Disgusted by the story of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell? Feel sick to your stomach while driving down the street and seeing those images of aborted fetuses? Have you heard and seen enough?
I can’t stand to read the headlines. I can’t stand to look at those posters. My blood pressure rises. My heart races. I thank God that my children are too young to notice, for now.
As someone who is both pro-life and pro-choice, I want to roll down my windows and yell:
Please. Please. This does not help!
Wait, how is it possible – one might ask – to be both pro-life and pro-choice?
Let me explain. It is possible because pro-choice is not the opposite pro-life.
Despite what the battle cries of the political and religious right and left often suggest, there is a middle ground. There is a “both/and” option, and I venture to guess that many of us reside here.
On a personal level, I am pro-life.
My faith and life experiences lead me to believe that I would always make the choice to carry any child I might conceive. I do believe wholeheartedly that children are blessings; they are gifts from God. All human life is precious.
But, I am also aware that it is easy for me to say this from my extremely privileged position. I have been pregnant exactly once in my life. I was healthy. My babies were healthy. (Yes, I said babies…my blessings came two-at-a-time.) I willingly became pregnant. In fact, after three years of infertility, I longed to become pregnant. Every ache and pain was a joyful reminder of my good fortune. I was married. We had the means to support my children. Neither my life nor the life of my children were in danger. I had access to amazing prenatal care for the duration of my high-risk pregnancy. I loved (and still love) the man who helped me conceive them.
So, it is easy for me to sit back with my feet up and say that I am pro-life.
But, on a personal level, I am also pro-choice.
I know not every woman wears my comfortable shoes. Some pregnancies are the result of rape or incest; other pregnancies bring about dangerous and life-threatening health conditions for the woman; and still other pregnancies bring difficult and heart-wrenching situations. Women often find themselves unexpectedly pregnant while suffering from poverty, lacking prenatal care, and facing a myriad of challenges that I do not know. I cannot and will not make a choice for a woman/family whose shoes I do not wear.
But, on a global level, I am also pro-life.
Which means I am more than simply pro-birth. I am pro-education. I am pro-resources for pregnant women in crisis. I am pro-access to nutrition and shelter for mothers, fathers, and their children. I am pro-healthcare for all. I am pro-reproductive education and access to contraception. I am pro-policies and laws aimed at making all women’s shoes a little more capable to carry them through their struggles.
Laws such as these are the opposite of pro-life. If we make a choice for a woman, we cannot then deny her access to feed her child. Period.
I am adamantly against doctors and clinics such as the those in the horrific case of Kermit Gosnell.
Aren’t we all? I venture to say the supposed “lack” of coverage on the issue isn’t some pro-choice conspiracy theory or cover-up, but rather simply the fact that it is a horrific story that most of us cannot stomach. Just like the story of the 2011 famine in Somalia where 260,000 people died (1/2 of which were children under 5) from hunger – something we, as a human race, could have prevented. Haven’t heard of it? Probably because (right or wrong) the media is aware that we can’t handle this kind of horror on a daily basis. We also don’t see daily news stories of the human casualties in Syria, of human sex trafficking in the United States, or of child soldiers in the Congo.
Instead, we read the article or watch the short news segment, we feel sick to our stomachs, and then we change the channel to something funny so we can sleep at night. These stories, as horrible and important as they are to the well being of humanity, do not get the ratings.
So, yes, while it is newsworthy that more should have been done sooner to shut down Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic in the first place, now, it seems to be a pretty open and shut case. I think all sides of the debate want justice done in this case. All sides condemn these allegations. All sides want to prevent this type of crime in the future.
Don’t we realize that preventing access to legal doctors and procedures might only make cases like this more common*?
So, rather than holding those graphic and shocking images on the streets, rather than blasting one another with attacks on social media, rather than posting a Facebook status thanking states for demanding a child’s mother pass a drug screening so that he might eat, rather than blaming the media for covering up the horrific story of Kermit Gosnell (despite the excess of stories and blog articles currently available on my news feed), let’s stop fighting each other. Let’s stop with the shock tactics.
Instead, let’s work together to create resources for women in crisis. Let’s support programs that counsel women and men with love and compassion. Let’s donate to our local food pantry. Let’s learn about the cycle of poverty. Let’s volunteer to mentor a child. Let’s sponsor a child or family half-way across the world. Let’s really consider the healthcare situation in our country. Let’s educate women and men (and teens) about safe sex, consequences, and responsible choices.
Let’s work together to create a world and a culture that is truly pro-human.
*Nearly half of all abortions in the world are performed in countries that have made abortion illegal.