At least that’s how the medical personnel who worked with me kept referring to what had happened. The first time in the hospital, I was a conservative, on the verge of Bible-thumping, evangelical Christian. The nurses kept chatting about my “abortion”. I eventually got so irritated with their character assassination, I yelled at one of them, “I did NOT just have an abortion!” She patted my hand and assured me, “Oh no sweetie, you had a spontaneous abortion, not an induced abortion. It’s okay.” But, it wasn’t okay with me. I didn’t believe in abortion. A couple days later, when I was cleaning the fish bowl I accidentally washed my son’s goldfish down the drain. I fell completely apart, “I was a murderer!”
During my next “abortion” I actually held the baby I lost in the palm of my hand. I could see her nose and her eyes and count her toes. She was perfect. Except she was in the palm of my hand not the safety of my womb. I hemorrhaged. I nearly passed out in the ER. The doctor ordered a D and C to stop the hemorrhaging. And, I felt totally guilty.
The last time my body aborted was the most frightening. It started with “spotting”. I’d spotted before, with my son, but given the loss of my two most recent pregnancies, I went in for an ultra-sound. No heartbeat. In fact, no baby. Where a tiny embryo should have been growing I had a mass of cells that looked like a giant cluster of grapes. Cancer….well, potentially cancer. My body was obviously trying to expel it. Another D and C was ordered to help it along. Yes, the blood test said I was pregnant. But, no I wasn’t. Not with a baby. It was this Molar Pregnancy instead. And it could become life threatening if I didn’t become unpregnant fast. But what if the ultrasound was wrong?…what if… No, my doctor insisted. The blood test was wrong. The hyper elevated hGC actually indicated an abnormality. There really was NO baby.
So, I had a medically necessary, induced abortion, to rid my body of behaviorally cancerous cells that were pretending to be a baby. I needed monthly follow-up blood tests for a year to make sure my hGC levels went back to and stayed normal. And, it was highly recommended I never become pregnant again. The chances of a viable pregnancy after a molar pregnancy were low, at best.
Abortion. The latest topic to reach center stage in this election. I shared my personal journey through the land of “abortion” in part because I want to bring some humanity to the table before I start blasting my way through with facts and opinions. I could keep sharing stories, like this one from a woman who needed a life saving late term abortion, but, the real problem, at least for those in my circle of friends who plan to vote for Trump in order to honor their objection to abortion, isn’t a lack of compassion. Most of you care deeply not only about the lives of the unborn but about the rest of humanity as well. I do not fault your heart when it comes to the issue of abortion. But I do fault your logic. And frankly, I don’t understand your faith.
Prior to the Roe VS Wade decision, abortions were legal in 17 states. Most, however, were much more dangerous for the women getting them than they are today, thus the “safe, legal, and rare” campaign leading up to and possibly impacting the Supreme Court decision. Between 1950 and 1960 (before Roe vs Wade) the abortion rate was as high as 1.2 million, with nearly 5,000 maternal deaths annually, impoverished women suffering the most complications and casualties. Since Roe VS Wade, the abortion rate has decreased steadily from a 1990 high of 1.4 million to approximately 700,000 in 2012. In other words, WE ARE ALREADY BELOW most estimates of pre Roe VS Wade abortion rates. Thus, comparatively speaking abortion has become more rare and is definitely more safe.
Those who think abortion is immoral. period. might not care why women seek abortions. However, if we honestly want to decrease the occurrence of something we might benefit from understanding why it occurs in the first place. Maternal health, rape, and incest combined account for only 4% of all abortions, while women seeking late term abortions (after 20 weeks) account for only 1.5% of all cases. Those are the extremes, but here are some other factors based on 2014 statistics that might help to paint an honest picture. 75 % of women seeking abortions were slightly above to well below the poverty line. 46% were single women many of whom reported the lack of support and resources as contributing to their decision (think no childcare and no health insurance). Over 50% identify as Christian. More than half were in their 20s and 12% were in their teens. Finally, many women voiced concerns for how a baby, or even a pregnancy, would change their lives (think job loss, disrupted schooling, and loss of community and family support).
So, when we throw all these factors on the canvas what picture do they actually paint? First, the passage of Roe VS Wade did not dramatically impact the number of abortions in the United States. Thus, spending time, energy, and resources trying to over turn it instead of using that same time, energy, and resources to create an environment where fewer women seek abortions, is a waste of our time energy and resources. Secondly, voting Republicans because they promise to make abortions more difficult to obtain, yet rarely fulfill their promise, is illogical, especially since they also contribute to a pro-abortion environment. Their policy and laws that discriminate against single moms, allow unwed pregnant women to be fired, try to make healthcare more difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and keep women in poverty by refusing to support an increased minimum wage and equal pay for equal work laws are completely counter productive. Therefore for all these reasons, Democrats who fight for social justice in fact do more to reduce abortions than the GOP.
Earlier I shared my experiences to bring a little humanity to the table. I also want to used it as an illustration, specifically for Christians. I felt guilty even though technically I had no control of my situation. The medical personnel didn’t blame me, but the language they used triggered a sense of shame that was extremely powerful. I wanted to hide, and did to the degree that I didn’t even tell my own parents what I was going through. In addition to understanding what your actions are not doing–voting for a pro-life Republican is NOT reducing the number of abortions–I want you to understand what you are doing. Remember, over 50% of the women seeking abortions identify as Christians. The vast majority understand that an abortion ends the life of their baby. Yet, they choose to have an abortion anyway. They choose to live with the guilt and shame they put on themselves rather than the guilt, shame, and potential abandonment by their families. The language we use as we describe abortions and the women who get them, the damnation we cast on women (not men) who become pregnant outside of marriage, and the attitudes perpetuated by the Republican party that the poor are freeloaders, lazy, and unworthy of our concern creates a pro-abortion environment. Many women are hiding, just like I did because they are too afraid of the consequences if they are found out. I am not saying we need to avoid teaching our children to be morally responsible individuals but we must re-evaluate how we teach those lessons. If we do not couple our “superior” morality with lessons of grace and compassion then we are NOT walking out the love of Christ.
I believe my Christian friends and family are caring people, people who personally would walk the extra mile. I just think the Republican party has sold you a pack of lies and you need to do a reality check. If you sincerely want our nation to return to Christian principles it won’t be accomplished by throwing your support behind the Republican party in its current manifestation.