A Little Bit Pregnant

It doesn’t take too long in life before we have acquaintance with women and girls having pregnancies both desired and feared. Roe v. Wade was decided when I was just starting high school, and so, for all intents and purposes, I grew up with abortion being a legal option.

Some time in 2014 I read a book called unPLANNED by Abby Johnson (2010). This is the story of a young woman who was recruited in college to work for Planned Parenthood, who rose through the ranks to be director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas and who then left there and went to work for the Pro-life movement. It is a fascinating narrative for people on both sides of the abortion issue and if you haven’t read it, I would urge you to do so. She makes it quite clear that there are people of good will on every side of such issues and that you change hearts and minds by offering a positive alternative, not by strident attacks.

In a note at the beginning of the book she says this:

. . . my thinking and choices are not unlike those of so many people I have encountered. And until we each set aside our own preferences for how we wish others would think and behave, or how we assume others think and behave, we won’t be able to understand those with whom we differ in order to engage in real dialogue and discover truth.

She goes on to say:

Oh, how we love to vilify our opponents–from both sides. How easy to assume that those on “our” side are right and wise and good; how those on “their” side are treacherous and foolish and deceptive. I have found right and good and wisdom on both sides. I have found foolishness and treachery and deception on both sides as well. I have experienced how good intentions can be warped into poor choices no matter what the side.

Those comments are helpful to remember, not only on this issue, but on all the many issues that divide us. In fact, it was this book which got me thinking about all the issues that get talked about in the news, around the dinner table, among friends with whom we agree and disagree on the pages of Facebook, etc. It was this book which made me reexamine how I think, how I argue, how I present my opinions, how welcoming or off-putting I am to others. It was this book which made me consider starting my blog.

My parents liked to say there is no such thing as being a little pregnant. Just like being a little dead. You either are or you aren’t. So true. Yet I remember well the young woman I worked with years ago who when she found that she was pregnant, chose to pursue an abortion, but who would only speak of it as a procedure. A procedure to remove a clump of cells. She was afraid to continue the pregnancy, she found a solution in the procedure which took place in a wonderful university hospital. On the other hand, when she uses the pregnancy test from the drug store, ask any woman who has longed for a child what is inside her and there is no hesitation: A Baby! Joy and gladness! In my own life after years of longing for a child I had finally given up hope that I would ever conceive and bear a child. The whole world seemed to change when that early morning pregnancy test showed that I was pregnant. It never occurred to me to describe this as a clump of cells. This was the answer to prayers, the ending of monthly tears, the beginning of new life, and the blessing I had longed and prayed for in my life.

preg testThe people who parade signs saying that women who have abortions are baby killers no doubt believe that to be true. But how does this help anything? I have never personally known someone who aborted a child because of a frivolous reason. I have known of quite a few people who wrestled with the issue because their own situation was perilous, or because they were terrified to have to tell their parents that they were pregnant, or because they knew their boyfriend or husband, or some other woman’s husband would be angry and they couldn’t face the fall out from that encounter.

I am thankful that there are people in the world, who, instead of shouting slogans, are willing to be caring and loving toward people faced with difficult decisions. I am thankful when I get the opportunity to walk with someone who needs care and assistance and I can be helpful to them. If we care about women, and care about children, I believe that we need to be people who don’t set up barriers, but open our minds, hearts, and ears – to listen, to help, to walk with them during what might be a very frightening time in their lives.

I would urge you, if you haven’t read this book, regardless of your views on abortion, the right to choose, or the pro-life movement, to take a little time and read this book. In my own life it helped clarify a lot of things including many things far outside of the realm of the subject matter presented. The way difficult things are solved is not by being politically correct bullies, or by being pro-life bullies. The way to solve difficult things is to temper our speech and be the sort of person that others, even those with whom we disagree, feel welcomed to turn to and confide in. Without fear of vilification. Without fear of attack or slander.

reach out and listen

Step up to the plate and be that kind of person. You may be the only person who can do that, and be that, for someone struggling and very much afraid.

This entry was posted in Books, Charity, Family, Friendship, Life in these times, Pregnancy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A Little Bit Pregnant

  1. Great review. You’re right about how we should respect one another and other view points that differ from ours. I’m curious at how and why Abby Johnson decided to leave Planned Parenthood and essentially give up on her past beliefs. This sounds like a really interesting read and I may pick it up when I get the chance.

  2. jamilynaz says:

    This is a great post Ann! As a post-abortive woman who is now pro-life, it hits very close to home for me. I was very much like Abby Johnson and I love her book and her website, http://www.abbyjohnson.org. She is just about as pro-life as one can be, but she approaches it with love and compassion, and without judgement, which is the way that hearts are changed. I believe that is what the pro-choice movement needs – a heart-change. I would also add to all of the post-abortive women out there, there is healing if you seek it.
    Thanks for a wonderful post.

  3. Mark Chapman says:

    I think I agree with your insights regarding listening, taking others seriously, not stereotyping or vilifying, to “speak the truth in love” as Saint Paul says in Ephesians. But at some point we must speak the truth, and I do not think truth is subjective. Abortion is an objective moral evil and falls in the general category of various sorts of homicide. God forbids the taking of any innocent life, and there is no more innocent a life than a baby growing in his or her mother. At some point we have to say to the pregnant woman: No; abortion is wrong; giving birth is the good and right thing; there are alternatives to abortion open to you. This means we need to know what those alternatives are, of course, and specifically where in our local community. Saying a definitive “No” to abortion at the right moment is speaking in love.

  4. AECRM says:

    to: Lovebooksandblush — the story is pretty remarkable. She was 100% a believer in the good that Planned Parenthood professed — it really is a great read and I think you’ll be glad if you pick it up! It was a very costly change of heart on her part.

    to: Jami — her story is remarkable — and I think it is so strikingly different from much of what is said out there. She watched the women drive up, she saw what happened to them when they were confronted, she saw what happened when people spoke words of kindness and offered prayers and help. So glad I read this!

    Mark — I would urge you to read this book. It isn’t a long read and is readily available in libraries. I understand what you are saying, but you need to also consider that the woman coming in for an abortion may feel scared, trapped, terrified. I’m not saying that truth is subjective. I am saying that somehow you have to listen & help. There are alternatives — but if this is important to us, then we have to be willing, I think, to find out what some of them are, where someone can find financial help, a place to stay, people to care for them, on & on. Read the book & then send me an e-mail & let’s talk some more!

  5. Jan S. says:

    Great article and I believe this is a great way to approach this issue, choosing life or death. Although abortion is actually the final decision for some, as a result of undesirable choices or circumstances, I have found through my former work as an abstinence educator, that the teens we worked with (adults as well) also needed someone to talk to and understand their position. Many were seeking love, acceptance and other things that just couldn’t be fulfilled with a sexual relationship. Many needed someone to talk to that could share with them their worth.
    We also had a speaker come and share her story that totally transformed my thoughts about what good could possibly come from the birth of an unwanted child?
    This speaker was the product of a rape and her mother gave her up for adoption. She has shared her story with millions and I’m sure has changed many lives, speaking about the value of life and worth of self. Loving conversation is needed and can happen if you open your heart to the person and not the act.
    As you’ve said this attitude can help in all aspects of discussion and help in a much needed healing process.

  6. AECRM says:

    Thanks for sharing your views and experience with this issue. Everyone has different experiences in their own lives, in the lives of friends or family. What you shared about the experience with young people while teaching abstinence seems a no brainer. They want someone to listen, someone to be willing to talk with them — not at them. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  7. Pingback: And Then There Were None | When the River Won't Flow

  8. Sarah Middleton says:

    Ann, very eye opening. Makes sense that we need to be people that are willing to listen and love people. I don’t want to be a bully, I know the Lord would want me to be someone that gently leads others to the Gospel and His stand on life. Not bully them in judgement.

  9. AECRM says:

    Sometimes just being willing to listen to a young person or woman who is floundering and then let them know that there is an alternative to abortion. I know too many grown women who have lived with the regret of abortion. The Lord of Life calls us to have the courage to turn to Him and choose Life.

  10. Jan S. says:

    Amen to that! There are many resources out there that show, no matter what, there are scars for the mother and at times, the father. Society has attached a stigma that babies are a burden, not a gift. I told a couple once after being burdened by their situation, out of wedlock pregnancy, the baby is not a punishment! A baby is a new life, birth out of the ashes of a bad situation. Their humiliation or embarrassment is the “punishment,” a resulting baby is a blessing!

Leave a Reply