Few problems in history have divided our people as deeply as the issue of abortion. Pro-Choice advocates fight to keep laws that legalize abortion. They say a woman’s right to make that choice freely is fundamental. While, an equally passionate pro-life movement has proclaimed that abortion is the ultimate human rights issue. Each side is deeply convinced of the rightness and importance of its cause. Voices are raised, often heatedly; debates and demonstrations continue.
Too often overlooked in the crossfire is the woman with the very personal crisis of an unexpected pregnancy. Faced with what is likely to be one of the most difficult decisions of her life, she is typically frightened uninformed often without resources and alone.
Family members (if they find out) may react in anger or retreat behind “I told you so”. A boyfriend, lover, or even a husband my not feel prepared for fatherhood. There may be no money. Diaper changing may look like a poor substitute for a promising education or career. Giving up a baby for adoption after going through labor and delivery may seem unbearably painful. So often abortion seems to be the only way to end the crisis.
But “quick fixes” seldom pan out the way they are intended. Once a woman has an abortion there is no way to undo it. Abortions are final and hundreds of thousands of woman who have had them never forget. The experience haunts them for years, maybe for lifetime. Guilt is not easy to live with. Very few women contemplating abortion have been educated on fetal development or the abortion procedures. Even fewer have been told of the possible consequences of abortion.
What a woman with an unexpected pregnancy does not need are accusations, lectures, or simplistic advice to make a quick decision and “get on with life.” She needs compassionate and practical help. She has a right to be educated without a political agenda.
Throughout the United States, there are nearly 3,000 Crisis Pregnancy Centers staffed by volunteers ready to provide help to women facing unplanned or untimely pregnancies. In addition to providing pregnancy tests and counseling, these centers often offer a full range of services, helping women obtain housing, maternity and baby clothes, baby equipment, pre- and post-natal medical care, legal assistance and financial support, information about adoption, and even advice on how a woman in school can continue her education. Offering real and tangible assistance, these centers have helped thousands of women to realize that they did not have to choose between their own lives and the lives of their unborn babies.
It begins with getting educated, and at many of these centers the people who work there are volunteers and offer their services free of charge. So they are excellent places for a woman begin her decision process. Here are some pamphlets that I’ll pass around…..Because there is a lot that goes untold. By informing the woman it brings to light important issues they may have looked over and shows them the alternatives to abortion.
The most obvious alternative would be to carry the baby full term and parent it. This may be a hard choice but to many it ends up being the most rewarding. There is financial assistance for many situations. There are also programs that will allow women to continue schooling and still parent. With our advancements in technology, colleges offer classes over the web through the convience of their own home.
Then there is adoption. There are literally thousands of couples on waiting lists desperately hoping to adopt a child. The birthmother can choose the adoptive parents for their child and have them send yearly pictures and progress reports.