Thursday, February 25, 2010

"can you punch me in the stomach?"

She was standing there, peeling string cheese and eating it methodically, as she said, matter-of-factly, the words that most young, sexually active women don't want to have to say: I'm pregnant.

She wasn't talking to me, but rather to a friend of hers in the room with us. As I sat on the floor folding clothes, I stopped and looked up at her, listening to her talk to the other girl about her news.

Friend asked her, how far along are you? Pregnant girl says she doesn't know. I listen to her story a little more, and then, with slight hesitation, I told her, well, congratulations, with a slow smile. I usually don't say congratulations to people, because I've experienced people I know getting pregnant unexpectedly, not wanting to be pregnant, etc. We don't seem to live in an age when pregnancy is a planned, joyous event anymore, so I usually don't say anything until the person has given me the feeling that they are excited. But today, you just never know.

Clearly, I spoke too soon. Pregnant girl kind of rolled her eyes toward the ceiling when I told her congrats, and as Friend asked her another question, Pregnant girl says, matter-of-factly, loudly, I'm getting an abortion.

Not a hint of remorse, not a hint of fear, of frustration, just simply, that she was getting an abortion. She said it as if she'd told Friend she was taking out the garbage.

As a pro-choicer, I've never shuddered at the idea of abortion. Though I don't plan on practicing it, I have never felt it right for someone to tell someone else what they can or cannot do with their body, with their life. It never made me shudder. Until that moment.

It wasn't the fact that she said she was going to have an abortion. I know, it happens. People get pregnant when they didn't want to, when they feel they can't afford it, when they feel they aren't ready... I know that. But it was just the way she said it. Like it was nothing. Like it was commonplace.

I literally felt a chill come over my body, and it wasn't because they turned up the AC in the store. As one of those young, sexually active women, I'm definitely not trying to get pregnant. I don't feel prepared, and these are not the life conditions in which I would want to bring forth life into (no career yet, no husband/partner, etc.). But, that being said... I just know I wouldn't be able to approach the situation so lightly. I would not have gone around telling everyone, I wouldn't refer to my baby as an "it," I just couldn't do that.

It's rather hard trying to articulate these emotions... it's hard because I want to avoid being judgmental and "oh, you shouldn't do that!" I don't know her situation, I don't know her life, I don't know her. All I know is how I feel, and what I think I would do... because at the end of the day... I don't know what I would do until I was in that situation, which I pray I never have to experience.

I guess at the end of the day, my thoughts are this: yes, I am still pro-choice, but I wholeheartedly believe children are gifts from God. I have seen people who have tried for years to conceive and never could. If God decided to bestow that gift upon me, who am I to say I don't want it just because I feel like I am not ready for that gift? Maybe I'm also saying this because I take precautions to avoid pregnancy, so if it did occur, it would pretty much appear to be God telling me, here, child... I don't know. I'm still pondering the exchange I witnessed. All I do know is that it sent shivers down my spine.

Despite the situation, despite your views, abortion is not something to be treated casually. It's not like you're taking out the garbage. It's not as simple as can you punch me in the stomach? It's life. Life that was likely created in a beautiful moment, as great sex can be, and should be. When did babies shift from being great occasions to becoming unwanted accidents?

As I was writing this, The View came on... and coincidentally, their topic for the entire hour is about couples trying to get pregnant, infertility, etc. Yeah, coincidence indeed ;)

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