The 2019 Abortion Laws

Pro-life or pro-choice? The most vocal on social media seem to be one or the other. But as I’ve listened to the discussions taking place on the abortion controversy and the new laws in Alabama, Ohio, and other southern states, I’ve determined it is possible to be both against abortion and pro-choice. I’ve thought a long time about writing this article. I’ve rehearsed what I would say while going to sleep at night. I’ve discussed it at length with close friends. I did not want to speak out on this, but as the debate has become more heated surrounding the 2019 laws, I have witnessed ugliness on both sides of the fence. I’ve seen far left liberals label all of Christianity as an oppressive monster. I’ve seen far right conservatives accuse pro-choice advocates of not loving their own children. Labels have been thrown from either side; murderer, religious fanatic, evil, hell-bound… I cannot stay silent anymore.

What it means to be both anti-abortion and pro-choice

I am personally against abortion. This means I would not choose one for myself. However, I also cannot begin to imagine some of the situations women have experienced where they were faced with that decision. I have read real stories of women in the third trimester who faced a deadly condition. Women who were diagnosed with cancer during their pregnancies. Women who were raped. Children who were raped. Wanted and loved fetuses who were diagnosed with conditions that guaranteed death outside the womb. I cannot pretend I know exactly what I would decide in those situations. I am just grateful I don’t have to.

But I do know with absolute certainly that if my 11 year old daughter were raped repeatedly and fell pregnant, I would take her to the clinic and hold her hand the whole time, assuring her none of this was her fault.

While these situations aren’t necessarily common, they do still happen.

I do not think abortion should be used as a method of birth control. But I also don’t believe it’s our government’s place to determine that for me or others. I may be religious, but others aren’t. While I personally believe life begins early in pregnancy, I respect that that is not what everyone believes, and my own beliefs should not dictate the decisions another person is allowed to make.

To me, pro-choice means that the government should not dictate when or what medical procedure is best for a woman and fetus. It does not mean I hate babies. It does not mean I will someday get an abortion myself. It does mean I do not judge the women who have chosen one. It does mean I believe in personal agency and freedom.

Sure, in a perfect world there would be no abortion. Because in a perfect world there would be no rape, no poverty, no health complications, and no unwanted pregnancies. But this isn’t a perfect world.

It’s the freaking Handmaid’s Tale right now

If you haven’t read or seen the Handmaid’s Tale I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s a story about the re-oppression of women, and it is not that far fetched. These new abortion laws are moving our country backwards.

Even the most anti-abortion person should be able to see that a law allowing prosecution of women who have had miscarriages for second degree murder is a dystopian level oppression. The majority of miscarriages are unavoidable. These laws will discourage women from seeing their doctor when they have a miscarriage, which can be dangerous. The pain of a miscarriage is already devastating, the guilt these new laws add on to that is inhumane and unnecessary.

These laws also discourage women from attempting procedures during pregnancy that could actually save their fetus, because they come with a risk of pre-term labor or miscarriage.

When women and their doctors are restricted in receiving and providing quality pregnancy care, we are facing a real life Handmaid’s Tale situation.

Between a woman and her doctor

Instead of being the government’s decision, prenatal care and pregnancy termination should only be between a women and her doctor (and anyone else she chooses to include in the decision). Otherwise, these blanket statement laws without exceptions put women’s lives, physical health, and mental health at risk. No one knows a woman’s body better than she herself. No one understands the risks of an individual’s pregnancy more than her OB. Politicians don’t go to medical school; they cannot be trusted to make rules regarding medical care.

Our country was built on freedom of choice

Immigrants came to America with the promise of religious freedom in their hearts. How can we now take that freedom away from our citizens? If citizens are allowed to freely believe God places a Spirit in the womb at conception, other citizens must also be free to believe that He does not.

If you believe adoption is the better option, that’s fine. Just remember it’s easy to say that when you’re not the one whose life and body is changing forever. And you must also realize that adoption is only feasible if more is done to help and support pregnant women and children born into the foster system. And you must also recognize that this is by and large a poverty issue, and it will only get better when we do a better job taking care of the poor among us.

If you truly believe abortion is a sin, then you must also believe that the only truly important consequence is the one God will provide. So trust in Him to judge justly, rather than a government run by imperfect humans.

The God I have come to know looks into the hearts of each of His children, and judges them on their intent as well as their works. A government cannot do that, not accurately. They cannot determine how afraid a woman was. How difficult the decision was for her. If she really felt there was no other option. If that pregnancy would have destroyed her spirit. Women are not making these choices lightly. And even if they were, let God judge them, not you.

I do not believe government has a place in this. And that is why and how I am both anti-abortion and pro-choice.

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