Ohhhhh this topic. It’s so fraught, so controversial, so buzz-wordy and ‘evil’ and a matter of choice and rights, and entangled in dogma but not in faith…. And I’m tackling it to the ground today.
Feminism is too-often equated with ‘support for abortion’. If I can do something to change that idea, it is my responsibility to try. Feminism is support for women.
As a feminist, I do not support abortion, yet I do support women who have them. See the difference?
By supporting women, loving them as human and worthy, by understanding that difficult choices are often made with the very best of intentions, I am a feminist.
I’m not talking about laws. Abortion IS an option: regardless of what you think ‘legalizing’ does for abortion, a clinic is safe, and therefore a necessary alternative. There are home remedies that have existed since the beginning of time, are cheaper, and cannot be removed by ‘de-legalizing’ them. And some women in dire situations will use those remedies, as they have from the beginning of time. I do not wish harm upon anyone, even people who make choices that I do not agree with.
Do I want my fellow women to go through the pain of abortion? Of course not. Emotional pain, physical pain and discomfort, social stigma and the fear of social stigma are all wrapped up into the package of the choice that is abortion. The very same fears of ostracization (rejection by one’s community and culture), physical pain, and emotional turmoil go hand in hand with childbirth, for many.
Abortion is a tough decision. It’s an expensive decision. Yet, it’s far less expensive than raising a child. Abortion, like child-bearing, is a decision that will last forever. Once you give birth, you can’t un-give-birth. Once you abort, you can’t un-abort.
When parenting, a parent makes choices. Men and Women both make choices which influence a child’s life, such as which school the child will attend, what neighborhood the child grows up in, what foods the child eats, what friends the child is encouraged to hang out with, whether a child is exposed to alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes at home, and more. Who has control over those choices? Parents. Not you, not the government, not your system of belief. People make vastly differing choices for their children. What illusion of control do you think you have over other people’s choices?
And for those who use Christian religion as an excuse to frighten and traumatize people with nasty photos; to yell at, insult and exclude unwed mothers and women who’ve had an abortion; or any other manner of cruelty, please understand you are going *against* the teachings of Jesus. Jesus accepted and loved women, and those who were perceived to be ‘sinners’. Fear is not love, and does not disguise well.
Not every human being has adequate resources, or the love for themself, trust in themself, and faith that the world will be kind to them and to their child that it takes to lovingly bring a human being into the world, much less raise one. Once the wage gap disappears, discrimination is denounced at every turn until it vanishes, and women are treated as viable respectable participants in society, the previous sentence can hope to be corrected.
Decisions of this sort are intensely personal. Instead of assuming that you (the outsider) know best and are the authority over other people’s decisions (you’re not. you never are. you make your own decisions), why not become someone who promotes and protects women? How about if you put work and time and care into helping women feel safe? Why not ask what women need in order to feel safe?
What do you need?
Do you feel safe?
How can I help?
Tell me about your life?
You’ll find out, if you listen.
Donate to a women’s shelter or abuse prevention center yearly, weekly, monthly. Volunteer your time and talents. Spend less time lecturing and more time listening.
If you had a fear greater than you felt you could manage, would someone yelling at you, insulting you, and harassing you reduce your fear? If you are addressed with kindness and understanding of where you’re coming from, do you think that would make it safer and more peaceful to make a choice that is healthy for you? Learn to let go; potential parents can make good choices.
I’m feeling good about helping women feel safe, unconditionally.