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.