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Today is the March for Life in DC and today is the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn.
I haven’t always been passionately pro-life, I must admit. I spent the first 25 years of my life not thinking much about pro-life issues, and the next ten or so years, entrenched in day to day motherhood and life in general, and wondering what I could do about something that seemed hopeless anyways. It seemed easier to not think about, it expended less emotional energy.
And then one day I read an article in National Geographic of all places. It wasn’t about abortion at all, it was about something I had never heard of. It was something about some tribe in a country in Africa, who was still practicing some horrific act-it is called mingi-and for something as little as a toddler having a chipped tooth, or their top teeth coming in before their bottom teeth, the tribe deems them evil, and will take them out to the bush and leave these little children, in the middle of nowhere to die. To die of starvation or dehydration or the elements or wild animals. I threw the magazine down when I read that, wishing I hadn’t filled my brain with that information, knowing I would never forget it and would haunt me. I looked at helpless, sweet, trusting, loving, totally vulnerable Janey, my toddler, standing next to me, the same age as what these little children would be and cried. How many days would it take? How long would she be crying for me? When would she just give up? What ignorance I thought, what stupidity, what uncivilized, barbaric people are we talking about, who could kill a sweet baby in this way? How could they treat a child as if it was disposable, at is if was responsible for evil, as if it could be just thrown away, and what reason could be “good enough” to justify this?
But as I was sitting there, I thought, halfway across the world from me, or maybe one hundred years from now, someone is or will be just as horrified as I was, and use the same words to describe legalized abortion in 2015 in the country that I live in. We have been conditioned to think otherwise, we have been spoon fed lies, we have been convinced, and attempt to convince ourselves, that there is nothing wrong with killing our young. We do it in barbaric ways, we do it when we want to do it, we do it when a human is at it’s most vulnerable state and not able to fight back, we do it and we justify the act in a hundred different ways. How have we come to this? Mothers killing their young, in the name of convenience, in the name of anything, in one of the richest, most educated, civilized countries in the world? How have we perpetuated lies and ignored science this blatantly? We don’t have an excuse anymore. Not believing that life begins at conception is like still believing the earth is flat. Science has long proven that fact, but we find a million ways around it. We need only to look at an ultrasound and we can see with our own eyes, but still we deny. I could easily see why any society who truly respected women and treasured children would consider us ignorant, uncivilized, and barbaric. They would consider the act of intentional abortion another horrific atrocity against human life.
I pass no judgment on those who have been desperate or scared or backed into a corner, or pressured or fearful and are led to believe they have no other choice or aren’t worthy of motherhood abort their babies-and I think that has to describe all women who have an abortion. I can’t imagine the pain they live with when they make that choice and then forever after, and truly my heart breaks for their loss.
And I do like to believe that the majority of all mankind mean well. But I can’t wrap my head around the lies that are being told to women. I can’t wrap my head around that fact that we women will play victim to a sexual culture that results in our babies paying the price by death, and us paying the price physically and emotionally. Do they not know the pro-creative power they hold? Have they not been told how their bodies work? Do they not see they are paying the price in that clinic as no man ever will? It seems that some women are so busy waving their signs about choice, they haven’t stopped to think of how completely, for lack of a better word, crappy those choices are? All for what? Sexual freedom? We have the power to control our bodies, we are not victims, we are not weak, we are not inconvenient, nor are our babies, we are educated, strong smart women. We deserve better. By denying our fertility, by pretending that our bodies don’t function as they do, by not demanding commitment and love from the man who wishes to perform an act of procreation with us, we are, in a way, desecrating ourselves and our bodies. Feminism? No, just the opposite. Self-hatred. (Here is a beautiful article, that explains my point more thoroughly.)
And our babies-our babies, our unique, gorgeous, lovely babies. There is nothing like a mother’s love. Have you ever tried to describe it to another woman who hasn’t experienced it? It’s impossible. How often do we say we’d die for our children. But right now there are other women convincing a scared, vulnerable, desperate women that her best choice is to kill her child, not knowing that once she had that baby in her arms, she’d fight tooth and nail if someone would dare threaten her baby. Or worse yet, they tell her that her child is a mass of tissue instead of the wonderful unique human being she could hold in her arms one day, and love for it’s perfection, and think no other baby must be as wonderful as hers.
I realized too, that if I believe what I do, that abortion is the worst human rights violation of our time, how can I stay silent? How can I bury my head in the sand and go about my daily life? I was thinking of how I reacted my freshman year in high school when we watched a film about the Holocaust. I remember going home and talking to my mother about it and saying angrily, “How could people just stand by and watch this happen and do nothing? What about the people living next to the concentration camps? They saw the droves going in and no one coming out. What about the people who knew, or knew enough to be suspicious, and did nothing? How could they live with themselves, do they not hold some sort of responsibility and guilt?”
But now I understand how they could- I have been doing the same thing. They were busy with their own lives, they were afraid to speak up, they didn’t know if or how they could do a thing about it anyways. If I believe in my heart that humans, in their most vulnerable state, are being murdered every day by other humans, who have convinced their mothers with pure deception in so many different ways that what they are doing is necessary, than I am the one living like those I questioned, right next to a concentration camp, and going about my business every day, with nary a glance at the ashes falling from the sky.
One day, when I am old and almost in my grave, could I look back at my life, and live with the fact that I did nothing? I can’t, and it took me until I was in my forties to begin to think about this. I realized that I could do something, whether it was as small as speaking up even when it is uncomfortable to do so, or buying a pack of diapers or little baby clothes or sending a check to our local Heartbeat, or one day, when time allows giving more of my talents or time to those fellow women who feel alone and confused and pregnant. Maybe then, when a young girl reads a history book and says, “How could they? How could people stand by and let this happen?” I could rest in peace.