The fallacy of choice

I spent a good chunk of yesterday working a booth for the 40 Days for Life Campaign at a local festival.  I handed out flyers and asked people if they would pray to end abortion.  Most people ignored me or didn’t notice me.  Some people took the flyer and moved on with little to no comment.

A group of young men laughed mockingly and one declared, “Prayer solves nothing!”  It’s sad to be so hopeless.  I do think if unmarried people stopped having sex, there would be very few people seeking abortions, but I’m sure he would be even more offended by that suggestion.  I would have liked to say, “Widely available contraception has made the problem worse, not better, what do you think is the solution?”  But probably he, like many people who stopped by the booth, think abortion is only a concern for young, unmarried women.  So many women said things like, “I’m married, so abortion doesn’t affect me,” or “I’m done having kids, so I don’t care about this issue.”  

OK, people, let’s look at the big picture.  Thousands of Americans are being killed every day.  This is everybody’s problem.

The booth had a basket of tiny babies made from rubber that showed the size of a baby at 12 weeks gestation.  It came with a card that described the development of the fetus up to that time.  Week 5: arms and legs develop, Week 6: fingers and toes develop, Week 10: baby has fingerprints.  The booth also had a display showing babies at 20, 26, and 30 weeks gestation.  In most states you can easily get an abortion up to 24 weeks, and it’s shocking to see how big the baby is at that point.  Even those 12 week old fetuses are most definitely not a clump of tissue.

Children were the most drawn to the basket of rubber babies, and they would drag their parents in with them.  Women liked to come in and see how big their own babies were – we had lots of women saying how far along they were and marveling that something the size of your fist could push your belly out so far and kick you so hard.  I think most people were shocked to see how developed a baby was at 12 weeks, which was the point of the display.  One woman took a little baby to give to her granddaughter, who lost a baby at about 12 weeks a year ago and was still mourning.

One incident was the most disturbing.

I had taken a break from the hot sun (I got a bit sunburned yesterday with the clear skies and highs in the 80’s) and was sitting behind the table instead of standing in front.  Two young men came in to touch the tiny little rubber babies, and they were followed by a young woman and her boyfriend (I assume).  I pointed out the age of the baby models and handed the young woman a flyer and asked her/them to pray to end abortion.  Her boyfriend took her by the elbow, turned her away from the booth and pushed her on down the path saying, over his shoulder, “I do not agree with this at all!”

Uh huh.

What about your girlfriend, buddy?  Doesn’t she get to decide what she agrees with?  Or are you taking care of all the thinking for her?  Maybe it would be a real shame if she thought that was really a baby, if she knew it wasn’t a clump of tissue.  Maybe she might start thinking that unmarried sex was dangerous, and cut you off.  Maybe she might think that she could never end a pregnancy…and that would ruin your life, because you have no desire to be a father.  Maybe you disagree with ending abortion because it would mean being responsible for your own actions, and who wants to do that?

This is, of course, the fallacy of CHOICE.  If you are 20, unmarried, and pregnant, it is highly likely that your mother, father, sister, brother, girlfriends and boyfriend will all tell you to just get an abortion.  It’s safe, it’s legal, it’s the best, easiest solution.  If you tell them your concerns about how maybe it’s wrong, maybe you are killing a baby, they will tell you to ignore your conscience, that it’s a clump of tissue, that it’s no big deal, that’s it’s legal, so it must be ok.  If you persist, they will tell you you would be making a big mistake.  Your parents may tell you that they won’t help you.  Your boyfriend may threaten to leave you.

At some point, literally or figuratively, someone will take you by the elbow, turn you toward an abortion clinic and push you down the path.

Who made the choice?

Is this the image of a calm, resolute woman weighing all the options, carefully considering the facts and statistics concerning fetal development and medical side affects (short and long term) of an abortion, and then making an informed decision?  Or is this a scared woman, backed into a corner and desperate, being handed lies and half-truths, who is being told what to do?

We have thrown off the “shackles” of pregnancy and motherhood, only to find new and different taskmasters.

I’m sure they only have the woman’s best interests in mind, right?

4 thoughts on “The fallacy of choice

  1. So true. And so tragic. I will pray for that young woman (and all like her) and her boyfriend (and all like him) at Mass today.

  2. I love your articles, Michelle. As a single 22 year old I found myself pregnant, but because of God I had a boyfriend who loved me, respected life, and both of us were given 100% support from our parents. Not everyone is so lucky.

    I love my son so much and wouldn't give him up for anything, but sex before marriage is such a big mistake. My husband and I have come along way (we've been married 12 years) but “shackin' up” only decreases your respect for the other person (in my opinion). It takes a lot work to grow up, accept responsibility, and love (a verb). 🙂

  3. 20 years ago, I found myself pregnant and unmarried and scared. My parents, who are Catholic, in a very hushed conversation, suggested I end the pregnancy (because they felt “it was in my best interests). My best friend at the time told me I would be making the biggest mistake of my life by having the baby. My boyfriend said that he loved me. Three months later, we got married, barely knowing one another, but knowing that we could not end a life. 20 years and 6 kids later, I am so glad that I did not listen to those closest to me, who loved me and thought they were protecting me.

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