Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Which Side Are You On?
I can’t believe my ears. I am having a conversation with a Pro-Lifer, and he has just explained, very calmly, that I have no right to exist.
"What?" I say, unbelieving. I must have misheard him.
"Of course abortion is wrong. Of course! But..." And here he shrugs, "When a woman is raped? Or if there is incest? Surely, we have to have compassion for her situation."
"Compassion? How is abortion ever compassionate?" I am flabbergasted and am having a bit of trouble stating my point. I get that way. It’s why I don’t evangelize as much as I should.
"Oh, I’m sure it would be a difficult choice. It may even be hard to live with after. But a woman can’t be expected to bear the child of her rapist." He looks so sure of himself. He doesn’t even seem to notice that he has taken up the language of the other side to explain his point.
"Huh?" I manage. Like I said, I’m really not good at this stuff.
"I’m just saying that it would be devastating to spend nine months harboring the child of the man who raped you. Can you imagine that?" the man shakes his head sadly.
"So," I begin slowly, to give my brain a chance to kick out of emotional gear and back into logic, "you feel a woman should abort depending on her feelings for the father of her child?"
He shakes his head again, irritated I’ve jumped to a conclusion he doesn’t like. "No, what I mean is that a woman who has had violence committed against her, a crime against her, she shouldn’t have to bear the product of that crime."
Again, that funny echo of language from the Pro-Aborts. "You’ve renamed a baby," I point out. "You just called it a ‘product of a crime.’"
"That’s not what I meant! You know what I mean!" He’s beginning to dislike this conversation as much as I do.
"Did you know I was adopted?" I ask him. He blinks at me, struck dumb at my seeming non sequitur. "I’ve met my birth mother, too."
I smile. He shakes his head a little as if trying to jiggle together the sense of my sudden tangent. I decide to add another tangent. "You’ve met my kids right?" His eyes are getting that slightly worried look, but he nods. "Nice kids, I think. And I’ve adopted, too. Yeah," I sigh. "I wonder if my daughter would have spent her life in foster care. Not too many people were lining up to adopt her, you know. Just us."
I stop talking. He says, "Um," and raises a finger. There’s a look in my eyes he doesn’t much like. It’s a hurt and disappointed look. I know, because I’m the one letting it show. I always feel it when I hear this argument from the Life side.
"My mother was raped."
I let that sink in for a moment, then I walk away. I don’t have the civility or good sense to continue. If I did I’d explain that my birth mother wasn’t particularly noble or courageous. She just knew I was a baby. I was her baby and even though her husband tried to force her to abort, she didn’t. She was an OB-GYN nurse and knew there was no such thing as a safe abortion. So, like I said, it wasn’t so noble. Mostly self-preservation and part whim.
She is a very whimsical woman in a lot of ways. She has the modern disease of the worship of the self, like we all do to some degree, and she has remade herself many times over. I’m actually very lucky.
At her whim I could have been torn limb from limb until I bled to death, never heard, never known. At her whim my children would never have been. At her whim, my adopted daughter would most likely have become a permanent ward of the state and been raised in foster care until she aged out at 18. I was a school teacher, known in my school for "saving" the kids who were severe discipline problems. What would have become of all those kids? Think It’s a Wonderful Life. At her whim, how many would have wound up expelled, jailed, lost because they never "bought into school"? Of course I never think of these things quickly enough to really, really drive home my point.
I’m here. I was here the moment I was conceived. My mother would not have been better off by having the violence of abortion performed on her already violated body. She was able to go to sleep at night, after the fear and anger simmered down, because she had not lashed out against me because of the harm done to her.
Life is a gift, even when the start of it is a horror. My mother was able to heal more completely from her rape knowing she had chosen the better part. She was not a twice over victim.
And in case you are wondering, I don’t have some deep psychological scar because my father was a rapist. He was a sperm donor. The man who raised me was my father. And unlike most every movie I’ve seen depicting adoption, I’m not some crazed time bomb waiting to reveal my true nature as damaged goods. Well, at least not any more than the rest of you. I mean, really, nobody’s perfect.
Writer's Note: If you are Post-Abortive or Post-Rape and still in anguish, please seek prayer and care. Contact http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/ for healing after abortion. Contact http://centers.rainn.org/ for a directory of local Rape Crisis Centers. God loves you and wants to comfort you in the cradle of His arms. I will pray that you let Him...