"FACE IT… ABORTION KILLS!"
An insensitive approach to a sensitive subject
One cold January day, my beautiful twenty-year-old daughter blew into my driveway with a bumper sticker on the left rear window of her purple Plymouth Breeze. The sticker said, “FACE IT… ABORTION KILLS!” A lost and searching teen, she turned to Christianity to find her tribe. For that, I will be eternally grateful. But her display of that particular bumper sticker disturbed me.
Let’s face it – war kills, drunk drivers and cars kill, guns kill, poverty kills, and pharmaceuticals kill. The list is very long. Let’s face it – cutting down our forests and the toxins in our food, medicine, and environment are killing our unborn. We are life-givers and life-takers, and sometimes abortion kills the life-giver, the would-be mother, but it is considerably safer than childbirth. There is not a woman among us who doesn’t know that abortion kills. Termination is painful and traumatic. I know this personally from my own story. I also know it as a midwife from working with women to help heal their past scars. I can tell you it does no good to throw it in our faces. It is an insensitive approach to a sensitive and complex subject.
The school of midwifery to which I subscribe teaches that a midwife’s role is to protect normal birth. She is an advocate for mother and baby, the two being inseparable. I am both pro-life and pro-choice. It would be impossible for me to take sides. I am neither conservative nor liberal but a free thinker. I do not place bumper stickers on my car to send personal messages.
Abortion as a power play pawn over women’s bodies is an old story, yet it still eludes me. An imbalance of masculine control over women and their fertility through patriarchal suppression, laws, and religion has never benefited women or the feminine principle. The depletion of the deep feminine yin, the degradation of natural systems, and the rape of our environment directly result. The ability to prevent or terminate a pregnancy was “secret knowledge” and cast suspicion on women by those seeking intellectual, religious, and legal control, power, and domination. Many of these insults are causing women to lose wanted and desired pregnancies. Yet few are held accountable while the masculine-dominated machine continues to rage.
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Only sociopaths think other people exist solely for their benefit, including those who would threaten a pregnant woman with terrible consequences if she refused to bear a child for them. And this includes governments. Should any individual force a woman to have a baby against her will, it would be completely unreasonable. Then why would we consider it reasonable for a governmental system to force this upon a woman? Especially one that has no interest in providing a happy, healthy life for that child once it is born. But this was never about saving babies or the women who birth them. Criminalization of abortion doesn’t lead to fewer abortions but leads to more women dying. A woman’s right to life is not debatable.
What man’s law shall bind you if you break your yoke but upon no man’s prison door? What laws shall you fear if you dance but stumble against no man’s iron chains? And who is he that shall bring you to judgement if you tear off your garment yet leave it in no man’s path? – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Sexuality is linked intimately to mind and spirit, soul and psyche. The deeper issue seems to me to be a lack of sacred sexuality and body awareness. Beneath that is a lack of education and rites of passage. I taught these things to my daughter as best I could within the current culture and conducted a puberty rites ceremony. Her bumper sticker slogan gave us an opportunity for further discussion.
In my world view, although the method may change, a woman has and always will have the right to choose, regardless of the laws we put in place in an attempt to govern her body. The mind and emotions are powerful enough to rid a body of unwanted pregnancy and, for that matter, to heal oneself from disease. Why are we not considering that possibility?
A spontaneously miscarried fetus in the first trimester is called a “missed abortion” or “silent miscarriage.” According to the Mayo Clinic, 20% is a low estimate. After that, it is called a “spontaneous abortion” and occurs in approximately 40% of pregnancies. Frequently the cause of a missed abortion is emotional and psychological. Western Mechanistic Medicine does not consider that possibility but attributes it to physical defects in the mother or fetus and overlooks environmental stress and exposure to toxins. That includes toxic emotions. The fetus, not born and not yet a “baby,” is not separate from the mother. What affects the mother emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and physically affects the unborn she carries or elects not to carry. It is a humanitarian consideration to educate at-risk moms and offer alternatives to medical abortion. It is also a perpetuation of violence to make a woman’s body a battleground and not honor her bodily autonomy.
No matter what the choice, it is something a woman lives with for the rest of her life. A woman needs to be supported in that choice to advance psychologically and emotionally. An unwanted pregnancy has the potential to be an invaluable lesson with the power to change lives, whether a woman keeps the pregnancy or not, keeps the baby or not, consciously or unconsciously. Abortions cause psychological pain even though most women (99% in one study) claim it was the right decision for them. But it certainly doesn’t compare to the emotional pain and worse psychological outcomes caused by adoption or rearing an unwanted child in compromised circumstances.
I was the result of unwanted pregnancy, but I was not unloved. My mother gave me up when only months old in the decades before Roe v. Wade because she had no familial support and couldn’t afford to keep me. Denying women access to safe early pregnancy termination is a kind of class warfare where low-income women face increased health risks. Over 70% of women seeking abortions do so because of finances. Not everyone has the resources to choose other than termination or adoption.
As an adoptee, I have long pondered that if my mother had conceived me after Roe v Wade, I most likely would not have taken my birth through her. But that brings up another consideration. I believe we are souls whose spirits choose whether to be born or not and to stay in a body or to leave. Not bound by time or space, Spirit is eternal. I believe that we are here by choice.
When we fear death or have never slaughtered an animal with our own hands to sustain life, we may not fully grasp how powerful we are. By not fully owning our creative and destructive powers and giving our power away to an external authority, we are controlled and easily acquiesce.
We live in a world of duality. There will always be wanted and unwanted children conceived in love or in violation of what is sacred. We need to recover sexuality as something sacred. We have a lot of work to do to heal the heart-mind disconnect. We must put an end to preventable trauma. We have the tools. Otherwise, trauma begets trauma and we become caught in a vicious cycle. Patterns repeat themselves until they are brought into consciousness, examined, and remedied. If we put guns into the hands of the mentally ill, we can put the tools for trauma reduction into the hands of the traumatized. Abortion is trauma.
An unwanted pregnancy can result in fear, stress, anxiety, and panic. Becoming pregnant is a powerful time physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I tell women, whether their pregnancy is wanted or unwanted, or they are confused, to please seek support. Respect your process and trust your decision. You are a powerful woman, a goddess in her own right who gives and takes life. Today, my daughter is a mother with a daughter of her own, and I support her choices. As a midwife and a mother, I vow to protect the sanctity of life, of which death is a part.
Rocca CH, Kimport K, Roberts SCM, Gould H, Neuhaus J, Foster DG. Decision Rightness and Emotional Responses to Abortion in the United States: A Longitudinal Study. PubMed July 2015.
Arms, S. To Love and Let Go, first edition, Knopf: New York, NY; 1983
Peterson, G. Birthing Normally, second edition, Berkeley, CA: Shadow & Light; 1984
Fessler, A. The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade, first edition, Penguin Press; 2006
Induced Abortion Rates in the United States, Fact Sheet, Guttmacher Institute; 2019
Healing the Heart Mind, a work at your own pace online course at Five Element Academy
Sustainable Birth, Facebook Group
Listen below to the title song from the She Loved Horses CD released in 2019, inspired by my own story and dedicated to all “the girls who went away” and surrendered children for adoption in the decades before Roe v. Wade.
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