Jewish World Review Jan. 25, 2002 / 12 Shevat, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- AS a woman who has given birth three times, I always grab a sideways glance at events commemorating Roe vs. Wade, the lawsuit that opened the door to legal abortion. I scan the faces and listen to the voices, wondering who will be next to switch sides. Some will, you know.
Carol Everett, one-time abortion clinic director in Dallas who boasted of "selling" 500 abortions a month, switched sides. Abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of National Abortions Rights Action League, also crossed over to the pro-life camp. Norma McCorvey, the original Jane Roe, now works for pro-life organizations. I switched sides, too.
I fancied myself pro-choice in college. You could etch what I knew about fetal development (it took around nine months, maybe 10?), pregnancy (women grew to the size of walruses), labor and delivery (it hurt!), on the head of a pin. Still, I was reasonably certain I was pro-choice.
Working as a newspaper photography intern one summer, a fellow intern and I were handed a plumb assignment - a personal interview with Nancy Reagan hot on the campaign trail for her husband. I was livid that the reporter didn't pummel pro-life Nancy with hard questions. Why didn't she nail the woman with the expensive purse, the matching shoes and the ridiculous views?
Fast forward through college, marriage and a first pregnancy that ended in miscarriage after 14 weeks. I was checking out of the obstetrician's office, stifling sobs and avoiding eye contact, when a young woman planted herself beside me and demanded to known whether insurance would cover her abortion.
I didn't know whether insurance would cover an abortion, but I did know that the feminists had lied through their teeth. I hadn't lost a tissue blob or a blood clot or a product of conception, I had lost a teeny, tiny baby with an itty bitty body, arms and legs, a head and a heart, and even toenails. Pierced by the utter absurdity of human life possessing less self-protection than a possum scuttling across a four-lane highway, I switched sides.
I learned about fetal development, the wonders of pregnancy, and the miracle of life. I studied the pro-abortion arguments and learned how to dismantle them one fallacious piece at a time. I learned to be up-front, outspoken and even contemptuous in my pro-life views. Then time passed and I learned a few other things as well.
I learned that in a crowd of women my age, nearly one in ten has had an abortion and, in many cases, still needs to talk. I also learned that my convictions would take on a different perspective and softer volume as my own children grew from tots to mature teens.
And last year I learned the heart-wrenching pain of a crisis pregnancy as a friend's teenage daughter disclosed she was pregnant. It was like witnessing a grenade exploding in the middle of their family room. As I helped sweep up the heartache, mangled relationships and broken trust, I understood why parents take pregnant girls by the hand, slip into abortion clinics and have the "problem" eliminated.
Abortion is a terrible wrong and a haunting choice, but I understand why women choose it. I understand it the same way I understand that we have become people ruled by comfort and convenience, instead of principle and conviction. My friends and their daughter are rebels in this world, which is why the 18-year-old gave birth and placed the baby for adoption with a warm and wonderful family. A most marvelous outcome, but an excruciating process.
Pro-life? Absolutely. I'm on this side to stay. But tempered by time and
tears, I'm not as likely to be one of the faces yelling in the crowd. I'd
rather be behind the scenes, saying, "I know this hurts, how can I
01/18/02: Kids, take note
01/18/02: Kids, take note