Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of life.
– Maureen Hawkins
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I am pro-life. This is a surprise to many people who know me (if the conversation goes that way, which it rarely does). They are caught off guard because I am, otherwise, a left-leaning liberal, (post-)feminist, crunchy, Eastern-religion loving, modern mama. I guess I don’t fit the profile…
Let me be very clear though, I am pro-life; I am not anti-abortion or anti-people-who-have-abortions. That is a very different thing, in my view. And I don’t want to align myself with Republicans or Christian Fundamentalists on this, either – that is NOT where I am coming from. I do not think those who have abortions are evil, sinful or otherwise shameful. I would NOT picket clinics or criminalise abortions. I think abortions should remain legal, people should have free choice… but alongside I would work to increase education and raise awareness not just of the fact that a fetus is a person but also of the emotional effects abortions can have on women. So, I hope more and more people would make what I see as the higher choice – but it is their choice to make.
See, I do want to help change to the world, where I can, but I want to do it with love, not hate, shame or violence. Quite the opposite, I am for less hate, shame and violence and my belief is that the only way to go about that is to raise consciousness.
I am ‘pro-life’ because I believe the spark of life starts in the womb, most likely at conception. If you are a mom and you are reading this you probably know what I am talking about. I am not saying you have to be anti-abortion just because you are a mother, I am just saying that many if not most of us felt a connection with our child from the start – sometimes even before you have taken the test or had the pregnancy ‘confirmed’ you already know, there is life growing inside you. You feel it. You love it – and yes it is alive. Yes, it is already your child.
To be honest, I was talking to my child’s spirit way before she was even born, telling her I was getting the conditions for her to come to Earth ready, before she could come. It may sound querky but I am not alone in this. Many mothers feel a strong bond to their child from the moment there is life in their womb and sometimes before then, too. And how many times have I heard mothers say that they knew, knew the gender of their child weeks before the scan – and certainly many months before the legal point at which you can still abort. The connection was there, already.
But I wouldn’t stop women from having abortions. As I said, guilt and aggression are not my tools of choice.
I would love abortion clinics to become obsolete – [maybe I should say I would love mothers into making abortions obsolete… if I could]. Certainly I would prefer (if I had world dominion – hah) for no healthy fetus to be aborted from a healthy mom (and I even have some questions about abortions for ‘imperfect baby’ reasons… but that is for another time, I think). But what I personally have the most difficulty with is abortion as a kind of post-hoc contraceptive, for people who just didn’t think through the consequence of their actions – or the act of sex. Sex can lead to having babies – end of… If you are not in a place to have a baby or you do not want a baby with this person you shouldn’t be having sex with them. Hahahaha. Okay, I know how naive and idealistic that sounded but still, there is some truth to it, no? I mean sure okay, sometimes sex happens. I get that. But it is about being responsible for our actions. Use protection and if that fails step up to the consequences, the challenges life is bringing you, NOW. It was not what you planned but how can you deal with this gracefully or, to put it another way: ‘what would Love do?’
And yes, my wish would be for people to treat the baby in the womb as a person, with full rights – ‘cos to me, intuitively that is what they are, already. This is a very complex issue, of course. Rape victims often feel unable to go through with the pregnancy. I can’t even imagine what that is like and my heart goes out to them… Again, I would not presume to tell them what to do. That is not my line… but while I do think these women (children in some cases, frankly) should be protected, I think the child within them is now alive (for no fault of their own, either) and should have rights, too. I would not force them to keep the baby – my personal utopian society would be carved of learning, light and love; not coercion. And with that I know it will probably never come to pass… not in my life time, at least. I mean killing other people has been outlawed and is no longer socially acceptable – as it was, say, in the Wild West – as a means of retribution, for example but it still happens. So it is that even if society as a whole came to view abortion as a lower choice, it does not mean it would no longer happen, does it?
At the same time, the ‘my body, my choice’ argument always sounded so lopsided to me, too – what about the baby’s choice about their body? Again, this is tricky, I know. Pregnancy is hard and even if people chose to keep the baby and then give it to adoption (and goodness knows there are so many waiting, longing to adopt!) if the pregnancy makes them miserable, ill (physically, emotionally, mentally) or otherwise severely disrupts their life – like affecting their job, etc. – what then? And how could having a baby growing inside you (one you did not wish to keep, to boot) not seriously affect your life?
I am not saying, then, that if you had an abortion you are wrong or bad. Many good friends of mine have had abortions. I do not judge them. I do not feel they are evil-doers… to be honest I don’t usually dwell on it at all. But I will say they are all sad, in some way. This is something they carry with them, often for life. Maybe you were not affected like this. Maybe you know people for whom it was a light and breezy experience from which they bounced back, barely touched – but that has not been the experience I have encountered among those I know personally.
Still, I am also not saying that these ‘procedures’ should be banned. But I do wish there was equal consideration for the life of the baby as there is for the life of the mother. I wish there was more love, information and respect for the life within going around at the time of decision-making – as well as love and respect for the needs and desires of the woman.
So, my call here is for more respect, more understanding, more compassion and forgiveness – for mothers AND unborn babies. This is my middle ground. Can love forge a pathway through this bitter divide?