It is, but it's one that we have to face.But then we have to move on to the reality that we are, in many cases, not offering women in crisis pregnancy situations much help. That gets all caught up in moralizing and the politics of welfare, etc. While, like you, I believe a child is best nurtured in a loving home with biological parents, I also think that current conservative positions harden us against the people who most need us. That is a concern. If I may be so crude, screw how a baby got there - we have to offer every child the best our society can, even if their life is imperfect. I mean, we don't think it's okay to abort children with Downs, so why would we cut off support for the children of less than perfect mothers?It's a conundrum, isn't it?
I know there are many pro-life volunteers out there who do work in crisis pregnancy centers offering non-judgmental support, love, and practical help to women who are faced with an unexpected pregnancy. But there are--and it must be said--groups of people who are "Randian Conservatives" whose attitude towards unwed mothers is: "Hey, they got themselves into trouble by making bad decisions. It's not society's job to pick up the pieces when the baby-daddy moves in with someone younger and hotter (and maybe less fertile). Why should my hard-earned money go to bail out someone who didn't have the self-control to keep from having sex in the first place?"
I would say that most of these people, while technically opposed to abortion, have a ways to go before reaching what the religious view of being "pro-life" actually is. (So, to be fair, do some religious-minded conservatives, who fail to embrace the fulness of their churches' teachings on the intrinsic dignity of all human beings.) Sadly, these voices are sometimes rather loud in the conservative sector, drowning out those who say what my reader has said above: the time to debate morality and virtue and public policy is before conception, but once the baby is there in her mother's womb, it's time to put those issues on the back burner and just offer help.
One of the side effects of the embrace of abortion is that women who are in less than perfect situations are often left alone when they accept an unplanned pregnancy. Their post-abortive friends may walk away, unable to face the reality of a better choice. Their parents may pressure them to abort and then wash their hands of the situation should the woman's choice be to give birth instead. The child's father may offer to pay for the "procedure" and to drive his girlfriend home afterwards, but may get angry when these generous offers are rejected and then dump her; he may even become violent, since her choice is one that leaves him financially on the hook for the next 18 years--and why should he have to pay for what he never wanted? Why should a little casual bed-hopping cost him so much, when society says the most he should have to cover is about $500 paid to his child's legal killer?
And here's where the cost of tribalism may come into play: the young woman knows perfectly well that there are such things as crisis pregnancy centers, that there are places she can go where she will be helped to have this baby and to decide whether to raise her or give her up for adoption, that there are people who will give her the welcome and love she so desperately needs right now--but she may be afraid of them, afraid they will judge and condemn her, afraid they will see her as a welfare-mom wannabe or a promiscuous or "loose" woman, afraid that they are what a few media caricatures of pro-life people have made her think of them all. She may read comments on Internet news stories or hear a bit of talk radio and come away convinced that all people who oppose abortion think that people like her, unwed mothers, are a drain on society, a burden and an expense. Her own thoughts about abortion may even still be ambiguous, in a state of flux: she doesn't want one herself, but she's not ready to say that nobody should have one, not yet--and especially not if saying so makes her one of those pro-life people she's secretly rather afraid of.
What I wish I could say to women in that situation is this:
So, you're in a situation where you may be a less than perfect mother. I only know of one perfect mother, and after all, her Son was perfect, too. The rest of us are all less than perfect mothers. We don't always know what we're doing, we're not always the models of patience and joyful motherhood we'd like to be, we're sometimes tired or frustrated or at our wits' ends with our little (and not so little) bundles of joy. None of us is capable of doing this alone--and to the extent that some of us may really promote the idea of celibacy before marriage, it's because we know from our own experiences that it's not an accident that parents come in sets of two.
But just because you didn't live up to that ideal doesn't mean it's our business to scold (that's between you and God, and perhaps your pastor or spiritual adviser if you have one). We also know that it takes two to tango, and that the man who participated in the creation of this baby has plenty to answer for. Society makes it much easier for him--and then society holds out the evil of abortion to you as if it's something good, something that lets you, too, walk away from this baby and pretend she never existed. You know better, and many post-abortive women will tell you that you never forget her existence, or the day you let them kill her.
So we do want you to choose life for your baby, because we think that you, as a woman, deserve better than the false promise of abortion. You deserve better than being told to deny your very nature and shut off all compassion for the little one you may have had a name for years ago, when you dreamed of starting a family. Your dreams may have been different, but then our dreams and our realities aren't usually a perfect match. It's okay to be less than perfect in this; you know that life also tends to get better than we ever think it will in our darkest hours.
Maybe you already know you want this baby to live; you just haven't figured out the "hows." How will you finish school? How will you keep working? How will you arrange your life, in the face of this new reality? How will you ponder adoption, or know if giving up your baby to a loving couple is the right decision?
We have a "how" for you, too, and it's this: How can we help?
Can we help you with insurance and doctor appointments? Can we help you approach your employer to adjust your hours or the type of work you're doing? Can we help you find someone to be there for your birthing classes who will be with you when you go into the hospital to deliver this baby? Can we provide counseling? Can we arrange for you to meet with people qualified to help you consider raising the baby yourself vs. placing her for adoption? Do you need a place to live? Do you need basic things like food, maternity clothing, and supplies for the baby?
I know that many crisis pregnancy centers can provide access to all of these services and more. The diocese where I live offers the Gabriel Project, which includes many services directly to women in crisis pregnancies, as well as referrals to crisis pregnancy centers in the diocese.
As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and mourn the deaths of fifty-three million American children, let's realize that abortion is horrible for women, that it is destructive, that it is dehumanizing, and that it is the last thing women need in order to be equal to men--in fact, it's downright insulting to women to say that we need abortion in order to fulfill our dreams.