Talking About Abortion

Yesterday my daughter and I stumbled across a photo of the Duggar kids from 19 Kids & Counting, wearing T-shirts that said, “I am the generation that will abolish abortion.” I noted to my little girl that this shows who they really are, not the shiny happy people on the reality TV show.

“What’s abortion?” she asked.

So I explained what abortion is. She looked horrified.

“Why would you ever kill a baby?” she asked.

Being pro-choice, I explained that I personally would not do it, but that in the case of rape or a threat to the mother’s life, abortion is sometimes the only alternative. She nodded slowly, digesting these very heavy, very adult concepts, and said, “I still don’t understand why anyone would kill another person.”

Silence.

I have long believed that every woman should have the choice of what to do with her body. When I became a mother, though, I considered my stance and realized that it would take something pretty drastic and threatening for me to ever consider doing it.

The moment I knew I was pregnant, I was excited and anticipatory, in love with this tiny creature entrusted to my charge, and thrilled to welcome another person into my family. Over the course of each pregnancy, I was acutely aware of this growing being in my belly and especially when the tiny baby started to move.

It made me rethink this easy belief I’d always had in keeping abortion legal.

I still believe it should be legal. I just don’t want to have to choose to use it.

I can see what my daughter is saying, though. At the face of it, abortion is the act of ending a life. Plain and simple. There is no way to sugar-coat it.

The real argument should be about whether we each have the right to tell other people what to do. This discussion happened on the same day that all my kids and I were talking about how some religious people preach to others about what they should be doing, while others simply stand as example of what they believe is right. We all know which method is more palatable.

I’m not sure abortion can be that simple, though. For those who are anti, they truly believe it’s murder, and if you believe murder is wrong (which I do), then how can you stand by and live in a society that condones it? If that is your perspective, I reiterate.

So I get their side. And the vigilant other side, the side I sit on, advocates not for the act of abortion necessarily, but the choice to have one if your circumstances determine it. How can you really argue with choice?

It’s a huge philosophical discussion.

In my daughter’s eyes, though, it’s quite simple. Murder can’t happen. The world is still such an innocent protected place for her, and I hope she never can imagine a circumstance when abortion should happen.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to listen to her side, her perspective, because even in my 40s, there is always room to see things a different way.

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