“Having Sex Is Part of the Animal Experience” – How do we protect human reproductive rights and the life of the unborn?
How could any sane person be both “pro-life” and “pro-reproductive rights?”
A personal testimony…In 1982, I gave birth to a pre-mature baby boy. He was fully formed, very much a human baby, 10 fingers and toes. My son only weighed 1.8 pounds and had only been growing inside of me for about 18 weeks. He was very small but he was still my baby. We did everything we could to stop the labor, but my body was determined to give birth to him prematurely. I loved him before he was born and I was devastated and angry that I couldn’t protect him.
As I laid alone in the labor room, I gave birth to him and felt him struggle for life as he was born and especially after. It was like a terrible nightmare. How could he be born alive and struggle to live and not have a chance at all? It was so cruel and so unfair that I had to go through so many hours of painful labor just to have my baby and helplessly feel his struggle and die. How could God be so cruel? I found myself asking God, “Why even anoint that life if you were going to allow him to suffer and take him away in such a cruel way?”
My son died because, 32 years ago, babies his size had zero chance of survival outside of the body. My husband and I named him and took him home to be buried in the family cemetery, where we honored our son, where we honored his life and death. He was human. He was a person. He had dignity. His father placed a teddy bear in his tiny coffin and said, “No baby should have to go to sleep without a teddy bear.” Our baby boy was now an angel in heaven and I was left with a cruel, empty space in our life.
From that moment on, I was “pro-life” and definitely anti-abortion. There was no doubt in my mind that not a single baby should ever be aborted at any stage of development. I still believe this with all my heart. It was then that I stopped taking life for granted and realized the “miracle” of any human birth and particularly each and every human life. It was truly a miracle that any of us survived pregnancy and delivery, much less all of the other perils that life had to offer after birth. I became a vocal and prayerful activist for the unborn and still am to this day.
“God is good at making silk purses from sow’s ears.” God didn’t make my son die. God doesn’t make bad things happen to good people. He did however make something good come from the loss. I became a more devoted and loving mother…not that I wasn’t one before, but the loss had brought the role of the mother into clear focus. I had to control what I was able to control and give the rest to God’s will.
I too found a deeper devotion to Jesus’ mother, who didn’t lose her son in childbirth, but who had to watch as her beloved son was beaten, spat on, ridiculed, and crucified. The pain her heart must have felt too…unbearable pain for a mother. I knew we both shared an experience and I found great love and solace from her loving embrace. We both shared in the passion of Christ, especially in our pain as mothers.
Each time The Lord blessed me with a new pregnancy, I said, “Yes, Lord.” I will be his/her mother. I joyously praised God for each and every day of pregnancy and gladly accepted all responsibilities for my babies…these true gifts from God. Never again, was I to take life for granted.
Women’s Reproductive Rights:
With this personal experience and set of beliefs, how could I ever be “pro-reproductive” rights? When I was pregnant with my next child, I again went into labor early. We were able to stall the labor and I was put on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. I marked off each and every day on the calendar and prayed that God would help me to get this special life here alive. Indeed He did, even though I went into full labor 8 weeks prematurely, we delivered a healthy, beautiful baby boy by c-section. He was so beautiful and was the blessing our little family needed after such a tragic loss.
Seven months later, I was pregnant again. When I went to the doctor, he informed me that I would be scheduled to have yet another c-section, because he would not allow me to have a “natural” birth after a c-section. At this time, I was a childbirth and breastfeeding counselor and educator and knew that women did indeed have vaginal birth’s after c-sections. I did my homework, wrote an article, and changed my doctor to one who would allow me some control over my own choices and my own body.
It was through this experience, that I realized that women were having c-sections because they were more convenient for their doctors and their malpractice insurance providers. There was no medically valid reason to have a repeat c-section rate of 36% in America in this day and age.
I learned that I had a 99.999% chance of having a vaginal birth with no complications beyond “normal” labor and delivery. My chances of having complications were less than for a woman having her first baby, who had a uterine rupture rate of 3%. The rate for VBAC’s, vaginal births after cesareans, was less than 1% and this was for indigent women with little or no prenatal care!!!
My youngest child, born 18 years ago was born with no complications, no medication, a picture-perfect, vaginal birth after a 5-hour labor…she was born after my having two previous c-sections. Best labor and delivery experience of my life. It was my body, my choice,…I understood the risks to me and to my baby and was allowed to make those choices because I was uninsured. Yes, I was too poor to have all of the monitoring, meds, and surgery unless it was absolutely needed.
Pro-Life and Pro-Reproductive Rights – The activist was born:
Through this revelation, I became an activist for women’s reproductive rights, because women must have control over their own choices, their own bodies. If we take one right away, then we lose others. Women the world over were victims of rape, domestic abuse, intense poverty…and they had been seeking abortions from the dawn of mankind to be able to ensure the survival of their other children. Women were drinking potions, seeking the counsel of witch doctors…etc..why?
Because they were in poverty with 10 other children and they could not afford another mouth to feed. So cruel….society had them, prisoner, to the husband’s sexual needs and they had no choices..except the back alley and perhaps death…or watching their babies die of hunger. Women of today’s DID have choices and the constitution gave them the right to make those choices. I don’t agree with the taking of any innocent life, but at the same time, there has got to be a better way than simply taking a woman’s rights from her. There must be a better way than sentencing women to a life of no choices, servitude, rape, violence, and endless heartache and pain?
I am pro-reproductive rights..no government agency should ever tell a man, woman, couple…how many babies to have. Their reproductive rights are a matter of personal liberties and should not become an issue decided by a state. It should be the doctor, woman, couple….they should make those decisions. My husband opted to get a vasectomy. I was Catholic, he was not and we were not married in the church. This was his choice, our choice…what if someone decided to make that illegal? It’s none of their business. It is our decision. We had had four babies in a short amount of time. I had used natural family planning. We had followed all of the rules that my religion expected of me. We were advised NOT to have any more babies if we wanted a mother around to raise them. So, WE made the choice, not a government agency or a church.
I am also pro-life. All human life is a miracle regardless of the stage of development or status. I just think the issue is far more complicated than simply saying babies are people too and that their mothers and doctors are murderers. This led me to truly look at why women choose death instead of life. How could we find this balance between the life and dignity of a little person who could not survive outside of the body and the personal liberty, right to privacy, of the mother?
My years of praying, pondering, and investigating this topic have led me to the following conclusions:
A logical reasoned, and informed solution:
If we truly want to stop the need for abortions in this country, we must fight against ignorance and poverty and empower people to make a choice for life. How do we do this if they are poor and ignorant about their own reproduction?
We, as a society, must provide…
1) free women’s and men’s, health education, birth control, and prenatal care.
2) a living wage for all people
Poverty is the primary reason that a woman even considers abortion.
If we want to see an end to the need for an abortion, we must…
- work to remove the economic disparity which perpetuates the cycle of poverty and abuse of women and children in our society.
- provide tax-funded, comprehensive education plans, as well as sexual and financial equality for women and men.
Women and men MUST be given the same…
- reproductive choices
- opportunities for education and employment
- pay for the same type of job
- pre-natal, pregnancy, and post-birth support in the workplace
- health care opportunities access to safe, affordable family planning and sex education
- childcare subsidies and family leave benefits
Having sex is a part of the animal experience. We cannot stop people from having sex. It is not a moral choice, it is a choice driven by our animal biochemistry and wiring within our neocortex. If a population is stressed, it responds by engaging in bloodletting, WAR, or by experiencing a balloon in the population, sometimes both. Males in particular have an incredible drive to procreate. Females have an incredible need to find a mate and keep the mate nearby for food, protection, etc.
In order for a species to survive, it must be able to…
- survive – have the necessities of survival – shelter, food, water…
- adapt to any changes in the environment
The need to be sexual and to procreate is very strong. The pre-societal male was able and still is able to impregnate hundreds of women in a year’s time. A female is only able to have one child per year and stands at a much higher risk of death and morbidity during the birthing process. The female’s role was to nurture the young. Anthropologically speaking, the traditional roles of males and females were developed out of practical need, not some biblical hierarchical casting for family stability. Being sexual beings is just part of our “human” condition and a necessary part of the human experience.
How does sexual morality fit into this experience? When a society is stressed by poverty, disease, and or abuse, the human response is in self-medication, stimulation of the parts of the brain which produce chemicals that relax or de-stress the adrenal system of the body…we respond through substance abuse, which helps us numb the pain and anxiety, we respond through rage and killing and/or we have sex. This a biological fact. Sex is a natural response to stress in a population.
Religious and moral teachings help us to control our animal instincts and to curb our natural tendencies as animals. Human beings have learned to be civilized and orderly, but we are still animals driven by animal instincts.
How do we solve this problem?
The key to solving the problem is to remove the poverty and ignorance which leads so many people to engage in behavior which is self-destructive. Education and positive motivation are keys to success in changing this human condition.
- Educate our children about their bodies and how to plan for a family when they are ready for a family.
- Teach them how to protect themselves from diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
- Teach them how to make life choices which will be a benefit to their own futures and their future families.
- Teach them the responsibility of being sexually active…
- Leave the religious and moral teachings to the parents and the churches…stop trying to legislate morality by cutting the very services needed to make life a viable choice.
Is abortion ever really necessary?
Abortion, particularly late-term abortions, is a viable medical need in very extreme cases, where the mother’s health is in danger. There should be restrictions on the use of abortion as a medical procedure. A woman or child who is raped should be able to seek immediate medical interventions to prevent that pregnancy if that is their choice.
As a devout Catholic,
- I advocate life as a choice, but I will not choose for someone else.
- I want my tax dollars to go to preventing the need for any abortion.
- I want to fund prenatal care and education.
- I want to be a mother to be a positive, societal, affordable choice for any woman who wishes to have their babies.
- I want all people to have access to free and affordable birth control if that is their personal choice. If they aren’t getting pregnant, then there is no need for an abortion ever.
Most of all,
- I want to eradicate poverty.
- I want all children born in this country to never go to bed hungry, sick, cold, or alone
I want all babies to be wanted and loved by their parents who chose life instead of death.
Being Pro-Life to me means advocating protection of all life, before and after pregnancy and birth.