It’s time to stir the pot a little at Chez Blueberries and talk about that thing you don’t talk about in polite company.
When I lived in Virginia, abortion was a pretty hot button topic. It came up in any political discussion, in class discussions, etc. In Montana, it doesn’t seem to be a huge issue. But abortion has been back in the national headlines with all the recent funding hullabaloo.
So here’s my two cents.
When you get down to it, we are all pro-choice and pro-life. But if we keep talking about pro-choice and pro-life, we’ll never agree and we’ll never get anything done. We need to move beyond that.
Let’s start with the pro-choice camp. Do they hate babies? No. Do they want to see a mass genocide of infants? Not that I’m aware of. Do they feel that little girls grow up thinking, “one day I hope to have an abortion.” Of course not. Despite the attempts of (some) pro-lifers to paint these people as evil baby-haters, they are people just looking out for what they think is best for women, children, and families. Maybe the interpretation is different, but can we all agree that people who are pro-choice are so because they believe that is what is best for women? Maybe you disagree that what they think is best is best, but it’s still admirable that they are willing to stand up to fight for women.
Pro-choicers aren’t anti-life. Just like most everybody else, they are for life. They have a different definition than pro-lifers about when it starts, but that doesn’t mean they are anti-life. Let’s give them that.
When you get pregnant, you have three choices: 1) raise the chid, 2) give the child up for adoption, 3) abort. What pro-lifers don’t like to talk about is that whether or not abortion is legal, women still have to make one of those three choices. Passing anti-abortion legislation doesn’t eliminate choice 3. It eliminates choice 3 as a safe option.
Now I’m not saying that every woman who would get an abortion today would be willing to go to a back alley doctor tomorrow if abortion was made legal. Making abortion illegal wouldn’t make abortions impossible, but it would make safe (for the mother) abortions impossible. That’s a reality we have to be honest about. The hope of pro-lifers is that by making abortions harder to obtain, more women would choose 1 or 2. But either way, women still have to make a choice.
Pro-lifers are not anti-woman, anti-feminism baby hungry crazies. They are people who, like pro-choicers, are fighting for what they believe is best for women, children, and families.
What if instead of attempting to make choice 3 (abort) harder, both sides focused on making choices 1 (raise the kiddo) and 2 (adoption) easier? We could even add in a choice 4 – don’t get pregnant in the first place.
Now I’m not saying we start preaching abstinence-only education in schools, or start filling lockers with condoms either. I’m saying that we could start with empowering women so they don’t think their only choice to get away from their abusive father is to get pregnant at 18 and move in with their boyfriend. We could educate men about rape prevention (like the group One in Four does).
We need to stop judging people who are single mothers and fathers and stop judging both women and men who have babies out of wedlock. Mocking the women on “Teen Mom” and saying we’re pro-life is pretty contradictory. They might have made a “bad” choice but then they made a “good” choice, so let’s respect them for that. Saying we want women to give their kids up for adoption, as long as its not to a gay couple, isn’t helping either.
On a legislative level, we should support funding for programs like Women, Infants and Children. Or programs like Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) that helps subsidize child care for parents who don’t make enough to cover childcare expenses. (Don’t believe that happens? It cost almost $12,000 a year to send an infant to the daycare center I used to work at. Minimum wage is $14,500 a year).
If we really want to make a culture that supports life and enables choice, we need to make those life-affirming choices the more attractive ones to make. ‘Cause no girl did grow up thinking “I hope to have an abortion one day.” Let’s build a culture that supports life, supports women, supports children, and supports families. That’s something I think both pro-lifers and pro-choicers can get behind.