Friday, May 11, 2007

Can't Be Quiet

It's rare that I talk about abortion with anyone other than my husband, mother, or very close friends, or unless I'm in a safe space and among people with similar beliefs. My main reason for this is because the issue of reproductive rights in general is my button. My thing. The thing that is at once so very personal, political, and critical to my life, values, and belief system that discussing it with anyone outside of those mentioned above is treading on dangerous and often unproductive ground. However, after reading many blog posts, blog comments and web articles, and watching several news reports about the Pope's most recent comments on the consequence politicians who legalize or enable the legalization of abortion should face, I can't be quiet right now.

This image, found at the Feminste blog, is one I've never seen. I wish I had seen it before now though. It's moving in a very unique way to me, as it reminds me how truly blessed I am to currently have the sacred, God-given right of controlling my own body. It reminds me of how precious that right is and how many people would like to see it taken away in the name of God, life, or morality. It reminds me that He was watching when I had my abortion five years ago. He was listening as I asked for guidance. He was forgiving when I asked for forgiveness without regret. I do not apologize for my decision to have an abortion, just as I do not apologize for my beliefs in a God who understands my humanity, has compassion for my frailties, and grants mercy to those who seek it with a pure heart and committed spirit.

What I'm sorry about is that I live in a culture that values one life (or potential life) over another. A culture in which some people truly, seriously believe that someone or something gave them the right to control my body, my uterus, my decision about when to become/or not become a mother. And it's not simply about abortion. This belief is connected to the broader, systematic structuring of reproductive rights, which includes (among many other things) access to affordable birth control, adequate funding for rape prevention, culturally-supported and media-sponsored solutions for erectile dysfunction. But the idea of someone else - anyone else - telling my what I can/cannot do with my body???I think of myself (on most days) as a smart person, yet I'm still not able to wrap my head around this one. No, I take that back. I understand it. I'm just very sorry about it.


M said...

Like you, I don't discuss this issue with many people--it is too personal, too emotional. I just wanted to let you know I think your post is very well written and says a lot of things I agree with.

wwwmama said...

Thank you for this post. It strikes me that people who think of God as laying down these absolutes of good and evil really just exhibit their own limits. We create God in our own image, so we're not always capable of understanding what it means to BE GOD--to be able to offer humans real free choice and self-control and then let them explore their own personhood in all its complexity. God doesn't judge us the way we tend to think. He loves us unconditionally and wholly.
Again, thank you for this post. I appreciate your honesty and want you to know that there are a lot of people in the world who agree and are sickened by the news of the Pope's words.

Literacy-chic said...

God also loves every child conceived unconditionally and wholly, and I think that does get lost sometimes. But I'm not sure where the "God doesn't judge" part comes in. Whether or not individuals should judge individuals, especially for things done in the past, is a different issue, and regardless of my own beliefs, I do not attempt to speak for God or anticipate his forgiveness or lack thereof. I did not want to chime in on this post, but to believe in God is to believe in absolutes, not relativisms. Unless one does not really believe in revealed religion, which is something different. The Catholic position is very different from what is represented in the blog referenced, btw. I also don't discuss this issue much, though for different reasons. Best, L-C

AcadeMama said...

Hi L-C,

I should have noted this in the original post, but I didn't reference the Feministe blog as a way of referencing any Catholic position - official or unofficial. I actually only referenced it because of the image I found there. My response, as I indicate in the post, is a response to an issue beyond any particular religion, person, or group. At its barest roots, my response is to the culture I perceive around me.

And, not to speak for wwwmama, but I interpreted her comment about God and judgment not to mean that God doesn't judge us. Rather, God doesn't judge us in such absolutist and binary terms as some of us may think. At least, that seems to make sense to me..

Literacy-chic said...

Okay; I interpreted that differently. Certainly God's judgment is beyond what we can know, guess, or comprehend. Thanks for the Catholic disclaimer--much appreciated!

Entropy said...

It's so different to me. 'They' are not trying to tell you what you can do with your own body, they're telling you you cannot harm the separate life growing inside you (just as you cannot harm your neighbor). I don't see it as valuing one life over another but valuing all life.

It's hard for me to understand your position as I'm sure it's hard for you to understand mine. Thanks for putting it out there though.

wwwmama said...

Yeah, sorry if I wasn't very clear. I was responding to the sort of implicit questioning of where God is in relation to abortion. My own history may clarify the evolution of my own position: I was raised Catholic, was strongly pro-choice...until I wasn't anymore. I gave it a lot of thought and just couldn't reconcile my sense of an all-loving "God" with the absolute kind of judgments that many people attribute to "Him." And of course, I agree God loves everyone unconditionally, those conceived too. But "He" created us to experience ourselves in all our dimensions, and we get to choose what that means to us. I personally believe less in one supreme being and more in a sense of God that exists in all of us. I also strongly believe in reincarnation and the idea that we all choose our existences on some level in order to experience different aspects of ourselves at various points and to different degrees. This helps me understand issues like abortion a little differently, because it means I can think of every life, even if it doesn't extend beyond the womb, as having meaning and power for the one who chose it as well as those affected by it.
I don't know if that clarifies my comments or makes them more confusing. Obviously this is a complicated and sensitive subject.