February thoughts: On abortion

Sigh. I was all set to write about the many occasions I exhibited stupidity (why do they occur in January without fail?), lessons on humility (of course these are related to my stupidity), reconciling with a guy who did not speak to me for two years, and the feel-good moment when one is acknowledged as a factor that pushed an old friend to start a blog. But then. I received an unexpected message on Messenger from my bff at university asking my thoughts on abortion.

Now I’d planned to write a post on abortion and was just composing my thoughts on the matter when I read When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense. Reading that, I promptly lost all appetite for penning a piece. I mean, what else could I add to the discussion? Will articulating my thoughts bring someone a new perspective on the matter? I sure don’t think so. But. Since you asked for it, these ramblings are for you, dear university bff …

                                                                  ♠♠♠

Perhaps nothing has been so divisive an issue for moralists, Christians and modern thinkers as abortion. Because. Where one stands on the issue is a silent declaration of an individual’s values concerning life, liberty, equality and citizenship.

For the record, let me state beforehand that as a Christian I am against abortion. Is it wrong? Absolutely. From a Scriptural viewpoint, abortion takes away from God a right that is His as the creator. To kill a foetus – a living, breathing organism – is downright murder because it is premeditated and intentional.

getty_rm_photo_of_sperm_fertilizing_egg
The moment of fertilization … to think that an intelligent being arises from the joining of an egg and a sperm! (Image Source: http://www.webmd.com)

Why then is there an epidemic of abortion the likes of which has never before happened in history? I’m not so sure but it’s probably due to a confluence of factors: the women’s rights movement, the rise of civil liberties advocacy, the advent of women in the workforce, the increased divorce rate, the sexual revolution of the 60’s which fueled the rise of live-in relationships, the pull of a professional life for women who want to be financially independent, the rise of educated women who want to have their cake and eat it, too ….

Perhaps the most instrumental of all is the current thinking that children are not a blessing but a burden, an inconvenience that stops females from from fulfilling their potential or achieving their career goals. I must admit – I have been guilty of this many, many times.

In fact, I’ve even discussed it with other mothers of different ages: we don’t make nearly as much sacrifices as our mothers. And yet. We are so quick to complain about the demands on our time. Compared to previous generations, we have it so easy: we order food to be delivered when we don’t feel like cooking (was there fastfood during my mom’s heyday?), we have the Internet to keep up with news and correspondence (they managed with printed newspapers and snail mail), we pay bills and shop from the comfort of our home (they had to get out of the house to pay bills and shop).

So. Let us go to the crux of the matter: pregnancy is a material consequence of sex. An act that usually occurs between two consenting adults. Whether they are married or not is beside the point in today’s climate. But. It is damning evidence that most of the women who signed an amicus brief on January 4, 2016 and credit an abortion for allowing them to become lawyers were single, unmarried and still in school when they did so.

Previously, sexual activity was mostly confined to married couples. Now, we’re taught that it’s okay as long as it’s consensual. But. Training and teaching teenagers on how to handle adulthood have actually gone down as educators place more emphasis on boosting a child’s self-esteem. A lethal combination, if you ask me, considering that the average teenage brain is still developing.

abortionsintheus-740-rev
Image Source: http://www.guttmacher.org

In our house, we have a rule: you must accept responsibility for whatever decision you make. You stay up late to watch a movie during a school night, I won’t spend ten minutes to wake you up. Where’s the analogy here, you ask? Simple. The women who engaged in sex and found themselves pregnant probably had no plans to have their bellies swell for the next nine months. Thus, when confronted with the prospect of spending the rest of their life with the unwanted product of their sexual activity, they chose a quick fix to the problem.

Please notice that I did not say “easy fix.” Quick is not equal to easy. I’m trying not to be offensive here. But. To me, having an abortion is tantamount to declaring “I don’t want to be responsible for whatever material consequence arises from having sex. Yes, I still want to engage in sex but please, not at my expense! The men have it easy, they don’t get punished with a swollen tummy and spend the rest of their life with a child who will curtail my sexual activity… why should I? ”  Also: “I can’t afford not to have an abortion!”

Of course, that’s a crude way of putting it. Many women undergo abortion under duress, believing that it will enable them to achieve success while mired in poverty and a no-choice environment. And. They’re right. Abortion allows them to have control over their bodies and go on to lead productive lives.

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Image Source: Soc.ucsb.edu

In addition, it confers many freedoms. Abortion allows couples to do away with a baby with a defective gene. Abortion allows a career woman to stay on track for a promotion. Abortion allows a rape victim to eliminate the reminder of a harrowing experience. Abortion allows a married woman who had an affair to hide her sin (I’m thinking of the Filipino husband who returned home after his wife committed suicide because she got pregnant by another man). Abortion allows an unmarried woman living in a land where premarital sex is illegal and ground for deportation to engage in sexual activity unhampered.

A selfish choice? Yes, if you ask me because most decisions are based on self-concern, not for the foetus. Ask any mother who struggled with fertility (and believe me I know a lot about this) what her immediate concern was after becoming pregnant and she will tell you: the baby’s health.

“To the world, I am an attorney who had an abortion, and, to myself, I am an attorney because I had an abortion.”
introduction to an amicus brief filed January 4, 2016 by 113 lawyers

Right now, abortion is hot in the news because an imminent case, Whole Women’s Health v Cole, will require the US Supreme Court to decide for the first time in 20 years to make a ruling on abortion. If you can, read the testimonies of the women who contributed to the amicus brief to persuade the US Supreme Court that providing safe, legal abortion is crucial to empowering women economically. A recurrent theme emerges: they became responsible for their destiny only after obtaining abortion. Nearly all are united in expressing that an abortion helped them go to law school, break a cycle of poverty and achieve personal/professional success.

But. Had they been more responsible (notice I did not say ‘selfish’), they would not have gotten pregnant in the first place. I mean, c’mon, there’s the pill, the condom, and the least popular choice, abstinence. Which, of course, is preached in the Bible. And so we go back to Scripture where it states:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven
together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16
Lastly, let me just say that I have tried to look at abortion as a woman’s constitutional right to participate fully in the progress of a nation and to enjoy freedoms that are taken away when one becomes pregnant. In fact, I have even written a poem from the perspective of one who regrets an abortion decision. But. I simply cannot let go of the reality that a foetus is a human being, subject to the same constitutional rights as its mother ….

So. You want to know what’s my take on the issue, moralizing aside? It’s this: you want to engage in what adults do? You better be prepared to handle adult responsibilities. Like raising a child.

PS. I just realized that I don’t know whether your friend who had an abortion is married or not. Please don’t judge her. She needs your compassion and help to turn her judgment around to the fact that life is precious. 

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