Posted by: Amie | September 26, 2008

Pro-Choice Protagonist

I was raised by my grandparents in, what I consider, an ultra-conservative household. We were Christian, we flew a flag from our front porch, we supported our troops and voted straight-ticket Republican (before the Bush Disaster, of course). When I was old enough to choose my political views myself, I chose my father’s side of the family’s political views, and became a Democrat much to the chagrin of my grandparents. However, my grandma and my aunt, I am proud to say, have recently become Obamicans. But growing up, there was always one belief in our home that was strangely anti-conservative: we are pro-choice.

Being from such a religious family, I was always taught “no sex until marriage.” However, I attended public school where I was educated in the ways of hormonal changes, awkward descriptions from blushing teachers, and the dreaded videos. Until then, in pure honesty, I never understood, other than “you will make Jesus/God angry” why you shouldn’t partake of the dance of the birds and bees. The only risk I knew of before Sex Ed was getting knocked-up, as you see, I am the product of my very own mother’s unwed, teenage pregnancy. While I am in no way accusing my grandparents of bad parenting skills, abstinence-only teaching would not have been convincing enough for my curious, horny teenage mind.

In church, I was always taught that abortion was murder and that you shouldn’t do it under any circumstance. Like a sheep, I followed my spoon-fed idea, and brought it home to the dinner table for discussion. I was more than shocked, and somewhat horrified to discover that my grandparents did not share the same feelings as people at the church. “Abortion is not cut and dry, ” they said. “We don’t believe it should be illegal.”

I decided that I would never put myself in the situation where I would need and/or consider abortion, so I put the whole issue on the back burner and focused on more important issues such as, “Do I really believe Jesus is God?”  After I came to my conclusion and converted/reverted to Islam, the idea was again dug up and placed in front of me to decide.

Some Muslims believe that a child is only a child after God breathes life/a soul/spirit into its body after a disputed 120 days or three months. Other Muslims believe as conservative Christians, that a child is a child from conception and it’s murderous to terminate the pregnancy, and therefore haram or forbidden.

As the primary campaign began, I saw more and more conservatives choose pro-life candidates while ignoring many other issues that I find important – such as, oh, let’s see…FOREIGN POLICY!!! However, before I could complain, I first had to settle my agreement/disagreement with abortion.

I brought the issue again to the table of my grandmother, and asked her why she was pro-choice. She began to tell me of the times before Roe vs. Wade where women would seek “back alley” or coat hanger abortions and wind up with deformed babies, terrible infections or even death. She told me that she believes abortion should not be used as “birth control” but the procedure should not be taken away. “If someone feels they need to do something and they’re desperate enough,” she said, “they will resort to any such madness to find relief.” She’s right.

I began to deeply ponder my ideas. Yes, I believe late-term, and partial birth abortion is wrong, but because of that only, should abortion be banned? What about cases of rape, incest, or a troubled young girl who was taken advantage of? What about, say, a mother of growing children who is currently carrying a life-threatening pregnancy? Should she have to risk her own death to give life to a baby that may or may not survive as well? I decided that I am certainly pro-choice as well.

A few days ago, I posted a rather satirical response on my Facebook profile to the viral “Nobama” emails that have been circulating inboxes since the campaigns began. I sarcastically pointed out flaws of the opposing candidates, all in good fun, but to raise awareness as well. The responses started out: “love it!!,” “PERFECT!,” etc. However, one strongly conservative friend of mine posted a pro-life response in favor of John McCain. In rebuttal, I simply posted a tasteful excerpt from The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama clarifying his stance on abortions. That apparently was my fatal mistake. A simple note on a social networking website filled my inbox with questions (mostly respectful) and my profile with a heated debate. And suddenly I found myself the star of a saga of a lone wolf in a pack of people ready to label me a baby murderer.

My friend’s mother, another hard-core conservative (and my former youth pastor who strongly advocated abstinence-only as I was growing up), came at me with Biblical scripture claiming we cannot accept sin, basically, and there is no degree of sin, and…I don’t think it made much sense, but it went a little something like this:

“2Ti 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. Be careful Amie…there are no degrees of sin. You can’t allow sin to hope some other sin gets better.”

Like I said, I didn’t really understand how it applied to the context, but it got my blood boiling anyway. Evil men and seducers? SERIOUSLY?!

I responded in a much more tactful manner than I should have out of simple respect for her, but what I really wanted to was this:

A responsible candidate must not only take his or her feelings and beliefs into consideration, but the safety of the populous and what will make the most sense in our society. And in today’s society, Sweetcheeks, we have seventh graders replacing a good night kiss after a date with oral sex.

This is our reality, people, whether you want to face it or not.

The fact that I’m a mother and will have my precious baby in my arms in a few months, God willing, scares me to death to think about the temptations even the most well-behaved, most well-brought-up children face. Even the best kids will screw around if they are tempted and have the opportunity, and I’d feel much better knowing they had been educated not only in religion, but biology as well and use protection.

The problem is, we have Republican candidates slashing budgets for sex education and contraception, and teaching abstinence-only programs. It’s riduclous to think that the opposite of abstinence-only is baby murdering. But leave them uneducated and without choices – this is definitely a fantastic plan…right?

Let’s ask Bristol Palin just how well abstinence classes in her high school helped her out. It’s a low blow, but it’s true. Conservatives can just not see that we have a candidate whose family has already been negatively affected by this doctrine, yet they still want her in place to extend her influence nationally? REALLY?!

For me, I cannot blindly sit back and believe that forcefully imposing my beliefs and values on someone else will have a positive effect. A young woman who is raped, is a victim of incest, or cannot carry on a pregnancy because it could end her life or damage her, should not be forced to carry a child to term.  An overturn of Roe vs. Wade in the constitution would be a ban of abortion, and this ban would include such reasons as listed above.

Education and prevention is key. Schools and governments can’t just assume that parents are teaching their children, nor can parents assume the schools teach their children – we must all be responsible as it takes a village. I took a deep breath and took my sisters, individually, out to dinner, and then to the park to explain to them why not only is virginity precious, but why it’s not a good idea to even “fool around.” Their friends had already had numerous boyfriends and sexual encounters at the time, and they were not old enough to enter the school’s sex education.

How old were they? No, not 14, not 15 – 12. At 12 the majority of their peers had already had a near experience, or an experience, or several.  I’m not calling myself a hero, but what if no one had spoken up? I recently asked them if anyone else had “the talk” with them other than me. They said, “no.” We can’t assume anything. It’s embarrassing, it’s awkward, but I would rather be embarrassed for an hour and explain everything than stand next to them as they try explain to our family how they wound up in a delicate condition.

Pro-choice does not mean all abortion, all the time. It means, for most, that there should be an option, if need be, to terminate a pregnancy. There can be regulations made, yes, to reduce the age of a legally aborted fetus, or to restrict the amount of abortions, but you cannot claim a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to answer a question of life and death.

Because of this, I remain simply and firmly pro-choice.

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Responses

  1. […] about the stuff I don’t have the cojones (or the patience) to write about; like this post on abortion, sex-education, and the Republican agenda. She also wrote a hilarious post about men and how to be married to them which, despite only having […]


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