Sunday, April 27, 2008

Unwanted Babies and the Pro-Choice Debate

Does anyone open a newspaper or listen to a political conversation without being faced once again with at least some thread of the pro-choice/pro-life debate?

It seems that abortion has become one of the hottest political issues of the 21rst century, and rightly so. It is a big deal. It devastates many womens' lives, is a billion dollar industry, and has become one of the largest factors when it comes to who gets elected and who doesn't.

I get emails and letters from all sorts of groups, constantly putting a new spin on the abortion debate, or telling some heart-wrenching story. I've read the books by survivors of abortion, former abortionists, and other people who passionately spend their life working for the pro-life cause. Abortion has effected their life forever, and they cannot be silent.

Feminists for Life, an organization based near Washington D.C. attempts to straddle the great divide and be both "pro-woman" and "pro-life." Their mantra is, "Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women. Women deserve better than abortion." I appreciate their approach to focusing on what is good for women AND babies.

Nearly all of my friends are passionately on one side or the other.
They all sincerely want to make the world right, and they go to great lengths to change things politically. I find myself in a unique position that very few other people with my viewpoint on abortion get to have... an inside glimpse of how pro-choice people think.

Until a few years ago, basically all of my friends were pro-life, and there wasn't that much to discuss, other than activism for pro-life causes or the latest stats, stories, or laws. Now, as I know and love some of the pro-choice activists and movers and shakers in the state, I have found myself having candid conversations with them about how they think and how they justify abortion.

I've learned almost nothing shocking from the people who work for Planned Parenthood and NARAL, except that they think an awful lot like many of my Christian and pro-life friends. Yes, that wasn't a typo. I'll elaborate in Part II of this post.

For the most part, the pro-choice people I have met fully accept the reality of the baby who is being aborted. Off the record, many of them refer to the unborn baby as a baby, not a fetus. They don't believe that they're talking about "blobs of tissue" being aborted... they know we're talking about live babies with the only difference being that they are smaller and still inside their mothers.

One of my friends, a Planned Parenthood volunteer and huge advocate of abortion on demand, was recently expecting another baby. About midway through her pregnancy as she was spending the day with me, she commented on how her baby kept sticking her feet under her ribs and how she must be stretching and sucking her thumb, etc. Then, looking at her stomach, she cooed, "Baby, when are you going to start behaving?" In the next breath, she talked about the wonderful work that a good friend of hers is doing, helping Dr. Tiller in Kansas (the doctor who is known nationwide for his willingness to do late-term abortions). It was obvious that she acknowledged the humanity of her unborn baby as she spoke to her 25 week baby. And yet, it was obvious that she thinks that Dr. Tiller is doing good deeds for people when he performs a late term abortion.

Many pro-choice activists get excited about having babies and being pregnant and mothering. They find pregnancy a fascinating topic, and are always asking me questions about it. In fact the other day, a Planned Parenthood activist was discussing a staunch pro-life Catholic man's family and the fact that he has 6 children.
"What is it with him? Is he trying to take over the world?!" she growled.
Then her eyes lit up and she looked at her friend: "What if us liberals took that approach? We could all have big families and take over pretty soon! That's a new thought. I just might do that."
Then she looked at me and smiled, "Even though I'm all about abortion and contraception, I certainly don't have a problem with people having as many kids as they want. That's the key word - as many as they want!"

Pro-choice advocates think that babies are wonderful... when you want them.

The majority of pro-choice folks talk about abortion as a sad decision that every woman has to make for herself when she is in a difficult situation. I've heard them say, "I've always prayed that I would have courage to give birth to any baby that I became pregnant with. I personally couldn't feel good about ending the life of my baby just because it wasn't the right timing, or the baby wasn't perfect. But I can't make that decision for another woman. She might not have the courage to face the difficult situation or to put aside her plans for a baby that she never wanted in the first place..."

In their minds, it all boils down to allowing each woman to deal with the tragedy of getting pregnant at a less then ideal time in whatever way the pregnant woman feels is necessary. If that includes abortion, many they believe it is a sad, but necessary evil. …Kind of like shooting your pet dog who is dying slowly. They want those women to know that they are supported and not condemned as they bear the grief of such a difficult decision.

Pro-lifers are quick to condemn the pro-choice attitudes of a woman's desires for her body, career, and future as being far more important than whether her unborn baby will live or die. They are quick to sneer and say, "How cold! How hard-hearted!" Pro-lifers are quick to talk about "baby killers" and how those who condone abortion must have blocked all natural human sympathies from their corrupted minds.

Yet, some of these very same pro-life people, perhaps unbeknown to them, exhibit the very same attitudes towards "unwanted babies."

That troubles me far more than the ideas of Planned Parenthood or NARAL activists.

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