Becoming a mother has been one of life’s greatest joys for me. There is no better feeling than raising my son and watching him learn about the world around him. Most would think that becoming a mother has made me more pro-life than ever, but it has not.
I love my son with all my heart and would never change a thing, even though I got pregnant out of wedlock as a young woman. Life worked itself out for us, but I realize this is not always the case. We were lucky to have an army of supportive family members and friends who really showed up for us, but this cannot be expected for every woman who finds herself in an unexpected pregnancy.
Motherhood is beyond challenging and it is important to be committed to the idea of raising a child before bringing a child into this world. Now, Texas women who are not ready or do not want to have a child are being forced into motherhood without any accountability on the father’s part. Not only have woman been stripped of their rights to have a choice, but we are also being hunted should we choose to seek an abortion after the six-week mark. This is truly an attack on women.
The pro-life arguments that come from a place of “empathy” for unborn children are not truly empathetic, as one cannot know the circumstances that lead to a woman choosing abortion. Here is my response to some of the most common arguments against abortion.
“Rape only accounts for 1% of abortions.”
This argument is one of the least sensitive I’ve heard. I’m sorry, but 1% is too many. This 1% needs the option. Imagine if a family member was in this unfortunate 1% and felt the burden of carrying a child that was forced upon them was too much to bear. These women deserve empathy. I feel the pandemic has brought upon us one key fact: too many people don’t know common math. According to Johns Hopkins University’s mortality data, approximately 1.7% of infected individuals have died from COVID-19 in the United States. This percentage might seem small to some unempathetic individuals, but it represents 614,300 people out of the nearly 40 million individuals who were infected. A 1.7 percentage sounds small, but if I were in a room of 100 individuals and was told nearly 2 people were going to die, I would not stay and take my chances. One percent is still one percent. It’s unfortunate that this 1% of rape victims who have relied on abortion will no longer have this access.
“There’s a waitlist of people wanting to adopt children.”
Although there is a large number of families wanting to adopt, this high number is mostly in the interest of adopting infants. As children get older, their chances of being adopted decrease. Also note, this “waitlist” exists now, but with the decrease in abortions and possible increase in adoptions, it is uncertain if there will be enough families to adopt the amount of children placed for adoption. Forcing a mother to keep a baby that she doesn’t want could in turn lead to an unhealthy relationship between mother and child which in extreme circumstances could lead to the removal of the child from the household. Women should not be forced through the adoption process. As it is often argued that abortion is very traumatic, giving up a child can also be a very emotional experience. An abortion can be performed in private without anyone except your healthcare professional knowing. With adoption, there is no hiding the fact that you are pregnant one day and not the next, but without a baby to show for it. The same people who would have scrutinized you for getting an abortion are now scrutinizing you for giving up your child for adoption. There is no winning in this difficult decision.
“Women who get abortions are acting out selfishly.”
Pro-lifers are so quick to believe women who seek abortions are seeking abortions as their preferred form of birth control. News flash, abortions are an expensive, non-sensical form of birth control and can often take an emotional toll on women. Women who seek abortions are not doing so lightly. It is often a difficult decision to make where options are heavily weighed out. Some women feel they have no choice as their life circumstances heavily limit them, and these women just don’t want to go through a pregnancy that ends in giving up their child for adoption. Not to mention, women can find themselves in a heart-wrenching position where they find out their pregnancy may not be viable or their child has a debilitating disability. It’s easy to say all disabilities are beautiful and women should never terminate a pregnancy solely based off an abnormality from the safety and comfort of your healthy family. At the end of the day, those naysayers will not be the ones raising these children day in and day out, nor will they be providing these women with the resources they need to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I do think children with disabilities are absolutely beautiful and unique, but when a disability severely impedes their life, a mother should have the right to choose for the benefit of herself and her child. This is not acting selfishly but considering the quality of life of a child and making a decision in the best interest of both mother and child.
“You shouldn’t have sex if you don’t want to get pregnant.”
If this is in fact the case, I suppose all men should abstain from sex as well as to not risk getting a female pregnant. Where is the accountability in that? Women deserve the right to have sex—worry free. Even in the case where women are having protected sex, condoms can still break and birth control can still fail. Forcing abstinence on women is not going to end the need for abortions. Let’s also not forget the fact that plenty of married women do not want to get pregnant either. Should they abstain too? This desire to force abstinence before marriage on women so obviously comes from religious beliefs. The line separating church and state is quickly getting blurred. If you believe in decreasing the need for abortion, then you need to believe in better sexual education programs. Texas does not require sexual education courses in public schools and highly encourages the use of abstinence-based programs. Human nature should tell you that these types of programs will not work. It is ridiculously optimistic to think teenagers will abstain from sex while in their hormone-raging adolescent state, nor should they. Not every individual believes in abstinence before marriage. Promoting abstinence disregards providing students who aren’t being abstinent the resources they need. Teens have the right to be sexually active but need better resources for birth control. We need to realize that not all families believe in abstinence so that we can protect girls from even having to contemplate abortion.
“Many women are grateful they didn’t abort after giving birth.”
Sure, there are beautiful stories circulating social media right now of women speaking out about their stories where they considered abortion, but instead chose to keep their pregnancy and it was the best decision they ever made; therefore, every woman will change their mind once they have their baby. Ever heard of a hasty generalization fallacy? Not every woman is going to have this enlightening moment upon birth where they realize they made the best decision ever. Instead, many will be overcome with fear and worried as they’re not sure if they will have enough resources to provide for their child and the same people that begged them not to abort are the same people that despise welfare and government assistance.
“Pregnancy resource centers are everywhere.”
You are not alone is what they say. Pregnancy resource centers are everywhere they say. Sure, these resource centers might exist in large cities, but what about the more rural areas of Texas? Where will mothers get their support then? When looking at these popular pregnancy resource centers, most of these centers have a pro-life agenda with a Christianity stance. The same people that would have scrutinized you and called you a murderer are now going to walk through pregnancy with you? This is not a hand I would want to hold. It’s interesting to see how many privileged individuals are speaking out on how simple of a choice it is to choose life, given that they have no idea what poverty, job insecurity, and discrimination feel like. To believe that a pregnancy resource center is enough help to help you raise a child is naïve. Sure, formula and diapers go a long way, but a pregnancy resource center is not going to be there in the middle of the night as you breakdown due to the stress of mothering a child alone. A pregnancy resource center is not going to help you love a child that you didn’t want. A pregnancy resource center is not going to parent your child and stay up with you through all the sleepless nights. Resource centers are valuable assets, but they are not the answer to forcing women into motherhood.
“Abortions go against the Bible.”
I am so sorry to break the news to you, but not every individual believes in the Bible or Christianity. Posting biblical verses as your rebuttal is not going to go very far. Everyone has the right to freedom of religion and this freedom should absolutely be respected. It is not your duty to force the Bible on women who are scared and worried for the future.
From afar, it’s easy to wish life was rainbows and butterflies and that every woman will birth a child she conceives into a beautiful life, but this is not reality. We need to stop being overly optimistic and get back in touch with reality. Each woman’s story is different and we cannot act as though we understand every situation life can throw at us. More than ever, women need empathy and understanding. Abortion is not an easy decision women are making, but rather one they are contemplating after weighing out two difficult options. Women more than ever need love and support, no matter their ultimate choice.