Just last month, as I was rummaging through a box of high school memorabilia (you know, from those glory days of old), I stumbled upon my writing folder. I couldn’t help but smile as I began reading what my adolescent self put to paper so many years ago. Essay after essay of my thoughts and feelings all right there in front of me once again. I was slightly giddy. That is until I began reading an op-ed piece from a sixteen year-old me discussing the significance–the importance, really– of abortion on demand.
Let me first state that I’ve never had an abortion. I’ve never found myself in a predicament where terminating a pregnancy would even be entertained. I’m thankful for that. However, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have done it. To be brutally honest, at the tender age of sixteen–I would have marched myself down to the nearest Planned Parenthood and rectified my mistake immediately. I would have claimed I was being responsible. I would have justified such an action with a million different reasons to support my decision–poor finances, age, current situation, my future. I would have stated I was doing what was best for everyone involved. And I would have been wrong…so wrong.
Fast forward twenty (plus) years and my views have changed, my values altered. The girl I once was would despise the woman I’ve grown to be…and I’m okay with that. But where I struggle the most as far as this whole abortion thing is concerned (aside from the actual practice itself), is the message young women are receiving in our present-day culture. The same one I received almost twenty years ago…that it’s okay.
Recently comedienne, Chelsea Handler posted about her own abortions (you can read it here), siting how grateful she was for Roe vs. Wade. She stated that even if you think abortion is wrong, it doesn’t matter because women have the right to terminate their pregnancies regardless.
Her words got me thinking. Admittedly, I was angered, upset by what I was seeing and the message it was sending. But after re-reading my own essay (yes, the one from eons ago), I realized that the girl I used to be would have sided with her. I probably would have applauded her efforts, thanked her for her courage, and championed her cause. I would have shared her post all over facebook and hailed her as a hero.
And that’s the problem.
Somehow we as a nation have have bought into this idea that it’s our right to terminate a pregnancy should we choose. That we’re being “thoughtful” by doing so. Considerate, even. Responsible. That we’re able to justify such an action and site a list of reasons and somehow that makes it okay. Our society and leaders (as a whole) support this notion. Friends, this is the message being received and glorified by young women everywhere. And it’s not okay. Not at all.
You know, it wasn’t until I had my first child where my opinions began to shift on abortion. Then another. Followed by another. And despite your religious preferences or how many times you may have heard this (and rolled your eyes in response to people like me), it wasn’t until I opened a Bible for the first time and began reading its contents, that my views began to significantly change (we’re talking a 180). It wasn’t until I began to really know Jesus and form a relationship with God that the girl who once wrote a letter–numerous letters in fact–in support of abortion, completely changed her mind. It’s where I was challenged to think less about myself and more of others. It taught me how precious life–all life–is. How each one of us has a purpose gifted by God. And yes, each one of us is a precious soul–blessed by this life and the plans God has for us–nevermind how conception took place or what our present circumstances might be.
Chelsea–you come from the same place I once did. I get you, I do–your thinking, your justifications, and the many reasons to support abortion because I used to feel the same way. But I think we can do better, don’t you? I think the message we send out to the women of this world (especially the younger generation) facing the same decision is that despite how hard the battle they’re facing is, there are better options than abortion. There is hope. There is a Jesus that loves them, a God that will provide and care for them, and a whole system of women willing to support them. That the thoughtful and responsible thing to do is to consider life. That the baby within isn’t a burden but an opportunity…a soul.
Chelsea, let us empower women with righteousness rather than steer them into sin…