|Written by Beth Walls|
I was having a conversation with a group of friends this week while at a lunch meeting and the discussion turned to the topic of abortion. One of my table mates quoted the staggering number of abortions that have been performed in the United States since Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973. Another table mate asked if anyone had read the book, Freakonomics. None of us had. So my friend explained that in this book the author stated that until the early 1990's the rate of crime in the United States had been steadily increasing but then it leveled off and then started to decline. The premise of the book is that now is when all of those aborted babies would be in their late teens and early twenties. Therefore the authors correlate that Roe V Wade was responsible for lowering the crime rate.
I should mention that all of my table mates were men and none of them knew my personal history.
In 1977, while teaching high school Home Economics in Southern Ohio, I made choices that led to an unwanted pregnancy and subsequent abortion. I was pro-abortion for many years because it helped me rationalize my own actions but I became convicted that my views were incorrect after a great deal of study and soul searching. Only recently have I made a commitment to become an advocate for the importance of life.
I handled that lunch discussion badly. First I got snarky and said to my friend that I guessed that meant that the right 55 million babies had been killed. Then I explained to him that 35 years earlier I had an abortion and it was for my convenience not to protect society from some horrible deviant person I might birth. He then asked me the question that I was unprepared to answer: "But wasn't it your right to make that decision? Should someone else make the decision for you?"
So here is my answer to that question and I will never be without this answer again:
Along the path to my pregnancy I had many choices.
I could have chosen abstinence.
But when my choices to have unprotected sex before I was married resulted in a pregnancy it quit being about my choice and my body. It became a choice about a life that had no way to be a part of the decision. If abortion had still been illegal I would not have been in a position to make yet another bad decision to end my pregnancy.
If I had gone full term in my pregnancy and then a week later I had decided that it really wasn't working out for me so I smothered my baby—that would be murder. But if you use the argument of choice I have to ask why? I mean, it's my life, my body, my livelihood that's affected. Why should I get to make an irresponsible choice in one circumstance but not in the other? With either choice a life has been ended.
During the recent presidential campaign, Mitt Romney was heavily attacked because of his stand against abortion and accused of wanting to send women's health back to the dark ages. I personally believe that Roe V Wade has potentially put 55 million women in the darkest place they could be. I don't think that law gave women the freedom to do what is right for their own bodies; rather it put them in potential bondage to the guilt, doubt and self incrimination that comes with making an emotional decision without the ability to see future consequences. For me the personal consequences were never being able to get pregnant again and finding myself at 58 years old without children and a widow. Don't get me wrong, I have a good life and I have abundant blessings. In spite of that I know that my choices came at a price.
We as a society have got to stop making excuses for bad decisions and lack of responsibility and hold ourselves to a higher level. It's got to start with someone and I want to be part of that movement. I know that for most of my life I have been willing to either look the other way or jump into the bad behavior and be a part of it. I don't have any answers but I know that if I could get a mulligan—I would choose life. And I pray that God will use me to help other people choose life as well.
Beth Walls is a member of First Presbyterian Church of Levelland, Texas (EPC).