Thursday, March 10, 2005

Am I Still Pro Life?

Someone brought up a very good question today. Am I still pro-life? Well, yeah, I am. I never stopped. I usually talk about abortion in terms of the science and logic, etc. In this post however, I'm going to get a little more philosophical so bear with me. I'm also just posting this off the top of my head and without Catholic sources to back me up. So I'm just sharing what I'm thinking at the moment, not necessarily Catholic teaching.

I believe in God. I believe there are three persons in one God. I believe that He created us, man and woman. I believe that we were created to form lifelong bonds and to have children. And I believe that all life is precious, from the moment of conception until the moment of death.

I also believe that one life is not more important than another based upon it's being or not being in the womb. Here's where we have a problem. Very often pro-choicers (IMHO) put the mother first, and the baby second. Very often pro-lifers put the baby first and the mother second. Neither of these (again, IMHO) can work.

We are both (mother and child) created in the image of our God. We are both of equal importance to him. We both deserve to be valued and protected. Pro-choicers are often viewed as not giving proper value to the child in the womb. Pro-lifers are seen as not giving proper value to the legitimate needs of the mother. Sometimes it seems that in the pro-choice model the baby is seen as a second class citizen. No one is absolutely sure when the baby becomes a person, so pro-choicers also run the gamut on when they think abortion should and should not be acceptable. This makes no sense to pro-lifers who choose to err on the side of caution and assume that personhood begins at conception. That is when, after all, we know that the being is created, given all of their chromosomes and begins their journey.

But there is a hierarchy of basic needs, safety being a pretty important one. I don't understand why some pro-lifers can't see that. There are times when pregnancy doesn't go the way it's supposed to, when the baby is fatally ill, or the mother. I think a lot of times we pro-lifers are worried that if we give an inch, it will begin a slippery slope. But I don't believe a woman should have an abortion because she's got a hangnail! And I'm capable of making distinctions. I think it says a lot about us as a society that a woman can, for any reason, for NO reason have an abortion. I don't think that gives proper weight to the rights of a baby in the womb. On the other hand, no woman should have to take the riskiest path to give a fatally ill child a few more weeks before death.

I have wondered if I benifited from Roe v. Wade. I anticipate that I will continue to ponder that question. But I understand all of the controvercy that my blog started. And now, I'm kind of glad. Sarah mattered. Her life was special. People fought for her and they fought for me. And I can't be angry at that. Sometimes I'm annoyed by the way they chose to express themselves, but not that they had something to say. Life is too special, too sacred for people to not get a little passionate.

Yes, I am still pro-life. But we will never save babies unless we reach out in love to their mothers. We need to make sure that they know that there are alternatives. We need to make the alternatives more attractive. We need to emphasize how sacred life is, including theirs. It is not up to us to judge or forgive, but to reach out in honest love offering choices to the undecided and the healing of God to the hurting.

I look forward to sidewalk counciling again (when my children get older) and I still intend to write about the pro-life movement and why I believe in it. But this isn't a new position for me, really. I've been thinking about the very circumstances I found myself in for over a year after a very similar thing happened to my best friend. I didn't believe that she should put herself at risk for her terminally ill daughter, either. My position didn't change.

I wanted Sarah. I was very pro her life. But I was also pro my own. I will miss her, every day, forever.

It bothers me that people actually said that I didn't want to have her because she wasn't perfect. I didn't care that she wasn't perfect. Heck, none of my kids are perfect! I'm not perfect! I wouldn't have cared if she'd been retarded, had Down's, or had an arm growing out of her head! I DO think it's a problem that we as a society are becoming less open to the disabled. I think the disabled bring something wonderful to us, and as a nurse, I've worked with them a great deal. But she wasn't disabled. She was incapable of sustaining her own life functions.

So, in the end the only real change in me has been my heart. I think I've been truly humbled. I've found myself on my knees before my God totally dependent upon Him to lift me up. And He did, sometimes through some unlikely sources. Words of kindness and understanding from unexpected people and places. Kind of reminded me of the Good Samaritan from time to time.

Pro-life? Yes. Definitely. And grateful. At least right this minute.

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