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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Walking the talk

I hadn't expected to be writing about abortion and prenatal development again quite so soon, but in the last while, I've found myself encountering a few interesting comments, articles and stories recently that bring me back to the subject. 

I've mentioned before that I've been having difficulty understanding the pro-abortion position.  Since writing last on the subject, I've encountered some increasingly silly defenses for abortion.  Perhaps the most bizarre of all was one commenter claiming, "the fetus isn't alive.  You can't kill something that isn't alive."  It's hard to wrap my mind around that sort of ignorance.  Heck, we even acknowledge that a cancerous tumour is alive, and that our goal in fighting it is to kill it.  Individual cells are alive and can be killed, but a fetus isn't?

I think what a lot of it comes down to is, just how aware is the fetus?  While there are those on the pro-abortion side that do acknowledge an abortion really is the killing of a human baby, even if it's not fully developed and viable, there are plenty who insist that, like the commenter I mentioned above, the fetus isn't a living thing, never mind a living being.  There's the attempt to dehumanize the developing fetus and regard it as the equivalent of unwanted tissue - a tumour, or even a parasite.  Getting rid of it is, to this mindset, is no different than getting rid of a wart.

One of the articles I came across recently is Birth and The Origins of Violence.  While I don't completely agree with all off it (some parts fail the correlation/causation smell test, for example), I found it quite fascinating.  Such things have been discussed for many years, but our improved medical technology has allowed us to prove what had, in the past, only been suspected.

As someone who's had two pregnancies, I know from personal experience that my children had definite personalities well before they were born.  They even actively interacted with us (not the most comfortable of things, when that interaction involved my husband pressing down on different areas of my belly, then waiting for our daughter to push back in the same spot).  Like many other pregnant mothers, I talked to my growing baby, as did my family.  I listened to music I thought might be soothing, read out loud, and so on.

The above article talks about what most mothers already know at least somewhat; that our children are intelligent, pro-active beings with definite personalities before birth, and that what we did, or what happened to us while pregnant could have lasting effects on the development of our children.  It's more than eating right, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, and so on, to protect the physical development of our children, but understanding that their minds are not blank and empty.  They are responsive.  They feel emotions and physical sensations and, according to the research discussed in the article, they feel it far earlier than most mothers are able to feel their movements, show signs of pregnancy, or even know that they are pregnant yet at all.

It's a fascinating read, and well worth the time to go through all of it.

What usually happens when the contradictions and errors of the pro-abortionist position becomes too much to argue against, tactics change.  Among the most common I've seen tend to be voiced something like this.  "Sure, you fanatical, Christian, Conservative, Right-wing, crazy people want to make abortion illegal and doom women to have unwanted babies, but you're not there to take care of all these unwanted babies."

Aside from the tiring assumption that, if someone questions whether or not abortions for any reason and without restrictions really is a good thing, they must therefore be 1) right-wing 2) woman hating and 3) fundamentalist Christian nutbars, those that use this strawman argument assume that pro-lifers and anti-abortionists aren't doing anything to help.

They couldn't be more wrong, and today, I heard plenty of real-life examples of it.

I was with a group of friends on an evening outing when the conversation turned to unexpected pregnancies.  One of the women first became pregnant herself at 16.  She didn't have a lot of support and life was hard, but she did marry the father and they went on to have more children.  They are still happily married and doing quite well now, and her children all grew up to be responsible, contributing members of society.

What made her story even more interesting was that one of her sons got his girlfriend pregnant when they were both still in their teens.  His girlfriend's family was completely unsupportive of her, with one member continually trying to coerce her into having an abortion - even to the point of wanting to fly her into the US for a late term abortion (which I find kind of odd, since those are legal here in Canada - though perhaps there just aren't any doctors willing to do it?).  My friend's son, on the other hand, begged her to have the baby, saying that if she didn't want it, he'd raise it himself.

That brings up a whole other issue I'm not going into here - what rights does the father have in regards to the child he helped create?  Staunch pro-abortionists would say he has no rights at all.  Unless, of course, the mother has the child, at which point he's supposed to take on the responsibility.  A rather strange incongruity there, but never mind that for now.

In the end, my friend and her husband took in their son's pregnant girlfriend.  Why?  Because, in her words, God told her to.  So they moved her into their home (she was no longer welcome at her parents' home) and she chose to have and keep the baby.  Some months after the baby was born, she officially became my friend's daughter-in-law.  As for the family member who tried to force her to get an abortion, he never saw or spoke to her again for the rest of his life, nor did he ever see the baby.  It was interesting to learn that her own sister was in a similar situation, except that she was coerced into having an abortion - and now cannot have children at all.  Yet another interesting thought, considering the reaction against a proposed law that would have protected pregnant women from being coerced into having abortions they don't want.  Where is the protection of the rights of the mother here? 

This is hardly an isolated case.  One of the other ladies in the group helps young women like this for a living, as well as helping abused children.  It turns out that a great many young pregnant women are being coerced into abortions against their will - and if they don't go through with it, they are made to suffer for their choice by the very people who should be the most supportive; their families and the fathers of their children.  Quite a number of these young girls are kicked out of their homes by their parents, and would be living on the streets where it not for services such as the one this woman works for.  Some of them are living on the streets anyhow.  Some of the most difficult cases she's had to deal with involve young, pregnant women (as young as 11 yrs old!!) and children who come from abusive situations, staying with them the whole way as things work through the court system, only to see their abusers walk away free and clear because of some technicality.

There are hundreds of people like these two across the country, some working with organizations, others doing their part individually.  Chances are you won't read about them in the papers, nor will you hear about them in the news.  They just quietly go about their lives, while also are reaching out to these young women who have found themselves pregnant and without support; women whose choice is to keep their babies, but are surrounded by people who would take that choice away from them.  Instead of being supported by the people that should be there for them, they are instead being helped by people like these two; people who have no vested interest them, other than the strength of their own convictions, and their willingness to do what they feel is right, no matter how difficult or painful it might be.

People who are walking the talk.

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