There are few words that can stir conservatives and liberals alike to the extent of “abortion.” Each side tries desperately to fit their view on abortion into a black and white mentality. The liberals focus on the woman. The conservatives focus on the child. Each claim a blanket answer to every situation. Each touts the moral high ground.
Neither embrace reality.
It is one thing to tell a woman what she can or cannot choose.
It is an entirely different thing to be that woman.
There is nothing glamorous about abortion. There is nothing about it to make someone joyous at the occasion of requiring one. There is nothing supportive about those who would say they support you, whilst they tout you as an example of a woman exercising her right to choose. There is nothing supportive about those who claim to love you whilst protesting your right to choose.
If you have not been in those shoes, you cannot understand.
Society tells us that women should be overjoyed when they see the little coloured line(s) on a pregnancy test. Society implies guilt when a woman reacts with screams, tears, and abject terror. Society raises us to congratulate a woman upon finding out she’s pregnant. Society doesn’t tell you that your congratulations could cause a breakdown.
We are raised to believe that you’re supposed to want a child. You wrap your belly with your hands in a gesture of comfort and safety and promise, even when there is no obvious sign of pregnancy. You feel a connection to a being that is not yet fully formed.
Except… you don’t always. There can be a disconnect. There can be horror. There can be disgust.
Society likes to tell us that if you wait until you’re financially prepared to have a child, you will never have one. They are correct. A more important measure is whether you are mentally or emotionally prepared, or even able.
And if a woman is not? Do we tell her, have it any way, we care not for your mental and emotional state? If you’re physically capable, that’s good enough. You made the choice to get pregnant.
We fail to remember that not everyone does! Some people try to use birth control. It’s not perfect. Or maybe a condom broke.
Don’t judge the woman entering the abortion clinic. Don’t view her as a check on a ballot, against one box or another. Don’t presume you know what she is thinking or how she is feeling. Don’t cast her as a woman proud to exercise her choice or as a champion of life.
She needs it the most, when she’s faced with an unexpected pregnancy. She needs it when her body’s hormones have turned on their head and she knows she’s not functioning as she might otherwise. She needs it when she realises there is the potentiality for life within her, and it is up to her to try and help it survive, or to end it, for her own good. It is up to her to wrestle with her conscience and decide what is an acceptable choice.
It doesn’t have to be the same two year down the road, as it is now. It doesn’t have to be the same as yours, or your neighbour’s, or your friend down the road’s. It just has to be hers.
It has to be mine.
I don’t need your shouting at me when I leave the clinic. You don’t know what my decision was. It shouldn’t affect how you treat me.
Even so, I need your love in the aftermath of my abortion, just as another girl needs your love throughout her pregnancy.
It’s not black and white.
It’s not about you.
It’s not something you can ever understand until you walk in my shoes. Until you see the pregnancy test that you weren’t expecting. I need the choice, but only I can make it, and only when it is set before me. The decision is never easy, even if there is no doubt as to what it will be.
I tried. I tried saying I would never get one, even though I supported the right to choose.
You know nothing until you are faced with it. Hope that you never are faced with it.
Love and cherish those who are.