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Thursday, January 22, 2009

From Personal to Principle

It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.

Mother Teresa

Today is the 36th anniversary of two Supreme Court decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which have resulted in over 50,000,000 deaths of American babies alone.

I grew up learning that it was my right to kill any life in my body for any reason. I bought into the my body my choice rhetoric (even though at least half of those "body parts" are male and all of them have unique DNA separate from the mother's). I believed all the lies about only a clump of cells (until I saw actual development of a baby in utero). I didn't think twice about the inconsistencies in the pro-choice argument, such as insisting that a woman had no ability to think ahead to the results of her actions, so could not be held responsible for them, but a man always did and should. This was why a woman was not responsible for her actions in an unplanned pregnancy and should be able to abort, but a man should have thought ahead if he didn't want to pay child support, and was therefore mandated to do so, even if he didn't want or plan the pregnancy (I will point out that the moral principle here upholds a man paying child support - at least - regardless of his plans, I am only pointing out a logical inconsistency). I thought that the very rare occasions of pregnancy from r@pe or inc*st, and the even rarer preservation of the life of the mother justified changing the law to affect every other circumstance, including a conflict in schedules or a desire to preserve her figure. And did you know that in every state prior to Roe, saving the life of the mother was already provided for in law. I did not see the oddity of referring to the pregnant woman as a mother, but considering the fetus inside her not to be a baby. Or a human. Or a person. I believed the leaders when they said they wanted abortion to be legal, safe and rare. Though they've dropped the rare from that list in this past year. I believed that if women had access to abortion, there would be no more unwanted children, child abuse or poverty. I believed that we should not legislate morality.

I was wrong.

I went from this view of abortion on demand being a right every woman had to thinking maybe it was a necessary evil, but one that I could not personally support or do myself, to realizing that if what was inside a woman when she was pregnant was, in fact a human person, then it was not lawful to kill him or her. Make no mistake. When someone reaches the point of being active in the pro-life movement, it is because of these realizations.

Science determines that the conceptus/zygote/embryo/fetus is human, distinct from her mother. So much for keep your laws off my body. The virtue of prudence says that we can not do an evil act to obtain a good end. There goes necessary evil. Logic reveals that one cannot base law on exceptions, otherwise we'd get rid of theft laws since there are some people who only steal because they are starving. We legislate morality in every law we have. Tax law is part of morality.

The year I was married, there were several headlines about girls who delivered babies only to wrap them in plastic sacks and go back to the prom or to their normal life. People were horrified. The reality is that we already had enshrined their acts into law. If they had simply done it a minute earlier, it would have been protected by the highest law of this nation. It is the logical outcome that people would not care for newborns if they do not care for the baby in the womb. We see this in President Obama's opposition to the Born Alive Act. If a baby has the audacity to survive an abortion, hospital policy was to put that child in a plastic sack with the biohazard material. The same hospitals had NICUs to help save the lives of babies the same age or younger. A man who only managed to vote present most of his tenure took the effort to vote against a law that would oblige these hospitals to care for these failed abortions. Not for the woman to go home with a baby, but for the hospital to extend medical care. This is what our soldiers are obliged to do on the front. Even if you shoot to kill an enemy combatant who was trying to kill you, if he survives, you are obliged to give him medical care. Not so for a child, in our president's opinion, who thinks that children are a punishment to women. Legalizing abortion does not eliminate unwanted children nor child abuse, it extends it. If we do not value a fetus because it cannot survive on its own, why would we value a nine month old who also cannot. If we say that it is legal to kill a fetus who will make our life much more difficult, how does that make our born children any more wanted when they also make our lives much more difficult?

There are two people who have taken me from being pro-life as a matter of conscience to being active in the movement. One was one of my best friends in college who was pressured into an abortion by her boyfriend who had always said that he would marry a woman if he got her pregnant. I still remember her voice when she told me that he couldn't even think of marrying her. I remember her depression afterward.

The second person who influenced my choice to become active in the movement was:

We were fortunate in that none of our medical team ever once suggested that we consider the "choice" of killing Elijah. It turns out that is rare. We have gained some recognition in the world of parents with children with tumors. We have had people referred to us, people contact us after reading my birth story about Elijah and, with only one exception, each one had to not only deal with the issue of the tumor, but had to begin by battling a doctor who told them that they should abort. The first time someone asked me how we fought our doctor I was shocked. It never occurred to our doctor, nor our midwife, that they needed to suggest that to us. We live in a world where it is legal, and if I wanted to do so, I could, regardless of anyone (including my husband's) wishes. They didn't have to tell us we (I, really, Rich had no choice) had that choice. That these doctors push it on their patients shows how little they care for their calling to heal.

I do not think that it is lawful to kill a child in the womb if he is going to die anyway. However, in our case and in the cases of all these parents I have had communication with, it was not so. I have known one of these children to die after surgery, and there have been several who have had complications, but not to even give them a chance? When the surgery is available? I cannot fathom the thought process. Nor can I understand the doctor who would push it on parents who are already trying to handle a hard diagnosis.

This is the boy those doctors would rather not have seen given a chance:

He is the punishment that President Obama imagines when he says that he wants abortion available to his daughters. Our president has said that he would help to kill his grandchildren if they came at a bad time or out of bad circumstances. Circumstances much like those surrounding his own birth and life. He is not the only grandparent to think this way, as I have the misfortune to know more intimately than some others might.

Today, President Obama overturns the Mexico City policy, sending millions of dollars to help kill brown children in other countries at a time when our economy is low already. He has pledged to pass the ill named Freedom of Choice Act, which would remove the choice of voters in each state by overturning laws passed by them putting restrictions on abortion. This is a scandal to the republic and goes against the federalism on which our nation was founded. Regardless of anyone's opinion on the abortion argument, this is bad law, because it takes away the state's right to make its own laws.

Please, contact your senators and representatives and tell them not to support FOCA. Each state should have the right to make their own choice.

There is so much more I could say, but I will not make this any longer than it is already. I will close with another quotation from Mother Teresa:

If we can accept that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

Those in the peace movement ought to think on that.

I am leaving comments open, but they are moderated. If you feel the need to make ad hominem attacks, use vulgar language or are in any way abusive, I will not publish your comments. However, I may quote you as an example of "tolerance."

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It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.

This may be true. But it means that I am a killer for hiring an electrician, since that was enough to save the life of a child if sent to the right place. The amount I pay to day care could save a child every two weeks. I cannot tell a woman she must donate her body to child so long as I could donate more money to save children.
This is so beautiful and well written. I'm going to link to this post on my blog. Thank you for taking the time to share.
Kris, I think we both know the difference between a failure to help save a child and the authorization of killing one. Both are tragedies, but one has far more culpability attached to it.

Nobody is asking anyone to choose their own poverty to save others, just not to kill others or act to aid in their killing.

There is a difference between realizing that a child could live or die on what we make and deciding that he must die for our comforts.
I don't want to get into debate in response to your very thoughtful blog entry.

But I do want to say that I am pro-choice and not for any the reasons you yourself were pro-choice. I often feel no one actually represents my opinions. I am deeply saddened by the alarmingly high abortion rate in the US. (The "rare" of "Safe, legal, and rare" is a bit silly given the current abortion rate.)
Thanks for this, Ranee. I was actually (vaguely) offered an abortion by our peri when she confirmed that our twins were monoamniotic. It was just a short, "You are planning on continuing this pregnancy . . . ?" It took me a beat to figure out what she was asking.

It's still a very weird memory. We said, "of course," and she said, "I thought so," and went on with the treatment plan.
Mmmmm...words can not express how important what you have to say is. To actually choose to kill a child is horrid and unfeeling! We are in big trouble and will end up a third world country - my husband and I consider this to be America's holocaust...but now it seems we will be helping others to have a "choice"...my heart is grieved.
Jessica - I had an idiot doctor when I was pregnant with Amira. I went to him for something and his demeanor set me on edge. Well, my blood pressure was a little high and he flipped. He put me on heavy medication for blood pressure and started in on all sorts of other things. I didn't have high bp for anyone else. A month or two into it, and I was pregnant. This was a huge surprise to us. The medication I was on carried not the normal CYA don't take if you're pregnant or nursing, but said that it caused infant and fetal death. So, as soon as I suspected I was pregnant, I stopped taking it.

When I confirmed the pregnancy, I called the dr. to tell him and to ask what we should do about the medication. He immediately asked if I was going to terminate. I was too stunned to reply in any way I should have. I think I just stammered that no, we weren't. So, he told me to get off the medicine, which I told him I already had.

When I went to our perinatologist, he couldn't understand why the man hadn't chosen any one of the other bp medications which wouldn't be such a risk, especially as I was of childbearing age and my bp was so slightly above normal in the history with the other doc. It was well within the normal level when taken by the perinatologist's staff and my midwife. I still think that my bp spike was because of that doctor and nothing else, cannot for the life of me figure out a reason for him to give a 27 year old woman such a medicine when there were numerous other options and am still floored that he began with the assumption of my aborting rather than just switching my expletive deleted medication.

I still refer to him as Dr. Idiot to Rich, I don't think Rich even knows his real name anymore, and refuse to see him.
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