One thing that gets lost in the abortion debate is women’s emotional and psychological struggles over abortion. Time magazine published a moving essay by atheist Stephanie Land, titled “My Lost Pregnancy Had a Name.”
Land writes about dealing with the burial of what she calls “a third miscarriage in six months.” It is a very personal and dramatic discussion of how an atheist deals with the mental gymnastics of ending a pregnancy, be it an abortion or a natural medical miscarriage.
Land said she believes in “the right to chose.” She had chosen to end a pregnancy before. This time the choice was made for her at five weeks, but she did not realize it until she had an ultrasound at eight weeks. She took two rounds of medication for her “body to finally let go of it” at 12 weeks. She says, “It was a blastocyst, not a baby named Ellis.”
For people on both sides of the abortion issue, there is a tendency to ignore the facts connected with ending a pregnancy. Attaching a scientific name to a conceived child, be it “embryo,” “zygote,” “fetus.” or “blastocyst” does not change the fact that it is an entity of its own. It is genetically set with human characteristics at conception, not at some later date. The mother’s body recognizes the conceived child is not a part of her body, resulting in morning sickness. Not ending a pregnancy has obvious lifetime implications, but ending one can also.
The point that shines out in Land’s essay is the continuing emotional struggle with choosing whether to end a pregnancy. All sides of this issue need to develop more empathy and understanding for women’s emotional and psychological struggles over abortion.
Women personally dealing with the issue are not helped by political battles, court decisions, or picketing. Land’s essay vividly shows the personal struggle, even for an atheist, and it is worth reading. If you don’t have access to the November 2-9, 2020, Time magazine issue, you can read the essay online HERE.
The abortion battle continues with the “20-week abortion ban” being the present focus of pro-life advocates. Last October The House of Representatives approved a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, but the Senate has never taken it up. Seventeen states have already adopted 20 weeks as the cut off for an abortion. On Friday President Trump spoke to the marchers in the annual March for Life in Washington, and he called for the Senate to pass the bill and send it to his desk.
It seems that the 20-week ban which would allow abortions up to 20 weeks after conception is a compromise that many people are willing to accept. Promoters of the bill say that 60% of Americans are supportive of the 20-week cutoff. The reason for 20 weeks is that some data shows that “babies can feel pain in utero” at that time.
Everyone knows that this is a compromise, but it still has enormous problems. Determining when a baby feels pain is subjective at best. Outward signs of pain in the womb are difficult to detect and interpret. That statement that “babies feel pain” means that they are babies! The major question is when does a human become a human? Is it at 20 weeks? The fact is that the baby is still a baby at 19 weeks. It is not a cow or a pig or a fish; it is a baby.
Our culture cannot dance around the fact that when the sperm meets the egg and conception occurs it is a child at that point. We apparently are willing to practice infanticide, but we don’t want to call it that. Certainly, the earlier a pregnancy is terminated, the less traumatic it will be for the baby and the mother, but the fact is that it is still the destruction of a human life.