Honesty Is the Best Policy

From a local pro-life forum: “To be pro-life truly means that you are pro-woman. From the founding feminists who stood against abortion, to today, women are embracing the pro-life cause because to be pro-life demands that we care for women.”

My instinct tells me to roll my eyes and move on. But as a fellow feminist who likes to believe that some day every woman will have both the self-respect that she deserves, she’s never discouraged from her ambitions, and everybody holds hands and sings “I’m Every Woman” together, I REALLY want to believe that she’s doing this for women.

I REALLY want to believe that she has enough resources, time, knowledge and funding to give these women everything they need to both have a child and a happy, financially secure, fulfilling life.

Because there are women in tough spots who come to see us that want children. And I really wish we could just say “You do?! Well why didn’t you say so! Let me refer you to this one girl who will get your finances in order, put $500 in your bank account every month, pay for your hospital bill, provide free relationship counseling, babysit while you’re working the late shift, personally move you into a 2 bedroom apartment in a good school district and take care of all of those other things you’re forgetting about right now.” But she doesn’t do that. They don’t do that.

And I refuse to lie to women by saying that “everything will be okay. Don’t worry about it right now.”

Being a feminist doesn’t just stop at telling a woman that she can do whatever she wants.  It’s actively questioning and then dismantling those things that tell a woman “she can’t.” To pro-life feminists: I respect your sentiments, but broaden your scope to include those issues that affect why women find themselves at the clinic to begin with. And please, don’t lie to women and tell them that everything will be okay.

I’m typing out 2 entries from our patients that were written in our clinic journals. I think it’s important to highlight the fact that having an abortion isn’t accepting defeat, or giving up because life is too hard with a child. Oftentimes, women use this experience as a reality check for “what’s missing.” Sometimes this experience encourages women to prepare for a more financially secure, happy, family-friendly future, if that’s what they decide they want. Some of them are even making the most responsible, selfless decision they’ll make in their entire lives. They are smart, responsible women who will make wonderful mothers when they’re ready, and I respect them so much for waiting until the time is right.

“I use to believe abortion was bad, until I had my first baby. I’m 20 years old making $6.00 an hour. $300.00 every 2 weeks. It doesn’t last but 3 days. Milk, diapers, wipes, baby food. Way expensive! I’d rather have an abortion than live off the government. I love my boy very much, but I cannot afford another child. I don’t even have enough money for myself. I’m glad I came here and got the help I needed.”

“A child is a gift from God and it is our duty to care for the child, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that we have what it takes to be good steward of that gift. So it’s paramount that we only accept that gift when we’re ready, capable and able to look after it.”