They say my hair is kind of auburn, turns reddish when it’s in the sun. I think I feel my red-headedness come to the surface when certain issues are at hand. Issues, for example, like abortion and women’s rights. When people tell me that to be pro-life, you must be anti-woman, it’s like I’m a scarecrow being fed matches. This just isn’t true and it’s burning me up inside.
Let me make something very clear: I am 100% pro-woman. I am in awe of the women who have gone before me to pave the way for me to be able to vote, get fair pay, own property and wear pants for Pete’s sake! I love my rights. I want all women to have the rights I exercise. I am for equality, for liberation. I don’t want any men bossing me around either.
However, abortion is simply not an issue of my rights or your rights. Saying that abortion is a woman’s right is like saying mercy killings are the right of a Muslim father or polygamy the right of a Mormon husband. Women aren’t fighting for those rights because, though some men have these rights legally, we don’t feel that they have a right to those rights.
And I strongly believe that women in Texas do not have the right to abortions. I know this makes me sound like I’m contradicting myself, but hear me out. I don’t think any person, man or woman, has the right to take an innocent life. I don’t necessarily believe life begins at conception, but I don’t think there is any denying that life begins in the womb. The bill that Texans recently passed deals primarily with late-term abortions. I honestly cannot imagine, from a scientific or faith-based (or any other) standpoint, how anyone could watch a late-term abortion and not believe that the the legs and arms and face they are watching being dismembered and dissected is anything other than a person. And if it’s a person, shouldn’t we protect him or her from harm?
(As a side: I would like to personally challenge anyone who is on the fence about late-term abortions in particular to go to Youtube or Google images and search “24-week preemie”. The babies you will see smiling, fighting to live, growing, eating, learning are the same age as or younger than babies being who are victims of late-term abortion.)
What I am trying to get at is the fact that babies, unborn or born, have the right to life. A right that cannot be overruled by a woman’s right to “choose.” Killing is not a right. Killing is a not a right. Say it with me.
I know that there are such things as rape, incest, no money and no father and no way we can do this alone. I am not so naive as to think that ending abortion will fix the world. I don’t think every woman who gets an abortion is a selfish, stupid baby-hater. I know that it is often done under much pressure, out of desperation. But that doesn’t change the fact that a person’s life is being ended. That doesn’t make it a “right”.
If you really want to fight for women’s rights, my rights, fight for a change in society. Through education (about contraception, adoption, financial aid and most importantly, the hope in Christ) we can end the need for abortion in America. I believe that if more men take responsibility for the children they father, we can end abortion in America. I believe that if those of us who have our feet on the ground will open our homes to adoption, we can end abortion in America.
Today I got word that the abortion clinic in my area is shutting down next month. This is big for me, huge for my community. I have spent hours outside of that clinic praying and reaching out the customers and volunteers there. I have prayed to see those gates shut forever because I believe it kills children and hurts men and women. After a long, long battle, we’re finally finding victory. But with all my celebration, the victory was really outweighed by the responsibility I felt at the sound of the news.
The closing of this clinic (and two others in Texas) and the inevitable closing of many more abortion clinics in October, is my cue. My community’s cue. The church’s cue.
This is our cue, not to say “I told you so! I told you abortion is unethical!” But to throw our arms open to the children who would otherwise be aborted. To throw our arms open to the women who think pregnancy is going to ruin their lives for good. To throw our arms open to the dads who have no faith in their abilities to parent and support. To throw our arms open to the clinic workers out of a job. And we must not backslide into a lazy victory, but keep our arms open until all the babies are in families, all the moms and dads know that they are cared for and all the love has been given away. Then I will believe you if you tell me you are pro-woman. Then I will believe you if you say people have rights.
I am ashamed of many things my state’s government has said or done. I am ashamed of many things fellow Christians have said or done. I am ashamed of some of the things the South is known for or the Pro-Life Movement is known for. I am ashamed of my own words and actions. But you can’t get the truth mixed up in southern accents, ignorance and somebody else’s doctrine. What I do in the name of the “pro-life movement” is to inform women of their rights. The right to ask for help, the right to be scared, the right to need time, the right to be a mom against all odds, the right to know what is actually growing inside them. Nothing I do takes away rights. I do not hate women, I love my fellow woman. And my heart breaks when I see her hobbling out of Planned Parenthood just being robbed of her health, wealth and child.
I don’t hate the people at Planned Parenthood. I love them as well. People are people, no matter how small or how hurtful. But I can absolutely not swallow the idea that Planned Parenthood is helping and protecting women. They help as a side-effect at times (they offer things other than abortions) but they do it for a bigger price tag than alternative healthcare providers and they do it laced with deception. Closing their clinics does not end women’s healthcare. They have all the medical access a man has.
After much thought, discussion and tears, I think this bill is the best thing we have access to today. I am hesitantly excited about the clinic closing in my area. But I think it’s just the beginning of the solution. Women need access to all of their rights. We need to be ready to provide. Babies will need help finding their way into this world. We must be ready to assist. Foster parents and mentors will need to be working overtime. We might be done standing on sidewalks, but our work is just beginning. Abortion is about babies, but it’s also about men and women, which is why by saying I’m pro-life, I’m really saying I’m pro-person.