Can of Worms

Abortion, Revisited

For some background on this specific topic, go here and here.

So, why revisit this?  Why now?  What has possibly changed in the last few months?  Well, nothing really - except my understanding of abortion.  I realize now I was speaking off-the-cuff when I thought I was well educated.  I was wrong.  The best way I can think to explain this is to make a bullet point list of what I {mis}understood before and how I understand it now.  (How/what I used to think is in bold, followed by what has changed in italics.)

1.  Planned Parenthood (and other organizations like it) gives women who are in an unplanned pregnancy equal information about all of the options available to them.  Like it or not, choosing life is still a choice.  For many of us, it is the only choice to even consider, but it is still a choice.  I thought that PP truly counseled women and worked to ensure an abortion was only performed as a last result.  I had never visited their website before and I admit that I was shocked.  Then I read Unplanned, as well as other resources, and learned differently.  I always thought that if a woman had ALL of the information available and still chose an abortion, then maybe it truly was the best choice for her.  Now I wonder how many women were/are truly given ALL of the information?

2.  Abortion 'clinics' are just like any other outpatient medical clinic and must follow the same regulations as any other medical facility.  Um, not even close.  I was shocked, mouth-open, eyes-gaping, shocked at this.  And I've not even seen one of these clinics for myself, it's just the news stories about some of these places and stories from women who've had abortions that I've read (and not all of them were women who regretted their abortion either).

3.  The 'pro-life movement' is all about making abortion illegal.  Period.  Actually, pro-life organizations work to help women who are in an unplanned pregnancy to understand that there is already a life.  To help them to determine whether the best thing for that life is for the woman to parent herself or to pursue adoption.

4.  That crisis pregnancy centers are few and far between and based completely on a faith-based argument.  I was pleasantly surprised to find (what did we do before Google?)that in my town there are 2 crisis pregnancy centers (pro-life) and no abortion clinics (that I could tell were abortion clinics anyway from their internet information) .  I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that there are crisis pregnancy centers, Birthright for example, that are not affiliated with a religion.  Not everyone is at a point where a faith-based point of view is effective.

5.  The only way to ensure that a woman truly facing the principle of double effect is able to have the procedure she needs to survive is to ensure that abortion stays legal.  I just don't see (anymore) how what happens in an abortion clinic to a woman (and baby) who walk in perfectly healthy is the same as what happens in the operating room of a hospital where 2 (or more) lives hang in the balance.  It's not even the same thing.  I think it ties into my misunderstanding of what an abortion clinic is.

6.  Making abortion illegal only puts a bandaid on the problem.  I still think if all we do is make abortion illegal, we aren't solving the actual problem.  It's bigger than that.  But now, I do think that working to make what happens at abortion clinics illegal is just as important as working to change what it is about our society that makes us 'need' abortion.

So, how do I get from there to here?  It was from some of the links in the comments on the posts above.  It was reading Unplanned.  It was Sarah's words.  And Michelle's words.  And Leila's words.  It was stopping the assuming that I *knew* and starting the looking for more information.  It was hours searching and reading both pro-choice and pro-life websites.  It was answering the question:  Why do I know it's wrong for me, but say that it's okay for someone else?  

But ultimately, it's about realizing that I don't have to know the answer.  I don't have to know the perfect solution.  It's realizing that it's OK to say I'm pro-life, even if that means I get labeled as 'small minded'. It's realizing that it's OK to say that abortion is a horrible thing, even if it means that it will stop the dialogue with some.  And it's OK to disagree with the choice of another and still value and love them.  It's about saying a prayer instead of trying to convince someone.  It's about realizing that while it wouldn't be easy, there is a way to draw the line and say that a late term abortion that saves the life of the mother when the only other option was death for mother and baby is different than an abortion out of convenience.  It's about realizing that a woman who is raped can be healed through either process of raising her child or placing her child for adoption.

And for the first time, I feel settled when I say I am pro-life.  Not only for 'myself' as I always used to qualify it, but for every life.

This Can of Worms has been opened.  What do you think?


  1. You are beautiful. Thanks for this post. I think sometimes being "small-minded" is really all about opening the door to the fact that we can't possibly hold all the answers on our own and that God has a place in all this.

    I have begun to see abortion and life issues as the biggest spiritual battleground...it seems to be the place where Satan has set up camp and tried to create a new playing field...a place to capture souls who are lost and feeling like they have no place to go. Our love in the pro-life community for the women struggling and for the babies in their wombs IS enough to win...eventually...I have to believe that.

    Life and death...major issues. I'm glad that you looked into all of this. Obviously, you were being led to do that and I have prayers of thanksgiving that you opened your heart to what was out there for you to discover.

  2. Similar as you, a couple years ago I stopped focusing on necessary in 'necessary evil' and came to appreciate how evil.

  3. I should add that not that Christ hadn't already won THE battle in the end...but our battle here on earth for those people who are lost. Just wanted to clarify.

    It's the knowledge that Christ has already won over evil in the big sense that gives us hope.


  4. If people only realized what PP really was about, I think they would think twice about donating to some charities that give money to them. For example: Girl Scouts (not all, just some) & Susan Komen. I've often thought about asking the women who are selling GS Cookies outside of businesses if their troop is one of the ones who donate to PP, but I don't want to upset the little girls, so I just politely tell them, "No, thank you" and move on.

  5. Excellent post, Rebecca. I love that you're so open about this difficult topic, and I think it's great that you are starting to feel some peace with your understanding of it!

  6. Seriously, I am just praising God for what He has done in all of our lives! This is so beautiful, Rebecca!!!

  7. I've been suprised by how little most women know about their bodies in general, much less their fertility or unborn baby.
    I grew up rabidly pro-life, and I still consider myself pro-life, I agree with most of the points you made here. I still have trouble relating to many of the politically active pro-lifers, the comments on the recent article written by Jen from conversion Diary on whether or not pictures of aborted babies should be used in pro-life work, made me feel sick to my stomach. There just seems to be so little compassion for anyone but the unborn baby. I find that the people that are the most well-rounded and empathic in their pro-life beliefs are often the former atheists, not the life long religious people.

  8. I agree with Michelle, you are beautiful. And this is wonderful.

  9. This is so beautiful. I know how hard it can be to be humble enough to change your opinion. I went through a very similar process. I feel so blessed that you count me as being among those whose words made an impact on your journey. It's a real testament to what God has done with me. :)

    Praise God for your journey here!

  10. Thanks, as always, for sharing your opinions and thoughts! Great post!

  11. i'm catching up on your posts now!
    i just want to say that i feel like i could have written this.
    i have similar realizations once i actually sat down to think about this issue a few years ago and really realized what i thought was the compassionate issue is not. you've put it so beautifully here!
    ps: 7 days!

  12. What do I think? I think you're very brave to examine and discuss your feelings about difficult issues. Bravo!

  13. :) I was where you were in college...I was pro-life, but didn't feel that I could say that abortion was wrong for everyone. And then I wondered the same thing as you...why was it wrong for me, but not everyone?

    The truth is, I was afraid to tell someone else what they needed to do...because PP and every other abortion rights group trains us to believe that abortion is necessary to "save lives." But it doesn't save. It destroys. That is the truth for both the mother and the child. It is so very sad.

    I have compassion for all of those women who have taken the path of abortion. I believe that they will feel incredible sadness if not immediately, then at some point in their lives. It is truly, truly sad.

    Good for you for really really thinking about this, and coming to a conclusion in which you feel so settled. That is beautiful!