Lately, my dad had told me that one of my new neighbors (I’ll call her “Jennifer”, you know my habit, everyone in the Undercover Agnostic series gets a new name), had confided in him and my mother some tough issues that she was facing with her pregnancy. With her being such a small woman (5’4 tall, about 140-150 pounds or so), it’s very easy to forget that she actually is pregnant. She is 7 months pregnant now, and recent ultrasounds have shown that the fetus is not only missing an arm and a leg, but will likely be born with severe brain damage as well. To top off this bad news, Jennifer also is showing signs that she is suffering from a genetic condition that is passed down through her family that causes high pressure, and severe heart strain during pregnancy and child birth (3 female ancestors of hers have actually died from this condition during child birth).
Her doctors brought up the option of abortion, but because of the successful campaigns of “pro-life” groups, even in a center left state like Illinois (for crying out loud, our politicians seem to think the state capital is Chicago instead of Springfield, but that’s another rant for another day), because the problems weren’t spotted until late in the pregnancy, an abortion can’t be done here because of later term abortion bans, and it can’t be done in any neighboring states either.
Because of abortion restrictions, and the risks involved due to the unusual complications in this case, her doctors started reaching out across the country, trying to find states where such an abortion would be legal, and then find doctors in those states that would be willing to take on such risks. The nearest surgeons both able legally to perform such a surgery, and accept the risks are in
Surprisingly, even though it wouldn’t be legal here, Illinois’ Medicaid system has told her that they would be willing to pay both for the surgery, and basic travel expense to get there, and between travel time and recovery time, if all goes well, she will end up being gone for up to 5 days.
When told all this by Jennifer, my dad wasn’t fond of the idea of abortion, but he could understand it, he felt like it was a necessary evil so to speak, something that had to be done. My dad has always been the moderate, sensible one in the family, this is what I said about him several months ago in my post, Post Father's Day Thoughts:
“My father was also the more moderate one in the family when it come to fundamentalism, he believed what he believed (and he can still be somewhat homophobic to this day, he isn't perfect), but he also believed in letting people live their lives. He wasn't an angry, in your face fundamentalist, and still isn't. He taught me a lot of things, moderation, respect for other people, and most importantly, love.”
My mom, however, let’s just say that she is so detached from reality from spending so many years in fundie land that she actually believes in the old much debunked, "Knights In Satan's Service" hoax. Yes, I’m serious.
She tried to persuade her not to have the abortion, and I was so angry that she would do this, though I can’t say anything, at least not around her, I’m still undercover. It made me furious that she would actually convince her not to have an abortion in this kind of circumstance, and not have any kind of understanding about why she would consider it, noting these horrible circumstances.
She rather see her go through with this pregnancy, risk her life in the process, to give birth to a baby who will likely be born missing limbs, and will probably have severe brain damage to the point that it will end up dying itself, or be on life support/be in a semi-comatose state for the rest of it’s life. She could die herself, leaving behind her husband, and 17 year old daughter, who has mental health issues, to see her and baby both die, or see her die, and be left with the responsibility or taking care of the baby for the rest of its life.
It proves yet again what I knew all along about her, that she really does have no sense of compassion, despite the ways she tries to put on an act of it. I can see right through her, I know her better than anyone else. Despite her trying to act liked she cared about her, she really showed what she thought of her with her callous disregard for her life, the well being of her family, and the quality of life of the infant that would be born if she listened to her advice.
It’s situations like this that really soured me on the so-called “pro-life” movement, even before I de-converted. The extremists that I encountered that opposed abortion in all circumstances, with no regard for extreme circumstances where the mother’s life may be in danger, or the pregnancy resulted from rape or child molestation (a few of them don’t even seem to think that it's possible), or even situations where the mother couldn’t afford a child, or would be trapped in an abusive relationship because of the child. What right do they even have to feel that they should be able to use the force of law to interfere with decisions about someone’s health in the first place?
There’s no flexibility, no willingness to put pragmatism over ideology, and I have little respect for people like that, you should always be flexible, be willing to re analyze everything, and be able to make exceptions, and you should always question what you believe.
If anyone out there reading agrees with my mother on this, I have this message for you:
You are not truly pro-life, you do not support the sanctity of life as you believe that you do if you are willing to put the “life” of an unborn fetus above that of the life of its mother. You are not “pro-life”, if you are willing to put quantity of life over quality of life, and force a child to be still born, or die shortly after birth, live in extreme suffering for decades, just because you would not see the mother have an abortion.
You are not pro-life, you are a member of a cult of fetus worship, that holds fetuses as sacred, and more worthy of protection than anyone or anything else, even the lives of real, living, breathing, human beings. You are disgusting and repulsive to me, and I will fight you at every turn. You should be ashamed of yourself for your beliefs.
You may tell me that you love children, but especially if you are a fundamentalist, I call bullshit on that. You isolate your kids from the outside world to such an abusive extent that it takes years to cope with the effects, and they will still feel like an outsider for the rest of their lives. You think it’s OK to beat and bully your children, because, hey, god put me in charge of them, so they have no rights. You contribute money, and join in political activism for an organization that has not only legally defended child abusers in the US, but stick up for a cult in Germany that beats children.
George Carlin really was right when he said about the attitudes of people like you that "If you're pre-born, you're alright, if you're pre-school, you're fucked".