It really is a choice. Every woman ultimately has the freedom to choose whether she will keep her pregnancy. But it’s also a life. No one can dispute that what is in a mother’s womb is a living thing. So why do we so cavalierly stuff ourselves into one of two warring camps--“Pro-Choice” versus “Pro-Life”?
Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that everyone in the world knows about—Roe v. Wade. The march for life was out in force as well as those who want to keep abortion safe and legal. Neither side had much good to say about the other. But they probably don't really think much about how the other side feels.
I don't like the terms pro-choice and pro-life--because I am both, and I think most people are. What I think we all need to be a lot more of is "pro-contemplation". A pregnant woman should have a choice to abort a child, but it should be done rarely, and only after much contemplation and soul searching.
Not long ago my wife was diagnosed with a blood disorder. It was a very scary time for us until, with medication, the problem was brought under control. With an ongoing but manageable disease, however, she was warned in the strictest of terms by her doctor that getting pregnant would likely be very dangerous for her. At that point, for the first time in our lives, we contemplated that pregnancy would likely cause us to choose something that we would not normally choose. And with that reality, we developed a new-found empathy.
Prior to the Roe decision, abortions were relatively rare, but they were also very dangerous. Because they were illegal in most states, most doctors didn't perform them, and when contemplative women made the ultimate mother's decision, they often suffered severe setbacks to their health. Following Roe, the abortion industry burgeoned. Abortions were no longer unsafe, but neither were they any longer rare. Women became less contemplative that their choice was also the choice to end a life.
Many, perhaps most, women do not approach a pending abortion with a cavalier attitude. But many do. This attitude is incomprehensible to those who focus mainly on the fact that a life is being taken. Many, perhaps most, women and men who consider themselves pro-life do not believe that a mother who chooses to have an abortion will 'burn in hell'. But many do. This attitude is incomprehensible to those who focus mainly on the fact that they are free to make a choice.
I suggest we drop the monikers. They cause far more confusion than they are worth. Together, let's all choose to be "Pro-Contemplation". Instead of focusing on the fact that it's a life, the one opposed to abortion will seek to understand what has brought a mother to the point of choice. And the mother, not pressed into a corner by opposing ideological hatred, will seek to understand the poignancy of the life that is about to be lost.
Next January 22nd, let's have the 1st Annual Contemplation and Reconciliation day.