It’s Better To Help Than To Judge

Early yesterday morning, in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, a 16-year-old girl gave birth, stuffed the baby in a bin under her bed, then went to school.  When she confided to a friend, her young friend did the right thing and contacted authorities.

Luckily for the sixteen-year-old, she won’t be facing murder charges.  After an autopsy on the baby, it was proven that it was stillborn and hadn’t taken a breath.  She had carried the baby only about six months.  I’m glad the scared young teen won’t have to deal with even more tragedy, which would be the case if she was charged with murder.

This story got me thinking about the controversial issue of abortion.  I doubt there are many women who consider abortion a great choice when faced with this decision.  Some are young and scared like this young girl and just want the problem to go away.  Others may be coerced by the partner that got them pregnant; I’m sure many men don’t want to be saddled with child support payments for eighteen years.  Others still are probably dreading being judged by others in their lives for having an unplanned child while not in a steady relationship.  While there is definitely more acceptance for unwed mothers these days, some people still find it necessary to pass judgment upon others who may differ from them only by the fact that their birth control method didn’t work one time.

When I was younger, before I had my own children, I didn’t really have a strong opinion on the abortion issue.  Although I accompanied a college roommate to an abortion clinic because she didn’t want to go alone, I knew deep in my heart that if I ever was in that situation myself, I would NOT go that route.  I would deal with the hand that life dealt me and give birth to the child, and hopefully be able to raise it myself.  And I was scared enough that I made sure I did everything in my power to never have to make such a decision.

Rather than judge others or spend time protesting at abortion clinics, I urge people that are opposed to abortion to consider helping an unwed mother through this difficult time.  Don’t preach about the evils or premarital sex or abortion; be a sympathetic listener or let your own children know that although you would not be pleased if they were in this situation, you would help them deal with it.  Donate your time or gently used baby items to charities that help unwed mothers.  Consider opening your home to an unwed pregnant minor.

I was made aware of this last option when talking with the representative of the foster care agency who came to my home for the initial evaluation.  I was asked if we would consider taking in a pregnant teen.  For me, this was not a good option for many reasons.  For others, this may be perfectly doable.

There are so many ways we can make a point and make a difference in this life.  It is so much better to choose a positive and life-affirming

12 Responses to “It’s Better To Help Than To Judge”

  1. 1 Cyndi November 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I feel very strongly about this issue. I am most definitely pro-choice. If I had a teenage daughter who made a mistake or was raped or…..whatever, I would want that option for her without having to risk going to some underground butcher.

    If one of my boys is stupid enough to get a girl pregnant and they decide abortion is the route they want to go, after I smack the living shit out of my son, I will drive them and pay for it.

    I have a friend whose grandmother went to an underground butcher and died, leaving 9 kids motherless. There was no birth control back then and they couldn’t afford a 10th child.

    • 2 les@mamaneeds2rant November 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

      @ Cyndi: While I definitely believe a girl or woman who is raped or is in danger of losing their own life by carrying the child should have the option of terminating a pregnancy (and preferably as early as possible), I’m not in favor of solving a “mistake” with another “mistake.” I think even young people that are old enough to have sex should learn that their actions have consequences, and we all should take responsibility for our actions. I know that this is an extreme consequence, but maybe people will start to think things through. Too many people these days always want to take the easy way out–spend way beyond their means and then claim multiple bankruptcies, drive drunk and wreck and then leave the scene of the accident, etc. It’s one of the biggest reasons for the decline of our nation.

      While I don’t think abortion is a great option, I can’t cast stones at those who feel they need to go this route. In fact, although it is seen as a woman’s right, in many cases a woman who has had an abortion feels victimized a second time by feeling guilt or remorse that they made this decision. Often they are forced into this decision by the men in their lives. I personally know someone that was depressed years later because she had an abortion when she was young.

      I also can’t wrap my head around the logic that if this girl’s baby had been born alive after 6 months gestation and she had killed it, it would be murder. If we decide we don’t like the gender of our baby and we set it out to die like they did in ancient times, that too is murder. But there are partial birth abortion advocates (like Obama) who think it’s okay to kill a full-term baby on its way out of the birth canal. WTF?

  2. 3 Tammy November 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I hope there is enough space here for me to comment. This topic lights me on fire!

    I was 28 and unwed when I had PROTECTED sex with my partner. When I told him I was pregnant his first reaction was to ask me why I even told him and why I didn’t “just take care of it”. I could never get an abortion. It never even crossed my mind. I am lucky that I was of an age & a place in my life that I could care for child emotionally and financially.

    From a political stand point, I find it disturbing that our government/society would want to control the decision a woman makes with her body. It blows me away that the political conservatives want to control who we marry, how we handle our bodies, yet fight for small government within private businesses. Why do they want to control my personal life but stay out of my business life?

    Back to the abortion topic, it saddens me that girls and/or grown women fear the reprucussions of giving birth that they would stuff a baby in a dumpster, bin, or wherever. The emotional damage of that action is hard for me to comprehend.

    There are many circumstances that happen that would cause a woman to feel as though abortion is the only option, including rape. This is a decision for her to reconcile not a male dominated government.

    Who are “we” as a society to place judgement. Judgement is between ourselves and our own god or belief system.

    It is the judgement of others that causes women to feel as though they can not go to someone for help.

    The best lesson I can teach my son is the emotional impact sex has on a relationship and the adult consquences of his actions.

    Excellent post.

    • 4 les@mamaneeds2rant November 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm

      @ Tammy: Thanks. Your views on this subject are pretty much like mine. I’m sure even at your age, it was not easy to be an unwed mother, yet I’m positive you know you made the right choice. My roommate, however, probably feels that she made the right decision even though she said it “hurt like hell” and I knew she thought about it with sadness at times.

  3. 5 Evenshine November 6, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    mama- really liked how you articulated this one. We’re on the same page…I’m further to the right. But nicely put- and love the cute baby, though it’s slightly incongruous!

  4. 7 Consuella Banana Hammock November 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    good post les! i love your approach of being part of the solution and not just protesting something. it ticks me off that so many people are against something, they spew like venom their opinions but then don’t get off their ass and do something to help. instead of protesting abortion, help unwed moms, give them truly viable options.

    one of my best friends had an abortion when she was 17. she still mourns that day, gets depressed every anniversary. she wishes she could take it back. my problem with teens getting abortions is i don’t believe they can truly understand the emotional impact of the decision. they just want a quick way out and their lack of maturity in making decisions can really complicate things. anyway. a complex issue. life is so valuable i would prefer that abortion be a last case scenario in this country.

    • 8 les@mamaneeds2rant November 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm

      @ Consuella – That’s exactly what I was trying to say. Kids do not fully have the capacity to make huge decisions, especially in times of crisis. Our laws correctly realize this and do not even allow anyone under 18 to enter into a binding legal contract. However, some people think it’s okay to perform something as life-changing as an abortion on a minor without parental consent! How sick is that?!

      People want to take away the choice of abortion without providing better options. Seems to me more people would NOT choose abortion on their own if they had access to a safe place to stay, prenatal care, and help with the things a new mother needs. And this could be done by volunteers who wish to promote a “choose life” agenda.

  5. 9 robinaltman November 7, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I’m so pro abortion that I’m trying to abort my kids now, while they’re in highschool. I mean, why would you want to abort a cute little baby? That makes no sense. But a whiny, messy, demanding and entitled teenager? Abort! Abort!

  6. 11 lynette November 8, 2009 at 12:23 am

    les, what a life-affirming, caring post. i am myself pro-choice, but could never personally have an abortion. ever. regardless of the circumstances.

    my daughter is on medication that causes severe birth defects. if she becomes sexually active and gets pregnant on this medication, she will have to have an abortion (in all likelihood she would miscarry anyway, and that would be much more traumatic i think).

    there are so many gray areas. life is so complicated.

    thank you for your powerful message.

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November 2009

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