Here is a comment I made on a recent blog discussion over at Scott Freeman's free thoughts. I am posting it again here because, upon review, I think I managed to articulate exactly what I feel--not a common enough occurrence, generally speaking, and even more rare in the blogosphere.
"Caring for the unborn and for the mothers both is exactly what I’m trying to advocate for. Nor do I assume anyone here is unconcerned with this matter. But here is the difference. I don’t think it constitutes “care” for the mother to explain to her why she is wrong. Women who have abortions know exactly what it is they are doing. They know it better than any of us, because they know it from the first person perspective. They don’t need an ultrasound to show them it’s a baby. Their own bodies tell them in a way that it is impossible to appreciate until you experience it. Having my own baby radically changed my thinking on abortion–not in the sense that I “switched sides” but in the sense that I finally understood what it meant to have an abortion. It meant experiencing the anticipation of pregnancy as terror. It meant experiencing the growing life within you with dread. It meant agonizing over the fact that the tiny life completely dependent on you for survival is one whose blind trust is misplaced. It meant knowing in a place far deeper than the brain that the wrongness that marks our world runs so incontrovertibly deep that the possibility of new life is not always a good one. I firmly believe that most women who have abortions do so out of a sense of care for their unborn child–care that emerges in this monstrous and perverted form not because the mother is at fault or is morally deficient or ignorant, but because the world in which we live offers her no options than a choice between horrific evils. Is it caring for a child to bring her into a world where hunger, abuse, neglect are as inevitable as destiny? If you loved the baby in your womb, would you condemn her to that? What about women whose lives are so marginal that they physically cannot adequately nurture a child even in pregnancy? Is it caring to carry that pregnancy to term, knowing that you cannot provide even in the womb what that new life requires in order to flourish? Guilt lies in every direction for these women. Guilt for being pregnant–whether or not it’s their “fault.” Guilt if they birth a child they can’t protect and nurture. Guilt if they don’t. Yes, we don’t want her to live with guilt. So let’s recognize that no matter what the decision, guilt is there to be absolved. And that is certainly our job as the church. But we as the church cannot even begin the task of addressing and absolving this guilt unless we are also doing what is necessary to create a place for women to see beyond these desperate, guilt-inducing options. We have to make it possible for these babies to be born, and not just born, but nurtured and cared for in the same security we seek for our own. And we have to make this not only a fragile possibility but a stable reality that women can count on and expect, so that it is no longer necessary to end a life before it begins out of fear of what that life will mean. That is our real task. Legislation be damned."
For further reflection, here are a couple links to follow: "A Place to Turn when a Newborn is Fated to Die," (thanks to Joe for this link) and "Italy Takes High-Tech Tactics for Abandoned Babies" (thanks to Brent).