The Abortion Issue - Child and Sacrifice
If the word abortion instantly stirs your stomach up you are not alone. And although I am going to approach the subject with as level a head as I can, and as soft a heart as possible, this can be a difficult thing for anyone to discuss, especially those who may have had one.
"Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, more than the living who are still alive. Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun."
Although the subject may be unsettling, I am not going out of my way to upset anyone, I am only going to share some stories and some thoughts. And if you have been directly involved in the process of abortion, no matter the circumstances, whether you look back on the event with regret, anger, sorrow, or gladness, no matter the response, there is no personal judgement here. I understand that sometimes when one chooses abortion, one is making a difficult choice and sacrificing their own wants and feelings because they just feel they cannot bring a child into this world. No matter the case, I do encourage counselling, but especially forgiveness. And often we have the hardest time forgiving ourselves.
I am one opinion amongst many. But I have encountered the issues at hand, the debate of abortion has been a tangible dilemma in my life and in those I know. I have an informed and experienced perspective. So allow me to share some of my thoughts:
Exactly 10 years ago I was living with my girlfriend. I remember that winter because it was a particularly snowy one. I was working for a small company that sold specialty products to hospitals and prisons. I helped with sales, accounting, shipping and receiving, and even a service call - fixing a lock in the basement of the court in downtown Vancouver. It wasn't my dream job, but it was a job. We were both only 18 and she was in her third trimester of pregnancy. They weren't exactly the easiest of times, but when is life easy?
When we had first found out about the pregnancy, there was a discussion on whether to keep it or not. We went to the doctor together to confirm the pregnancy. She went in alone and walked out with an abortion brochure. It had been on both of our minds over the week we had known she was pregnant, but there in the parking lot as we both looked at the brochure, she said she wanted to have the baby. Two kids talking about whether to bring a life into this world or not, a huge responsibility weighed in one decision. The immeasurable sacrifice found on both ends. In my head: My life for another. I agreed with her decision - now to tell the world.
We were met with real hostility. Katrina received many distasteful messages through text and facebook. Luckily I had no cell phone, but certainly encountered some brash cohorts who found it funny to scoff at my idiotic decision whilst saying things like: "My girl was pregnant but we killed it." This specific encounter in the changing room of the local gym left me with a feeling of disgust deep in my gut, even to this day.
We also received judgemental looks everywhere we went, especially from older people. I find it hypocritical for anyone who feels abortion is wrong to then encounter young pregnancies and look down upon them. There's no doubt in my mind many young couples choose abortion simply because they know they wont be welcomed in their family or community. And actions speak louder than words. If you are one who vehemently shouts down abortion, I urge you to close your mouth and help the vast amount of struggling young mothers. This is where you can make a real difference.
The legal argument certainly isn't cut and dry. If you champion women's rights, and say when it comes to abortion its as simple as that, sorry, but nothing is that simple. I have witnessed men in intimate circles attempt to persuade another man into convincing his pregnant girlfriend into getting an abortion. In this scenario he wanted to keep the child. The judgemental condemnation was aggressive and hostile... I jumped in and defended him, being a young man myself at the time with a child. I have also seen a woman break down and cry when discussing her own abortion. It seemed to me that the father pressured her into ending the potential life. No matter what you think or say, it seems to me that men are a major factor in the decision of abortion, whether you like it or not. And men today(in general) have approached the subject of life in a cowardly way - many a woman wanting to have a child but a useless father the only hope for a caring and conscious mother.
On the other hand, I am sure many men eager to have a child to call their own are heartbroken when they have to witness that dream shatter. It's clear the father is a necessary contributing factor to the discussion. This also implicates our approach toward our understanding of sex today.... but that's perhaps a discussion for another day.
These are complicated issues surrounding the controversial subject. And our culture is terrible at talking about these kinds of things.
“For the secret of being is not only to live but to have something to live for.” And I think the present cultural push is that life is about you. "Do what makes you happy." - Playing into humanity's tendency toward the self. I myself have found the secret to being is in living for others. When you are willing to sacrifice your time, money and effort, you'll realize joy is found by spreading it, not hoarding it.
Let love be your guiding principle.
As someone who has a genuine love for life and for people, its hard for me to watch our society have so little interest in these big debates. The rate of abortion is as disconcerting to me as the rate of suicide. Our growing cultural contempt at life itself is sad to see. And our selfish tendencies are maximized in a society with a moral relativism ethos - especially without us articulating them.
Life is full of pain, death, poverty, heartache, evil and suffering. All are very real reasons to contemplate our in the world. But I believe the greatest beauty is found in tragedy - true life comes to those who encounter all the difficulties of this world and stand honorably through them. We inherently admire those who overcome adversity. Self sacrifice is necessary for life and always has been.
And meaning is found in the struggle itself.
From the beautiful tragedy, Shakespears Hamlet:
To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep No more; and by a sleep, to say we end The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep, To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there's the rub, For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause. There's the respect That makes Calamity of so long life: For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time, The Oppressor's wrong, the proud man's Contumely, The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay, The insolence of Office, and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his Quietus make With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have, Than fly to others that we know not of. Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, And thus the native hue of Resolution Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment, With this regard their Currents turn awry, And lose the name of Action. Soft you now, The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons Be all my sins remember'd.