Saturday, October 30, 2010


The Pro-Life movement is alive and well in the town we now call home. There are signs for mass prayer events to end abortion and clinics to counsel women on making the "right" choice. I tend to roll my eyes when I see such things, but I realize this is a topic that involves a lot of emotion for many people. I do not expect to change anyone's well-established opinion in this area, but I'd like to tell why I believe in a person's right to choose.

Raising a child is hard! When I became a mother I realized how ill-prepared for the task I was and I was in a committed relationship, somewhat financially stable, employed, and I had access to top-notch health care. I remember looking at my daughter as a baby and the knowledge that this was a lifetime responsibility overwhelmed me. I could not resign from this position, I could not try it out and change my mind...I couldn't even leave this person for a quick trip to the coffee shop to refuel whenever I felt like it. Aspects of my life were the same and yet, this new presence seemed to change everything.

Fast forward 10 years and although I feel more comfortable in my role as a mom, it is still hard. Life's changes occur (moving, new jobs, new people in our lives) and every time I make a decision I have to think of how that decision affects another person. The realization that I am responsible for raising a human being is still so daunting. I am extremely thankful that other positive influences have been part of my daughter's life, because I am a flawed person and my hope is that my daughter will learn from a multitude of people and make good choices for her (my good choices are not always going to be her good choices).

If a person, for whatever reason, does not feel up to the task of this job, the job of being a parent, then I hope they can make a choice that is best for them before it is too late. Having an abortion or putting a child up for adoption is painful and yet, it allows a person to walk away from the daily responsibilities of being a parent. Having a child and keeping a child does not allow one to just walk away (I realize people do walk away from their children and I assume the pain the child feels is something I cannot even put into words and I do not think an adult who walks away from their child ever forgives themselves).

I do not know when a life begins. I do know miscarriages occur and they are horribly sad and many times they are not even known by a woman. I do not know what lies ahead for us after death, though I do not believe in punishment by a higher power for choosing not to bring a pregnancy to term. I do realize many people's opinions on this matter are formed by their spiritual and religious beliefs.

I hope that all people will practice sexual intimacy using protection when a pregnancy is not desired, but I realize that it is not realistic and I realize that some people do use protection and still become pregnant. I believe education is important and yet, as a parent, I realize that no amount of education prepares a person for becoming a parent and that most 16-year olds can barely look past the events of the weekend, much less fifteen years down the road when their baby is a teenager.

Many people will have children, thinking of how fun having a baby will be or because they feel pressured by society, their friends, their families. Those people may later regret their choice. A person who is uncertain of their abilities to become a parent (and I think every soon-to-be-parent falls into this category) may later be grateful they chose to become a parent, even when society, their friends, their family, said they shouldn't do it. What I want is for a person who is aware that becoming a parent is not right for them to be able to make a choice when a choice is still to be made.


  1. I agree with all you've said, Heather. And I'd add that handing over authority of such an intensely personal life decision to government is utterly anathema to me.

    I get that, for some, religious belief dictates that life starts at conception. But we are not a theocracy. This country was borne out of the search for freedom from religious tyranny, of any single religious doctrine or practices being imposed on others.

    A woman's womb and her decision to have or not to have a child is not a place that government or somebody else's religion should have any role or any authority.

    Thanks for posting this.

  2. Thank you for commenting Dani.

    I agree with your position on religious belief and its need to stay out of governmental positions. The reality is that no person would be comfortable with someone else's differing religious beliefs determining their rights. I am not sure why people think it is ok for their beliefs to cloud others.

    I also believe that when women choose to have a baby we need to support them in completing their education and finding health care and support for their child. The best way to break this cycle is through education. I am not out to make anyone life's harder than it is, and as a society we may need to step up and help take care of the children.

    I do find it interesting that many people who are pro-life are opposed to national health care - it seems ok to have the children, but not take care of them??

  3. The contradictions abound, Heather.

  4. Washtenaw and Jackson counties are like night and day in social, religious and political beliefs. The one grating thing is that those on the extreme right wish to indoctrinate and legislate their beliefs on others. That is where I have the greatest difficulty remembering that others opinions should be respected ....

  5. I guess the only thing I will say about this is... the idea that the choice comes once the person is pregnant is wrong. The choice comes when a man and a woman decide to have sex, and also whether or not they choose to use protection. I understand that protection does not protect 100% of the time, but that is a risk the "user" assumes. I have a hard time with the idea that pro-life does not mean pro-choice. They made a choice. Religion and government aside, no one took away their free agency. I think it has to do with society's mindset of "I can do whatever I want without consequences". If you choose to have sex, with or without protection, you run the risk of having a baby. If you don't want to have a baby, don't have sex. And that might make me seem prude, don't get me wrong, I am happily married. It just irks me when people are so willing to find pleasure (in all parts of life, vacation, having nice things, sex, the high of drugs, alcohol, etc), yet so reluctant to put in the work. There are natural consequences to things, and as hard as humans try to avoid them, or stop them, or try to pawn them off on other people, the fact is, you CHOSE to follow that path in the first place. So regardless of what I believe about when life starts and whether or not abortion is murder, I am definitely against people trying to avoid consequences of their actions.

    On a sidenote:
    I do understand that women who are raped do not have a choice, so I think that is a different case. I personally do believe that in those cases, the woman should not necessarily have to keep that baby. Now whether I agree that they should abort or carry it and put it up for adoption or even keep it for that matter, I don't know, I've never been in that situation and haven't decided what I think. So I understand it's not cut and dry.

    That being said, there will still be people who insist on having sex and making babies and then getting rid of them in one way or the other. So my solution??? People should be given a test when they turn old enough to procreate to see if they should or should not be made sterile. :) Ok, not seriously, but I don't have a solution. Ideally, the mindset of society needs to be changed from "now now now, give me what I want without putting forth a lot of effort" to something along the lines of "I'm going to think about the consequences of my actions and perhaps find a way to serve others above myself first all the time".

  6. Kellie,

    I wish there were never an unwanted pregnancy. Sometimes people try very hard to prevent a pregnancy and it still occurs. Sometimes people make a mistake. I think the responsible thing to do when a mistake of this magnitude is made is to educate the woman of her choices. If adoption is right for her, great, but if not, I do believe that she still has a choice. I do not think a woman who had sex and became pregnant should have to live with her choice in the manner of parenting when she knows she is not ready nor capable of taking on that responsibility. That would seem to be taking a mistake and compounding it.

    I would say that if we were going to serve others above ourselves than many of us would limit the amount of children we give birth to and instead adopt. I also think we wouldn't drive cars, realizing the amount of pollution going in to the air and the damage we are doing to the a planet that will not be ours when we die. The reality is that we make choices thinking of ourselves all the time: out of convenience, out of selfish desire, out of ignorance. No person is exempt from this and if we can support one another, even when mistakes are made, that is a service to all.

    *I do like your idea of sterilizing people who are not desirous of becoming parents, or not capable.

  7. Heather, I understand everything you are saying, and mostly I agree. I know that people make mistakes, and that often the person is doing everything possible to NOT get pregnant and it still happens. One thing I really can never understand, though is late-term, partial-birth abortion. What are your thoughts on the subject? I really can not find reason for it (except in very rare, very extreme cases), and it makes my heart sink and stomach turn.

    I really love Kellie's thoughts on the subject, and I agree with her.

    I will just add that my little sister placed a baby for adoption when she was 21. (Her baby, Gracie, was born just 3 months after Bennett) It was the bravest thing she ever did, to face all the questions, the looks, the judgements for 9 months, and then turn around and place that precious bundle into the arms of her new parents, who had tried for 7 years to have a baby. She is my absolute hero for it. Her choice may not be the right one for everyone, obviously. But it has been an incredible example of selflessness, accountability, human love and many more feelings that can't be put into words.

    It is absolutely a complex, deeply personal topic.

  8. I like what you said Heather - no one should be a parent who isn't ready for it and doesn't have their eyes wide open. I guess in my opinion then they should always give the baby up for adoption. There are so many couples out there who can't have children of their own that would love to adopt a baby to raise.

    Yes, that poor woman will have to go through 9 months of misery. But, in the end they will have given someone else a life and also made 2 other people VERY happy to have a new baby.

    Putting religion aside COMPLETELY. Even if I didn't have strong religious beliefs about abortion the reason it feels wrong to me is that when a woman aborts a child they really are ending someone else's life. To me it doesn't make sense that it is legal to kill another person. Some people might not think that fetus is a person, but really to me it is. I've been pregnant 3 times and the thought of ending the life of one of my babies makes me sick.

    That's what I feel... like I said, I could go into religion, but I won't. That's just a personal feeling. You can't end someone else's life just because you made a poor choice or because an accident occured.

  9. Hey, Heather! I just wanted to say that every time I read your blog and even your facebook status, it really makes me think. This topic has been on my mind since I first read your thoughts on it. I think even if we disagree, it is very good to have open conversations about a topic. Everyone should think about why they believe certain things.

  10. Tannie - I am curious what the LDS religion does say about abortion, so if you're ever willing to tell me, I'd love to know!

    Brooke - yes, I agree, people should think about why they believe what they do, although I also think that sometimes you just have a feeling - it can't be explained and yet you know it is right for you. When I really started thinking about religion and a belief in god and Jesus and all of that, that was when I turned away from my parents' religion and when I wanted to go back, I just couldn't.

    I definitely applaud your sister's choice to give birth and go through adoption - if she ever wants to write an entry for this blog, I'd love to post it!! Does your sister now have other children? How did her first pregnancy affect her choices afterward?