I KNOW that God and the Pope would be FAR MORE empathetic in their treatment of women who’ve had abortions than the way some of the anti-abortion people treat women who’ve aborted.
I also hear some pro-abortion activists adamantly insisting that if a person doesn’t fully accept abortion, he or she is being “judgmental”.
But where is the sweet spot? The merciful spot? The non-judgmental spot? The concern for women with very rough lives? Seeking to understand them?
Can a person be understanding and compassionate to women… and also oppose abortion — motivated by that same compassion, rather than motivated by judgment?
In conversations (that’s the charitable word) about abortion these days, people on either side of the issue can get fairly HOSTILE.
Even worse, when these “conversations” occur ONLINE, some people feel further emboldened by the relative anonymity, and get downright nasty.
I’ve been listening closely to people on both sides of the issue. But lately I have been even MORE carefully listening to the Pro-Abortion/Pro-Choice people.
I’ve been doing my best to really break through the impasse and engage; listen with mercy, and hear the motivations women had when they aborted; listen and hear the particular challenges and questions underlying those motivations: the conditions of their lives in this modern world that led them to where they found themselves when they decided an abortion was the best choice they could see.
I’m opposed to abortion, and yet I’ve had abortions. So what gives, right? What happened?!
First, let me say this: I KNOW how AMAZING it felt ultimately to SEEK FORGIVENESS, and to then be forgiven.
But it didn’t happen overnight.
For many, many years, I didn’t believe or feel that I’d done anything wrong.
And I was totally UNREPENTANT, as I believed (and still believe) people should NOT be repentant for things that are not wrong.
I think that’s where a lot of pro-abortion women are right now. They don’t want to be “shamed” about something they don’t feel ashamed of. That makes them angry. And I can certainly see why: Everyone who knows anything about Jesus knows that he said to the men who were “shaming” and actually about to kill a woman adulterer/prostitute, “Let he among you who is without sin… cast the first stone.”
I can’t say that my path will ever be a common path to “seeing the light” about abortion.
But when my whole world and beliefs got shaken to their core, by a break-up I didn’t anticipate at all… I opened my mind and heart to learn more about relationships & grow, and it led me where I’d never expected to go.
One of my sisters gave me the book “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs when she saw me hurting while my former marriage was writhing in the death throws of its last chapter. I felt completely powerless to change my circumstances, because I was powerless to change my husband’s heart. We were still married, but as I later discovered, he’d made up his mind, and had already moved on. All I knew is we were separating, and I didn’t know why. I was floored. Perplexed. I had to face the music (that I didn’t necessarily relish hearing): I had contributed to the demise of my relationship, by my abortion and also by my other unilateral decisions. I could have just stayed arrogant, but sadness, loss, love, hope, humility, and a sense of heartbreak moved in me. And I read the book. The book shed light on my persistent self-orientation, and awakened me to what was undermining our relationship. The book didn’t break through to my heart by criticizing me, of course, but by showing the typical patterns of disharmony in relationships, and offering a healthy, do-able alternative to those patterns. The book put me in a position to see MY part in ruining a relationship I loved… to also see my part in undermining the well-being of a man I loved deeply. I ditched the old lenses I was wearing (my old view of relationships), and I would never want to put them on again, because I love people, but with my outlook of doing everything “my way” I’d been harming people.
The words on those pages humbled me. The book actually has a very Biblical orientation and foundation. I didn’t have peace with that as I began reading, since I was an atheist at the time, but I was THIRSTY for understanding, and I couldn’t argue with the seemingly timeless truths the book was outlining. Everything the author asserted about where men are generally coming from resonated with my life experiences. I reflected on my father, my brother, my previous boyfriends, my husband, etc., and just men in general. My throat swelled in a knot as I cried with the recognition of how this Christian approach would make for FAR more harmonious relationships with men than my secular, progressive approach. I’d been projecting onto men what I THOUGHT was best for ALL of us. Yet the approach of the book would clearly YIELD for BOTH men and women what they desperately need and want, in order to THRIVE together harmoniously, whereas “my” way, and the way of feminism, was yielding unforgiveness, pride, strife, and division.
And that was the beginning. Once I took off the lenses of “I’m right about everything”, and put on the lenses of humility, the lenses of mercy for another…, I began learning again. My heart softened. Gradually, I “put on Christ.” See, I think when we get into trying to get political power to change things that are supposed to be dealt with in another arena… we stagnate in our spiritual and moral development. That’s what I had been doing for over 20 years: Advancing an agenda to seize and wield political power. But I’d not cultivated any of the softness that can melt a person’s heart so they voluntarily want to address the needs of the other person.
The rest is history.
The HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT of my perspective on ABORTION
MY EARLY BACKGROUND: I was raised Catholic. Catholicism welcomes and cherishes the new life in ALL pregnancies. Catholicism never chooses to impose death on new life.
That made sense to me at that time, because my family and I all relished life! We were infused with faith, hope & love. And we confidently believed in our creative ability to address problems through life-supporting options.
While I’m SO glad to have returned to my PRO-LIFE VIEWS, there was indeed a VERY LONG (24 year) IDEOLOGICAL DETOUR:
HOW I BECAME PRO CHOICE, AND LATER, PRO ABORTION:
Each occasion I chose to abort, circumstances were a little different.
The first time was in a panic. I believed I was pregnant in my 4th year in college, and though I was in love with my boyfriend at the time, the father of the baby, I was petrified about what I envisioned of life having a baby at that time and in that way (unmarried, not finishing college after over 3 years invested, etc). I was still Catholic at that time (although I’d already become somewhat pro-choice* a few years earlier). I curled up in a ball in the corner on the floor, and I went to God and TOTALLY broke down! I was so fearful, and I told Him I couldn’t handle it, and I basically asked Him to “take this cup from me if He would” and very soon I miscarried, technically. I saw large clots during my period, and I was afraid to further examine them. But I believed what I saw was a fetus of very early term.
Not long after that, I ditched my faith, in favor of Feminism & then Communism, which I had been learning a LOT about during my 4 years in college. The motivation for me to become pro-choice was my anger and contempt at even the THOUGHT that 9 (white) men on a high court could have the authority over such personal & life-determining decisions faced by women. My life had not led me to see and believe that men would take very seriously the expressed, deeply considered thoughts and feelings and concerns of women. I believed that men in general were very dismissive of women’s concerns and thoughts. And because I so highly valued some women’s perspectives, I thought it very immoral to DISMISS, to obliterate, women’s role in any important decision-making process, much less a decision about the care of babies, which I saw in society was principally women’s domain. And because I didn’t believe it was wrong to make decisions of conscience, I defended this legal “right” of women to do so. Over time, I believed as scientifically true the assertions of the most adamant segments of the pro-choice movement, like that there is no difference between the woman’s disposable cheek cells and fetal tissue cells, and that the distinct emergence of a fetus into separate social life at birth is the only time we as a society can ascribe social, legal rights to this being.
These and other supposed “justifications” for abortion are actually MARKETING THEMES for the abortion industry, which don’t align with any scientific view of the development of human life, like the UNIQUENESS of a growing, unborn baby insofar as the baby’s UNIQUE DNA relative to the mother, is irrefutable established at conception. Because at the time I thought the trimester concept of fetal development (as it could relate to permission to abort based on timing) was utterly arbitrary, and the question of any potential viability of a fetus would clearly involve nebulous speculation and subjective projection and guesswork by medical professionals, I even upheld the right to abortion right up until birth. The “Women Are Not Incubators” argument: Because I believed that women’s “full participation” in ALL realms of life must trump their secondary and voluntary choice to reproduce, I was PRO ABORTION. I believed the State had a vested interest in controlling women, and that it used the convenient factor common to all women, their reproductive ability, as a club to keep them from rising up to change society, I was PRO-ABORTION. I denied any duty to nurture any dependent life within her, because I saw the WOMAN’S LIFE as principal. And I saw women in their independence and rebelliousness as a vital force for revolutionary change in society.
So, basically from the time I adopted Communist views til the time I released such views in favor of a Culture of Life (including the basic health of my own life)… I promoted the unrepentantly pro-abortion position of “abortion on demand and without apology” position, for all women. The crude sense of entitlement embodied in this position is surpassed only by its callousness to the young of our species.
As a Resident Assistant/Advisor of my dormitory in my second or third year of college, I once counseled a young, pregnant, thoughtful, caring student who approached me to request an appointment for “support” in making a decision whether to abort her child. I told her “I can listen to you, and show you the kind, loving ear you’re seeking, but in full disclosure I am quite against abortion, so I’m most certainly not impartial. Do you still want to talk with me about your dilemma?” She said yes, and within a couple of days we sat and met at length to discuss the situation of her life and pregnancy. I won’t reveal much here because our discussion was in confidence. But she’d done a lot of drugs, and she felt that no baby deserves to have the foundation of their new life be formed by harmful drugs used by the mother. I listened to all her life circumstances, and she’d been particularly thorough in considering the concerns of EVERYONE involved. She seemed to be making her decision from a place of love. But there was a defeatist, #CultureOfDeath, element, too. She insisted she was addicted to drugs and did not want to quit, and would refuse to quit. The father of the baby in question was quite abusive, and she feared what her future life would look like if she were to be tied to him and accessible to him forever BY LAW by a baby born to them. The long and short of it is that what I would do and say to such a woman now is somewhat different than what I would do and say to this young woman in college back then. BUT, what was clear to me at the time… was that NONE of the Supreme Court Justices would be in a position to, or willing to, listen to the complex, historical and present circumstances of this woman’s life and that of her family members, in order to take this under consideration, in a relevant way and a way timely enough for any individual woman’s pregnancy. I felt empathy for the woman and her circumstances. I saw that the Supreme Court decision-makers had ZERO empathy for her, because they didn’t know her, and couldn’t know all the women in the country who each had their own reasons… reasons that I couldn’t know either, despite my desire to be supportive and empathetic. So I resolved in my mind at the time that NO GOVERNMENT BODY could ever be in a position to fairly decide about the circumstances of any woman’s pregnancy, and that only the individual woman would be in the best position to see the various and interwoven dynamics of her particular life, and to some degree that of her family.
The problem with this… in addition to the very real fact of an engendered baby’s fundamental and inalienable right to life… is the disintegration of life, giving in to the decadent factor, and choosing the demise of life, instead of building up life, opening to solutions, retaining hope, and steering the scientific support of people into bolstering life, instead of giving up on and terminating life itself.
Had we been in a culture that ALWAYS upholds the life of the unborn baby, we would be able to address the other problems the woman was facing — trying to break up with an abusive boyfriend, feeling depressed, angry, & rebellious, and abusing drugs — both individually and in the larger societal context. If we “kill” all our problems, we won’t learn and experience resolving not only our apparent problems, but whatever dynamics underlie our apparent problems. … ie. a shortcut to stagnation and arrested development.
One problem that should be addressed as a society is the very frequent sexual engagement of minors and unmarried people, even adults. The point isn’t to “CONTROL” the adults, but to EMPOWER them, to help people get in touch with what they REALLY want: Which NEEDS, particularly emotional needs, are we trying to fulfill with sex? I mean, there is no physical NEED for sexual engagement. Let’s not be confused about this: Sex is a desire, a want. Once we figure out which NEEDS a person is trying to address by substituting sex, we as a society, and the person him or herself, can address meeting those unmet needs. So we will ACTUALLY MEET UNMET NEEDS! Amazing! And we’ll have a bonus: LESS ADDICTION in society. People getting in touch with their deepest desires, their Purpose. Feeling enthused about who they are and what they do in LIFE. Feeling valued internally, instead of relying on the very superficial SEX-APPEAL which is SUCH a poor substitute for self-esteem and happiness with peers, family, and community. Increased productivity and an improved economy as people pursue their callings unencumbered by all the divisive drama surrounding inappropriate sex.
If we give in to people REPLACING THAT healthy dreaming and development towards their dreams… with DECADENT activity… we are already giving in to DEATH. We are letting mental illness (defined only in this context as opting to pursue death instead of pursue & enjoy life) to lead society. The blind leading the blind, so to speak. Our elders, collectively, have SO much wisdom to share, and instead, we as a society are more and more following the lead of the inexperienced, immature and maladjusted, while rejecting the wisdom and expertise of the elders. Is it any wonder that in our culture, not only do youth suffer, but elders suffer disproportionately from isolation and depression, as we toss aside their indispensable wisdom, thus discarding the valuable Purpose of their Life? Oh yeah, we have a “solution” for that, too — assisted suicide. GREAT!
#CultureOfLife vs #CultureOfDeath
“THOSE WHO LOVE LIFE MUST TENACIOUSLY AND GENEROUSLY LEAD THOSE WHO’VE LOST THEIR WAY. NOT VICE VERSA.” — by Tracy Hernandez (all rights reserved)
Briefly, I’d like to touch on 3 arguments frequently & aggressively addressed to Christians by pro-choice/pro-abortion people:
1.) “You only care about babies until they’re born!” From a cursory or even a thorough look at adoption in our society, as well as from a look at various existent charities which help women with dependent children, it is abundantly clear that Christians are consistently and generously involved in the support of [born] children. Will we as a society have to further support and further develop these channels of support as we minimize and aim to eliminate abortion? Definitely! Are Christians of the collective heart and mind to do that? Not universally, but by and large, YES. But whether one is Christian or not, one should support lifestyles and laws which take into full consideration the basic needs to provide for the young of our species as a whole. In FACT, this framework is found at the heart of ALL Catholic doctrine on relationships & sexuality (like our views on abortion, pre-marital sex, marriage, homosexuality, etc)! We are champions of care for children. We, as the Body of Christ, believe in picking up the pieces of the wreckage caused by sin and selfishness (our own and that of others). We believe in forgiveness & redemption. We believe in active, practical LOVE.
2. “If you oppose abortion, you absolutely MUST support birth control!” As most forms of birth control impede the natural unitive and procreative aspects of sexual intercourse, these are not supported by the Catholic Church. Natural Family Planning is not opposed by the Catholic Church for married couples who welcome new life but seek to avoid having children in such numbers and timing that they believe could impede their ability to provide what is best for their children. The elephant in the room is the engagement in sexual activity by people who are in no position to freely & fully unite, let alone procreate in a united context in which they could properly care for the children potentially resulting from the Natural act of intercourse. So those who seek Catholic guidance will find that we only support sexual intimacy among people who are in a committed, married relationship. Children deserve a united mother and father. And we must address FIRST and FOREMOST these indispensable needs of all CHILDREN, including potential FUTURE CHILDREN. There is no inherent “RIGHT” to sexual engagement outside of the context of the proper provision for prospective offspring. This may currently exist as a LEGAL right. But it is not a REAL right, insofar as it opposes the most basic rights of the young of our species. There are MANY problems with birth control even aside from these Catholic Christian moral perspectives. Natural law indicates that some number of occasions of birth control utilization will “fail” (imagine viewing a new member of our species as a “failure” — again, the twisted anti-life perspective is readily apparent here), and in these instances, for those who do not desire to have a child, many will “logically” (by THEIR anti-life “logic”) insist on their “right” to extinguish the new life, in pursuit of a certain, preferred QUALITY of life. RIGHTS must exist to protect BASIC life, first and foremost and necessarily on that foundation. Without that fundamental right, no other rights (like the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness) make any sense.
3. “Miscarriages terminate the life of a fetus, too. And a high percentage of embryos naturally never come to full term. There is no difference between the loss of life in abortion & the commonplace shedding of life in spontaneous miscarriage.” There is a huge difference between natural death and intentional killing. This is readily apparent in the legal distinctions between murder, manslaughter, and deaths due to “natural causes.” This argument is ridiculous, but I wanted to include it here, because it is asserted so often, and I’d like to “sacarlo en cara… francamente.” If you are still supporting abortion by citing this supposed justification, your principles are completely bereft of value for the living, and you could justify killing people because they could drop over and die tomorrow anyway if you don’t kill them.
Perhaps FOR A FUTURE BLOG, I’ll expand on the experiences of my other abortions, including those experienced within my former marriage. For now, suffice it to say… that in addition to ending lives that I had no REAL right to end (although I had 100% LEGAL right to do so), I “disappeared”, or obliterated, the deeply felt dreams and desires of my husband… in the service of dreams I thought mattered more. He had a different vision for our life. I believed it was MY right and my responsibility to decide, and to choose abortion. I was wrong. Life has SO much to teach us. Trust LIFE to do that. When we trust our own thoughts and project our own unilateral desires in such a way that brings us into a fundamental contradiction with the basic continuation of innocent, human life, it’s time to QUESTION EVERYTHING WE THINK & EVERYTHING WE DESIRE.
RELATED REFERENCE MATERIAL:
To explore the NEW, pro-women perspectives about abortion, given the relatively recent, developing, scientific consensus about the life of a human being beginning at conception… I recommend googling Abby Johnson. She is organizing a Pro-Woman, Pro-Life conference for June, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.
What message could possibly diminish women’s confidence more… than asserting their incapacity to bear a child, or to responsibly choose whether to RAISE that child or give the child to a couple who CAN.
For emotional and spiritual healing after abortions you’ve experienced or participated in, you might want to google Rachel’s Vineyard.
To connect with Tracy Hernandez on Twitter, please follow me at @Organics4Free. I build a Longevity Community that celebrates and shares a #CultureOfLife, including the 5 elements of longevity. For unborn babies, this means they need US to defend the natural development of their lives prior to birth.
To see the type of perspectives about women I USED to promote, and now patently reject as flawed and in contradiction with Nature and with the basic Purpose of human life: http://revcom.us/a/158/Declaration-en.html
To receive consistent, easy-access, spiritual, personal, and ideological support for your #CultureOfLife, from conception to natural death, listen to the fascinating radio shows and podcasts at ihradio.com. You can also connect on Twitter at @IHRadio .