I read an article a day or so ago that has really been weighing on me. In fact, it brings to the forefront of my mind something that I think all of us, pro-life or pro-choice, can agree on.
Abortion causes pain.
The article I read (linked above) is about a young woman who, ironically, went out drinking to celebrate the "yes" vote in Ireland that repealed an amendment prohibiting abortion. As a citizen of the UK with many ties to Ireland, this young woman felt that this vote was a "leap towards equality."
As part of the celebrating, she became intoxicated, visited a friend, and they had sex. The condom broke, and she became pregnant.
This, to me, is where the story gets really interesting.
We have a young woman, 30 years old, who has always wanted to be a mother. As she lays on her bathroom floor, overcome with the shock of the pregnancy, she notes that "for the first time, I wasn't truly alone."
I believe that, in that moment, she bonded with her child. She recognized that her baby was a wholly distinct and separate human being. She also writes that she let herself imagine she would keep the baby. That the future felt exciting.
What happened? Why did she have the abortion?
She decided that if she wasn't 100% confident that bringing a child into the world was the "right thing to do" then it wasn't fair to the child. So, she had the abortion.
And, she is suffering because of it.
This young mother (because, she is a mother) bonded with her child, daydreamed about a future with her child, desired her child, and killed her child.
She (in her own words) forced down her instinct to nurture and love her baby and put herself through not just one, but two different abortion procedures. Instead of encouraging her to keep her baby and love her baby, her friends told her that they were "proud" of her for choosing abortion.
This story makes my heart break.
Well, first, because a baby was lost.
Second, and somehow a stronger feeling, a mother who could have been helped was hung out to dry. Society and her surroundings told her that abortion was the "right" choice. Now that she knows it wasn't, it's too late. No matter what happens, no matter how many children she has, no matter how lovely her life becomes, she will never forget this child.
And really, it didn't have to happen. Abortion is never the right answer, but in this case it doesn't even seem to be a logical answer. Her decision to abort seems to come down to two things:
1. She didn't plan the baby
2. She didn't feel emotionally ready to have the baby
Surprisingly, she never brings up the fact that she isn't in a relationship with the father. Other than noting that he was a long-term, casual acquaintance she doesn't bring him up at all. Everything seems to boil down to one fact: she wasn't emotionally ready.
For any young women out there reading this, please understand that nobody is emotionally ready to have a baby. When I work with clients, I tell them this is why God gives us nine months to prepare. He knows that we need time to become accustomed to the idea of parenthood.
Not only does the first pregnancy often feel overwhelming and scary, subsequent pregnancies can feel just as frightening. Babies are challenging, they take time, they take work, and they're expensive. Furthermore, pregnancy hormones are no joke. Expectant moms can feel elated one minute and devastated the next.
Regardless of your position on abortion, you have to understand that abortion causes pain. This young woman went against every instinct she had, and she is suffering for it. At the end of the article she says:
" ...nobody had warned me about the guilt, the anger and the sadness that might follow. Nobody had told me about the crippling fear of never having another chance to be a mum. Nobody had mentioned the resentment I would feel towards others who were pregnant and able to carry their baby to term. The sense of injustice I would feel every time I saw or held a baby during the subsequent weeks. The jealousy of seeing strangers in the street pushing a pram. The longing. The grief. The regret."
Can we all agree, regardless of our political opinion, that women deserve better than this? That they deserve better than abortion? That they deserve better than a lifetime of guilt and regret?
Maybe when we can come to that point, we can agree that pregnancy help organizations are not only important - they're vital. They make a difference for women like this every day, and if this young woman had found one, it would have made a difference to her.