Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Abortion and Our Selective Humanity

A bill that would have made abortion at 20 weeks of gestation illegal in Texas died last week, due in large part to State Senator Wendy Davis’ 10-hour filibuster. This past Monday, members of both pro-life and pro-choice camps gathered in front of the Texas Capitol to give voice to their side of the issue. My Facebook News Feed was inundated with abortion-related comments for a day or two. So on and off for the past few days, I have been reflecting on this latest source of turmoil.

I have come to realize that legislation will not change anything on this matter. If abortion is made illegal completely, a black market for abortion will surface; we will see more and more cases of women giving birth and dumping their children in toilets, dumpsters, etc. Just like the use of many drugs is “illegal” yet the drug business is a multibillion dollar industry, illegal abortion places will cash in by slipping under the radar. With this I’m not saying that abortion might as well be legal. I guess I’m just sad that we have gotten to a point where, if an unexpected pregnancy happens, we as human beings even consider it an option to kill a child. This issue is very personal to me, as I’m speaking from experience: I was a product of an unplanned pregnancy. To my mom (who was single and 18 years old at the time) and my grandparents, there was never any other option except, “this baby is coming”. Needless to say, I am so glad they saw me not as a collection of cells, but as a human life in the making, worthy of respect. We live in a nation where it’s all about “defending rights”: a crazy random guy pulls out a gun and kills someone else: “gun control, no guns for anyone, people should feel safe, RAH-RAH!”. A doctor makes a mistake in the operating room: “this doctor should have his license revoked forever, patients should be protected!”. A woman has sex, becomes pregnant, a baby is growing inside her… and she makes the decision to abort. This baby will likely be decapitated, his or her brain pulverized, arms and legs ripped apart from the body, the entire body sucked away with a vacuum. WHO protects this child? Why, because we cannot see this person, are we so indifferent and downright merciless toward them? WHY DO WE EXERCISE SUCH SELECTIVE HUMANITY?

I believe the root problem here is twofold: ignorance and convenience. Do abortion supporters know how exactly an abortion is conducted? Do they know that in the womb, these children have plenty of nerves that allow them to feel the excruciating pain of being dismembered? Do they know that their brains are often squished with forceps, and later sucked away along with any other “leftovers”? I don’t think many people know. And if they do… boy, are we in bad shape. I also believe that convenience is to blame here because I have spoken with pro-choice supporters who have said, “well, conception is just a clean, convenient line that can be drawn so that a woman can decide what to do”. Really? Convenience is your argument? HOW SELFISH CAN WE BE?

I have seen people on Texas A&M grounds showing passersby very gruesome photos of aborted children. I don’t agree with the shock factor used here because, just like legislation, this tactic fails to engage in active, one-on-one dialogue with people. We will not change minds by randomly showing bloody photos to anyone who will look our way. My bet is that this is automatically counterproductive to the cause. And like I said, legislation alone will not change people’s minds. BUT, if we choose to talk to our friends, our relatives, our coworkers, and anyone who currently supports this type of infanticide (because trust me, many of the people closest to us are in favor of making this life-or-death choice) … at least a new gateway for dialogue has been opened. And maybe not today, or tomorrow, will the change happen. We truly cannot touch anyone else’s lives without His hand guiding it all. We have to hope that some minds will change. Maybe someone will go, “okay… how DO abortions take place?” and Google the word (not kidding… typing “abortion” on Google results in jawdropping, extremely graphic images. If you’re brave enough, I invite you to do it, with the forewarning that it may turn your stomach inside out).

And many pro-choice supporters argue that okay, late-term abortion is abominable, but if a woman finds out soon enough that she’s pregnant and decides to abort, then it’s okay because this is not a baby yet.  To these people I say, “aren’t YOU lucky that your mother chose life for you? If you could for one day pull a Marty McFly and travel back to the time when your mother was pregnant, and you saw her debating whether or not to abort you: wouldn’t you want to scream and plead with her not to do it, because you want to live?” My mom and grandparents never saw this as an option: I was going to come no matter what. Had they been guided by a completely different moral compass, I would not have gotten to breathe; run; laugh; cry; had my first kiss; gone to college; met the love of my life; met amazing, lifelong friends; lived the intense highs and lows that life has brought me.  Can you, family members, friends, acquaintances, etc., say that you would’ve been perfectly okay if I had not been given the chance to live? Am I not worth it?

It’s not about not having any options, and it’s not about “you made a mistake, live with the consequences, raise this baby”. If you don’t want to take care of the baby, fine. THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS. I've seen some liberal people say (almost verbatim), “Imagine, conservatives want us to live with the consequences of a brief mistake that happened on one night!”. Yes, it’s about responsibility, not about “let’s have sex tonight, will get rid of any traces of this mistake later.” But “living with consequences” doesn’t necessarily mean to raise the child. A woman who unexpectedly falls pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption has just as many GUTS and courage as a woman who decides to raise the baby. It’s not running away from responsibility, it’s not cowardice. Sam and I have met women who had their children placed for adoption; their decision was based on “I knew I could not afford to have a fifth child, but I wanted my baby to live”. Simple as that. Nowadays with so many infertile couples, birthmothers can ask potential adoptive parents to pay for medical expenses during the pregnancy.  

To those who say, “well, you’re neglecting to talk about women who have been raped”. First of all, I looked it up: in the US, 1% of abortions happen because a woman was raped and does not want to keep the child. ONE percent. On the other hand:

-          “Unready for responsibility”: 21%
-          “Is too immature or too young to have child”: 11%
-          “Has problems with relationship or wants to avoid single parenthood”: 12%
-          “Husband or partner wants her to have abortion”: 1%
-          “Has all the children she wanted or all the children are grown”: 8%
-          “Can’t afford baby right now”: 21%
-          “Concerned about how baby would change her life”: 16%

These reasons, which I have been arguing against and could be very well avoided by placing the child for adoption, make up 90% of cases in the country. *sigh*. These babies are alive, growing, and need to be protected. THEY ARE JUST AS VALUABLE AS YOU AND ME. You and I were once them; only we were lucky to have mothers who said “yes” to life for us.

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