Last night before I headed off to bed, I shared the following image on facebook:
If you can't read the words within the arrow they say, "'Look, I got two daughters...I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake I don't want them punished with a baby.' - Barack Obama, 2008"
I woke up in the morning to find two comments, a very antagonistic, somewhat lengthy, leftist one from a childhood acquaintance who grew up to be a liberal atheist, and a few simple, straightforward, patience sentences from my old youth leader. I responded shortly and sweetly to both at once, agreeing with my former youth leader in response to my old friend. The conversation escalated from there with a much longer, angrier, post from my liberal friend, and I immediately realized that I have not been trained to respond well to her kind of logic. Thankfully, some of my friends have been! My oh-so-beautiful friend Jenn (whose lovely blog, Unoriginal Originality, you can visit right here!) is one of those friends. She's hoofed it on the streets speaking with people on behalf of pro-life organizations and supporters, and she knows exactly how to respond to their arguments. I quickly called her and asked for her advice, which she happily gave, and I'm so humbled and blessed to have such wise, beautiful friends in this world.
Today, although it will be lengthy, I'd like to post the conversation, beginning to end. This internet is so full of everyone's opinions, and I feel like the Conservative, God-fearing, ones are underrepresented. In the future I'm going to become more involved with groups like the ones Jenn works with, but until that opportunity arises - I'm going to start by getting my voice out there, even if it is in suspiciously narcissistic form of social media and blogging, because, as Edmund Burke put it - "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
This is the conversation sparked by the above picture:
Liberal, Atheist Friend: "Oh, I just noticed who this was being promoted by. 'Cause, heh, I agree with him in the sense that young men and women should be taught about birth control (meaning condoms, spermicide, pills, Depo Provera, IUD, etc). Sex is not a religious item. It's just sex. Religious folks may have an opinion about sex, but that shouldn't prevent the next generation from learning how to treat sex responsibly, especially since abstinence education has an extremely high failure rate. Teenagers fuck like rabbits no matter what they've been taught, so birth control should be a mandatory lesson, one that their parents are prevented from opting out of and that is taught 2 days a year (September and January) for every year in middle and high school. Again, abstinence doesn't work and neither does "the pull out method". This is the only way to prevent teen pregnancy and to help young women control when they want to have children, especially those in poverty and less privileged homes. I consider abortion a last choice method of birth control in the sense that many stupid and/or naive young women should not be having children. You can't prevent them from having sex but you can prevent them from becoming stuck in a life for which they don't have the abilities to make decisions for. Children should not be having children. But again, the above methods of birth control should be first and -highly promoted-. I also note that the United States, mainly due to its religious hang ups and lack of education about sex, is a country with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates, despite our affluence, education, and high availability of birth control. Obama is saying that he would never punish his daughters despite their possible future decisions about having sex before marriage. He would never ask them to ruin their lives for the sake of experimentation (which, again, millions of teenagers take part in whether adults like it or not) and curiosity, though I've no doubt they'll get some seriously awesome lessons about birth control anyway. So, I'm kind of cheering Mr. Obama on here, 'cause he's an excellent father to come out and say this."
Former Youth Leader: "Actually Abstinence does work. If we teach our children right from wrong and help them understand that proper perspective of sex. There would be a lot less social and economic issues if this was the case. as far as abortion goes, two wrongs never made a right."
Me: "I'm 100% with Gene on this one. Teenagers' mistakes aren't the fault of their unborn children, and as a 23-year-old virgin with numerous friends who are also virgins - abstinence is so completely possible"
Liberal, Atheist Friend: "Uh huh. Depends on what the kids define as abstinence as well. Adults say, "No sex." Teenagers say, trying to figure out a loophole so that they can have fun AND still be right with God, "Well, as long as there's no insertion....right? Or, only if it goes in this other orifice...right? Oh my go---am I sinning if I kiss him?" Google that line of thought and you'll find thousands and thousands of search results.
Abstinence might be possible, but can you really force it on all of those teenagers out there? And the question too is, do you encourage abstinence but -prepare- for sex? Because that second question is what I'm at least saying y'all should do. Let teens say, "I'm waiting until marriage" but don't make it socially unacceptable for them to have a condom or be on birth control. It's like having your tetanus shot....just because I have the shot doesn't mean I go out and cut myself with tin cans from the garbage dump on purpose. Just because a teenager has the option of birth control available doesn't mean they're going to run out and have sex (implying this means you don't trust your kids to make their own decisions btw).
And finally, I guess it matters on whether you actually think sex to be -wrong- depending on whether or not you subscribe to having it before or after a socially constructed barrier. Telling people that their natural urges that they literally can not help feeling are wrong is one reason why so many people end up screwed up in the head later on in life. Well, that and eating disorders.
Anyway, if I were to bet money on it, I'd say those using real TRUE abstinence are a rather small percentage of the population. Factor in that a fair number of those are lying (sorry, but yeah), and your percentage grows smaller.
Also, heh, social and economic issues come up because we're helping too young mothers pay for the raising of their children. Many of these women are immediately shunted into shitty jobs if they don't have a father figure available (and sometimes even so), unable to pay for their medical bills during and after pregnancy, their childcare if they're trying to work, their kids food and medical and diapers, and so much other random shit. Birth control costs far less than helping the country pay for thousands of children from 0 to 18. Abortion does NOT cause economic troubles, lol. And if you think abortion causes economic troubles, why, *smiles* give the kids birth control. Obviously they're having sex.
All I'm saying is, don't teach "don't do it" as the only option. Because it doesn't work for the majority and it's incredibly naive to think that teenagers aren't having sex -somehow-.
(If nothing else, let your daughters go on birth control. It's a commonly believed statistic that 1 in 5 women of college age and older are raped at some point in their lives. Many of those go unreported, disbelieved, or aren't pursued by the law. So yeah. At least don't make women chose between abortion and a rape baby. At -least-.)
Again, one more time: Either we teach our kids abstinence only, shame them for having sex, and then shake our heads sagely as we grow older saying, "Too many kids having kids these days",
You teach your kids safe sex, provide them with whatever preventative birth control options they're interested in pursuing, and then congratulate them later on -deciding- to, not accidentally, having children. Shaking your head in despair later at the rate of teen pregnancy (or your pregnant teenager) only works if you've done everything humanely possible to prepare yourself for the reality that "Teenagers have sex" and them with the reality of what sex does and how life long (LIFE. FREAKING. LONG.) of a commitment a baby is."
*insert 16 minute phone call with Jenn here*
Sex is not wrong, and I never said it was. Sex is natural, beautiful, and has many proven health benefits. It should also not be abused (see HIV/AIDS, STDs, and unwanted pregnancies. All of these things can come from other things besides casual sex, but it's a huge contributor and that cannot be ignored). I will say that I can understand a non-religious/non-Christian person's objection to marriage as a social construct - if you do not believe in God or the guidelines He gives us by which to lead healthier, better lives, then marriage is silly. I still refer to the health hazards of casual sex, as well as the ALWAYS present emotional and psychological complications as reasons for not having sex outside of a committed, life-long relationship, even if marriage never enters the picture.
As far as social and economic ramifications, I absolute agree that they come up because of helping young parents pay for their children. The government shouldn't be helping them at all. It is not the country's responsibility to raise children, and I for one am tired of being required to give my hard-earned money to pay for the results of other people's promiscuous lifestyles when I myself have never had sex.
As far calling the abstinent liars - that's just sad. Just because so many people give into their selfish lust doesn't mean they need to beat down those who have managed to rise above it and call them liars or mock their virginity because they no longer have their own.
As far as rape babies go - it is not the baby's fault that such a tragedy occurred and no one has a right to take the child's life and punish the unborn for the crime of their father. The idea that the only way to heal from a rape is commit murder is ludicrous - many women who decided to keep their babies, even despite the circumstances, say that it helped them heal from the rape because they were able to see a beautiful new life come from something so horrible. If that's not even a little convincing, consider this:
A woman has sex with her husband, the next day she is raped. She finds out she's pregnant, and not knowing which man the baby belongs to, she waits 9 months, has the baby, and gets a paternity test. She finds out it's the rapist's baby - does this make it okay to kill the newborn infant?
Those that argue that adoption isn't an option because there are already so many unwanted babies should talk to an old friend of mine. She was once approached by pro-choice people protesting a pro-life outreach on OSU campus who wanted to talk to her about why abortion should be legal and socially acceptable. She came home in tears saying she was so angry she cried in front of them - she and her biological siblings had been giving up by their birth mother and adopted, and she was furious that anyone could tell her to her face that they would have been okay with her mother murdering her before she was even born instead of allowing her to live a happy life with a loving family who adores her.
And to assume that a living baby is the only "LIFE. FREAKING. LONG." commitment that can come from a pregnancy, don't be so ignorant as to assume that a dead baby doesn't haunt you. If you think that's dramatic, please consider the story of my Great-Grandmother. She had multiple abortions when she was younger and we never knew until we took her to Ocean City, MD one year; she was 80-something-years old, sitting on the beach watching some little girls play in the sand and wondered aloud "I wonder if I would have had a baby girl." When we asked her what she meant she confessed that she had had two secret abortions in her early twenties. She has two boys - my grandfather and my great-uncle, but she has spent her entire life - of 93 years this year! - wondering if the babies she aborted could have been the little girl she always wanted. She's very frail and ill a lot of the time now, and spends much of her days staring out windows and thinking, I have no doubt that she still wonders about those children she will never meet here on earth. When my brothers and I were growing up she specifically requested that she be given more pictures of me than of them - now we know why.
To suggest that killing the small, weak and voiceless is okay is just disturbing and terrifying. If it's okay to kill the younger, why don't we just euthanize all of those unwanted children given up for adoption? If it's okay to kill the smaller and weaker, might I suggest you go to the nearest care center for those with severe mental disabilities and just kill all of the patients. If it's okay to abort a baby because they'd have a lower quality of life with a single parent or an adoptive family - then it should be okay to kill people who just have a lower quality of life right now. Perhaps we should just go to the projects and the bad areas of town and start killing there, too. Of course, that's what Hitler did...so maybe that's not okay after all. And if you're about to start complaining that I'm comparing this abortion epidemic to the murder of 11-17 million Jews - 54,559,615 babies have been murdered since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, and that's only up until January. So this new, ageist holocaust that's killing off generation after generation of unborn actors, politicians, lawyers, mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, musicians, doctors, etc. is at least as bad as the Holocaust. "At -least-."
Society's acceptance of the fact that it's okay to kill over a million babies in the US alone in the name of women's rights and a right to privacy is so ignorant it's painful. The baby is not the woman's body. If it is, then every woman pregnant with a little boy is a hermaphrodite with 4 arms, 4 legs, two heads, and any number of other horrible dysfunctional things. Also - we do not have a right to privacy, we have a right to unreasonable search and seizure - neither of which have anything at all to do with pregnancy or abortion, so the validity of that argument is nonexistent.
Also - every single person is the offspring of TWO people. Women have, for some unknown reason, been given the "right" to go out and kill their unborn children without the consent of the man they created the child with. If you're going to make abortion legal then every effort should be made to locate and contact the father and obtain his signature of approval on the extermination of his infant child, as this decision should include all people involved. Although to do that, you'd need the signature of the baby, which would require letting them develop to full term, be born, and grow to an age at which they can understand abortion, and sign their name, at which point killing them MIGHT pose a problem.
I feel bad for liberals - you're killing off millions and millions of children you could have raised to support your ludicrous causes. At this rate, given enough time, Conservatives will be the only ones left.
Abortion is murder.
Murder is wrong.
Sex isn't though. Long-live that, and here's to my future husband and all of our beautiful future children who will live long, happy lives, even though they will never meet so many members of their generation."
Before I even finished writing and posting that comment, my friend posted the following status: "Ergh. Have to turn off computer for a while. Those who have my phone it on and charged. The rest - see you anywhere from a few hours to a few days from now."
Maybe she'll see the light while she's away? We can only hope and pray.
People's lives depend on it.