I was raised in a strict, Irish-Catholic family. My parents and grandparents, even though I love them, instilled many beliefs in me that I came to disagree with as I grew older, things like "homosexuality is weird and wrong." I eventually rejected many of these ideas once I began growing into myself, but there was always one belief I let ring true well into my teen years: abortion is the murder of an unborn baby.
All my life, I’ve wanted to be a mother. I’ve always wanted to experience carrying a child, so when my mom got pregnant with my youngest brother when I was almost fourteen, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to see what pregnancy was like, without me actually getting pregnant. I tagged along to every doctor’s appointment, every sonogram, and I even wanted to be in the room when my little brother officially made his entrance. I saw his chubby face pop up on screens, I heard his heartbeat, I listened to doctors tell my mom “Look, he’s sucking his thumb!” or “Aw, he has hiccups!” I even had a nurse tell me that he looked just like me.
Every single thing that was happening seemed to solidify everything I’d always believed. I wasn’t seeing a fetus on a sonogram screen; I was seeing my future baby brother’s face. He was not a sack of cells, he was a living, moving thing, tucked into the womb; a human being. Aborting him, aborting any baby, would surely be murder. I was certain of it.
That certainty started to crack when I entered college.
I had just started my second semester when a friend of mine shared something with me, something that changed everything for me. She told me that she had missed her period, and she was afraid she was pregnant. Now, she has a boyfriend she’s in love with, and he loves her just as much, and they never did anything intimate without using the proper protection. Still, lots of contraceptives can fail. And that’s what happened to her.
Now, my usual reaction to this situation would be “Well, she shouldn’t have had sex.” But how could I possibly think that here? This girl was with someone who was totally in love with her, and he’d do just about anything for her. She was comfortable with him, he made her feel safe, and she truly felt that they completed each other. Why the hell should she not be intimate with someone she loves, and someone she wants to be intimate with? (I had already rejected the whole “virgin until marriage” idea as well.)
She was crying, pacing back and forth, telling me over and over again that she couldn’t have this baby. I tried to calm her down as best I could, telling her that she hadn’t even taken a pregnancy test yet, and suggesting that maybe she should tell her mother.
She whirled around and said she never could, of course not,because her parents would make her have the baby, she was sure of it. So I stood up, gave her a hug, and what came out of my mouth at that moment hit me like a ton of bricks.
“No one can make you do this.”
Luckily, it turned out that she wasn’t pregnant, but I know that if my friend had been pregnant and went through with it, it would ruin her life. She might have to drop out of school, drop her ambitious dreams, forget about studying abroad and traveling and reveling with her friends. It would take a serious toll on that loving relationship with her boyfriend, the one they had built from the bottom and cherished so much, or it might obliterate it totally. And I also knew that her baby would help carry his or her mother’s burdens for much of their life.
I suppose it took this long for me to come to this realization because it was never an issue for me until I got to a certain age. As a kid, I didn't worry about safe sex and pregnancy like I do now. Any woman should be informed, whether she's sexually active or not. I will pray for the soul of any unborn baby who is aborted. While my heart breaks, I recognize that pregnancy is supposed to be a blessing, not a burdensome curse. Pregnancy should not be a punishment for wanting to take a physical step with someone you love or, at least, someone you're attracted to and want to be with. In many cases, I think it is best for the mother, the father, and the baby to place their unborn child back into the loving arms of God.