Why My Pro-Life Heart Has Apprehension Over Legislative Changes
I clearly and unequivocally consider myself a pro-life supporter. Life is precious and sacred. It needs to be protected. We need to care for the most vulnerable in our world and keep them safe. My pro-life stance goes far beyond what people would consider typical. What do I mean? I am concerned with more than abortion when I state I am pro-life. Abortion is only a piece of the puzzle. My own views aside for a moment, “pro-life” legislation makes me apprehensive. The legality of abortion is a larger issue outside of my personal beliefs. It is not a simple issue. Let me share my pro-life/pro-choice journey.
My Personal Pro-Life Views
All life is sacred. I believe this with my whole heart, mind, and spirit. It is why the idea of starving children angers me and why, regardless of your crime, I think the death penalty is wrong. There are a million more examples of how being pro-life shapes my world view. In the media, pro-life seems to be simplified down to abortion or no abortion. I carried and birthed three children. They each were individual human beings to me at the moment of conception. I would choose them over anything. To the extreme, I told my husband if tough decisions ever needed to be made, I will always choose the child. I prepared him to make hard choices, because I knew I would not be of a mind to do so. We were blessed to never have to make that choice. Everyone is not that lucky.
Medically Defining Abortion
As a young person growing up in conservative circles, I heard all the propaganda. Women are using abortion as birth control. It is a lack of responsibility. People need to make better choices. Many of these conversations I had with my mother, the most pro-life woman I have ever met. Having given birth to two premature babies, her views on when a baby is truly a baby were very clear. By medical definition, according to Medlineplus.gov, abortion is:
a procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. The procedure is done by a licensed health care professional.
Seems simple enough. But is it?
Medical Reasons for Abortion
If you have an ectopic pregnancy, an abortion is needed to save your life. The baby is not viable but left without medical care, the woman will die. When a woman miscarries a pregnancy, it does not always go smoothly. Many miscarriages require procedures and medications considered medically to be abortions to safely care for the mother. The list continues to grow. Incidents where babies can no longer survive and remaining in the womb, will harm or kill the pregnant woman; these women require abortions to survive. Yet, I know many pro-life advocates would consider none of these circumstances when discussing legislative changes.
Learning from Stories
I sat in my kitchen discussing abortion with my mom. My mom believed 100% life begins at conception and abortion is wrong. Then I started reading to her stories I found online. Miscarriages gone wrong. Babies who could not survive in or out of the womb but leaving them in would surely kill the mother. Story after story of women who were forced to make horrible choices no woman should ever need to make. Mom looked at me and said, “Those aren’t abortions.” To which I responded, “Not to you or me. But by medical definition, that is the procedure these women went through on what was most likely the worst day of their lives.”
It is a slippery slope. If we try to legislate medical procedures, do we risk injuring more people in the process? In these situations, instead of only losing babies, would these families have lost wives, sisters, and daughters? Can a hard line in the sand cause more pain, sadness, and loss of life?
More Stories from Real Women
My heart is incredibly conflicted. While I believe every baby is precious, I’ve read heart wrenching stories on why women chose to abort a pregnancy. Stories of abuse. Not just rape and incest, which are popular buzzwords in pro-life discussion, but spousal abuse. Everyone is not living in a healthy, loving situation. There are also stories of women who had birth control fail and now they are faced with the decision to carry a pregnancy with a body that will not be able to handle it. Some of these women are mothers to one or more children already. Do they risk leaving all of them motherless? I read story after story of women making impossible choices.
I grew up thinking 95% of abortions were done nonchalantly, without a care in the world. What I see now is quite the opposite. I would challenge that 95% of abortions are heart wrenching decisions made after a tremendous amount of thought. Nothing this serious can ever be simple.
Do We Have Other Options as Pro-Life Proponents?
As a Pro-Life woman, I have ideas of where I would like my money and energy to go as far as the movement. It is my opinion we focus far too much on making broad legislative changes and not nearly enough time with the small, simple steps that create real change. Why not make birth control for both men and women easily accessible to all ages? No questions asked. Promote education. Make pregnancy care easily accessible. Take care of girls and women before they become pregnant, both mentally and physically. Hold men as responsible as women when it comes to pregnancy and care for children. Pregnancy does not happen in a vacuum. Let’s spend more energy on the before instead of focusing solely on the after.
I will always consider myself pro-life, but my views are evolving. It is healthy to listen to other voices and shift your opinions when necessary. It is my desire for all women to be treated with respect and able to receive the correct medical procedures for their needs. I want all babies who are born to be loved and cared for in safe, healthy environments. It is my hope for women not to need or want an abortion, but I am not walking in every woman’s shoes. If she is met with an impossible choice, I want her choice to be legally protected and medically safe. My pro-life heart will not risk one life to save another.