Women’s Right to Choose: From my mother-heart

~ The Third Installment of this discussion ~

When listening to the members of our parliament address the “when is a baby a human” question and the abortion debate, one emotion rules over all: anger.  Anger in accusations spat out against one another, in indignation at the threat to rights, in defense of an already legal and – dare I say it – nurtured practice.

But anger is a secondary emotion.  It guards us against the real emotions, those too deep and profound to really express.  Not privately.  And certainly not publicly.

What does the anger protect, in this very heated and emotion-laden debate?  What are those deepest, most frightening emotions that cannot even find a voice, dare not find a voice lest they make some kind of moral statement about the issue?

Fear.  Fear of restrictions, the loss of our freedom and independence, the loss of our ability to continue living as we want.  But again, those are the shallow fears, the obvious ones.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of guilt…that ultimately, we might be wrong; that underneath it all, what we are doing might be the most abhorrent, devastating act we could possibly execute on the life of another.

And sorrow.

Abortion is, above all things, wave upon wave upon wave of endless sorrow, endless heartache, endless pain.  Oh, how I grieve for the terrifying, earth-shattering sorrow of abortion.

For the woman whose child is conceived in inconceivable violence, who carries in her body a baby who is as much genetically hers as any child she has or desires with the man she loves.  For this woman, violated unbearably in the beginning, and violated again either in termination or in a childbirth for which she did not ask.  For this woman, who faces choosing between ending a life, giving away her baby, or raising a child not created in love, my heart weeps.

For the woman who chooses to terminate her pregnancy, only to feel loss and grief and regret and sorrow, for whom dates and should-have-been-birthdays never let her forget.

For the man whose baby is terminated by the someone else’s choice, the father whose voice is silenced in political correctness and cloaked in the veil of women’s rights.

For the woman who, after years of desperately waiting and longing for a baby, or after losing pregnancy after pregnancy, would gladly love the baby of the woman who terminated hers for no reason other than convenience.  Timing.

For the woman told she must choose between her life and that of her child, whose child’s existence threatens her own.  And for the father who could lose them both.  It is a very real possibility that someday, my beautiful girl will face a pregnancy that could take her own life.  How can I judge this choice?  How does a mother face this grief, this choice, this reality, a grief too deep for tears?  For either choice is the extinguishing of a life, and the ending of a future.

During my  years of infertility and desperate hope, I heard stories of teenage girls getting pregnant, of women terminating their pregnancies, and my heart screamed at the unfairness of it.  Why so many unwanted babies, why so many babies killed, when I so yearned for one to love?  And then came Sara – the precious, beautiful, irrepressible gift of my oldest daughter.  Every day, I am fall-on-my-knees grateful for the courage and faith and strength of her birth mom.  Every day I thank God that this little daughter of mine lives and breathes and laughs and loves, that our lives have been forever changed by the light that is her.  And then Aliyah – our surprise child, who lives with a genetic disease that has drastically transformed our lives.  It is beyond comprehension that our Aliyah – a joy and delight of infinite worth, whose every single day blesses us with hope and love – would not, by some, be considered worthy of life.

Ask a woman, her belly blossoming with pregnancy, what she carries inside of her, and she will tell you – her baby.  Her human baby.  The woman who has just miscarried did lose a mass of cells – a mass of cells that constitutes human life – she lost her child.  The mother who loses her pregnancy in a street-mugging or car accident is not given the public dignity of grieving her baby lest it open up the abortion debate.  The heartache is unending.

The choice of abortion is never easy.  It is never pain-free.  And it is never, never without the loss of a life.

And in all of that sorrow and fear, I also do feel anger.  Anger at the refusal to even enter into a discussion about whether a fetus is a baby because of fear that “women’s rights” will be lost.  Anger at constant justification of an act that takes a life, justification that often brings up rape victims as those most vulnerable to lose abortions – when statistically, these women make up the smallest proportion of women having abortions.  Anger for the tens of thousands of babies in Canada that lose their futures because they were conceived at the wrong time in their mother’s life.  Anger that women’s rights take precedence over the rights of innocent, beautiful, silent babies.  Anger at my own fear to take a public stand on this issue lest I be labelled intolerant, backward thinking, uncivilized.

We cannot fight abortion with anger, judgement, condemnation, but to stand by and pretend that the loss of a baby is merely the termination of a fetus is equally impossible.  It is to ignore the depth and reality of this act, this choice, and to trivialize the sorrow and fear accompanying it.

Let us not use anger as our sword in this incredible issue.  Let us find compassion, grace, and truth.  Even as we speak as a voice for the voiceless.

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