I’m formally closing the dialogues with Jim in Cleveland partially because the action has moved back to the comments in the adoption thread and partially because my friend Spub (who I’m outing as a friend) has taken up the debate with Jim.
While I didn’t think that the discussion would solve the division between us, I am a bit disappointed that we never could get beyond “think of the women!” “think of the children!” dynamic that always ends up happening.
But because it’s my blog I’m going to give myself the last word. This is the account from an abortion counselor at Abortion Clinic Days. I think it speaks for all the reasons why one should be pro-choice. “Choice” as in you have to let individual women figure their answers out for themselves on this issue.
This past week I counseled a woman whom I'll call LaTisha, aged 37. Her description of what "lost" meant to her had more to do with denial of her husband's drug addiction, lying, stealing. They had just had a baby this summer and that, combined with what she described as constant personal chaos as well as chaos in the home, having to go back to work almost immediately after the baby was born to cover her husband's car crashes, money thefts had left her in a state of just mopping up one disaster after another. Becoming pregnant again so soon made her realize that she was ruining her life and possibly her child's too by trying to make it work. In the process, LaTisha said, she had lost herself and was losing sight of her goals.
Life, she said, was "happening to her" rather than being under her control. Her time and energy were usurped by trying to find out the truth (was he using or not using drugs, did he or did he not steal the money, the jewelry). Between that and caring for her newborn and working, she said that she herself barely existed. Because she was not paying attention to herself, she said, she sometimes missed her birth control pills, made mistakes at work and was generally not taking care of herself. But suddenly, when she found herself pregnant again so soon after delivery, she had to stop and think about where she was, where she wanted to be, and what needed to be done. She said that once she sat and thought about all she had been through and how caught up she was in trying to deny to herself the severity of their problems, she realized that all that she had worked for could come crashing down on her. She could lose her home, her job, or the support of her family who had been telling her what they heard on the street about her husband. Eventually she decided to have the abortion on Saturday and tell him to leave on Sunday.
I commented on how calm, how at peace, she seemed as she was telling me this story. Ah, she said, that's because I am no longer lost. I have found myself again.