I’ve never followed a straight party line. It’s not in me to be one of the flock that walks blindly down the trail with blinders, bleating the script handed to a million other lobotomized disciples. That independence ensures I’m never bored or ever without a challenge. I was one of those kids who didn’t shut up when the grown-ups said, “Quit asking so many questions.” Long after we were told “the sky is blue because it is, now hush,” I kept wondering about it. I didn’t accept “because it is” as an answer.
When I got in trouble with the law, that independent streak kept me alive. I didn’t know what was wrong with me or what forces were pulling me down the wrong road, but I wouldn’t accept it as my fate. I didn’t like that road, and although it took decades to find my way back, I never believed there wasn’t an exit off that road to hell. It was there. I just had to find it.
I’m liberal on many issues, but I’m conservative on others. I believe the Constitution is the document on which our laws are based, and I believe every single American has the right to its protection. I believe every American has the right to marry the person he or she chooses, but I also believe every person has the right to display a flag he or she believes symbolizes their heritage, regardless of political correctness. For me, it is the U.S. flag, and I advocate for a Constitutional amendment that would make it illegal to deface it in any way. It is a sacred flag to me, the symbol of all that is good about this great country, including the sacrifices made on the battlefields to keep it flying. It is a noble flag that flies over a glorious nation.
My independent thinking has ensured that many of my walks through life have been alone. When my philosophies don’t align with the political party I usually follow, I meander off, secure in my beliefs and self-sufficiency to go it alone for a bit. It’s OK. You always make wonderful discoveries when you get off the road.
Lately, the media have made sure the country stays up in arms over the Planned Parenthood scandal, and it has fueled the abortion debate. It’s an emotional debate, as it has always been, and it’s one that forces me to walk away from the liberal agendas I usually follow. Abortion, for me, is the deal-breaker, and it’s a practice that horrifies and saddens me deeply.
Life begins at the moment of conception, and abortion is murder. At this point in my life, I cannot be swayed from that belief. It is immoral, and I struggle mightily with the argument that women have the right to make decisions about their bodies. Yes, you do, but not when another life is involved. You absolutely do not have the right to murder an unborn child. No, ma’am.
I battle with this issue because I know what will happen if abortions are made illegal again. Women will still get them, but women without the financial resources to get safe ones will be butchered. It will happen. So what do we do? Do we say, “Well she knew what could happen if she had a back-room abortion?” Her life is sacred, too. Abortion forces to the surface so many inquests about our humanness and our culture.
If we are going to really examine the debate on abortion beyond the emotional speeches, we’d better be prepared to make huge changes in who we are as Americans. We’ve become a throw-away society. We toss out our relationships when they get difficult, we throw away people, tossing them into prisons at a rate that exceeds any country in the world. We throw our elderly people away by putting them in homes so we won’t have to deal with them. We just don’t want to be bothered. And we don’t want to be bothered with an inconvenient pregnancy. So we resort to murder and play it off by saying it’s a woman’s choice, and the baby isn’t really human because he or she hasn’t been born. No. A human was created at the moment of conception. Sacred life began in that instant.
We resort to abortion because it removes the ugliness of what to do with a baby conceived from rape or incest. What if the baby has Down syndrome? What if the mother’s life is in jeopardy? We simply don’t want to answer those questions, and we don’t want to be bothered with looking at babies born less than what we consider perfect or whose presence conjures up painful memories. It’s a tough debate. Can we justify abortion only when the mother’s life is in danger? Those are heart-rending questions.
I’m troubled that we have become a culture that is no longer shocked. Opponents to same-sex marriage shouted it would be the end of family values? Are you kidding me? What family values? The ones that make it acceptable for women to have children from multiple fathers? That it’s OK to have children with no thought of providing a stable home for them? That it’s OK to end your marriage simply because you don’t want to fight to save it? Divorce is the No. 1 threat to marriage, people. Not same-sex marriage.
We have a generation of people who have coined a new noun to describe the parents of their children. Forget “mom” and “dad”. It’s now “my baby’s mama” or “my baby’s daddy”. Using those terms allows them to distance themselves from the person they created the child with. “My baby’s mama” was just some woman I had sex with. She had a baby, but she doesn’t mean anything to me.
So if we’re going to talk about abortion, we’re going to have to talk about our ability to be responsible people who are willing to shoulder tough consequences. Who will raise the child born from a rape? Who is going to rein in all the people who are now having wanton sex because society stopped raising its eyebrow a long time ago? How are we going to reverse that behavior? Abortion is murder, but the culture that has permitted so many unwanted pregnancies has to be examined, too, and we don’t want to do that. Teach abstinence? Good luck with that. Only the most naïve people actually believe that works.
If we are going to fight for the end of abortion, then we better be ready to take on the raising of a multitude of children. We better be ready to tell a woman who is the victim of rape or incest that she’s going to have to learn how to love her baby and live with how he was conceived. It’s tough, people. And you had better be ready for it.
My mother was 16 years old when I was born in 1958 in Dumas. Those were tough years for a teenage girl to be pregnant and not married. Her reputation was ruined, and people in town talked. Oh, did they talk. But thank God abortion wasn’t even on the table in my grandparents’ Catholic home. And even if it were, they wouldn’t have had the money to get one in those days. So I was born, and I’m so, so grateful I was spared. Millions of other babies aren’t.
So I must walk away from my liberal friends on this issue. We marched together on same-sex marriage, and we’ll work together again on other issues. We’re still friends, and I still respect you. But I can’t sit by while babies are murdered, and I won’t be silent when you say it’s about a woman’s choice. It’s about a baby who has no voice — except mine and all the others who say, “This is wrong.”