With the current political climate I've been seeing a lot about abortion recently. I recently received an invitation to a group that is trying to legislate a stop to abortion. A noble cause, to be sure, but not attainable. We can't legislate the end of abortions. It will simply push all of those who want abortions to unhealthy, illegal options. No, to stop abortion, we need to fundamentally change several mindsets rampant in our society.
First and foremost is how we treat women. Without women, mothers, wives, sisters, and friends, our society would cease to exist. And I'm not just talking about procreation. Women, with little exception, carry, teach, nurture, and care for the young. Women and mothers should be given our utmost respect, but this is not the case. Motherhood is being shamed. Being kind and gentle is seen as weakness. A woman is blamed if she gets pregnant, or slut shamed if she enjoys sex. But this is not a one way road. Men have just as much responsibility. But instead of being berated for sexual promiscuity, they are celebrated.
In our day and age it is just as easy for men to prevent pregnancy. Wearing a condom is just as easy to remember as taking a daily pill. But still, the responsibility to not get pregnant falls squarely on the shoulders of the woman. And if she does get pregnant, the "father" might just disappear. He's not ready for the commitment. News flash, neither is she, but she doesn't have the option to just disappear. She has to make a hard life choice: does she keep the baby, try to raise him on her own? Or give the baby up for adoption? Or choose abortion? None of these choices leave her free like the boy who impregnated her and walked away.
If she chooses to raise the baby, she might be shamed for single motherhood, condemned for uncrossing her legs, as it were. Perhaps seen as a welfare mom, only having kids to get her monthly check, whether she works or not.
Adoption is a hard thing; choosing to give your baby to someone else. To live, knowing a part of you is gone, but also thinking it may be for the best.
On the surface, abortion seems the easiest choice. One quick procedure, and you are free again. But are you? Many women, up to 93℅, who have had an abortion regret it afterwards.
Our society fails to assist all of these women. Low income mothers may be able to get the healthcare and physical help they need through welfare programs, but do they have the emotional support? Raising a baby is so much more then food, clothes, and shelter. It is having a village around to support you, where you are not the only one taking care of your baby, and yourself. It is having someone to call when your baby won't stop crying, or when you can’t.. This is something lacking in our culture, not just in low income families, but everywhere. If you are lucky, when you have a baby, maybe a few friends will bring you dinner, maybe your mother will come stay for a couple weeks. But some are not that lucky. Some women, single or not, have to be everything to that baby, while having no one to turn to, no one to help.
Likewise, women who choose adoption may not get the help they need. Yes, baby will be taken care of, loved and provided for by a new family, but that mother, who gave up her baby, she's hurting physically and emotionally, too. She needs support, just as much as the adoptive mom who just got the best present ever.
There are a many things that we can do as a society, to help support mothers, whatever their choices, and minimize the conditions that encourage abortions. In addition to good maternity care, Congress can mandate paid maternity and paternity leave, allowing new parents more time to care for baby without stress for money or losing their job. As a society we should be more supportive of all parents. Bring them meals, or come over and help them around the house, so she can take care of baby, or take care of baby so she can sleep, shower, or get out of the house. We have lost the mindset of "It takes a village to raise a child."