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.
— John N. Clayton © 2020