Saturday, August 25, 2007

Freedom to choose?

[Not for very young readers]

I'm subscribed to the Elliot Institute newsletter (to which you can subscribe on the website http://www.afterabortion.org/), and in the latest issue, I got something truly disturbing:

Special Report Exposes America's Forced Abortion Epidemic

'Springfield, IL -- The 2006 cases of a Maine couple charged with abducting their pregnant daughter in an attempt to force her to have an abortion and a Georgia woman accused of forcing her pregnant daughter to drink turpentine are just part of an epidemic of coerced and forced abortions in the U.S., a leading researcher says.

Elliot Institute Director Dr. David Reardon co-authored a Medical Science Monitor study of American and Russian women that found that 64 percent of American women who had abortions reported that they felt pressured to abort by others.'

'In many of the cases documented for our 'Forced Abortion in America' report, police and witnesses reported that acts of violence and murder took place after the woman refused to abort or because the attacker didn't want the pregnancy," he said. "Even if a woman isn't physically threatened, she often faces intense pressure, abandonment, lack of support, or emotional blackmail if she doesn't abort. While abortion is often described as a 'choice,' women who've been there tell a very different story.'

While I can't really be sure, I think extreme cases like abduction and forcing to drink turpentine are rare enough – and criminal. However, usually no one acknowledges or sets measures against much more common situations when a woman is coerced into having an abortion in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Irresponsible, commitment-fearing boyfriends who claim, 'I'm just not ready' and 'you simply can't force this on me'; parents and/or teachers saying, 'you must get rid of it for the sake of your future; doctors who detected abnormalities in the unborn child and offer only one way of treatment: elimination, without discussing other possible options; all of this is much more common than people think.

And when a woman gives in to pressure, she feels so guilty and so ashamed of herself that it's difficult to stand up and tell her story. The pro-abortion crowd will claim she doesn't have any right to whine and should just sit and be quiet and say thank-you for the 'liberation', 'freedom' and 'control over her body'; many in the pro-life movement, sadly, will demonize her, not allowing her to express her pain; and rationalists from both groups will say she only has her weakness of character to blame: she didn't have to give in to pressure, did she? Who cares if she was vulnerable, and weak, and her judgment was temporary impaired by shock and fear!

I would give a lot to see how saying, 'You will never see me again if you don't get rid of it', or 'We will kick you out of the house if you don't do what's best for everyone', becomes punishable like forcing someone to drink turpentine.

23 comments:

Beautifuly Created said...

My feeling is that forced abortions are most likely much more prevelent than the statistics would show because of the more subtal and deceptive ways that the cohersion can take place.

Every person that I have known to have an abortion has told me they had no other choice at the time, that their main source of support did not want the child so they had to "get rid of it" or they would have no where to go. And every one of those women regreted the decision that they made relising after it was to late that they had so many more choices.

Buffy said...

Scary stuff. I just think how alone these girls must feel sometimes.

Jordin said...

Forcing a daughter to drink turpentine?! That is appalling.

In one of the health classes I took earlier in college, my professor said that more women are coerced into having abortions than those who choose to have them on their own. I thought, "Where is the 'freedom' and 'liberation' in that?" The abortion advocates have it all wrong.

Michelle Potter said...

Another sad thing is how often I have heard stories from women who felt forced to abort -- and then were abandoned anyway. The teenage girl who comes home from the clinic to find she's still being kicked out, the woman whose boyfriend or husband leaves anyway.

Part of the birth control and abortion mentality is that if a woman gets pregnant "it's all her fault." No one else takes any responsibility or feels any duty to help or provide love and compassion. Even when someone tries to be supportive by saying, "It's your choice, either way," what he's really doing is abandoning her to make the decision completely alone.

Why does no one think it's loving to say, "You can do this. You are strong, you will be a wonderful mother, and I will help you"?

Anna S said...

Michelle,

It doesn't surprise me the least bit that those poor women are abandoned anyway. I think someone who is capable to threatening or pressuring a pregnant woman in such a way isn't a person to be counted on. *shakes head*.

Anonymous said...

China shows the first signs of the end of the feminist experiment

The Chinese government says it is drafting new laws to tackle the growing gender imbalance caused by the widespread abortion of female foetuses.

Communism collapsed under the weight of its own self-contradictions in seventy years. Feminism won't even last that long.

AnneK said...

Yeah, I understand what you are saying. There could be many circumstances in which women feel that they have no choice. And if we are showing ourselves to be judgemental by our words and actions, we are doing the same thing towards them and forcing them in to a bad decision.

Mimi said...

If a woman would talk to another woman who had lost a baby through miscarriage or still birth BEFORE she had the abortion...
and really LISTEN to the terrible loss a woman feels when she knows that she will never see that child grow up ... and see in her eyes that that loss stays with her for her entire life...possibly it would give the woman the courage to make the right decision and stand up to the pressure of those pushing her into the abortion

Anna S said...

Mimi, I think you are right. And it is a noble task for us, the pro-life movement, to give the pregnant woman in distress such an opportunity, and many other opportunities, to make her see how abortion will *not* serve to improve her life.

Kaye :) said...

HI Anna,

Isn't it amazing how something so simple as life and death can end up being so controversial?

Protect Life. It's simple and doesn't require a PhD. to understand, yet millions have preferred the death of the innocent over precious life. Not comprehendable at all.

Word Warrior said...

Many will take this as a stretch, but I truly believe there are normal, Christian, married women who consider or even follow through with abortions because of the even more subtle "coersions" from society, family, and sadly the church.

Imagine a young mother who is expecting her third child. She is no doubt already hearing such things as "wow, have y'all figured out what causes it yet?" or, "this is it, right"? I know, because I received those comments with my third pregnancy. They are subtle reminders that having more than one or two children is just not socially acceptable.

If that same young woman finds herself pregnant again, unless she has strong convictions and chose to let God be sovereign, what would keep her from at least considering this "convenient" method of making her life easier?

I have heard, first-hand, of Christian women who considered having an abortion because the surprise of their pregnancy (and the societal norms that cause the "surprise") were overwhelming.

One more reason I defend against the acceptance of the common use of birth control...it's a slippery slope, and, in my opinion, it's akin to abortion...they both serve to keep me from looking weird in a society that does not embrace children. If one fails, the other is there as a back-up.

Sorry so lengthy and strong...you know, Anna, that this is practially what I've dedicated my whole blog to, so it gets my motor going!

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Hi Anna,

This was an excellent post. Many women have as much "choice" when it comes to avoiding abortion as they do when it comes to keeping at home...all becuase so many men today run from the duty of headship. It hurts so much when we we are forced to deny our deeper feminine natures because men run from their deeper masculine natures. It has been SO healing to see this slowly changing in some places.

So many folks commenting here for example, myself included, can be thankful for partners who really do try and understand the depth of traditional roles.

(Btw i responded to your last comment over at the abbey mailbox rather than here, just so you know)

Peaceful Weekend,

Wendy

Haus Frau said...

Unless a woman has *been there* there is no true comprehension of the state of mind/heart the woman is experiencing, the level of pressure or threat, of absolute fear due to life situation.

I believe with my whole heart that to come alongside and lovingly embrace and minister to a young pregnant woman, who feels she has no other way out than abortion, will do more than any judgemental or pious attitude. Come alongside. Gently cradle this young woman and care enough to walk the road with her. Perhaps then, this one wee babe can be given the gift of life.

Blessings...

Devyn Karyn said...

I can say I'm certainly glad my family didn't take that approach, or I wouldn't be here today.

Anonymous said...

I really almost cried reading this. Very, very sad.

Brenda

Anna S said...

Kelly,

I agree with you. Birth control and abortion are only two sides of the same coin in our anti-child, anti-family society.

Wendy,

YES, we have such a strong lack of masculine leadership, and why?.. Because the feminist movement has done everything in its possible power to demasculinize men and convince them they are not needed!

Sherry,

You are absolutely right; whatever we do, must be done with love and compassion. Not with judgment, not with a holier-than-thou attitude, not with criticizm or finger-pointing, but with genuine LOVE.

USAincognito said...

My sister got pregnant while she was still in highschool. Her boyfriend's mother tried forcing her to have an abortion - claiming that she was ruining her son's life. My sister refused. She married the boyfriend and they now have a second child.
I still am trying to find it in my heart to "love" and "forgive" my sister's mother-in-law for all that she put my sister thru. She is a very conniving woman even to this day and enjoys trying to harrass and pressure my sister to do certain things her way.
I am just thankful that my sister chose life over abortion because that niece of mine adores me and is my little shadow anytime she is around me! :)

Gothelittle Rose said...

I have a few things to say, truthfully.

First of all, I couldn't judge too harshly a women who folds under the pressure. People speak of bravery and righteousness, but I remember that the thought of abortion actually crossed my mind in a moment of terror, and my baby was desired, planned, and deeply wanted. The truth is that a pregnant woman deserves all the 'patronage' that a 'patriarchal' society can give her. Pregnancy hormones seriously mess with your mind. Every fear is magnified. I believe abortion is wrong with all my heart, but it is hard to vilify anyone whose own body is plotting against her when she is abandoned by all her family and friends.

Second of all, according to abortion-rights people, I shouldn't be here today. I was unplanned. I wasn't unwanted, because my parents are wonderful people, but I was unplanned. I was also conceived out of wedlock by a young woman just out of highschool and a Navy sailor temp-assigned to the area. They married. Five children in all and over thirty years later, they are still happily married. It took more sacrifice and hard work than it did luck and fortune to get them there.

Thirdly, the current prevalence of birth control methods has, I believe, led to a belief that if a woman gets pregnant in this day and age it is 'all her fault'. It's a shame that this society is trying so hard to eradicate one of the greatest life-changing joys there is... the unplanned pregnancy. Now women fear it. They've been conditioned to avoid it by any means necessary. The pro-'choice' crowd keeps saying it... every child planned, no pregnancy unwanted. Could Jesus be born in this day and age?

And I leave you with this, which I warn you is a bit 'out-there', but I find it sufficiently fascinating that I want people to be able to read it and think about it. My aunt was reading up in the Old Testament, studying the other cultures and their religions through the ages, and she submitted this: Wherever the earth was worshiped as a god, Gaia or Earth Spirit, infant sacrifice was put into play. In every group that worshiped a Mother Earth, infants were sacrificed. "What if there's some demon spirit who goes by that moniker among humans and desires infant sacrifice?" she pondered. She dismissed the thought for a moment, since you see it a lot within the same circles in which feminism runs, possibly because of it's matriarchal elements. But then she wondered if the Mother Earth/Gaia spirit being worshiped in this country was being 'fed' by the high incidence of abortions, getting its fill in a more subtle manner. Take it as you will. :)

Jess said...

Anna,
You are so right on with this post.

Some dear friends of ours who have struggled in their walk with the Lord came face-to-face with this decision two years ago, after being told that the son she was carrying would never live outside the womb, that he was horribly deformed and would not be normal. The doctor gave them one option: surgery to "terminate the pregnancy". When he called my husband to relay the news that they would be having the procedure/surgery the next week, my husband prayed with him and began encouraging him not to do that (this is his best friend and he certainly had the right to speak frankly and honestly to this close friend). He asked him to pray, to consider this more carefully, and to let God be the one to mete out life and death.

After they (the couple) prayed about it and talked about it, they realized that it was all of their non-Christian friends and their non-Christian doctor that were recommending that they "have the procedure" (abort their baby). They decided to let God control life and death.

And it was painful for them. She had their son, and he died within 24 hours. Indeed, he was malformed and could not survive. But they are so grateful that they got to see him and hold him, and gave him a chance to make it, and left the power of life and death in God's hands alone.

OH, what a painful road. They have since been given another beautiful daughter, but they will undoubtedly carry the pain of their son's life and death with them as long as they live. And yet, how much greater would their pain be to have had a hand in murdering their own son?

Praise God that he changed their hearts and had them question the "wisdom" of doctors! Praise God that they did not take the place of God and attempt to determine life and death for their precious son.
Jess

Anna S said...

Gothelittle rose,

I wouldn't be here either!!

Jess,

What a touching story of sweet sadness. Every life is precious, and it is not up to *us* to determine which child is more precious.

RMC said...

I don't have much to add here, except that this is a great post with some insightful replies, and:

gothelittlerose,

I really enjoyed your comment, especially about an unplanned pregnancy being a life-changing joy which we are stamping out. However, I do have to note for the sake of accuracy that not all earth-honoring religions demanded or even condoned infant sacrifice. I am a history/religion buff, and I just couldn't sleep without noting that! Please don't take it personally! :)

Gothelittle Rose said...

RMC.. I'm glad you noted it. Thank you! :) It was something my aunt was researching and wondering about years ago, and I just threw it in for curiosity's sake.. it's not something I Believe Firmly or anything. :) I don't mind having it called into question or disproved at all.

Oh, there are two people in my life who have helped me out a great deal, wonderful guys, always loving and giving. They both had more compelling 'reasons to be aborted' than I did. One of them was born out of wedlock and raised in dire poverty without a father for about the first half of his childhood.

The other cost his mother's health in the pregnancy, and could have cost her life.

That one really made me think, because most people who even abhor abortion, even I, will nevertheless consider an exception for the life of the mother. But this woman paid nearly full price for her son, spending the rest of her life wheelchair-bound. Could I be that brave? I hope so, because the result is a generous man who genuinely loves people, who will spend hours talking someone down from a suicide attempt, who will give what he has to those who lack even though he spends most of his time barely out of dire poverty himself, who just doesn't stop caring.

injunkayl said...

I am truly sorry for all the women out there with worthless men but I cannot even imagine one single reason or justification for an abortion. It is our duty as human beings to instantly put our lives at risk if need be to save an innocent child.

When I saw the video of the ultrasound of the baby being aborted and how it tried to run away from the murder instrement, it made my heart drop through the floor, I could have "aborted" everyone in that room but the baby at that moment (they are lucky I wasn't actually there) and it would have been just.

I have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to killing babies but I also back that up with a sense of duty to help a pregnant woman in need with everything in my power to help her birth that baby, even if she is only going to adopt him or her out, at least he or she will live.