On a Halifax sidewalk a spray-painted stencil reads “40 Days of Bullshit” and “It’s your body, it’s your choice”, in response to the 40 Days for Life vigil being held in town. When I walked over this stencil, I had to cringe, because there’s no argument there. It’s just an insult, a crowd chant, but there’s no reasoning behind it. Women who find themselves pregnant and considering abortion feel they have to choose between a life of poverty, or abortion. They feel they have to choose between losing their partner, or abortion. They feel they have to choose between not finishing school, or abortion. Think I’m wrong? Read these testimonies:
my baby was disabled
- –and my husband could not bear to raise a child with special needs. He was suicidal. I felt I owed it to my two older children to keep their father in their life. I terminated my pregnancy at 17 weeks and I’m grateful that it was legal to do so (even though it was extremely difficult, both emotionally or logistically). I wanted that baby very much and I miss him every day.
- —Guest simone
Matter of who’s life ?
- It was 1972 in January, just after Roe and Wade.It was a time when single mothers were shunned. They wasn’t any form of help for single women. Because of my pregnancy, I became homeless, I’d been staying with a widow who had rooms for single girls, I was kicked out my church (they said I could come back when the situation was taken care of). My family turned their backs on me. My boyfriend was getting a divorce. I was desperate, suicidal! It came down to making the final decison of TAKING MY BABY’S LIFE OR MY OWN! I’ve been able to cope and deal with this decision. Since then I’ve gone through much counseling although on the anniversary date,I break down. The pain will never go away. When looking back, I know that I did the only thing I could back then. Today I”m doing well and I have helped many girls who find themselves where I was. I am so grateful for the women of today. There are so many services, especially counseling available for them . FREEDOM OF CHOICE IS VITAL FOR WOMEN.
- —Guest Vicki
A reader recently quoted that Joyce Arthur herself admitted that “all of our decisions are constrained”. Personally, I think that having to choose between poverty/losing your partner/dropping out of school/homelessness or abortion isn’t a choice (even a “constrained” choice) at all, it’s a threatening ultimatum.
Andrea adds: The testimonies you posted are of the most dire variety. Or are they? I can only think that when abortion was not an option so readily taken, some of these people would not have manipulated their partners or themselves into this positioning of “my life or the baby’s.” It is very, very hard to move forward with a pregnancy in certain cases. But in those testimonies we are presented with “if” scenarios that we simply don’t know would have played out. (Historians are taught not to play the “if” game. As in “if the Allies had bombed the rail lines, there would have been no Holocaust” etc.)
These women tell us after the fact that they would have killed themselves if they had not had an abortion, or their husbands would have killed themselves, but if there is one thing I learned from reading Giving Sorrow Words it’s that men–and women–can come around to their own “unwanted” children. I believe to a certain extent, their guilt over their actions forces them to create an extreme box so that we could begin to understand why it was ok to kill a defenceless (disabled as in the example above) child. One last thing: at the debate, a young woman came to me afterwards, and asked me (kindly) about my positioning on rape. Wasn’t it OK to have an abortion then? I talked to her at some length and I ended up challenging her to watch an abortion, since she hadn’t. We forget how vicious the act of abortion is. I don’t want women to forget that and then delude themselves into thinking abortion was an act of compassion–too much pro-choice rhetoric in our media and the culture at large will do that.by