Thursday, June 30, 2011

What I learned because of Kansas

I feel like my own blog should be a safe place to vent, although I'm certain it's not since anyone can read and respond. My views generally do not represent the views of the general population. Kind of an “in the world, not of it” sort of thing I guess. I'm sure some people reading this will disagree with something I'm about to say. You are welcome to have and express your own opinion. I only ask that we do so respectfully, thinking of others over ourselves. That being said...

I got into a discussion on Facebook about abortion. Apparently, Kansas has passed some laws about the physical state of clinics that provide abortions. They are regarding things like the size of the janitor's closet and the operating room, the temperature of the operating room and recovery room, the amount of time the woman has to stay regardless of the depth of procedure. Since the clinics in Kansas have not had enough time to meet the requirements, they have been shut down, until they can meet the new requirements.

A question was asked by a Facebook friend: “should Pro-Life folk feel good about what has happened in Kansas?” I responded that I imagined they would, at least temporarily. There were a few more comments passed back and forth about how it could come to women getting illegal abortions again and that so many women will die from unsafe conditions like they did before Roe v Wade in 1973. I wasn't around back then and didn't study much U.S. law/history in my Canadian classrooms, so I poked around to see what the stats were.

It has been estimated by proponents of abortion that 5000 women died each year from illlegal abortions before 1973. Apparently, in 1960 there were 1579 pregnancy-related deaths; 289 of those deaths were attributed to abortions (legal and illegal.) In 1968, 133 of the 859 pregnancy-related deaths were attributed to abortion. In 1972, there were 24 deaths from legal abortions and 39 from illegal. The reason for the steady decline is more likely attributable to factors such as the availability of better antibiotics, the appearance of ICUs, and better surgical techniques. (I got these stats from someone else who did all the research with the Vital Statistics of the United States, Vol. II, Mortality, Part A. 1960-77. You can read the two page article here.)

Back to my Facebook discussion, I was told that those who think the decision to have an abortion is easy are being judgmental. I'm awfully glad I hadn't said that it was an easy decision and hadn't, therefore, just been called judgmental (even though I can be.) Not wanting to judge, I started wondering what the reasons were that a girl/woman would choose to have an abortion over carrying the child to term and putting the child up for adoption. Some of the reasons I've found:

1 - Pregnancy means producing a child and some women simply do not want to do that to their bodies.
2 - Married women who already have children are embarrassed by unwanted pregnancies and do not want to explain where the child went if people see them pregnant for several months with no sign of a baby afterward.
3 – She may become attached to the baby as it grows inside of her, making her want to keep it.
4 – If she is able to overcome this attachment, she may wonder if the child is safe or not once adopted. Furthermore, the child may try to find her later in life, which would be emotionally difficult for her.
5 – She feels like she is abandoning her child if she puts it up for adoption. Rather than subjecting her child to these feelings, she feels the child is better off aborted.

I promise you, I'm not making these up. The full article can be found here.

I guess after reading that article, the only thing I can think is: Is my own personal comfort more important than the life of a defenseless person?

The vast majority (99.5%) of these aborted babies are the result two people having consensual sex. (According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute [the Planned Parenthood people] only 0.5% of babies are aborted because of rape.) So these people choose to have sex, having learned in Grade Five that it can result in pregnancy, and then when it does, they decide that the baby they just made is inconvenient so they want to kill it before it gets big enough to really cause a nuisance.

I want to understand a lot of things about this, but I just can't. 

Someone I knew growing up (and remained friends with since) got pregnant at a very bad time in her life. It was incredibly inconvenient, embarrassing and shameful, not to mention expensive, painful and life-altering. She went from being a pre-med major, with hopes of one-day being a doctor, to being a college drop-out and stay-at-home mom. She expedited her marriage to her fiance and then settled in for a very tough haul that resulted in divorce many years later. Ask her if she regrets that discomfort and pain and she'll vehemently say “NO, it was worth it for that baby to still be in my life right now.”

And I guess that's the perspective from which I consider the subject of abortion. I've seen unplanned and difficult pregnancies. I've seen the looks of joy as infertile couples received their adopted babies, all the more precious because they spent so many years hoping for a child they could not have. And I've heard stories of pain from women who chose to have abortions and spent their years wondering what might have been or who might have been.

I'm not trying to judge someone that has had an abortion, is considering it, or supports those that have. I do question the decisions that they have made and whether they really realize that they are taking a life that is not theirs to take when they make that decision.

I promise, I am not judging. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “ I hope those that know me can testify that I am trying to understand. I want to understand why it is so important to people that we stand up for a legal way to kill a baby. 

I'll leave you with the words of "Janet Roe" of the landmark Roe v Wade case:

I was sitting in O.R.'s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. 'Norma', I said to myself, 'They're right'. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo and I said to myself, that's a baby! It's as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that's a baby!

I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn't about 'products of conception'. It wasn't about 'missed periods'. It was about children being killed in their mother's wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.


  1. Completely agree with you, friend. Thank you for providing the stats, too. That's good info to have.

    IN is having its own issues right now, too, with a judge putting a stop to something pro-life that our governor signed into law.

    I don't understand any of this either. I have friends who love kids, but are so gung-ho about a woman having the right to choose. I keep thinking, they absolutely did! They chose to do something knowing full well what could result from it and they made their choice and now they've made a person, too! They just like to gloss over that part, I guess, but how they think they should be allowed to kill the new little person is beyond me! I don't think I'll ever get it.

  2. Thank you for posting this, Wanda. When I was faced with a difficult pregnancy in 1980, I was 22, alone in Pittsburgh with no family close by, and I was sick -- 24 hours a day kind of sick. I ended up quitting my job mid-contract as Director of Audience Development for a professional theater company, which black-listed me from working in Pittsburgh theaters, and I temporarily lost the support of my family. I was alone. Everyone, including my parents, was pushing me to abort. It was tough. But let me tell you, during the time I was carrying that baby, I felt closer to God and I was at such peace, knowing I was finally doing the right thing in my life. I gave birth, after 21 1/2 hours of labor, to a beautiful little girl who I cared for during my stay in the hospital. Then I handed her to a nurse and walked outside, into a life without her. It was terrible. It was painful. It was heartbreaking. And it was wonderful. I had chosen LIFE, and there is no better choice. 23 years later, I picked up the phone one Saturday morning and heard the words I'd been praying to hear, "I think I'm your daughter." October 11, 2003 was the most joyful day of my entire life. Wrapping my arms around my now-grown baby girl was amazing. An experience I would have missed, had I succumbed to pressure and done what was 'convenient.'

  3. My thing recently has become why isn't more being done (on all fronts) to prevent the perceived need for abortion? Yes, birth control fails, but it seems like if it were easier/more talked about (because really - anyone can shoplift a condom if they can't afford them - and a lot of clinics give them out free!)....disjointed thinking, sorry. I saw the comments on your fb, and wanted to say something there, so apologies to you, Wanda, for doing it here instead of there. I was feeling kind of beat up by one of the responders, so I didn't want to get into it with them on another topic. =) I don't want to see anyone feel like abortion is their only option - it's sad all around. One of my childhood friends had an abortion at the age of like 14 - i don't think she ever really got over it. She admitted when she got pregnant again at 16 that it was a replacement for the first baby because she felt so guilty. that's some sad stuff.

  4. No worries, Jaime. I appreciate you speaking up on my blog instead. I was recently inspired (by Green Grandma above you there) to be more courageous and speak up when something needs to be done/said, or I probably wouldn't have said anything.

  5. Green Grandma, I got goosebumps reading your comment. How amazing that must have been! And what joy you must feel now, knowing the life that she has, because of your decision.

  6. Wanda, I know where you are coming from. I did not, am not, personally calling you judgemental. I was/am referring to the Pro-Life campaign in general.

    However, nowhere in here does it speak of those that the conception was not consentual, of the women who's own life would be spared, of those that have been told that there is no way they can possibly carry to term or to even a certain point in pregnancy. Should that woman be forced to have to carry on until "nature took its course"? These are the women who need to be considered. Yes, those that are irresponsible and immature may use it as a casual form of birth control, but those women will always find a way to terminate, one way or another. These women in extenuating circumstance (and I used these specific examples of women I have known personally) should not have their rights of Informed Consent taken away.

    I also know adopted children who grew up in horrible adopted homes who have openly said, "I wish my mother would have chosen abortion and spared me this life". How sad is that?? And other that waited until they were 18 to seek out their birth mother...both with happy and very disappointing result. I do understand the argument that those children should be given the right to feel that way. I really do.

    This is something I have prayed very hard about for a long time. I just can't see it, or feel it in my heart, as a cut & dry, black & white issue. I absolutely do not believe abortion is the answer of majority, but do not believe some women should have to suffer over the opinions or beliefs of others...or should be punished for the wrong choices of others.

    Although rather naive perhaps, I choose to believe the souls lost to abortion, no matter the reason behind it, are born to others. In the mean time, they are with God. What better place to be?

  7. This article is so true, and you are right that we should not judge a person by their bad decisions, but the bad decision is just as bad none the less. I remember once I saw a video of a bunch of important people who have made huge differences in the world. Some far greater than any average person. Each of these people were almost aborted in the womb. Nobody likes to think about the future because then they feel the discomfort of guilt. Truth is, you could do what is right and give that baby up for adoption and face the same amount or less pain than it takes to kill a baby. Especially when it hits that poor mom a week later or a month later. At that point when she realizes what she did. And then one day comes across a video like I watched. That pain is far greater, I'd imagine, than the pain of giving birth & giving that child to a safe adoption agency ensuring a great chance for a safe happy life. A few months and a painful night or two, compared to the fact that you are not only taking a life, but the potential that life had and thus, who knows! Maybe that mom to be is taking several lives by killing a Dr who could have saved many. Maybe the very Dr who was meant to save a bunch of moms from making a bad decision.

    Sorry to any women reading this who may have had an abortion. This is not meant to insult or judge you, this comment is for edification and possibly prevention. I really do not mean to further torture the minds of those who have done this and regret it now. But I do dare say, if you've had an abortion and are living with regret, you could be a part of the solution now. Please consider telling how you feel & sharing your experience to help others possibly keep from making the same choice.

    Thanks Wanda! Unfortunate, but excellent article!

  8. PS: About those who were raped, or fear the chance of that child going to a bad home, they still have the chance and potential to become an amazing and important person all the same. Many people live horrible lives for much of their life and still become amazing people whom the world could not have lived without. A person may say they wish they were dead for years, but then they find true happiness one day or true purpose and all that wishing they were aborted could very well disappear in the blink of an eye. :)

  9. A woman in my church was raped 22 years ago and chose to keep and raise the child that resulted from that rape. As it turns out, her daughter is the only child she ever had and is the biggest joy in her life.

  10. I am humbled by the kind words that I inspired you in any way at all. God uses us if only we let Him.

  11. The only circumstance that I can imagine seeing as an acceptable reason for abortion is if death for both mother and child are guaranteed. If a mother's life can be saved and the child is *guaranteed* to die anyway, I can understand choosing abortion. I cannot rationalize it any other way. I've read too many stories of children who "should have been aborted" either because of a mother's cancer or a rape or a congenital disease and the families chose life and were blessed because of it. For me, I cannot imagine making any other choice.

  12. I am ever so thankful my daughters birth mothers did not chose abortion and gave me the blessing of being their mom. Those two mothers gave the three of us life!

  13. My first "unplanned" pregnancy, while lower income, no insurance, newly married resulted in a wonderful son who has become a very productive member of society with a master's and PHD in chemical engineering. He also has a beautiful wife. God is great!

  14. This blog post was posted in the spirit of understanding so forgive me if I play devil's advocate. Several people have cited wonderful people who were *almost* aborted as a reason against abortion. What about all the babies who turn out to be terrible people? By aborting a baby you're not removing a wonderful person from the world. You're taking away the *potential* that life has. Every person has the potential to be good or bad and to do good or bad.

    Sure, they might grow up to be a doctor and save lives but they might also grow up to be a murderer or a rapist. I'm not saying that's a reason *for* abortion. I just don't see why the *potential* good is a reason against all abortion.

    Personally, I don't know that I could make the decision to take any life. Faced with the choice I'm not sure what I would do but I can imagine the consequences of removing choice for everyone else and I certainly don't want that either.

  15. Well written, Wanda. WELL written. CJS

  16. To me, the question is not whether or not an abortion is depriving the world of a would-be great person. Or adding to the sad, miserable existences already out there. Discussions like these are never-ending and skirt the actual issue -- for Christians, at least. Humans are made in the image of God, and we have no right to take that life away. Period. For non-Christians, well, I don't know what standard they live by, so all I can do is hope that education of that helpless -- but real -- life inside a mother will help them see what they're doing.

    And Green Grandma - I misted over as I read your story. I have always told my younger daughter that no matter what she thinks of her birth mother, she gave her two beautiful gifts -- life, and us (her adoptive family). God is SO GOOD. And He is so amazingly faithful if we will only do things His way, no matter how hard. It IS the right thing to do, and in the final analysis, that is ALL that matters.

    To those who have ever had abortions. This is not the unforgivable sin. God loves you and offers you HIS forgiveness. And He will help you learn to forgive yourself, and go on with your life.