us until the day she died. And we did.

    We had a paid caregiver who stayed with her for the few hours overlap between him leaving for work and me coming home. The rest of the time I cared for her round the clock. She could not walk or control her functions at that point. I was up several times a night, cleaning her when she was wet or soiled, giving her pain injections. Sometimes she called out to me just because she got scared or confused at 3 am. Her medication expenses were astronomical. We took out a second mortgage to pay for her needs. Our finances were stretched to the limit.

    I'm almost 5 foot ten, and I weighed 120 pounds at that point. I was physically and emotionally exhausted, a walking zombie - it was all I could do to care for her and my children, and work. These lives, these precious lives I was responsible for.

    And I became pregnant. On the pill. One of the lucky 1.5% My husband and I spent days agonizing over what to do. I cried. I prayed. I damned the circumstances. I remembered my previous two pregnancies, the joy of that burgeoning life. And in the end, I looked at him and said, "I can't do this. I can't have another child. It breaks my heart, but I can't." It would have meant sending Miss Dot to a nursing home. I couldn't possibly lift and turn her, get her in her wheelchair, etc while pregnant.

    Because of my existing two children. Because I had to work to pay that second mortgage. And because I would have had to look a dying woman in the eye, a marvelous and giving human being to whom I HAD MADE A VOW, and tell her that she would be cared for not in her home, as we had promised her, surrounded by her family - but in some anonymous room somewhere. So we made an appointment, and my husband took me down and I had my abortion. I puked and cried and grieved for 4 days.

    My mother-in-law was with us for 2 more hard years. When she finally became terminal, we did get a little help from hospice. The weekend before she died, I wheeled her outside so she could see the spring snapdragons blooming and watch the ospreys that had returned to the lake, wheeling and diving.

    Perhaps if we had national healthcare and drug coverage in this country, I would not have been cornered into a choice that was so difficult for me. Perhaps if "custodial care" was not excluded from things covered. If the school system didn't suck so badly. If there was help available for all the obstacles we faced, perhaps I might have chosen to have that child.

    But that help didn't exist. And there were a lot of lives already breathing and laughing and crying and depending on me, besides the potential one inside me. I chose in their favor, in favor of the lives in front of my nose, and I can't regret that choice. Miss Dot went to her grave happy and loved, in her own familiar home, never knowing that I had made such a choice.

    My story is very individual, but so are most women's stories. You can't pick and choose and legislate for every scenario, becuse there are a million scenarios. We are the ones with the burden of choice - we are the ones who know whether we can bear that child or not. Often we grieve, but we still choose.

    Maybe we should be given better choices. Maybe we need [people] in office who will support women and families in such a way that we can choose to keep that pregnancy more often than not, if that's what we want.

    How would making abortion criminal have helped my family? Affordable medications and home care would have done more to prevent my abortion than a punitive law.

    It's not black and white. And sometimes, I've been able to make a pro-life woman see that. That it's not those nasty people on the other side of town. It's your neighbor. It's your daughter-in-law. It's your grandchild. It's you. And you make the best choice you can. There are often a lot of lives involved, and the person who has to weigh and consider all those lives is the woman in those shoes. No one else really can, certainly not the government. You can't legislate exceptions for a Miss Dot, or the million other circumstances a woman might face. There are too many - they are as individual as the women. You can only leave it up to the woman.

  • mrsjones5

    I don't know if I would call myself a prolife woman. I would definately never have an abortion (unless there was a very good reason to do it) but I would never tell someone else not to. I do feel that there are other choices, adoption being one of them. Yes I know how hard it is to carry a child (I carried four, not at the same time), my last 2 pregnancies were worst than the first 2. I didn't want to be pregnant for a fourth time and thought I took reasonable measures to prevent a pregnancy but it happened. The first thing to go through my mind was not maybe I should get rid of it, that thought never even crossed my mind. The first thought I had was I hope my baby is alive even though I have an IUD, which could have done a number of nasty things to the fetus.

    All I can say is I can't tell anyone else what they should believe or do but abortion is not for me.


  • crownboy

    Hey, Six, I read the same dairy over there earlier today as well. A truly poignant story.

    I happen to have strong pro-life positions personally, but I think women should have the right to make such decisions on their own. As the writer indicated, this isn't a black and white issue. So that makes me pro-choice politically.

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