Wednesday, June 17, 2009

There is a Choice

I am sitting here choking back tears trying not to sob while reading this article, Choosing Not to Keep the Baby by Lisa Belkin, and its related comments. This 22 year old woman’s story was posted on the NYT parenting blog and after more than 700 comments, the editor decided to follow up by posting the woman’s decision. The post linked is to the woman, Emmie’s explanation of her decision not to have her baby, but to terminate the pregnancy. Reading this upsets me greatly for so many reasons.

This woman rationalizes her decision to terminate “Ziggy”, the name given to what she calls her Zygote, through her writing. She conveniently gives her reasons to negate any and all helpful suggestions other people have for her. Emmie goes through her list of problems or difficulties with being pregnant at 22 and about to enter graduate school. Throughout the article, her main lament is that this baby might disrupt her life, her education, and her perceived future. She alleges no one offers “support” for her to continue her pregnancy. It’s a problem with the baby’s father, her parents, friends, the college, the welfare system, and the readers who’ve offered comments. You don’t need to read very far to realize that this essay is not detailing her decision making, but attempting to rationalize and defend her choice to end Ziggy’s life.

In the beginning, she describes meeting with the director of an adoption center. They confirmed all of her medical and living expenses would be covered for the pregnancy and birth if she chose placement. Upon considering adoption, she states,
"So many of the comments urged me to consider adoption but I already feel so attached to the little zygote inside of me (my friend named it Ziggy) that I don’t think I could carry a baby to term just to give it away. The mere thought of handing my child to someone else, as altruistic as it is, breaks me. "
So, she cares so much for the life inside of her that she can’t place it with loving parents? Unbelievably, this is a common type of statement for women considering abortion vs. adoption. As a former crisis pregnancy counselor, I personally have had women tell me how, “They love their baby too much to give it away.” So instead they kill it. It’s unconscionable, but horribly true and fairly common.

As upset as I was reading Emmie’s story, I continued on reading some of the comments to see how people were responding. These made me want to throw up. Mostly, they are from people congratulating her on this difficult decision, reassuring her she’s made the “right choice” for her at this time in her life. They remind her that she will be a great mother when she is ready and can plan for a pregnancy. There were handfuls that “respected” her decision, but called into question her refusal to place the baby for adoption when she says she cared for it so much.

There are still others who blame society for not offering enough support to women who become pregnant by accident and feel they have no choice to abort. In my opinion, life is about choices we make, they are just not all choices we prefer. Emmie has a choice to not kill her baby. Becoming a mother at 22 while attending graduate school might not be the life she wants right now, but it is a viable choice.

The comments that really stopped me in my tracks where the ones arguing that those of us on the side of Life only care about babies before they are born, and ignore them once they get here.
"Until pro-life people are willing to acknowledge and support women and children *beyond* birth, I find their arguments in “support” of life to be hollow."
Evidently, since there are children starving in foreign countries, languishing in foster care and poverty, it is wrong to advocate for the life of the unborn. These comments accuse Pro-Lifers of being hypocritical, alleging we offer support for women in a crisis pregnancy, but once they have the baby they are left alone to suffer motherhood unsupported.

This is a myth that is very frustrating to me. One of the things that drew me to the Pregnancy Resource Center where I volunteered was the program available to mothers and fathers from pregnancy until their youngest child was 3. The volunteers worked with the men and women from their first visit confirming the pregnancy, to helping them with their babies and then toddlers. It was a great experience to work with these new families. While in training, I was very impressed with the long list of referrals we could provide to a mother who needed assistance. Before coming to the PRC, I had no idea the vast network to aid struggling families in our community. I believe most people don’t realize it either because we haven’t had the occasion to utilize it. But it does exist.

This article reflects the selfish attitude in our society. If something feels good, do it. You can always rationalize your reasons to avoid the consequences later.

I pray for our society that encourages and rationalizes decisions based on our self-centered lifestyle at the sacrifice of innocent life. To quote Mother Theresa, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

If you know someone who is struggling with a difficult pregnancy, please share these resources as a starting point.
Heart Beat International Directory
Pregnancy Centers
Nurturing Network
For anyone who is struggling after an abortion, please visit Project Rachel

3 comments:

  1. Lisa, thanks for posting this. So sad and disappointing that she made that decision. Thanks for the links, too! We have an excellent Pregnancy Resource Center in Rockwall that our ABF volunteers. I strongly believe that we should give all women considering an abortion an ultrasound. The statistics show that most of these women choose life.

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  2. This young woman is so childish, immature and selfish. The statement that really got me was her trying to rationalize that her decision to murder a child by claiming that her graduate school program allows her to help so many others and if she is pregnant someone in another country may not get a mosquito net? Clearly she has never really known self-sacrifice, even if she attended a college "for her parents' that she hated.

    I agree with you Lisa, that as hard as it is to read her justification, the comments that follow make my stomach twist. So many people telling her she isn't selfish for killing the child. That she is making a "mature" decision.

    And I want to weep for the child that one woman aborted because an AFP (which has a high rate of false positive) came back positive for Downs. I know people WAITING to adopt a Downs baby. She spent thousands of dollars to have a child, but killed the child because it might not be "perfect". Even more infuriating, the child may have been perfect, but because they do AFP early enough for termination, she will never know.

    Thank you for reminding people that there are supportive options for women who find themselves pregnant. As difficult as giving your baby over for adoption must be, at least your child won't say "Mom didn't want me and she gave me up. Mom loved me so much she gave me life."

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  3. I remember at times like this what Bl. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) said one time when visiting the U.S.: "If you don't want your baby, don't have an abortion - give it to me." As a single man, I've always wanted to be a father, but that is not yet in the cards. Though I doubt I'll ever try adoption alone, if some woman didn't want her baby, I'd take it and raise it with love in a Christian household.

    I'll bet this "woman" isn't even real, but instead is another baseless argument by the pro-abortion people.

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