The Wonderful World of Soup~

Soup is an endless sea of wonder, just like the many things I choose to write about. My thoughts explore Writing, World to National Events, Family Catastrophes (past and present) or whatever seems to get me thinking while sipping hot soup, tea, cider or a cold Pepsi...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Twelve Days Old

What does it mean to be human? Is it our ability to think out a problem and make a sound decision? Maybe it lies in love, kindness or human nature. Is it rooted in laughter and joy? I can't pretend to know exactly, but I think our humanity is defined by our ability to care for someone enough to forget ourselves. It's simply being selfless. This is the only solid meaning of love, really.

I know my parents loved me the moment they laid eyes on me. I was born about a month early, so shock was likely their first reaction. Afterall, they already had a 10-month old baby. Knowing what I know today, I don't see it as a coincedence that I was born just 12 days before Roe vs. Wade passed. I doubt my mother knew since she rarely watched or read the news, but I wonder what my parents thought of the Supreme Court's decision that year? Maybe they knew, but I would not be surprised if the story was the farthest thing from their minds at the time.
Fast Forward. I remember my first big research project in highschool. I think I was a sophomore. It was decided last minute, and I'm sure the mistakes were abundant. But I remember how I felt ( and that I got an A:). Yet I was appalled at what I learned. In short, I did a big project, with colorful posters, photos and an extensive essay, on abortion. Even's an ugly word. 
This is where I first learned about the silent scream. The memory haunts me. There wasn't much out there explaining the procedures of late term abortions. Maybe they were not as common, but they did still very much happen. On a side note, if that information was discovered in detail, I would have cried for weeks. As it was, I think I only cried a day or two with the info. I'd found. I discovered the alarming rate abortions were occuring. This was in the mid 80s, so I did not have the Internet at home. I likely typed it up on a typewriter since I'd taken that course the year prior. I thought I knew the subject well, but my facts were even then, outdated. Though I can't recall exactly, I probably found most of the information in books at our school library. The whole topic was vast and set me into a tailspin of ethics with the many complications to consider during pregnancy. What if the child had down syndrome or some other major disability? (All common reasons a person would get an abortion.) But on a second side note, I think these unusual circumstances are also very personal. While I would not have said so as a young person, I think these terminations should be weighed carefully and taken case by case. But still, what cruelty to end a life because it was maimed or dealt a serious hand. I only had old stories and statistics, and still, I was horrified, shocked and somehow, a different person! 
The first case of someone I knew needing an abortion was surreal. She would have been my piano teacher had I not been seriously injured one summer. I remember hearing the unusual story less than a year later, the wife of one of my teachers. He was a member of my church, very Christian and very much pro-life. His wife was pregnant with their fifth child, but her health was failing. He was told by someone higher up in the church administration, that she should terminate the pregnancy to spare her own life. They ended up moving shortly there after. It was rumored that she had to move to a different climate for her health, but I thought it was more to do with the rumors. Again, I could never question or judge someone who chose their own life and young family over an unborn child.
But there are other justifications for abortion.
Even at the young age of 15, I developed an opinion on what I'd do if I was raped and became pregnant, or even the latter with consent. Would I terminate the pregnancy? Thankfully, I never had to make that decision. I suppose it's human of me to say that I could never judge someone who's made that choice. But I knew that I would never terminate. The unborn, silent child in my womb would see the light of day, but would go to an adoption agency. I'd likely even pick the parents.
Interestingly enough, one of the first historic cases related to the legalization of abortion did involve a rape story in 1970. She would later recant and admit it was a lie, but there did exist a woman who tried to abort her third pregnancy based on a rape allegation. Her lie was discovered when investigated and she did carry the child to term before any law could aide her choice. But in the other situations, abortions have been legal in rape cases (in most states) and when the mother's life is at risk.
It would be many years later that I had a friend in college who I grew close to. She and I hung out quite abit one semester and had a few classes together. She started asking my opinion on abortion. She said she had "this friend" who became pregnant unexpectedly. She wanted to know what I would tell her. I was completely nieve that it could be her, so I told her my views without restraint. I remember pleading that she tell the friend to not go through with it! I remember the look on her face. The abortion must have already happened, so what I said did not matter. But she had the sorrow of the world in her eyes. I still did not know it was her. I assumed it was a family member. She eventually moved away to go to a university, I believe. About 5 or 6 years later, she moved back to the area and we found ourselves in the same field. This was when someone told me what she'd done. I instantly recalled our conversations and knew it was true. I never said a word, but I knew exactly how she felt about it. My heart ached for her. What made the matter worse, in my opinion, is that she married the father and started a family. I simply could not fathom that she would choose to end a life out of convenience and reputation.  

Roe vs. Wade would not apply to the first two stories, but it was meant for her. She went on with her life and attended the university. I don't think she finished her first degree and would later change majors, but she was not bound by the constraint of an unplanned pregnancy. Her choice was not constrained by laws against the abortion either and perhaps she did not have the same view of life at conception. Which brings me to my next encounter with abortion. Abortion number 3.
This one happened when I was working as a church missionary in England. One morning, my companion and I knocked upon the door of a beautiful, dark-haired woman. She seemed shocked to find us on her doorstep. The woman was quite emotional and asked us to come back the next day. We did and she shared with us her distress. She said she had trouble leaving her flat and needed help making a grave in her apartment. Taken back by her words, we were at a loss. Running would not have been foolish. Without even a thought of fleeing the scene, we knew she needed help. She invited us in and explained how she'd had an abortion and could not live with herself. I never knew exactly, but it appeared as if we'd saved her life. She credited our first visit as a sign from God. We were asked to bring a large flower pot or garden box on our next visit, so we did. We also purchased some flowers for her to plant. This is where she fashioned a make-shift grave for her unborn child. We visited her several times and did what we could. While we invited her to church and shared the message of Christ, this would not be the purpose of our visits. She simply needed a friend. During one of our friendly visits, she told us of the many, cold-hearted woman she'd met at the abortion clinic. Most of them showed no emotion or sorrow. Some of them bragged that this was their second or third time getting an abortion. That stuck with me for some reason. Alone at the clinic, all she could do was bawl uncontrollably. We did our best to calm her grief and tell her she was still loved, but told her to seek out professional help. 
There are perhaps more of my friends, acquaintances or perhaps family who have had an abortion in the past that I do not know of. Perhaps some are even considering an abortion at this very moment. My heart would again plead for the beauty of life!
My purpose is certainly not to offend. While I still cannot judge why they made the decision to terminate, there is one thing I can make clear or suggest. I am always on the side of life. Even before the heart beats, their is life within life. I could never promote, encourage or stand by any law that claims it's the woman's right to choose her body over another. I will always look for a leader who believes in life, just for the sheer example. While health, rape and other major circumstances do play a role, the nine judges in 1973 were dead wrong. Just look at the catastrophic numbers (one report claims 56 million) and look at what the industry has stooped to. Where is our humanity today in that number? I was only 12 days old on January 22, 1973 and born to a poor, broken family, but I'd already benefited from a simple choice. Anyone born and breathing is given that rite of passage. Life is messy, complicated and doesn't make sense. Still, I wonder. How different life would be if all babies were treated like a joy to behold, even if they were placed in the arms of another? Think of the humanity in that.