In 1973 Roe v. Wade became a landmark case when the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was legal in the first trimester of a pregnancy. Ever since that decision there have been heated debates by the pro choice camp and the pro life camp. Most of us have deep convictions about abortion. Abortion has escalated all the way to partial birth abortions. Some mothers have tried to abort babies that survived. There are many websites and stories where survivors of attempted abortion tell their stories. Here are just a few:
Ironically, the mother of “Jane Roe” in the Roe v. Wade case wanted to abort her. She went so far as to ask a midwife to perform the abortion, but the midwife refused stating that “Roe’s” mother was too far along in her pregnancy. Also ironic is the fact that while “Jane Roe” was an adamant supporter of abortion and stated she wanted an abortion, she herself never had an abortion under the name of “Jane Roe.”
In the days prior to “legalized” abortion, there were still abortions. They were performed by doctors and midwives. Women also induced their own abortions with medicines and herbs. Unfortunately there were also some crazy people that would use horrendous methods to try to induce abortions which often caused harm or death to both mother and baby. The general guideline was that abortions were never to be done after the “quickening.” “Quickening is a Shaker term and it meant the baby was moving in the mother’s womb on its own and the mother could feel movement (usually at 16-25 weeks gestation). Movement signaled life. With the modern technology of ultra sound we now know that movement happens much sooner than when a mother feels the baby moving (6 to 8 weeks gestation)-often before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant.
I, personally, am pro life. I do not believe in abortion for any reason. I am not heartless and I understand there may be situations where rape was involved. While rape is not a woman’s fault, neither is conception a baby’s fault. I do not believe that a woman’s life is more valuable than a baby’s life. I do believe that life begins at conception and I am a supporter of adoption and other assistance programs to help with unplanned pregnancies. There are numerous options today to help women and babies that didn’t use to exist. Women can speak for themselves, but an unborn baby can’t speak (yet). Being unable to speak in the womb doesn’t make a life less valuable.
While I am in the pro life camp, there are things happening in the name of “pro life” that definitely should not be happening. Blowing up abortion clinics and/or shooting abortionists are just as deadly as the abortions these extremists are trying to prevent. The hatred and callousness of some claiming to be pro life isn’t helpful to anyone. I believe there should be compassion and I would never condemn a person who had already had an abortion, even though I don’t agree with the decision to do so. Condemnation is the last thing these women need and they can’t take back their actions so condemnation serves no useful purpose.
Despite my own position, I’ve tried to be fair to this subject with the library materials available. Interestingly, I started with the book, I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice by Norma McCorvey with Andy Meisler. I judged this book by its cover. I didn’t think I would like it. Parts of it have been very difficult for me to read.
Norma McCorvey is the “Roe” in Roe v. Wade. She tells her own story in her own words. I have to say that this book is a good story and has a conversational feel to it. The story and life of Norma McCorvey is quite interesting.
Norma came from a poor family and suffered abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother. When home life became too much for her, Norma took things into her own hands and ran away from her family. Norma committed a robbery at a young age to get money to run away. Eventually she was caught and landed in the juvenile justice system. Later Norma married at the age of 16 and had a child. Norma became an alcoholic herself and was tricked by her own mother into giving her child up for adoption. Norma’s second child was voluntarily given up for adoption and when Norma became pregnant a third time, she sought to have an abortion claiming that she had been raped. At the time Norma lived in the state of Texas which supposedly had antiabortion laws with an exemption for cases of rape. There was, however, no evidence of any kind that Norma had been raped. Due to the lack of evidence of rape, Texas denied Norma’s request for an abortion. At this point, Norma attempted to have an illegal abortion but the state had shut down abortion clinics. It was during this time that Norma was referred to activist attorneys who were wanting to connect with women wishing to have abortions. They took Norma’s case which took three years to make it to the Supreme Court. Norma never attended a single trial and in the meantime the baby she was trying to abort was born and given up for adoption. The attorney’s in the case had Norma sign an affidavit as a pregnant woman seeking an abortion and then never even talked to Norma again until three years later when they called to congratulate her on winning the case. Norma stated that she felt used.
Norma became a somewhat unwilling poster child for the pro abortion movement. She didn’t fit in well with the so called women’s libbers and they didn’t care much for her either. However because her case, the now famous Roe v Wade, became so high profile the pro abortion movement was more or less stuck with Norma. Norma worked for years as a spokesperson for the pro abortion camp and she also was an abortion clinic worker. Over the decades following Norma did abort at least one baby.
Norma knew many of the abortion protesters in her area and actually became friends with some of them even though they didn’t agree on abortion issues. Norma knew all the arguments about abortion both for and against although she was still an avid abortion supporter. Then one day she was sitting in a clinic looking at pictures of the development of a fetus. Suddenly she began to make out features like eyes and tiny little limbs. She kept staring at the pictures and without prompting from anyone, Norma realized she wasn’t just looking at cell clusters, she was actually seeing an unborn baby! In that moment Norma’s life changed for ever.
Norma became a Christian and totally switched camps. Norma became one of the most famous anti abortion protesters in the world. She spent the rest of her life trying to undo Roe v Wade. In her book Won by Love Norma McCorvery (with Gary Thomas) explains her reasons for her dramatic about face.
Norma spoke out against the “immoral machinations” of the abortion industry. She tells how she witnessed the destruction of countless human lives through abortion and how she herself felt the misery of grief and despair of so many women who chose to end their pregnancies. Seeing death constantly in abortion clinics, Norma “broke.”
Norma quit work at the abortion clinic and was now the poster child for the anti abortion camp aka the pro life movement. Norma admitted publicly that she did not become pregnant with her third child by rape. She said she had made the story up to try to get around the Texas anti abortion laws. Norma publicly contrasted the hatred and backstabbing she had felt while working for the pro abortion people (who, she said, made her feel “like dirt”) with the positivity and love she felt when she switched sides. She claimed she felt more acceptance and love in the first two weeks of reversing her position than she did in all the decades of working with pro abortionists.
There are many, many details of the contrasts between Norma’s initial pro abortion life and her life after she became an advocate for pro life. I urge all of you to at least read both of these books so that you will get a good balance of both sides of the issue.
There were other books I checked out but do not have time to comment on in one post. I ask all of you to look honestly at both sides of the issue. A couple other books I checked out were:
Do you believe that abortion is something that should–or even can–be legislated? Do you look at abortion more as an individual or a societal issue?