Saturday, November 4, 2006

Pro-life and pro-choice

Here's a comment for those of you that are having trouble figuring out why their pastor or priest could possibly stand against RL6, along with the Pastors for Moral Choices (and many of the major churches in the USA). If you have any ear to hear and heart still receptive to ponder this issue please read this post. It says more than I ever could how you could be both pro-life and pro-choice. Why? Because this member of the clergy speaks here, from real-life experience. (She's also a far better writer than I am.) Thank you so much, grammywoj, for sharing this with us.

I hate abortion. I think it is one of the great tragedies in human history. I think it is a lousy form of birth control, and that it causes tremendous pain in the lives of women who feel they must choose it. Of all the women I've ever met who were faced with that choice, I never met a single one who ever entered into it lightly.

I hate remembering the day that, as a hospital chaplain, I stood at the bedside of a woman who had struggled valiently to have a healthy baby, only to discover too late that a botched illegal abortion had so damaged her body that she could not carry a child to term. I hate knowing that some people are arrogant enough to believe--and to say--that she she deserved her grief, and I hate knowing that my compassion was not enough to comfort her and point her to the One who loves her beyond measure.

I hate the fact that, until abortion could be done safely and legally in this country, women and young girls--children, really--who truly felt that abortion was their only option were forced to take terrible risks with their lives. And that those who have made that choice and actually had the audacity to survive it have been maligned and mistreated abominably.

I hate my memory of the weeping woman who poured out her soul in my arms, driven half-crazy by guilt and longing. Some self-righteous religious nut had convinced her that her mentally retarded son would be completely healed on his 18th birthday if God forgave her for the abortion she had had at the age of 13. Only the child had not been healed as "promised" by that irresponsible fanatic, and this devastated woman could not be convinced that there would ever be grace enough for her.

I hate the fact that in the state of California, where I live, more than 100,000 unwanted children are living in foster care and are considered "unadoptable" because their abusive parents have so damaged them with prenatal drug abuse and post-natal child abuse that nobody wants them. And I hate the fact that so few of those who so self-righteously demand that women carry their babies to term are actually willing to step forward to adopt or foster these children.

I love my children. I love my grandchildren. I hope my daughters and granddaughters are never, ever, ever faced with having to make a choice like this. But if they are confronted with such a choice, I believe it needs to be their choice, and that it should be a choice that can be made legally, safely, and privately.

I find it incomprehensible that someone who does not know me from a hole in the wall can declare it "impossible" for me to be both pro-life and pro-choice. Living with ambiguity is not nearly as reassuring and self-satisfying as being an absolutist--and it's definitely not easy. But it's the only honest way for me to live. So yes, I am decidedly pro-life. But I am also prayerfully pro-choice.


  1. This is really good. I agree wholeheartedly. It's too bad that there are some people that think they have the right to tell others how to live and that they have no right to decide when a fetus becomes a human being.

  2. Donna Burnap15:52

    This was a beautiful essay to read and states the thought of my heart. I truly feel that to be Pro-life is to be Pro-choice in every nuance of the meanings of these words. Thank you for expressing the thoughts with such compassion and love.

  3. Anonymous16:09

    "Pro-choice" is too often presented as a women's rights issue and not as a human's right. Your article was very good?everything you said I agreed with until the end. Too often we as humans want to appease others and be liked by others declaring "I hate abortion, I would never have an abortion, but I can't tell someone else not too." Of course you can! It would be convenient of me to end the life of my grandfather because I made a mistake and need the inheritance, but it is certainly not right. In the same way, if I made the mistake of getting pregnant, the convenient choice would be ending the child's life, but it is not the right one. This should not be a women's choice any more than it should be someone's choice to end a life for their convenience (rape, incest and life of the mother not withstanding).

    Furthermore, we KNOW what death is?the absence of brain waves, heartbeat, and breathing. Therefore, we KNOW that life starts very early in the second month of pregnancy when the heart is beating and the child is growing. How could you allow anyone to end that life? It is a heinous crime that should be outlawed.