Someone recommended Wild by Cheryl Strayed to me. It’s the true story of a woman who decides to spend 100 days hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. (I don’t think this post is deserving of a spoiler alert because the following is treated as barely a footnote in her life story.)
Early in the account, she realizes she’s pregnant. She describes her reaction:
That I would get an abortion was a fact so apparent it seemed silly to discuss anything else. […]
I drove without listening to the radio, thinking about my pregnancy. It was the size of a grain of rice and yet I could feel it in the deepest, strongest part of me, taking me down, shaking me up, reverberating out. Somewhere in the southwestern farmlands of Minnesota, I burst into tears, crying so hard I could barely steer, and not only for the pregnancy I didn’t want. I was crying over all of it, over the sick mire I’d make of my life…
For a few paragraphs, she discusses other matters. I hoped that she would reconsider the knee-jerk reaction to her pregnancy and that someone would share with her that there are other options. That someone would tell her that this life inside of her, that is touching her so deeply, does not have be extinguished. That abortion is not the only and obvious response to an unplanned pregnancy.
However, this seemed unlikely because I knew the 100 day solo hike was coming up and it was doubtful that she was going to do it pregnant.
But it was with a mix of disbelief and nausea that I read the sentence where she explains her hike preparations:
I got an abortion and learned how to make dehydrated tuna flakes and turkey jerky and took a refresher course on basic first aid and practiced using my water purifier in my kitchen sink.
I put my e-reader down, found my husband and told him that the terms “abortion” and “turkey jerky” should never, ever be used in the same sentence.
It just shocked me. First she describes this intimate connection she feels with the life within her and then she casually mentions ending the life, while describing dehydrated meat and water purifiers.
Is abortion really the best we have to offer women? In this case, despite feeling a powerful connection to the life deep within her, Strayed believed abortion was her only real option and then treated her abortion shockingly casually. (Or at least describes it that way.)
How can we more clearly (loudly?) communicate to women that there are other, better options for them and their children?by