Posted by: megshoeman | July 29, 2008

Disclaimer: I Am a Lesbian, I Publicly Oppose the Death Penalty, I’ve Voted Republican Just Once and That Was A Municipal Election

I’ve been meaning to share a few thoughts on abortion, and the story over at After Existentialism, Light has just given me the nudge I guess I’ve needed. Do check that story out here. The gist of Kevin’s post is that South Dakota law will now require doctors to tell patients that an abortion “will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being.” I applaud this move.

As one who loves several women who have had abortions, I think about this fairly often. I was especially struck by the question a week or so ago when I saw a photo of a guy who was attending a major event of a mainline Protestant denomination. He wore a pink button on his t- shirt, reading “Pro-Family, Pro- Faith, Pro- Choice.” How very enlightened he must feel himself to appear to be, I thought. Hmm.

When we use terms like “pro- choice,” I wonder, just whose choice are we discussing first of all? The pro- life lobby is quick (and rightly so, I think) to point out the lack of choice on the part of the unborn human baby in the case of abortion. The pro- choice lobby insists that to call oneself pro- choice is to be an advocate for women primarily, to speak in favor of her freedom and her right to self- determination.

I beg to differ.

As a woman, it seems to me that abortion is so very often first of all a man’s choice. We all know that abortion is quite rare within relationships such as marriage where the man has committed himself to the woman and her interests for the long haul. I’m sure there are such cases in this big, round world but I haven’t heard of any lately. Why? In this case, there is something at stake in the relationship. Even if he hadn’t planned on being pegged down with kids at this point in his life, the husband sees in his wife (at least–perhaps he envisions the same in his unborn baby) someone who is worth the sacrifice of some of his own comfort. Maybe he refigures some financial plans and he rejoices with his wife and awaits his baby with her.

Where does abortion normally occur? It occurs most often within those relationships that are already deeply broken. These are basically disconnected, frequently promiscuous and generally low commitment relationships. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a woman who was struggling over “her choice” say through her tears, “He said he’ll give me the $400,” I’d have at least fifteen bucks and I could buy myself at least two packages of socks. The point here is that a man has used a woman sexually and is now refusing her. He is denying the natural product of their relationship and thereby the essential value thereof in the first place. He has used her and is now denying her, for the baby is as much part of her as is any desire she’s ever had. 

We talk about a woman’s choice but abortion is almost never truly a woman’s first choice. She experiences fears and tremendous pressures until, given the lack of support she finds, she decides to convince herself that it is her choice. The sense that she needs her man, that she isn’t enough, the fear of being left alone by a guy who wants his “freedom” leads to a “choice” that is actually one more violent imposition. She will nearly always mourn her “choice” in bitter grief over the loss of her right to the natural blessing of motherhood. And when we fancy ourselves enlightened, caring and sharing, open- minded, “thinking” Christians (like the bearer of the pink button) we may well be contributing to the crushing weight of more of these violent impositions even while fancying ourselves peace- loving soldiers in the march for women’s freedom. 

Let’s just think things through. Let’s don’t buy on to tow any line, that’s all.



  1. I thank you for your witness to life. I’d encourage you, if you’re not already, to get involved with Presbyterians Pro-Life of the PCUSA:

    As you probably know, the PCUSA is shamefully affiliated with The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which lobbies Washington for pro-choice legislation. Not exactly where tithes should be going.

    As well, I don’t know your stance on homosexual activity, but OneByOne is a great resource on sexuality (incl. sexual abuse) for PCUSA members:

    OneByOne is not a reactionary, homophobic organization. Instead, in a way similar to Robert Gagnon’s work or that of John Paul II, they present a biblically-faithful but sensitive approach to a complex issue which touches lives at a most intimate level.

    So, that ends my little promo 🙂
    God bless!

  2. I’d have to agree that the smart decision for all women is to get all facts prior to making a decision. When I saw my son’s ultrasound for the first time I was at about 5-9 weeks (not sure exactly). Anyway, I could clearly see his little head and the start of arms and legs and those little arm and leg buds were waiving and kicking like crazy.

    So, while I do believe that abortion should be legal; I have no problem in requiring that women be provided with all information prior to the decision being made. Instead of a doctor describing what is being “terminated” perhaps women should have to take a look at the ultrasound so they can decide on their own.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. I’m also a liberal Democrat and NEVER vote Republican. I’m also obviously a lesbian.

    No tow lines here.

  3. Kevin, I appreciate the references you gave. I’m closely familiar with the work of Rob Gagnon but I reject its premises and most conclusions. In any case, thanks again for the conversation!

    2lesbosgoinatit, thank you for sharing some of your first- hand experience. It is good to hear from you.

    Every blessing to you both.

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