A while ago when I wrote about my evolving thoughts on abortion, I balked at the idea of being called pro-choice. That was kind of dumb of me.
I like having choices, I like giving choices. I've found giving Hana options is a great way of finding compromise and avoiding melt downs. Toddlers like having a sense of control over their lives. Apparently this trait doesn't go away with age, we just get better at being disappointed.
There are times tho when giving options means giving people the opportunity to do something we don't like. Last night Ben gave Hana the choice of having dinner or playing with play-doh. Guess which she chose? The only way to avoid situations like that is to limit choices to things that are pre-approved. While I think this is a wonderful way to pick baby names, it doesn't really sit well with me in other areas.
Take birth for example. There is a lot of talk (well, at least in sites that I spend time on) about giving women the ability to choose the birth she wants. I strongly believe that a woman should be supported in any situation where she feels safe - water birth, home birth, lotus birth, hospital birth. But then what about medical birth? Elective Cesarean? Early elective induction? Those things make me more uncomfortable. They are choices I wouldn't make because the possible consequences seem too risky to me. I would rather people didn't make those choices, but can I really say I support a woman's right to choose while wanting to limit her options?
So many people see abortion as such a black and white issue - choose to birth the baby or choose to terminate the pregnancy. It's not. Babies don't just appear. There are appointments, tests, sleep issues, pains, nausea, bloating, complications, hormones, ultrasounds, emotions, cravings. Anyone who has had a baby will say it's all worth it (a lot of us even choose to go through it more than once just for kicks), but pregnancy is hard on a person. When talking to a mother about her choice to birth her baby, all of the above need to be taken into consideration. Sure, if she feels she can't support her child adoption is an option. There are even avenues that keep her from having to pay legal fees. But what about the time off work to have the baby, or go to prenatal appointments, who pays for that? Or the transportation, prenatal vitamins, maternity clothes.
It's not just an issue of money, there's also the havoc pregnancy can play on emotions. I am blessed to have Ben as my husband, I don't think anyone else could survive living with me pregnant. What if that mother has a fear, substantiated or not, that she won't survive the pregnancy because of the people in her life - the father, her father, her pimp, her employer? It's hard to see clearly through the fog the hormones cause. Possible, yes, but hard. Who will be there to offer council, a place to stay, to act as a liaison between support organizations, rehab, shelters? These are things that Christians should be doing, but they're too busy holding signs and spewing hate.
I don't like abortion. The idea of it makes me sick, breaks my heart, makes me hold my babies close and never want to let them go. At the same time, I have to be realistic - there are times when a mother doesn't see the choice as black and white, she sees all the things in between, agonizes, weighs the few options available to her. To me, it is far more necessary to give those women more options - more support, more finances, more understanding, more jobs, more maternity leave, more legal aid, more medical insurance - than it is to take options away, even the ones that make us uncomfortable.
We can't erase the things we don't like from the world. We can't control everything in a way that makes us feel more comfortable. There will always be situations we don't like, choices we say we could never make, things that we know will needlessly make life harder. We can't stop those things, we can only offer alternatives and do all we can to make the bad choices obsolete.