Abortion is a topic that sits very deep in me. It’s like an undersea volcano; there’s both incredible agony and anger associated with this very controversial topic. It’s also a topic that I wrote about in the past; I wasn’t very satisfied with what I wrote, hence why I’m talking about it again, now.
Among other details of my abuse, the long version of how I lost my son has been withdrawn from this blog. The short version is that my uncle, his father, didn’t want living evidence of his abuse to be…well, living. I put up more of a fight for our son than I ever did for just myself, but as a little preteen against a grown man, I lost. Trauma clouds most of the memory, parting only for particularly horrible things said, done, and seen…up to that point when I saw his tiny, little body before it was gone, and his father left me alone in that bathroom. I remember curling up there on the floor, and for the first time of many times, I wanted to die.
This is one of the things that makes Mother’s Day a very hard time of the year. There’s my mother, sure, and then there’s me: a mother who didn’t even get to give life to her son, let alone give him a proper burial.
Some people, trying to comfort me, would say that it’s probably for the best that Lucas isn’t alive. Things might’ve been much harder for me as a preteen mother of a rapist’s child, and if I was able to keep him, I would have a teenaged son to support now. Maybe…but that’s not what I think about, nor, really, what I care about.
I don’t care who his father is. I don’t care how Lucas was made; he’s as much a victim of that abuse as I am, and worse, he didn’t even survive it. These things say very little, if anything about who he is. If I’m not my abusive parents, he’s not his abusive father. So I don’t care.
All I care about is that he’s my son, and I’m his mother. It’s out of this mysterious, primordial love that I don’t ever think about the difficulty he would’ve caused me if he lived.
Instead, I think about how he will never have any of the good this life has to offer. He’ll never know my personal love for him as his mother. He’ll never hear me talk to him, sing him to sleep. He’ll never feel me hold him in my arms, see me smile at him. He’ll never feel grass under his feet, rain from the sky. He’ll never taste strawberries, play video games or sports. He’ll never get to grow up, have interests, have loving relationships. He might’ve had lots of friends, like his younger uncle who is only a little older than him. He might’ve fallen in love one day. He might’ve been a priest one day. He might’ve had children himself one day.
So many possibilities, so much love to be had…all lost because of one cruel, cowardly choice.
My story is not the only one like this, sad to say. I know a number of people who also suffered coerced abortion, often in cases of (ironically enough) rape/incest. The number is much higher than most want to believe. Sometimes it was done, like with me, at the hands of our abusers, and sometimes it was done in abortion clinics or doctors’ offices. One dear little friend died at 13 as a result of complications that came from her abortion resulting in a hysterectomy. Another friend was denied anesthesia as her mother took her to the abortion clinic to hide her abuser’s “indiscretion.”
There’s more. There were the accounts of victims/survivors in online support groups, like that of one whose abuser kicked her in the middle the two times he made her pregnant, making her lose both children. There were news stories, like that of a 8-month-pregnant woman in China was chased down by police, and bodily forced into an abortion clinic for breaking the child limit law. I don’t know the exact numbers of (reported) incidents, and I don’t care. I don’t need to know just how “small a percentage” it is. I just know I’m not the only one…and that’s bad enough.
When I’d tell my story to people who are pro-choice, they would get very uncomfortable (as I imagine some of you may be feeling right now). Sometimes, it would be preceded with an angry accusation that I don’t care about rape/incest victims for being against abortion; this would prompt me to share my story as a rape/incest victim and coerced abortion to express that I care very deeply about them. Then, always, after an awkward silence, they would tell me it’s “just about personal choice,” and they would drop the subject (usually with a comment to make me feel bad for sharing my story).
A lot of victim/survivors of abuse align themselves with the pro-choice because that movement claims to speak out on our behalf, to advocate us, to care about us and our pain. My pain (and the pain of those others I would bring up to support how harmful abortion is) being dismissed like that felt like a very deep betrayal.
Instead of compassion, what did I get? Apathy and hypocrisy. Rejection.
What am I supposed to take from this? Is our pain less important than “personal choice”? Is our safety, our lives less important than “personal choice”? Is the fact that abusers actively use abortion to cover up their crimes (as the law cares nothing for you if you have no physical evidence) less important than “personal choice”?
I don’t know. I really don’t. And…I’m not sure if I want to know.
Granted, I know that choice is rarely made out of selfishness or sexual appetite. I’m aware that, at least in this country, there are far more social and economic consequences to keeping a child than to aborting one, especially out of wedlock. I know that women who choose abortion often do so because they didn’t have any other choice. Many were given the choice of their child over their jobs, their families, their schools, their communities, their significant others, and other very heavy consequences. Then, yes…there are those who chose it over raising a living reminder of their abuse. There’s the contempt from others of mother and child, one such mother being accused of “wanting it” because she chose life for her daughter.
So no, my anger is not with them. I feel as they do, hurt as they do. Besides, looking at this, can we really call it a choice when they were cornered into it, and made to believe that there was no other choice? The consequences of that choice are bad enough as it is.
On that note, abortion takes a very heavy toll apart from the life being forcibly ended. There are many girls and women who suffer very deeply because of their choices and/or the choices abusers made for them. Post-abortive mothers would often have very serious cases of depression and PTSD, a higher chance of infertility and miscarriage. Some would re-experience their trauma once a year with an anniversary; maybe it’s Mother’s Day, their child’s would-be birthday, the day of the abortion, or all of those dates. Some can’t stand anything that reminds them of their abortion, even something as innocuous as a vacuum cleaner being turned on. Some feel nothing for years, then suddenly all their addictions, avoidance, and anxiety makes painful sense.
As for me, I can’t stand the images of dismembered, aborted children many pro-lifers proudly display at their events and protests. I just see Lucas’ little body. I can’t attend the March for Life, or follow most pro-life groups online or otherwise.
When I try to reason with the pro-life on how these tactics make people feel about us and what we’re standing for, they’d get angry. When I’d try to tell them how traumatic those images and other in-your-face tactics are, especially to victim/survivors of abuse and abortion, they’d minimize our pain as just a “small percentage” and just a pro-choice trick to emotional blackmail people into their cause (which is also true, sadly). They’d say I’m not really pro-life at all; I’m just a pretender.
This, too, felt like a deep betrayal. I thought they’d care for me and my suffering, being against abortion just like they are. I’ve suffered terribly from abortion, even when it wasn’t my choice; I thought they’d surely want to offer support and compassion.
What did I get instead? Condemnation and belittlement. Rejection.
What am I supposed to take from this? Is helping people believe the truth we’re advocating less important than “being right”? Is the love and reverence we claim to have for all life, from start to finish, less important than “being right”? They call us “pro-birth”; is our compassion so limited that helping bring about a change to make those consequences of keeping a child so much heavier than aborting one less important than “being right”?
I don’t know. I really don’t. And…I’m not sure if I want to know.
So here I am…in the middle again. Again, I’ve been met with hatred from both sides. Both have valid points, and yet no one wants to talk it out and be reasonable. Instead, they just like to argue that “They” are beyond reason. The pro-life are “cold”, “self-righteous”, and “pharisaic”. The pro-choice are “selfish”, “hedonistic”, and “depraved”. Pre-born children, pregnant and post-abortive mothers, and victims of coerced abortion and/or abuse are lost in the middle of these two, warring sides.
From where I stand, I don’t think either of them care at all about us, or even about life or choice anymore…at least not as much as they do about being right, and hating “Them”.
Whatever you believe about abortion, for whatever reason you may have that belief…I’d like to ask you one thing: where do your priorities lie in your belief?
If you’re for it, what’s more important: living in fear, or living in hope?
If you’re against it, what’s more important: having conviction, or having love?