Egret and crab

Tuesday, March 9, 2021


One would be hard pressed to find an issue that divides people on this earth like the topic of abortion. 

In fact, it is probably the most polarizing topic of our time and one that causes the greatest rancor, not just in the United States, but currently in places as far away as Poland and Argentina.

Very difficult subject and one that I think I will jump into this afternoon, might as well swim for the deepest end of the pool. 

Talking strictly to myself of course, because on this topic, personal beliefs are not much subject to change.

I got into a kerfuffle with a friend this week whose feelings on the subject are different than my own and I would like to break it down for you. 

Not that I am right or that he is right, we are all of course entitled to our opinion and to be guided by our own moral dictates.

Anyway I would like to lead you into the predicate for our discussion, it was a recent news story about a woman who purposefully ran her young six year old son over and then threw him in a lake.  

She had abandoned him in a forest and ignoring his pleading, ran him over when he tried to get back into the car. She has not since expressed remorse.

The horrible tale, which I could not fully digest, being utterly horrified, described him pleading and clinging to the side of the car before the heinous deed was finally done. Frankly, I can't remember ever hurting so bad after reading a news story.

It took a day or two for me to shake the evil of this deed. I was an abused kid, my drunken stepfather never ran me over, thank god, but he regularly beat me with a two x four for deeds which I had yet to commit. When coupled with the heavy spirits that he liked to imbibe, my young life and my even younger brother's was often a living hell. 

I can tell you that the wounds that you get when you trust and even love people like my stepfather or this boy's mother, in spite of their cruelty, never are fully excised from a human being, no matter what their age. And leave one extremely sensitive to the plight of young people like this young boy who was murdered by his own mother, in the presence of his two siblings. Looking for a safe place that sadly, did not exist.

And I guess my overriding thought was that some people can not and should not ever be parents. In Jewish canon a life starts when a child draws its first breath after birth, and not in the womb and I take comfort in the wisdom of the theology. Because in my mind, it is better for a child not to have been born than to have to bear the brutality that this boy was subject to.

Like I said, this story hit me really hard, I couldn't shake it for days and it brought back some awful memories, although obviously nothing nearly so terminal. The story still hurts. Believe it or not, I can see myself in this kid.

And so I hope that I can be forgiven when in the presence of a friend who is a deacon in a church, I exclaimed that Christians loved children until the moment they hit the ground. It was a rash and unfair statement but it was what I was feeling at the moment and I let it fly.

He took serious umbrage and muttered that abortion was murder, almost but not quite under his breath. It may be all that and yet it may also be preferable to forcing women to parent at all costs and the awful situation today where many mothers and fathers have been killing their own families like what happened to the poor little boy.

And you can say, well, go after the criminal parents but unfortunately, that doesn't help the abused little kids. It is more than often too late for them. And they are wounded for the rest of their lives, physically and emotionally.


I apologized to my friend but then asked him to consider a few things. Like the law that was passed in his almost native Tennessee that gave rapists the power over women they raped to choose to abort or not. See Tennessee bill would grant fathers veto power over abortion, with no exception for rape or incest. Why does it sound incredibly cruel to me to force a woman to carry a rapist's or incestual relative's baby to term? 

I brought this up with my protagonist that morning and he said that the woman could always give the baby up for adoption in those situations. 

And I get it and I also get where he is coming from but it seems like a very absolute position and a very unfeeling position to me. And this woman evidently agrees.

Raped in her home, she ultimately gave birth to a child with hydranencephaly, a child doomed to a very abbreviated life of pain.

"My daughter was born Oct. 27, 2005. I named her Zoe Lily. I did not want to touch her at first, convinced I would cause her more pain. I was afraid she would die in my arms, afraid I would look at her and feel the same disgust I felt for myself. They took her away. The neurologist came and asked how we wanted to proceed. He asked if we wanted to intubate her because she lacked the instinct to suck and inquired about what other lifesaving measures we wanted to take. The most basic functions of her body were being controlled by her brainstem, but that was it. It would be a kindness, he explained, to make her comfortable and let her go in peace....

I remember curling in on myself in the maternity ward, 18 years old, retraumatized and flashing back to the attack, paralyzed by indecision. My milk came in, and I was furious ― it felt like a cruel joke. I could not imagine then how this would evolve over a year, how I could be so full of love for this child and also wish she had never been born.If I had been allowed the option to choose a “late-term abortion,” would I?  

Yes. A hundred times over, yes. It would have been a kindness. Zoe would not have had to endure so much pain in the briefness of her life. Her heart could have been stopped when she was warm and safe inside me, and she would have been spared all that came after.  

Perhaps I could have been spared as well." 

I don't think many people are pro abortion. What we are is about giving people the rights to make their own moral decisions and to know what they themselves are capable of bearing. Most of us have had this particular pro choice/pro life argument before. The pro life answer is always the same; so would you condone outright murder, because there is no difference

And I think this is the disconnect, the twain that shall never be bridged or met between the two camps. I happen to think that the life at all costs side feigns moral superiority and exudes grandiose self righteousness, they probably have equally horrible things to say about me. 

But clearly some people are not fit to be parents and foster and adoptive homes are riddled with stories of fetal alcohol syndrome babies being born with serious cognitive and behavioral problems from mothers who had no business ever coming to term. And the results are often not very pretty at all.

And god forbid, when these same kids with these emotional and behavioral issues, have their own kids, I think you get the awful things happening to poor kids who in no way have it coming. And that is why I back choice.

Some great people will tell you that raising a brain damaged child was a blessing bestowed on them by god and they wouldn't change it for a minute. And I honestly salute them. Because clearly so many people do not rise to their level of love and endurance and are in no way fit to be parents.

I was looking at the list of most religious states. Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana. Would be interesting to get statistics on child abuse in these particular states. That will be a project for another day. But today, Arkansas is launching a total war on abortion. And I saw this paragraph.

“Despite the fact that Arkansas has the fourth-highest maternal mortality rate in the nation and has one of the highest recorded infant mortality rates, anti-abortion politicians are ramming through this flawed and dangerous legislation,” Gloria Pedro, an official with Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, said when the House approved the bill. 

All good until they hit the ground.


Ken Seals said...

No discussion about how universally available birth control and instruction on how to use is can be the solution to this issue?

Blue Heron said...

Some of these people are also anti contraception. That can be the next crusade. Many people will not take a covid vaccine which was tested with stem cells derived from the abortion process.

Kerr A. Lott said...

Moral issues and birth control aside, there have always been abortions and always will be, banning them forces women to risk death or serious injury in "back alleys".

Anonymous said...

The child is part of the mother until it is born. It's part of her body, literally. Nature gave the power to the woman here and men seem really keen to change that dynamic. What if: girl children are given an IUD-type birth control device early on, and the default is no pregnancy, rather than pregnancy. If she wants a child, a woman has to take active steps to become pregnant. No perfect, but nothing is ~ Diane O

Blue Heron said...

Some would say that the back alley abortion death is god's deserved punishment for their sins, Kerry.

Julie Reeder said...

Robert, I really love and appreciate hearing your heart on issues, even the painful ones. Those are heart wrenching stories. Mental illness and cruelty are found in all kinds of people whether they planned their kids or not. I don't mind talking about it or even contributing, but I find rest in a place where I'm free to love and enjoy people whether we agree or not.

Martin said...

Seems to me that those who reside in the 'right-to-life' camp are more about control over women than they are about anything else. In my opinion, any woman who does not want to carry a pregnancy to term has the exclusive right to make that determination for herself and should not be persecuted (or prosecuted) for that decision, any more than a man should be persecuted (or prosecuted) for having a vasectomy.

Kerr A. Lott said...

Which god?

Blue Heron said...

the one that stops kids from getting beaten up by their alcoholic stepfathers.

Liz said...

I stayed home two years longer than I wanted to,trying to protect the three of you. Got tired of being thrown down the stairs. Still not sure he we all survived. And she loved him until she died.

I had three abortions,all of them were because the doctor said neither the baby nor I would survive. And I lost three quarters of my blood and was in the hospital for a month trying to have a fourth. Nobody should ever tell me what I did was wrong.

Victoria Roberts Art Assemblage said...

Powerful, thought provoking, and well stated. Thank you Robert for taking the time to share your important thoughts. I don't understand how anyone, when looking at the big picture can be against choice. When people say, well they should get birth control, I say, how do you know you're going to need birth control when your father, or anyone else for that matter, rapes you? But that's just like, my opinion man.

Blue Heron said...

Thank you Victoria and everybody else. Very good comments by all of you.