An awesome piece by my good friend Julianne Watkins Stangebye who is the director of a women’s care center on the East coast…
It is ironic that this is first line that I hear out of these women. If it were a script, someone would say it was badly written and to go and find some new material. However, I never encounter any ‘new material.’ I never hear, “I am so glad I have this choice of abortion.” The girls just don’t want to be in this situation. The fact is, they don’t want abortion—but they go and do it anyway.
So, let’s talk about a woman’s choice. These women have been abused. You see, you get to talking to them and you find out that they were abandoned by their father, abused by a family member, have an emotionally abusive boyfriend and/or abusive in a sexual relationship. If fact, you just want to cry with them—but you don’t. You listen, because for the first time they have someone to listen to them. And you hear what they are saying—they don’t want an abortion.
So why are they here to learn about an abortion? The most common reason is the father of the child. How many people say that men should not make the choices for women? If they saw the manipulation of women, they would be appalled. The boyfriends threaten to leave these women. They threaten to hurt them. They threaten to throw them out on the street. Worst of all, they threaten not to love them. For a woman who has been starved for love since she was abandoned by her father as a child, you can see what a sting this threat has and how a woman with at toddler just “can’t” have another baby because he would toss them out on the street. So, look very closely… this is the woman of today. She has a choice between two things—keeping her child and continuing an unhealthy relationship. Many women choose the latter and find themselves in the same situation three or six months later—they are on the table again, getting their hearts ripped out for a second time.
We talk about how strong women are today, but these women are not strong—they are alone. Women do not have a choice today. Eight out of every ten women I would meet say those exact words, “I don’t have a choice.” And guess what, when I ask them, “So, if x were not an issue what would you do?” The answer is immediate, “I would keep my baby.” These women say that this ‘baby’ is theirs and it is usually the first time they have used the word baby in the entire conversation. Do women have a freedom of choice? No. They have lost the most natural freedom of a woman—the freedom and the right—the right—to her kid.
Yes, I know, you might disagree with me. But this isn’t about me… This is about them. The fact is that you cannot deny the pain and suffering these women are in. You have not seen them cry for an hour straight. You have not seen them try to figure out how they could keep their child and then just give up in despair. Their eyes remind me of one thing… the pictures of prisoners that line the walls of the Auschwitz buildings—that made me sick to look at as I wondered, “What could possibly do that to a human and make them look dead, although they were very much alive, for the time being.”
But you what you don’t see from the women walking out of abortion clinics with a fresh broken heart?
You don’t see their strength. Because they resigned themselves to a choice—they didn’t get the chance to FIGHT for a choice.
It only takes one person to believe in them… One person to look them in the eye and ask them, “Who told you that you were not strong enough? Who told you that you were not good enough? Who told you that you can’t do what you want and have this kid?” And you see something inside them click when they hold a picture of their 15 week old child in their hands. They trace the arms, the legs—they just saw the little guy kicking like crazy in there! They realize that they do have a choice! A real choice, a mother’s choice! And they go from being a prisoner of despair into a mother of joy. Years of worry which they accumulated in the last few weeks fall off their face…
And nine months later they bring their baby back to visit you. And they thank you and you think to yourself—I didn’t do anything at all! It was all her! She is the strong one. She had to fight against all the loud voices telling her it was just a choice when she knew it was THE choice—the choice of a mother who would not hesitate to put herself between her child and death. These women who have their babies after considering abortion are the happiest women I have ever seen. They are so joyful! They are completely different individuals than the defeated ones that walked in. They are mothers who rose to the challenge of motherhood—against all odds, they won their battle!
If you have had an abortion… there is help.
If you are pregnant… there is help.
Being pro-woman is about loving women.
I love these women I talk to. I love them like sisters. They are beautiful and strong—they just need one person to believe that they can make the choice. They are already mothers. They just have to decide what kind of mother they will be.
Never fail to reach out to a mother considering ending her child’s life. Every one of us can make a difference.
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