Home » Feminism » ordeal of the bitter waters, part two

ordeal of the bitter waters, part two

mother and baby

For this series, I’m going to be monitoring the comments a little more closely than I ordinarily do. I haven’t gotten any comments that I’ve needed to moderate, yet, but I am discussing an incredibly charged issue. I will not tolerate any personal attacks– on me or anyone else.
Also, I am not really writing this series to convince anyone. This series is about my story
– the road I traveled that brought me to this point.

For a long time– years, actually– I was in a very similar space to many of you. It’s a place that is beginning to fill with people who are searching for answers and realizing that there aren’t many. So, I used to exist in a sort of limbo where nothing quite makes sense, but somehow it feels the most honest and the most compassionate. It’s an in-between place where your hearts can grieve over a tragedy, but still see the necessity for women to have access to safe reproductive medicine. Being willing to protect the reproductive rights of women, all while believing that abortion is morally wrong. Politically and legally necessary, but still wrong.

The interesting thing about this place is that there is a huge spectrum. No one is there for exactly the same reason, and the gray is constantly shifting. When I first entered that space, I was there because I had my first glimpse at the harsh, broken reality.

For most of my life, I believed that almost all abortions were wrong– evil, actually. The only exception– the only one– was in cases where the pregnancy threatened the life of the mother. Only then was it acceptable. Only then. Exceptions for rape and incest weren’t even on my horizon– after all, why punish an innocent baby? It’s not his fault that the father was a rapist. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and the words would come out glib and blithe while I confidently flipped my hair and turned up my nose at women who would murder their own baby.

But then I came staggering, bewildered, into the gray place. Because, at the time, I didn’t have the word rape for what had happened to me. The only thing I knew was that the thought of having my fiancé’s baby terrified me for reasons I couldn’t explain. I could not have his baby. I could not. And I didn’t understand why. But, in those weeks, before I either miscarried (most pregnancies fail in the first few weeks) or was merely late, I came to understand that there were probably thousands of girls who were so frightened they could barely breathe or eat or sleep, and I could no longer judge them– because I was one. It took me years to understand that one of the reasons why the thought of carrying my abuser’s baby frightened me beyond reason was that he was also my rapist.

And that’s when I understood that being pro-life and advocating for the rape exception was wrong.

Because, if I’d lived in a system where you have to prove you were raped? I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I didn’t even understand that I was raped– and, even if I had, that would have meant going through the excruciating, traumatic process of reporting him. All of that would have had to happen before I could have even called a clinic. And the thought of living in that world . . . it sickens me.  And when I first stumbled into the gray place, one of the first things I discovered was that, in 31 states, rapists can sue for custody of the child– and they frequently do this in order to get the woman to drop criminal charges. If she doesn’t take him to trial for raping her, he’ll surrender all legal rights to the baby.

My eyes were forced open, and the reality I’d been denying all my life came crashing in. None of what I’d been taught to believe was as clear-cut, as black-and-white, as it had been given to me. There were reasons– desperate, horrible reasons– for a woman to need to end her pregnancy. I understood that, had felt it in a way that now, when I try to remember what those weeks were like, I can barely breathe and all I want to do is cry.

I wandered deeper into the gray when I started reading the stories of women who had terminated for medical reasons. I had come into this place believing, with all my heart, that it was all right– even merciful– to terminate a pregnancy if it threatened the mother’s life. It never occurred to me how untenable that position was, or what it revealed about what I believed about unborn life. But these stories brought that piece of me into the harsh light: there was a sliver inside of me that already knew that an unborn fetus was not the same thing as a full-grown human being. I had accepted that, in this worse-case scenario, it is morally acceptable to terminate a pregnancy, and I had made that decision because I believed that a fetus did not have the same rights as a mother.

But I read stories, like this one, and my heart broke. Because these mothers didn’t see it that way. They wanted their precious babies, to cradle them in their arms and smell their skin and touch their fuzzy-soft hair. But they gave them up, valuing them as life unlived, because of a diagnoses that meant their child would live in constant, unending pain. And what I’d always believed– that God is in control, and he created that little baby with all its medical problems — that belief was crushed under their grief. And they didn’t decide to terminate their pregnancies because it would eventually result in their own death: they ended them because they loved their baby, and were trying to do the right thing, the best thing, for their child.

So I stepped further into the gray. I decided that I could no longer accept any of what the pro-life/anti-abortion movement wants to accomplish. They seek to reduce access to contraception– even though that raises the teen pregnancy and abortion rates. They believe that a rape exception would be all right– but living in that world would be heinous and terrifying. They want to ban any abortion after 20 weeks outright, with many laws having no exceptions for any medical reason.

In short, they want Ireland.

Ireland is a pro-life advocate’s dream.

But, Ireland is being forced to come to terms with the real-life consequences of its policies. Tania McCabe, pregnant with twins, died in 2007, because doctors could not legally terminate her pregnancy. Savita Halappanavar died in 2012 from sepsis, because the doctors had to wait until the fetus’ heart had stopped beating in order to perform the procedure. And, today, lawmakers in Texas, Ohio, Nebraska, North Carolina and others are pursuing the same type of legislation that killed these women.

So, I became politically pro-choice.

But, morally, I couldn’t bring myself to embrace it.

That changed when, after years of struggling, I turned to the Bible for answers– and what I found unraveled everything I believed.

36 thoughts on “ordeal of the bitter waters, part two

  1. I just want to say once again, that your beliefs about abortion are almost identical to mine. Yes, abortion is wrong, but you know what is wronger? A world where abortion is many womens best choice. I accept that abortion is the lesser evil in so many situations. I mourn that those situations are the reality of life for so many. So no. I dont judge. Women must do what they must do, and we who have not done anything to make this world better have no right to say anything to them.

  2. I was linked here from another blog and just wanted to say thank you for explaining how I feel in much better terms than I could. I feel like I am in the grey place you describe, where my heart aches for the mother and the child, and I wish for a magic wand to make everything ideal for everyone. I was raised to believe that adoption was the magic wand, that there would be a perfect home and a perfect family waiting for every baby in every circumstance. I had to do a lot of growing up when I realised that wasn’t even close to true.

  3. Yes, the issues are always so much more complex than we want them to be. Politically, I don’t have any idea what to do. I believe that fetuses have value, but cannot get on board with anything that the pro-life camp supports. A system like Ireland’s is not moral. On the other hand, I can’t get around the fact that I am convinced for philosophical reasons that fetuses should be protected on some level. I just don’t know how that is possible without violating the rights of women. Feminist care ethics might offer some helpful insight…

    I am really interested to read what you have to say about Numbers. I read through the passage yesterday, and like many passages, I found it disturbing. But honestly, despite being a Christian, I don’t go to the OT to construct morality. It endorses forcing a woman to marry her rapist, killing noncombatants, and kicking your foreign wife and children out of your home–all of which I think are immoral. So I am not convinced that Numbers has any bearing whatsoever on what I should believe about the morality of abortion. Maybe you will convince me otherwise…

    • I do understand your dilemma, especially when it comes to late term abortions but (for me) when I really think about it the answers are pretty straightforward politically speaking. If you really want to reduce abortions then the most effective thing you can do is increase access to birth control. The next most effective approach is to increase support for struggling families. Sex ed, maternity leave, destigmatization of single parenting, and access to healthcare also prevent abortions. On the other hand laws banning or restricting abortion don’t really reduce abortion rates. They just make them more dangerous. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/world/12abortion.html?_r=1&

      Also, I don’t think there is a way to force women to continue pregnancy and give birth without violating their rights. To me this would be akin to forcing people to donate non-vital organs or even just bone marrow to save the life of another. Donating marrow is much less invasive and risky than pregnancy and childbirth and it can save lives, yet I think it would be unconscionable to force people to do this against their will. Anyway, this is my take on it. I know that not everyone agrees and I appreciate that you are pondering these tough choices.

  4. I was against abortion for most of my life although I did feel that exceptions should be made if the mother was endangered or raped. In college I actually thought about the implications of enforcing the exception for rape so I grudgingly became politically pro-choice although I knew that *I* would never have an abortion for any reason. When I was pregnant with my first I even went so far to instruct my husband that in case of a medical emergency he should choose to sacrifice me as long as there’s any chance for the baby to survive because a good mother would never put her own life first.

    Then during my second pregnancy (a very much planned and wanted pregnancy) I got a call from my doctor’s office about some abnormal lab work. I had to see a specialist to rule out cancer and was told that if that was the cause that I would need to terminate the pregnancy in order to pursue treatment. Pregnancy hormones are like fertilizer to most tumors so if I waited out the pregnancy to get treated the chances of survival would drop significantly. Fortunately it turned out to be totally benign but in the days I awaited the results I pondered what I would do if faced with that decision.

    It actually wasn’t much of a choice at all. By this time I had not only myself to consider but my two year old son. I knew how much my death would devastate him. There was no way in hell I was about to abandon him without a fight. Up until then I never considered that abortion could be an act of love. That the single mom struggling to make ends meet IS putting her kids first when she gets an abortion because they need food, clothes, etc and she can’t afford to have a baby. It was definitely an eye opener.

  5. The fact you could actually jump from your situation to realizing other people were in the same boat says a lot for you. I’ve heard too many stories of people who simply cannot conceive that their abortion or their daughter’s abortion isn’t totally different from all the unjustified abortions other women get.

  6. Welcome, with open arms, to the grey zone. It’s hard to live here. But it’s an honest place.

    I am a Christian who believes that life starts at conception. I also believe we live in an incredibly broken world, where not every child will be loved, clothed, nourished, supported or wanted. And as sacrilegious as this sounds, I find comfort for the unwanted and potentially abused in the words of Solomon: “And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.”

    I know that not every unwanted child will suffer abuse or neglect. But until every pregnant woman who needs it is given free health care, nourishment, a place to live, support and help raising the child (free child care, free ‘respite care’, etc.), until adoption, even for married women, is destigmatized, until contraception is free and accessible, and sexual education is exemplary, until rape and incest, and it’s complications, are seen for the abomination that they are, until we cherish the mother as much as the child, I will not vote for or assist in any manner the anti-abortion cause. I’m sure there are many situations I’ve overlooked.

    Life is precious and valuable, especially that of persons who already exist. Pregnancy is riskier than abortion. Until unwanted pregnancies can be avoided, we need to love the women at least as much as their babies.

  7. @Aletheianna Here’s something I’ve heard about Numbers (and in addition, Leviticus, as far as laws such as marrying your rapist and those about slaves) which may or may not be theologically correct. I am in no way an expert, and this is simply my perception. But here goes:

    In the days before these laws, women were nothing. Honest to goodness, dirt on the ground. Slaves were practically equal to them in status. They could be raped, then the man could leave with no consequences. She would be left to live a life of shame, with no chance of ever leaving her family or having a life. But when God established these laws, he offered a chance to force the rapist to take accountability for his crimes. Is that good? No. But it was a step up from what they had before- chaos. God was taking steps (small steps, yes, but steps all the same) toward restoring the world to the way he originally created it to be. And in Jesus, he completed this restoration process. That is why Jesus was the fulfillment of the law…he was the new teaching, a way of loving God and loving others (and loving yourself), so that instead of killing our enemies, we love them and turn the other cheek. The OT is not a place to base morals from…it is an account of the history of God’s people & that history is very bloody, violent, and misogynistic. But God was constantly working, redeeming, and teaching to bring his people back. He never gave up on them. And he doesn’t give up on us either.

  8. I’ve gone the other way. I’ve always been staunchly pro choice and it’s only as I’ve got older that I’ve seen more complexity to the issue. But all the arguing and agonising in the world won’t change the fact that abortion is such a necessary procedure that women will risk injury and death to get one. And that’s the bottom line.

  9. The Bible also deconstructed my notions on abortion, and for more reasons than the verses in Numbers. We must look at the whole ancient culture. For example, if we look at divorce being an “abomination” we have to understand that the only one’s with the right to divorce were men, and for petty reasons at that. Divorce left women with no means to survive, except to remarry or become prostitutes, both which were punishable by death. So essentially, a woman attempting to survive could be murdered for valuing her own life. This is entirely based on the premise that women were viewed as a commodity. There is no morality in that. For Jesus to hang out with such women was more than just pardoning their “sin” for it was not their sin that forced them into either position. It was the sin of the culture, the mindset of the culture. Interesting that “repent” literally translates as “change your mind.” We must change our minds at how we view women.
    Some stats on pregnancy, when lining them up against the sovereignty of God, will definitely push us further out of black and white. If we assume that life begins at conception (which the ancient people did not–they believed life began at first breath, the Breath of Life), we are assuming that at the moment sperm meets egg, God injects the embryo with an eternal spirit with life plans and callings. Yet upwards of 70% of fertilized eggs spontaneously miscarry before implanting on the uterine wall. Out of those that do implant and are viable pregnancies, 30% miscarry. That’s an awful lot of eternal spirits to displace. This should cause us to either question God’s sovereignty, or question our beliefs about these doctrines constructed by men.

  10. I’m definitely pro-life, but when the Gosnell case surfaced, I realized that I did not give enough attention to the women who choose abortion. The women who were harmed, and worse, the woman who died, were merely an afterthought. Everything was about the dead babies. I believe that abortion clinics ought to be regulated in the same manner as any free standing same day surgical sites. The lives of the women are paramount. They are obtaining a legal procedure, and need to be protected. Both sides of the issue need to respect these women, make sure they are safe, and try to understand that life is messy. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation that turns everything you once thought upside down. I wish more pro-life people would take the time to put themselves in the women’s shoes. They might be more compassionate.

    • ” I believe that abortion clinics ought to be regulated in the same manner as any free standing same day surgical sites.”

      Why? Do you have any evidence that it will make the procedure safer in any way? Are you also promoting that procedures that are even more invasive than abortion, such as colonoscopies, should also only take place in day surgical centers?

      If not, why single out abortion unless you aren’t interested in the health of the mother at all and you just want to make abortions harder for people to obtain, therefore forcing them to carry unwanted pregnancies to term or risk unsafe illegal abortions?

      • Well, first of all, I don’t single out abortion. It is an invasive surgical procedure, especially in the later trimesters. There were women at Dr Gosnell’s clinic who got diseases because the table wasn’t properly cleaned. In a free standing surgical center, there is inspection, and none of the tables used for something like a colonoscopy would be unwashed between patients. Those centers must meet a high standard. Also, there must be resuscitation equipment on hand in case of emergency. And, colonoscopies are done in either the hospital or a surgical center, at least here in NJ. Yes, every invasive procedure needs to be done in a proper setting, regulated and inspected. I don’t want access to abortion to be harder, I want abortion providers held to the highest standards of care so as not to harm women. My sister works at one of the Philadelphia hospitals where women were taken after being harmed by Dr Gosnell. There were many of these women over the years, and the grand jury report was very critical of those hospitals turning a blind eye to the real possibility that Dr Gosnell was committing malpractice. It took a drug investigation to uncover the unsanitary conditions in the clinic. I am a nurse, and I was appalled at what was described. Dr Gosnell took advantage of vulnerable girls and women. My question to pro-choice advocates is why don’t you insist that abortion clinics adhere to the absolute highest standards of care? Surgical abortion is indeed invasive, with real possibilities of harm, such as a punctured uterus, or uncontrolled bleeding following the procedure, a complication known as DIC, which can quickly kill a woman. Women deserve at least the same protections as someone getting a colonoscopy. It’s common sense. This is very long, but there are other dangerous practices done to women in the later trimesters, which I would love to point out, but length prevents this.

        • Gosnell’s clinic did not meet the standards that were currently in place for abortion clinics at the time of its operation. The problem was regulatory bodies turning a blind eye for political reasons, not a lack of regulation.

          Furthermore, Gosnell’s clinic could only thrive because safer alternatives had been regulated out of business and desperate people had no where else to turn. Unless you are also suggesting that the state should fund renovations to help abortion clinics meet the standards of day surgery centers, you are pushing to close safe, legal clinics and force more women to turn to illicit providers like Gosnell.

          • Gosnell’s clinic is not the only unsafe one out there. That’s why there was such an uproar when TX just voted in stringent anti-abortion laws. Planned Parenthood lamented that five (I think?) clinics would close because the state wants abortion clinics to meet same day surgical center standards. Every clinic should meet those standards. The free standing surgical centers in existence today may or may not have used state funding to be built. If funds are available, of course I would support that. Again, why don’t you want women to have top of the line abortion care?

            • PPH was lamenting that every clinic in the state of Texas *except for three* would close, leaving hundreds of thousands of women without access to reproductive healthcare due to the law requiring medical and surgical abortions to meet the same standards as clinics that do heart surgery.

              I don’t support unnecessary regulation that will have no measurable improvementsin the care that women receive, given that abortion is already incredibly safe (14x safer than childbirth!), and will instead reduce access to healthcare for hundreds of thousands of women.

              Produce one peer-reviewed study or statement by an accredited medical association that requiring medical and surgical abortions to take place in day surgery centers will reduce complications.

              • I said that is the practice in NJ. Heart surgery is still done in hospitals. You still have dodged my question. As far as the clinics closing, as I said, I would support state or even federal funding to bring them up to the same level as same day surgical centers. I think you are determined not to answer me, you seem to think I want all abortion clinics to shut down, so it’s really hard to talk to you. You’ll have the last word on this one if you choose to reply. I am only looking out for women with a sincere heart.

            • I for one do want women to have top of the line abortion care. However, both the AMA (American Medical Association) and the ABOG (American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology) spoke out opposing the revised standards in TX citing that they were absurd, unnecessary and potentially harmful to women. It was politicians NOT medical experts who wanted those laws and to me that is not top notch medical care.

              • Angela, it’s ACOG, not ABOG, and one of the reasons given on their website is the tiny fraction of women who have complications needing hospitalization. The specific percentage is written this way: “The fact is that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. The risk of complications from abortion is minimal, with less than 0.5% of abortions involving major complications.” Do yourself a favor, and multiply that 0.5% times the number of abortions most recently stated, which is 1.2 million. Then you’ll understand why I want surgical center standards for abortions. Most especially for late trimester abortions, which are really dangerous to women.

                • The ABOG and ACOG are separate organizations, both of which were opposed to the changes. I also agree that it would be great if we could make even relatively safe procedures even safer but the medical community is arguing that the restrictions will not make abortion at all safer and will only limit access to healthcare. If there were any credible evidence that implementing these changes would actually increase safety then I would reconsider my opinion but to me it seems like more like a thinly veiled political coup.

        • As a Texas woman who had a late term abortion (and who sat and gave and watched testimony in the Texas Senate), I can tell you that currently, abortion clinics in Texas have more stringent regulation policies than surgical care centers. Abortion clinics get inspections multiple times a year and ambulatory surgical centers only get them once a year, with many only getting inspections every three years.

          Also, in no way do I consider what I had a surgery. Getting my wisdom teeth removed in my dentist’s office was real surgery and far more dangerous than my abortion. I think that for many people who haven’t had experience with late term abortions, the name “surgical abortion” can be confusing. I know that it says surgery in the name, but it isn’t considered surgery, even late term. There are no incisions and no stitches. It is safer than child birth, which woman are allowed to have at home.

          It would also increase the cost. I was out of pocket $2700 (technically, my insurance has covered it, but 9 months later, I still haven’t been reimbursed). I have no idea what this would cost if this had to be performed in a surgical care center. I am also quite skeptical because Rick Perry, who is known in Texas for his cronyism and nepotism, has a sister who stands to profit off of this decision.

          I was able to schedule my procedure rather early. If Texas only have five abortions clinics, this could very easily force women who need to terminate for medical reasons to wait past the 20 week threshold, forcing them to either carry to term, or to spend even more money by leaving the state.

          I think the thing that angers me the most is that in Texas, anti-abortionists claim it is for the woman’s health, tricking people and using Gosnell as an example for stricter regulation. Honestly, this issue isn’t about safety. It’s using safety as an excuse to hinder access and shut down clinics.

          I had top of the line abortion care in a private clinic that is going to be shut down. I don’t mean to be argumentative, but I have first hand experience with late term abortion and know what this means to people who will be in my situation.

          • V, if TX really does already have strict oversight of abortion clinics, I’d love to see the source of what you say. There should be a law under public health and/or safety on the books. Wendy Davis ought to have cited that law. I don’t recall that being done. I’m glad your procedure was without complications for you. However, abortion is considered surgical because it is an invasive procedure, with sharp surgical instruments inserted into your body. Thanks for your input.

  11. As you continue your story of the gray zone, which I suspect we all live in. I will continue to add to it. People can be cruel, I write often about their cruelty. I am adopted. My first mother was 15 when she gave birth to me, she was ‘forced’ to give me up. She never saw me, not even one time. It was 1957, single teenage parenthood simply wasn’t done. I met both my first parents when I was 25, I know their stories.

    I am often asked would I have preferred my first mother aborted me. The answer is yes. Her life would have had a much different trajectory had she had this option. It is not that I am ungrateful for my life, this isn’t the case at all. Nevertheless, placing myself in her life had she had a different and safe choice to abort at 15 this would have been better for her.

  12. I started a pro-life group in college, and now I am as pro-choice as they come. I’ve never needed an abortion, fortunately. But having been pregnant when I wanted to be, not even having a rough pregnancy, I could still never force a woman to take all the risks and potential suffering that comes with pregnancy and giving birth. Any more than I could put a gun to someone’s head and force them to attempt to climb Mount Everest. Because it’s wrong to force someone else to risk their life and health, even for the best possible cause.

    Here is the analogy I use now. Let’s say you own a fleet of ships, which all have lifeboats. You notice that far too many of your ships are running aground and needing their lifeboats to save the crew and passengers. Now, there are two ways to address this. The sane way is to buy new GPS systems for the boats, so they can avoid accidents and don’t need to use the lifeboats nearly as often; but of course you keep the lifeboats around for those rare events.

    Following prolife logic, you should instead get rid of the lifeboats on the principal that your crews should just get better at navigating in the fog and if they don’t, too bad. They’ll just have to drown.

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  14. The problem with this is that it makes it sound like you thought something was wrong; then found yourself in a situation where you really, really wanted to do it; and as a result, rationalised a way that it fact wasn’t wrong at all.

    Now regardless of what the truth is, that’s a very bad way to do moral philosophy. It’s letting feelings get mixed in with what should be an effort to work out what is right and what is wrong.

    You should never change your mind about a moral issue because of what you feel. It would be like deciding the Earth goes around the Sun because it makes you happier to think that: you may be right, but for the wrong reason. Feelings are no guide to truth.

    • Personal experiences often give us a new perspective on our moral absolutes of right vs wrong. It’s easy to condemn another for an action within a certain situation, but never having been in that situation yourself. Haven’t you ever watched a news story about, let’s say, a catastrophe such as a tornado? Whole towns wiped out? During interviews with the survivors, do you ever said to yourself “I have no idea what I’d do in such a situation.” i am adamantly pro-life, and I used to believe that there is a resolution for every single instance of an unplanned pregnancy, or a diagnosis of a severely deformed fetus. That absolute doesn’t take into account the reality that so many women face dire circumstances in their lives that just might not have an easy pro-life way out. I’m not going to list all of them, because it would take up too much space. I don’t think Sam changed her mind based on feelings. She changed her mind once she was walking in the shoes of so many women before her. Sometimes there is not an easy way to resolve a situation. We have to be compassionate above all else.

  15. Reading your posts break my heart, I’ve been right down the road your describing (the one about seeing your beliefs crumble) and I know how difficult it is. I appreciate the incredible empathy and respect you express. We need more and more and more of this. We need more of this until every law-maker and preacher has had someone come up and hold her or his hand and patiently explain this very thing to them.

  16. That’s great that your personal experience caused you to change your beliefs. Now it would be really fantastic if you could expand your empathy to encompass situations that you haven’t personally experienced.

  17. Pingback: Ordeal of the Bitter Waters Part 2

  18. In my experience, many of the pro-life people I have known(including my past self, when I was) do very little “walking in other woman’s shoes”. They assume they do, as they talk about teen pregnancy and poor family’s with lots of kids. But to actually go out and listen to woman telling about why they wanted their abortion and don’t regret it, no they don’t want to be in those shoes. That is why anything that tells a woman’s abortion story in the media is decried by thousands of prolifers as “promoting abortion”. That is why telling abortion stories is so shamed unless you are telling a tale of regret and forgiveness(for the abortion). They don’t want to hear about abortion unless it is framed exactly as they see it.

    • Wow, your comment is really insightful. Growing up as pro-life, I know that what you say it true. The women are demonized. I just had an argument with a man (of course!) whose answer to abortion is for women to “stand up and keep your pants on.” When I reminded him that men have a responsibility to abstain from sex if they are unmarried, just as women do (in his world, anyway), he basically said that because it is the woman who has to bear the child, it is therefore the woman who has to remain chaste. I nearly vomited. I reminded him that if men would always use a condom, we’d probably have little need for abortion. Men are not exempt from the consequences of unprotected sex. Oh, yes, and of course even responsible people create a pregnancy, since no form of contraception is 100% Within my own family, this man’s callous disregard for women exists. It took me so long, over 50 years, in fact, for me to face the reality that I was more worried about the preborn humans than the actually born human–the woman. I’ve been paying closer attention to their stories. In my mind, the well-being of the woman has to be the priority. There she sits before you, with her own unique story, her own unique situation. You have to listen with an open heart and an open mind. This series really has helped me to find my pro-choice side.

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