Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Still Learning: Change on Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Stance

Still Learning: Change on Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Stance

sunday, august 16, 2009

Change on Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Stance

I had a heated and very stupid, time-wasting Twitter argument with three men last week about the Pro-Choice debate. They told me about when life begins in their opinion. They told me that in all circumstances abortion was the ultimate evil and always wrong. I pointed out that while many women share their so called "pro-life" stance, they rarely use those arguments or argue as strongly. I feel that denying abortion is a man's way of continuing to control women. They called me names. They threatened me with God and hellfire. No one used any statistics, just a lot of yelling and a great deal of Bible thumping preaching. To argue was pointless on both sides. It fell apart when they quoted scripture to me and I said that was not the word of God, that was a man's interpretation of the word of God. Man cannot resist putting his own privately held opinion in anything he writes. I believe the scriptures are as flawed as the man interpreting them for good or evil.

I was raised Catholic. Being against abortion is a natural thing for Catholics. I am also a nurse. The other thing you should know about me is that I do believe in God but when my husband was killed in Iraq, God and I came to an understanding. I will take care of me and the people I love and he will go on letting every good thing happen and every bad thing happen and allow all of us to argue about whose God is bigger, stronger, more powerful and the true God. He will even let us kill each other over it. I will respect Him. I will appreciate the world He gave us to live in. I will also appreciate that there is no divine intervention. He is just sitting back watching to see how WE decide to use the gifts he gave us. He isn't going to butt in. He isn't going to save anybody. He is just watching. He gave us the tools, we just need to use them...wisely.

I have been on a medical mission in Guatemala. This is my second summer. I have seen women ravaged by pregnancy after pregnancy until their children die or they die. The Church does not allow contraception so from the onset of puberty in the lowest socioeconomic areas the women are almost constantly pregnant. Abortion is illegal. The women do not regain their health between pregnancies. The average wage is $1 a day per family. There is not enough food to eat. The children born from ensuing pregnancies are weaker, smaller, with more disabilities, more developmental issues than the first born. Many of these children die. Many of the mothers die. In this place, as in so many, the women and children bear the burden of poverty to a greater extent then the men.

Many women know they cannot handle one more child and so they seek the services of the village abortionist. Sometimes it is successful but more often than not the cervix, uterus and the bowel are pierced. The result is sterility or very often death from infection and sepsis. It is a horrible way to die.

I started reading about what it was like in America before women could exercise choice over their own health, their own bodies. It was much as I am seeing here. Then I read about Dr. Tiller so I read about late term abortions and the horror stories from the so-called pro-life side.

Sometimes things just go wrong. President Reagan put into law during his term that medical teams must use any measures at their disposal to save the life of an infant born alive. Well, today we did that. A baby was born alive to a 20 year old mother with three children. This baby was horribly wrong. It was born with spina bifida, and you can Google that and a cleft palate that extended up her face. She essentially had a cleft face. We did everything we could and she survived several hours in terrible pain. She died anyway in spite of our best efforts. The mother will never give birth again. She was in labor over 24 hours and the baby was breech completely obliterating the cervix and womb. The entire team was touched by what we witnessed. I know I have been changed forever.

With the diagnostic tools available to us in the US this child's condition would have been seen during normal pre-natal visits. But these abnormalities would not have been seen until late in the second tri-mester (late term abortion). An abortion would have been suggested as an option. It would need to be done skillfully so that the mother could bear another child. That is a choice the parents would have to make. An informed choice.

For me, I don't want to turn the clock back to back alleys and coat hanger abortions. I believe in education, contraception, counseling, parental permission, wait times, and CHOICE. I am pretty sure God gave me the intelligence and the ability to learn from experience and that he hopes we will continue to use the tools he gave us to help as much as we can. Sometimes that tool is abortion, used wisely.


Frugal Dougal said...

I used to be both a Roman Catholic and a nurse, and remain a pro-lifer. I'm sad to hear that you were abused by these people, because creating heat rather than light doesn't get anyone anywhere. I beleive that perfectly sensibly arguments for the sanctity of life from conception to natural death can be made both within and without the Scriptures. Try, for example:



Michael said...

I believe in the sanctity of life as well,(although not from the moment of conception, that's strictly a religous view,the Catholic church believes masturbation is murder) and that includes the life of a pregnant woman.
Most who oppose a woman's right to choose also support the State's right to kill adults. i.e., the death penalty.
Those who justify killing adults, but vociferously oppose aborting a fertilized egg, just don't get much traction with me, but thanks for the comment.