On the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade

unborn-babyI was still an atheist and a liberal when my wife became pregnant with our twin sons (now 26 years old). That’s when I started questioning my assumptions about abortion. From the start, my wife and I started relating emotionally to our child (we didn’t know she was having twins until about twenty weeks gestation) as a personality. I started bonding and loving long, long before they were born. I just couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams ending their lives at any stage, including before birth. How could I do that?

I know that, in theory, the pro-abortion advocates are supporting “pro-choice.” That is, when a woman becomes pregnant, she can choose to go through being pregnant and give birth, or she can choose to have her unborn child medically “terminated.” But let’s look at this. My guess is that most people who are pro-choice are either parents or will be parents someday. They don’t hate children and they don’t hate people who love their own children. They see their position as one where they want to have control of when they become parents.

But let’s say that the first time a woman becomes pregnant, for whatever reason, she doesn’t want to have the child (financial difficulties, under-age, unmarried…) and has an abortion. In order to be able to successfully have an abortion, she cannot relate to her unborn child as a child. She has to relate to it as a “thing.” Otherwise, how could she go through with it?

So she has the abortion. A few years later, she purposefully becomes pregnant and begins bonding with her child from the first moment she discovers she’s pregnant, probably within just a few weeks of conception. How can she decide to love one child from the very beginning but totally emotionally and physically disregard the other child? The abortion industry has been very successful in selling this strange dichotomy and mindset, but to me, it is so completely alien.

What’s the difference between a precious unborn baby and a fetus (a term which is used as a synonym for “thing”)? The only difference is that the first is wanted and the second is not. No quality the unborn child possesses makes it more or less worthy of life in the mother’s eyes or in any pro-choice advocate’s eyes. More’s the pity.

I wrote the above commentary on Facebook after reading a New York Times blog post on the topic. In consulting the blog again, I ran across this comment:

We fought and (thought we had) won the war against compulsory childbearing decades ago, so that our daughters would have agency over their own bodies and the ability to make decisions about their health care without government interference. Just as we fought for our daughters’ right to apply to medical school, and law school, and to compete fairly for jobs in any number of professions. We fought for our own and our daughters’ right to own real estate, to buy and own stocks and have bank accounts and credit in their own name, to be free of groping and sexual demands on the job, or to keep a job.

These battles were won within my adult lifetime. And our daughters don’t know a time when they couldn’t not open a bank account, buy a home, attend the medical school of their choice, be a bartender or carpenter or police officer as well as a barmaid.

I think we who fought the battles got complacent, or just plain tired. Maybe the neanderthal right has done us a favor this past election season, reminding us and our daughters and granddaughters that freedom and liberty must be constantly nurtured and protected like a perfect rose.

The phrase “compulsory childbearing” in the above empassioned declaration caught my attention, as if people or organizations outside of the woman’s control were somehow forcing them to engage in sex, become pregnant, and have children against their will. I could go on and I know this is a complex subject, so I won’t say too much more. Some believers treat all this as black-and-white without seeing the anguish many women go through when facing the decision of whether or not to abort their children. A woman having an abortion isn’t a terrible or bad person, she’s someone facing a very difficult choice, and one that is not as simple and clear cut as either the pro-abortion or the pro-life movements make it out to be.

I used to work at a Suicide Prevention hotline in Berkeley in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I typically worked midnight until 8 a.m., so I spoke with many people who felt all alone in the night. Sometimes, I would end up talking to a woman who would be crying inconsolably (there were more than just a few of them) because she had just done the unthinkable sometime yesterday…killed her unborn child.

Nat'l Organization For Women Marks Roe V. Wade Anniversary At Supreme CourtThis is the side of Roe vs. Wade that the media, the abortion industry, and the “pro-choice” political advocates never talk about. What it does to a woman after the abortion is over. What is it like when you have exercised what you’ve been told are your “reproductive rights,” taken control of your own body and your own destiny, done what fifty plus years of modern feminism have told you that you must do when you are pregnant and you don’t want to be, and had an abortion? What is it like after it’s all over, the “medical procedure” was successfully performed, you’ve gone back to your home, and you have time to realize what just happened? You’re alone now. It’s the middle of the night, but you can’t sleep. You always imagined having children someday and you know someday you will. But there is one little cry in the night you’ll never hear, one voice you’ll never respond to, one baby you will never feed and comfort. There is one child you’ll never nurture, support, love, hug, kiss, cherish, and help grow and thrive.

What about him? What about her? Your baby wasn’t an “it.” Your baby was a little boy or a little girl. What would you have named him? What would you have called her?

“Happy Anniversary,” Roe vs. Wade. In forty years, how many mother’s hearts have you broken? How many babies never took their first breath because of you and because of the illusion that you’ve drawn over the eyes of all their mothers? How many? Why is this a good thing?

Why?

Addendum: The Woman Behind “Roe” and why she has dedicated her life to overturning Roe vs. Wade.

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11 thoughts on “On the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade”

  1. A very good post.

    Unfortunately I know too many friends who aren’t missing out on comforting *a* crying child, rather 5-7.

    I wish I could say more about your post but my stomach is in knots as I remember being told by the clinic that’s it’s only a “mass of tissue.” There’s really nothing anyone can do to “fix” it after the fact.

  2. Very touching post, James.

    It certainly is telling, though sadly not surprising, how one’s perspective changes concerning such a subject, when one’s heart is opened to believing in the living G-d.

    As a former non-believer myself, I look back with much sadness at the apathetic coldness of my heart in my earlier stages of my philosophical development; sadness, at how easily I could “justify” such a terrible thing as abortion.

    Much of it is a symptom of that larger problem; the slow etching away at G-d in the public consciousness. When we remove G-d from our lives, we forfeit the sacred. When we forfeit the sacred, we lose all definition of what is “right” and what is “wrong.”

    Relativism reigns.

    Peace to you, friend.

  3. I suppose I should have realized that one of the consequences of my writing this is the opening of old wounds, LW. If I served as a reminder of any pain, I’m sorry. And yet, what else could I do?

    Nate, in a very real sense, we in the body of faith are all “former non-believers.” No one is born to this. God speaks to us all and calls us. Sadly, only some listen, and of those who do listen, we struggle all our lives to hear what He is saying to us, and then to walk the path that he has set before us.

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