Dear Pro-Life Christian, I Hear You
We all want to be heard. When we share our hopes, dreams, experiences and opinions, we do so in the hopes that someone hears us. We hope someone truly “gets it.”
Pro-Life Christian, I want you to know, I hear you.
I get it.
I know your heart.
I believe you are a good, loving person.
I hear you when you compare abortion to the Holocaust.
I know how much it hurts you.
To you, abortion is just as brutal to your heart as if you were to see thousands of two and three-year-olds slaughtered in the streets.
I know you may even have direct experience with the pain that comes with abortion.
I know. And I care.
Your hurt is valid.
Your position matters.
How do I know?
For as long as I can remember, I identified as pro-life. Sure, I went through phases where I cared about the issue more than others, but I steadfastly believed abortion was wrong.
I felt the anguish of tearsshed for the unborn. The countless lives lost.
I pondered the questions, “What if my mom had chosen abortion?” and “Have we aborted the person who was supposed to cure cancer?”
I am sure you have your own personal reasons as well, but I want you to know know that I once shared common reasons for being pro-life and wanting abortion made illegal.
“A person is a person, no matter how small.” –Dr. Seuss
I shared your arguments such as life begins at conception therefore once a child is conceived, he/she deserved all the same rights as you or I.
I told people that abortion stops a beating heart. I said aloud that abortion was akin to murder.
Truly and sincerely, I believed what I said.
I wanted to end abortion. I wanted to give the unborn life. They deserved the same rights, liberties and pursuits of happiness as you and I enjoy.
I know what it is like to sit on your side of the fence.
Now, I ask you.
Will you come sit with me?
I do not wish to change your mind about abortion. I would never ask you to reconsider your position on this subject. Your feelings stem from compassion, goodness and the desire for true equality for every being on Earth. I admire you. I do not wish to tell you that you’re wrong.
I just want to ask…
Are you prepared to pay the price?
As I’m sure you know, giving the unborn full and equal rights comes at a cost. Making abortion illegal is not without sacrifice.
Perhaps you have considered the potential negative outcomes for women who attempt self-induced or underground abortions. Maybe you decided that though incredibly sad, the deaths or serious side effects these women endure is a price worth paying to save the unborn.
But have you considered the price women who wish to keep their children will have to pay?
All I am asking of you, my pro-life friend, is to take this information under consideration.
As a full and equal human being, you have the right to take whatever medication you and your doctor see fit. You can take medicine from your medicine cabinet without consulting a doctor. If you wish to purchase Sudafed, all you have to do is prove you aren’t trying to make meth.
Is this right so common that you take it for granted? Can you imagine if all of a sudden, Asprin were as illegal for you as Heroin? You might not think much of a headache medicine, but what if you needed Asprin due to a heart condition?
This spring, I got sick. The kind of sick that could’ve landed me in serious trouble. The kind of sick that sneaks up on you slowly, so it’s easy to ignore. After 4–6 weeks of general not feeling well and increased exhaustion, I made a doctor’s appointment. Turns out, I was suffering from severe allergies. I’ve never had allergies before, but they were so bad I had to have a breathing treatment in the office; she told me I was hardly moving any air through my lungs. She said I was lucky I hadn’t passed out already. I left her office with a myriad of prescriptions and a vow to pay better attention to my health. The medicines she gave me were selected based on a number of factors: my symptoms, age, weight, pregnancy status, medical history and the latest research on what is best for what illness I have. Pretty standard, right?
After picking up the medicine, I looked it over. I opted to take some meds as directed and some less than directed (which is fine in most cases except antibiotics). The point is, the decision on what medicines I took were up to me and my doctor. That’s it. Pretty standard procedure, right?
Even when I was pregnant, this was the pretty much the case. The medications would change according to risks to my baby, but at the end of the day, the decision on what to take and when to take it were left up to me and my doctor, neither of which who wanted anything bad to happen to the life growing inside me.
But when you’re pregnant, everything has risks. Asprin, Advil, Caffine, Deli Meat (yes, deli meat), Sushi, Sprouts, Phalates and a plethora of other medications, foods and chemicals all have the potential to harm an unborn child.
In general, pregnant women are cautioned to avoid these harmful chemicals because we know they can cause harm. But sometimes, we have to weigh the risks.
Sometimes, our mental health depends on it.
Sometimes, our quality of life depends on it.
Sometimes, our actual lives depend on it.
Right now, pregnant women, along with their medical providers are the ones to decide how great the risks are to the unborn child. Along with the guidance of our medical care providers, we have the right to decide when our health, well-being and lives are in such jeopardy that we should risk the health, well-being and life of our unborn. That is what we get under the current law. The one that includes the right for a woman and her doctor to decide when or if to terminate the pregnancy. I know you want to change that, but if you change the way we view the unborn according to the law, it will be a sweeping change that does not begin and end with abortion.
Right now, you can live your life and make any kind of legal decision, no matter how risky I think it is. If you want to skydive, I can think you’re taking too big of a risk, but I can’t stop you. If you want to go cage diving with sharks, you can. If you want to take Dayquil, Excedrin and Tylenol PM on a regular basis, even though it could cause you liver damage, you are free to take it without fear of legal consequence because you own your body.
Our civilized society trusts you to be the best caretaker of your own body.
This doesn’t mean we don’t have rules, restrictions and laws. It means, in general, you make your own health and wellness decisions.
We are talking about your personhood.
As a person, you have fundamental human rights.
I need to take a moment to address something: Sadly, our country has a history of not granting equal rights to all persons, and I tip my hat to those who fought for the personhood rights of African-Americans (both pre and post Emancipation Proclamation), Women, Minorities and the LGBQT community. And I know you, as a pro-life, pro-equality human, you are a champion of the rights of all those people as well.
Within your rights, you are allowed the freedom to possess and control your own person.
How important is that right?
“No right is held more sacred or is more carefully guarded by the common law than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.” -Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford
In order to give that same right to the unborn, you will have to effectively remove that right from women when they are pregnant.
Because you have zero rights over my personhood. You do not get to decide what risks I take. I do. And as long as you and I have equal rights, we both have a say in what risks we take and how we treat our own medical conditions.
You might think that because you have say so over your child’s medical procedures, pregnant women will have the same authority over the unborn. But we aren’t considering the major difference. Just like mine or yours, a child’s medical treatment is contingent on their own medical needs.
No one is asking you to risk your child’s health and well-being in order for you to have surgery.
If you can indulge me, take the Asprin analogy a step further… imagine Asprin became illegal for you because it might hurt me? If your medical treatment had the potential to cause me harm, who do you trust to decide when the risks to you of not treating your ailment outweigh the risks your treatment poses to me?
Let me say that another way: If you treating your illness could potentially cause me direct harm, who do you want to decide whether you am legally allowed to seek treatment?
I cannot legally demand you donate an organ, and doctors cannot legally or ethically even suggest someone donate an organ. Yet many pro-life people are 100% okay with a woman giving up her uterus permanently in some cases, in order to save her unborn child. The thing is, most women would. You would like to legally make all women give up their organs, sometimes permanently, for another person.
It is not selfish to want to own your body and your organs at all times. And if you wish to judge a mother for daring to assume her organs are more important than another’s life, well, I must ask, how many kidneys have you donated? I’m sure you would to a loved one, but there are sick children on the national kidney transplant list and I’m guessing you aren’t registered as a living donor. Why? You could save the life of a child.
If all children are created equal in God’s eyes, then I am under no more moral obligation to give up my uterus to house and grow the unborn than you are to give every organ you can possibly live without to children who need it to live.
You’re probably rolling your eyes thinking, “But, MJ, that’s not the same.” I KNOW IT’S NOT THE SAME. It is an illustration to help you realize just how important your own body is to you. When I am pregnant, my body is still important to me, and I still want to own it. When I am pregnant, I still want to be a person.
Even in your death, you are granted personhood of your organs and they cannot be harvested without your prior consent. Owning our bodies is important to all of us. Pregnant women included.
I don’t want women to have the right to “kill babies.” I want women to always, always, always own their bodies.
If the unborn have equal rights under the law, women will not retain ownership over their bodies while pregnant. Legislators would own their bodies. Legislators would decide what medicines she can and cannot take, what foods she can and cannot eat, what activities she can and cannot partake in, what jobs she can and cannot hold, what kind of birth she can and cannot have. The government will possess and control the pregnant woman’s body in the name of protecting the unborn who has full and equal rights under the law.
Everything has a price. The price we pay for women owning their bodies at all times is that some women will decide to have abortions. The price of giving the unborn the same rights as you or I will strip women of that ownership and cost women in ways we do not fully understand, and won’t until it’s too late. If we outlaw abortion by granting the unborn full and equal rights, we will remove those same rights from the pregnant woman, including her right to life.
If you consider my warnings and the cautionary tales I’ve linked below as legitimate possibilities and decide this is a price worth paying, then by all means, continue with your quest. I support your right to fight for what you believe in. I just want to make sure you know full well what you are asking.
Before I considered these ramifications, I was right there with you. It was my experience as a pregnant woman and my taking into account what full and equal personhood for the unborn would cost pregnant women- wives, mothers, daughters… people already deemed full and equal humans, that pushed me to this side of the fence.
All I ask is that you take some time over here, getting to know our real reasons for being pro-choice.
My “Pro-Choice” Stance has Nothing to do with Abortion
This January, thousands of women attended the March for Life rally in Washington. I admire my sisters who are out there…
Examples of pregnant women being denied their personhood:
Pemberton v. TALLAHASSEE MEMORIAL REGIONAL MEDICAL, 66 F. Supp. 2d 1247 (N.D. Fla. 1999)
US District Court for the Northern District of Florida - 66 F. Supp. 2d 1247 (N.D. Fla. 1999) October 13, 1999 Laura L…
Iowa Woman Jailed for Thinking about an Abortion
Sounds far-fetched, right? Well it isn't. The anti-choice zealots aren't content to limiting a woman's access to safe…
How women are treated in a country with a total abortion ban:
Total Abortion Ban Could Kill Cancer Victim
Fearing prosecution under strict anti-abortion laws, doctors in Nicaragua have refused to provide chemotherapy to a…
Is this what anyone would consider pro-life?
US Catholic hospital's ties to church cut over abortion that saved mother
The head of the Catholic church in Phoenix has stripped Arizona's largest hospital of its Catholic affiliation after he…
Practical ways to reduce abortion that don’t remove personhood from women: