At the end of this week, we have a very special blog post coming up. I've asked Jill Stanek to allow my blog to be linked on January 22nd (by the way, did I mention yet that's my birthday? Because it is. My birthday. That day. ^_~ ) for "Ask Them What They Mean By 'Choice' Day". This is in response to NARAL's "Blog For Choice Day", an ambiguous and rather innocuous-sounding celebration of all things dead baby, perforated uterus, and lacerated cervix. On this day, we work to confront the euphemism of "choice" head-on, as it should be. Now, I've done this in the past, and still do so frequently, to be sure. I do it on Twitter, I do it at Jill's blog, and I do it when I get the chance to stand outside the late-term abortion mill in beautiful downtown Milwaukee.
How do I accomplish this, you ask? Well, I attempt to give the euphemism the meaning of the word they are attempting to sanitize. And, I've taken quite a bit of static about this from the "Pro-Choice-To-Kill-My-Gestating-Offspring/Child" crowd. You see, they like the warm and fuzzy feeling of the word "choice" as a noun. It sounds so much less abrasive than "abortion", because most people have at least a rudimentary knowledge of what "abortion" means, and when that is combined with at least a rudimentary knowledge of what the term "pregnancy" entails, you're talking about something pretty gruesome. Normally, when you are talking about a pregnancy ending, if everything has what is typically the intended result, what that process culminates in is the emergence of a new, very young human being from his or her mother, alive and well. Now when you apply the word "abort", as in "Oh hell, my plane is crashing, abort abort abort! But wait, I don't have a parachute!", you're going to get something as grizzly as a test pilot aborting without a parachute because there is no back-up plan for the gestating human. Their only hope was Mom, and she just had the cockpit evacuated. So, you take the noun "abortion", and you take the noun "choice", and you remind the world that these are being used interchangeably by the "My body, my choice!" crowd by giving them action verb status, and then interchanging them yourself. Also, it saves a character space on Twitter, so, win-win.
Now, when I come up with a device such as this, it only makes sense that I am going to apply it to what has become the primary driving force behind my entrance into the Pro-Life Activist role I've been working so hard to cultivate. And I know that I mention it a lot. Like, A LOT. Constantly, even. But, that is simply because it is powerful, and it is powerful because it is true, and it is tangible, and it is something that has consumed my life for the last 10 years at this point, even though it is something I have only been able to actively pursue and talk about for roughly the last 4. If you know me well enough, you probably know exactly what I am talking about already. And, you probably know that it is not really a "what" I am talking about so much as a "whom". And if you've been listening to me for these last few years, you would know that the "whom" I am speaking of is none other than my daughter, whom we'll call Maggie. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't know what abortion was or even that it existed. And, if it weren't for her father, I might not care one way or another even if I was aware. If it weren't for the both of them, I'd never have had the occasion to remind people that if I had chosen to abort, it would've been this little girl who would've been "choiced".
He and I were young. We were in our late teens. He was about 2 years younger than I, so I should've known better than to trust him, and I should have acknowledged his lack of consideration for the long-term repercussions of his actions and their affects on those around him. But, I loved him. I knew all about the ways of the world and biology and the natural order of things, and I figured he had to know these things too, right? If our relationship was what it was on my end because I loved him completely and was willing to accept the implications of that, and he told me he loved me, then surely we must be on the same page! But alas, he was a product of California sex ed and absentee parents-one of whom was a teenage mother herself when she had him. He knew very little of the actual biological function of sex and the resulting child: a gestating human being in the womb. He was the product of a sex-solely-as-recreation culture, and unfortunately his "Pro-Choice" mother had taught him all too well (without realizing the implications of HER actions, to boot). I can only imagine what it must be like to be the product of what obviously was what would be considered for all intents and purposes "an unwanted pregnancy", and then to grow to have your mother tell you it should be legal to eliminate the results of "an unwanted pregnancy". The idea sends shivers down my spine.
So of course, when I fell pregnant, his first impulse was to ask me to abort. But, it didn't stop there.
I took a hiatus from college and had moved back to California to stay with relatives because of some family problems I had been having back home. That was when I met him and we started dating. I was staying with my grandparents, and my uncles had gotten me a pretty nice job working at the same school for children with disabilities which employed them. It was a good job, and I certainly found it fulfilling, but it was dangerous due to the extreme behaviors of the children. My then-boyfriend wasn't really able to hold down a steady job for the first 5 months we were together, so I was supporting us as much as I was able, which wasn't very well. We lived pretty far away from each other, so we really only saw each other on the weekends. At one point, before I became pregnant, we tried to find somewhere for rent in the area, but getting our own place would've been so expensive, it was entirely out of the question. I told him I thought we should get married, but he said, "I don't need a piece of paper to show that I love you. I don't need a piece of paper to show me you're my wife.", and even though it wasn't preferable, it was good enough for me, because I loved him. As precarious as our situation was up until that point, after I got pregnant with Maggie, and then began the steep spiral downward.
(As an aside, around this time, I actually had an appointment to enact a more reliable method of birth control, but when we showed up, we were informed at the front desk that the doctor had called in that day. I actually cried because I missed that appointment. I think deep down I knew what was going to happen.)
At first he didn't believe I could be pregnant, but I knew something was wrong. We bought our first test-negative. He said, "See? I told you. Everything's fine." to which my response was, "It's wrong." which was only met by angry silence. Eventually I started throwing up violently every morning once I got to work and falling asleep absolutely exhausted as soon as I got home. I took another test the next weekend when I came to visit. Positive. We drove back to his mother's house where he had been staying and he wouldn't leave the couch in the sitting room for literally two weeks. He cried. My grandparents had already told me that if I was to get pregnant, I would be kicked out immediately. I had heard about one of the other employees at work who was 4 months pregnant when she had been kicked in the abdomen by a child with an emotional disorder. Her baby was miscarried and died. He begged me to "choice" her. He cried and begged and pleaded with me to choose kill her. At one point, I wrestled a bottle of painkillers out of his hands and threw them away because he said he would eat the bottle if I didn't "choose". I remember being devastated that my child's father wanted me to choose to kill her. I remember sitting in my bath, razorblades in hand, thinking that if one of us has to go, the other will follow. But the reason I couldn't end it for me was the same reason I couldn't end HER life. It wasn't fair to her, and ending my life would've ended hers as well. Regardless of how he made me feel, I had to get by, and if he was going to harm himself, that wasn't my fault. The thing I remember most is just sitting there thinking about her floating around inside me, completely vulnerable, so tiny, and so desperately in need of my consideration.
So I told him that since I could've had her "choiced" and that would've been legal if I didn't want to have to deal with her, it wouldn't be fair to expect him to be held accountable. I told him I was moving back to the Mid-South, and I would be leaving my job soon and moving out of my grandparents' home. I told him he was free to just pretend as if we didn't exist. He could just forget about us, and I would find a way to get by, and he could just go back to his old life, no strings attached. He could live the rest of his life comfortably just pretending as though I had choiced her. He just wouldn't settle, though. He wouldn't leave well-enough alone. So, we packed everything of ours that would fit in his car, and set out at the end of that year.
We found a crappy, cheap apartment and moved in. I prepared for a baby while he just kept spiraling. He was able to transfer with the job he had, and kept it for a little while, eventually getting fired a little bit before I gave birth. He avoided going to prenatal appointments with me. If he did go, he refused to look at the ultrasounds. He wouldn't tell his mother I was pregnant. He finally broke down and told her when I was almost 8 months along, only because my mother was threatening to call her and let her know. She, of course, was absolutely ecstatic. One day, many years afterward, she and I were on a long road trip. We started talking about abortion. She informed me that she was "Pro-Choice". I let her know that her son had wanted me to "choice" the grandchild she doted on and treasured so very, very much. She didn't say another thing after that for the rest of the trip.
After she was born, we hit rock botton. Eventually, things were put back together somewhat, and we were married when she was about a year old. He forbade me from EVER speaking of what he had wanted me to choose, how he had put me through hell pleading me for the choice to kill his little girl just a short while before. But after I became pregnant with my second child, all the feelings that I had been forced to ignore, and squelch...everything he had been hoping I would forget for years...it all came flooding back, and I could NOT ignore it, and I could not deny my need to speak out any longer. Because, here sat inside me one very wanted boy, but the idea that it would be legal to do to him at that very moment what that man had wanted me to do to his sister just set my hair on end and turned my stomach. And that lead me to start thinking-here and now I have this beautiful little girl who might've come so close to being thrown away like garbage-but how many other children like her in her position WERE being thrown away? How many WERE being choiced to death and finding nothing in this world for them but cold surgical equipment and a biohazard bag? When I found out it was literally THOUSANDS A DAY, I was disgusted, and crushed.
Eventually, I started becoming active in the Pro-Life online community. And eventually, that spilled over into my private life. One day, offhand, I mentioned to my mom how one of the Pro-Choicers I had been debating with talked about how little abortionists made for their "reproductive health services". My mom informed me that was a lie, because when she kept books for the OB/GYN she worked for, abortions accounted for the lion's share of his profits, and she had been openly chastised for attempting to encourage patients there who had chosen to kill their child in abortion to adopt by showing them a HUGE file their office kept with literally HUNDREDS of wealthy families desperate for children to adopt.
And that is why, later this week, for "Blogging For Choice (To Kill)" Day, I will tell you about the choice my mother made to leave the employ of this doctor and her pleas to him-her friend and beloved employer-to end his profiting off such a horrific practice.