Shades of Grey-Abortion

Shades of Grey came to be after a heated thread on facebook.  This thread was posted by a fundamental christian who views life in black and white.  What the Bible says is white and all else is black.  This particular FB thread was encouraging people to boycott the non profit corporation, Susan G Komen, and the thread quickly produced 140 heated responses.    His reasoning for the boycott:

Planned Parenthood is known for being a national abortion provider. As someone opposed to killing unborn children, I do not want my money to go to Planned Parenthood or their supporters…I expect many people do not know that the pink ribbon supports the murderous Planned Parenthood org, which is why I wanted to point this out. I hope people will keep this in mind when shopping and somethng has a pink ribbon on it.”

I got sucked in to this debate for two important reasons.  
1.  Holly Zuber, my good friend who is currently battling breast cancer.
2.  As I read the FB thread I saw blind ignorance and refusal to think in shades of grey.
1947 Planned Parenthood Saves Lives Saves Homes
I have considered myself pro-life up until this point.  I actually hate the terms pro-life and pro-choice (or as one FBer labeled it, anti-life).  This same FBer called me out and said that I wasn’t actually pro-life.  I was “pro straddle the fence”. She’s absolutely right.  When I first read that comment I wanted to take up arms and fight back but instead I thought about it.  *GASP* I am pro-straddle-the-fence.  After sitting with that label for a bit I actually think that’s a pretty damn good place to be.  Straddling the fence allows me to see both sides.  This green field to the south and that green field to the north.  Both are visible from up here on the fence.  After debating and researching and using reason I came to find that I am actually pro-life for my own life and pro-choice for others with a preference toward education and birth control measures that will lessen the need for abortion.  In my fairytale dreams I would wish that no woman would ever need abortion services but that’s looking at the world in black and white.  This is where I found the shade of grey, better known as reasoning.  
I’m just going to list eleven of my thoughts on this particular FB thread and the reasoning it sparked in me.
1.  Scare tactics by providing false information is manipulation! 
 Examples: abortions cause breast cancer, contraceptives cause spontaneous abortions aka abortafacients, abortion is murder, abortion increases your chance of STDs and infertility, planned parenthood will purposely give you low dose birth control to intentionally get you pregnant so you’ll come back for the more expensive service of abortion.
2.  Withdrawing your funds from Susan Komen is irrational.  
Why would you stop supporting a company that does far more good than harm?  Explain that to the 500,000 women who DIE from breast cancer each year and I’m sure most of them don’t have breast cancer because they aborted babies. 
3.  Explain to your daughter(s) when she becomes pregnant out of wedlock and contemplates abortion vs the wrath of her parents that you aren’t judging her and she is unconditionally loved.  
Better yet, explain to your daughter why you can’t support the Komen cause while she or her mother or her grandmother is dying from breast cancer.  Explain that it’s because Komen gives a portion of it’s funds to PP who then in turn uses those funds to support 2-3% of it’s business of baby killing.  
4.  Become more creative in your cause.  
Adopt babies instead of birthing them so the millions of children in foster care/orphanages are cared for.  Maybe then a mother will feel like she actually has an option when she is required to make a decision between giving her child up and aborting. 
Or how about getting fathers more involved.  Maybe if more of them were taking responsibility for the pregnancies and children they seed, women wouldn’t be in such a bind.  
Or how about getting the pope to promote condom usage instead of banning it.  It’s not just unmarried, irresponsible “whores” getting pregnant.  Certainly condom use among married people in Africa should be an acceptable practice of birth control.
Or how about promoting world peace so women don’t have to choose what’s better for her child (being born in to a violent war or aborting before it has a chance to experience that level of torture).
Or how about putting an end to world hunger.  Starvation kills 15 million children a year and another 160 million are starving!  
5.  Don’t throw out statistics such as, “abortion claims over 42 million unborn lives worldwide every year,” without using your brain to really think about those statistics.  
What percentage of those abortions are performed in countries that are not as developed as America?  What options do these women have?  What chance at life does that child have?  Statistics are meaningless without the story behind each abortion.
6.  Stop blaming the leftists for these problems.  
Evolution and sex education in public schools are not the problems behind abortion!  Yes, this was actually brought in to the argument!
Is it at all possible that abstinence and God are not the win-all solutions?  Is it at all possible that religion is causing many women to abort their babies because they are afraid of the judgement their religious friends and family will bestow upon them?
7.  Don’t presume to know what making these decisions is like.  
I would never presume to know what it’s like to know that I will birth a child who will starve to death in a matter of weeks.  
I would never presume to know what choice I would make if it came down to my life or my unborn child’s life. 
 I would never presume to know what it’s like to be violently raped and then subsequently pregnant.  
I would never presume to know what it’s like to be addicted to drugs knowing that I will permanently damage an unborn child.  
I would never presume to know what it’s like to be a teenage girl pregnant and abandoned by her family. 
 I would never presume to know what it’s like to be homeless and pregnant.
I would never presume to know what it’s like to not know how I will provide for my child. 
I would never presume to know what choice I’d make if the choice were between putting my child in foster care or an orphanage where he/she may never have a family and aborting at 10 weeks.  
Who are any of us to say what is right or wrong in those situations?  Who are any of us to say what we would ultimately choose?  Who are we to call these women murderers when many of them may actually be acting out of love for their child?
8.  Lose the hostility and gain some empathy. 
Telling women that contraceptives cause abortions and in the next sentence calling women who abort  murderers is telling any woman that is on birth control that she is a murderer.  Not hateful?
Telling a woman and pro-choicers that God will judge them is not hateful?
To call these women murderers and manipulate fear in to them is to stone them with words.  If you are the portrayal of your God I would imagine converts aren’t knocking at your door begging to be a part of this all-loving congregation of believers.  
9.  Educate  yourselves.  
To use four quotes from one scientist in one christian based article  is not education.  Read up on the issue from all sides and use quotes from all sides.  Learn about abstinence education vs sex education.  Learn what causes breast cancer.  Read about or better yet visit an impoverished country.  Don’t just sit in your little bubble spouting off black and white judgements. 
10.  If you still are going to take a boycotting stance give it all you’ve got.
Don’t just boycott the easy ones like Susan G Komen.  Find a list of ALL companies that donate funds to PP and boycott ALL of them.  Oh, and when that partial list is provided to you and it gets a little uncomfortable don’t blame your non-boycotting of those companies on a lame website.  I’m calling your bluff.
11.  Better yet keep thinking in black and white.  
Don’t look for the greys.  Don’t think, just swallow.
Clearly this one got me a little worked up and I’m proud to say that this post is what inspired me to begin this blog.  I never thought I would write a blog about abortion.  And I never thought it’d sound like this! Visiting orphanages in Haiti and Kazakhstan, adopting a drug-addicted, American foster child, having a potentially life threatening pregnancy which produced two very premature baby boys, and shaming a friend after an abortion which caused me to lose that friend has brought me to this point of view. 
I am thankful that abortion is not an option I’ve ever had to consider.  I’m thankful to the two birthmoms who carried out their pregnancies and gave my family the beautiful gifts of J and G.  I’m so thankful to all the parents out there who foster and/or adopt making less moms feel like they need to abort.  I’m thankful to Susan G Komen for supporting the millions of women with breast cancer and I’m thankful to Planned Parenthood for counseling low income families on all issues of female health and reproduction.
In response to this boycott I feel the best way to counter it is to donate.  Today our (Mark and Amy) non-profit, Endure to Give, donated $250 to Susan G Komen in honor and support of our beautiful friend, Holly Zuber.  
You can do the same.
Amy Smith

9 responses »

  1. This is an interesting post. Murder is 'the unlawful taking of a human life'. So, abortion is not murder, as it is legal. The question isn't one of murder, but one of ethical behavior.Is it ethical to forcibly end an innocent life? SHOULD it be legal? Are there any potential situations where it would be OK for me to end the innocent life of another? I think that the vast majority of people would answer these questions, "No, No and No." If anyone would answer 'Yes' to any of them, I would be very interested in the reasoning behind that answer.I think everyone would agree that babies are innocent. So, then the questions become… "Are unborn babies 'human life'? Are they alive at all? At what point does human life begin? At what point should a baby be protected by the same laws as the rest of us (outside of the womb)?Killing another person without cause – such as self-defense, times of war, etc. – is generally deemed unacceptable and punishable by law. If someone kidanpped and killed my son, it would be universally accepted that this person should be punished under our laws. Now, my son is outside of the womb and deemed to be 'human' and 'alive'.Roll the clock back to one day before he was born… still in the womb. Is he 'human'? Is he 'alive'? Is he 'innocent'? Does he, at birthday -1, meet all of the criteria we would use to determine if a person is protected by our murder/manslaughter laws?Go back two days? Ten days? Twenty days? Science pushes fetal viability back further and further. 'Preemie' babies can be delivered and kept alive as much as 16 weeks early or so. And, as soon as they are out of the womb, they are protected by our murder/manslaughter laws. If someone were to hold a pillow over the face of a 10-week early preemie, they would assuredly be prosecuted.So, for me, the question is scientific. We already agree that, as a society, we should protect innocent human life. So, the question becomes a scientific one… "When does human life begin?" The answer I most often hear is, "When the baby is viable, when it can live outside of the womb." But again, this keeps changing. As our medicine advances, this gets pushed earlier and earlier. I don't like the idea of shooting at a moving target, especially on this topic. So, for me personally, I have to determine that a human life begins at conception. That is a definite, scientifically determinable, threshold between life and non-life. And, until there is a scientifically-proven answer to the contrary, I have to keep with that. This is where the 'abortion debate' gets very frustrating for me. Amy, you listed a lot of difficult situations in which an abortion seems to make things much easier for the 'mom'. And, like you, I can't possibly presume to know what it would be like to be in any of those unfortunate and horrible situations. But, I have a real hard time with the idea of removing another human from existence to ease some personal burden.I would ask you to play one game of mental gymnastics.Re-read your post, but everywhere you referenced or said 'unborn child' or something of the sort, replace it with 'three-month old baby', or 'six-month old baby', 'or two-year old child'. How do you feel about those shades of gray now?


  2. Derek and Jake,Please don't take offense to this but the reason I left FB was to leave the world of debating these issues and I'm really not much in the mood to make this page a place of debate. Feel free to copy the post and debate away on your pages. Shades of Grey is a place for me to simply organize my thoughts and release some of the tension in my mind. A place for me to express what I see and experience in this life.That said, Derek, I'm afraid you missed the whole point of my post. Believe it or not I do value life. All life. All the way down to the annoying, biting ant. It's interesting that you would take my stance as one to ease the personal burden of mothers. When in fact it IS much more about easing the burden of the child. The child who will starve to death. The child who will be starving and malnourished for 5 years before dying. The child who will have a lifetime of severe disabilities because it is born addicted to drugs. The child who will live it's entire life without love in an orphanage or on the streets. I have to wonder if aborting a child before it has a CNS is more humane than birthing it and subjecting it to the harshest of circumstances. That child does not have a voice and I believe that in many circumstances the mother is making what she thinks is the best choice for that child. I was also calling out the fact that it's wrong to judge these women with such harshness…including women who use birth control. Are birth control users unethical (to use your choice of semantics)? To many they are. I don't agree with that stance and I haven't used birth control in over ten years so it's not a defense mechanism.I'm also asking for pro-lifers to be more creative. Don't just shout with bullhorns…find creative, loving ways to make less women feel like they need abortion services.It's unfortunate that you were only able to find negatives in this post and not focus on the positives. A way that all of us can work together to make change.So how do I feel about Shades of Grey, Derek and Jake? I own it. It's how I feel today and it's always evolving. That's the beauty of not thinking in black and white. Call it luke warm but the content is me and that's not up for debate.


  3. Amy, if you are not interested in having your thoughts and views considered, reasoned through, and responded to, maybe you shouldn't post them on the Internet. If you don't want comments on your posts (and would rather just have a podium with "no Q&A afterwards") then you should turn comments off on your blog. Of course, many people are not interested in simply 'being talked to' and may discontinue reading.It sounds like free-thinking is little more than navel-gazing and banner waving… only wanting to have discussions with those who agree with you on everything. But, I'm the one who is close-minded…To respond to your response… You are pro mercy-killing? It's for the good of the child, is it? Wow. Just wow. Again, I would ask you to consider a two-year old with a difficult road ahead. Do we kill him/her "for their own good"? Is this really your stance? This is your value of life… take it away if it will be difficult?Just so I have things straight… You believe it is OK to kill someone if their (or your) existence will be made better afterward.Again I say…. wow.If you do not wish for me to read (and potentially respond to) your blog in the future, just let me know. I will, of course, respect your wishes. But, to put something on the Internet (and advertise is liberally), I was assuming you wanted people to read, and engage, what you have to say. If I am wrong, let me know.


  4. :-)I don't think ALL of my opinions are 'opposing'.I don't necessarily want to argue every topic. But, I am genuinely interested in your thinking and reasoning behind your views… especially when these views differ from my own.Saying "I think this…" is never enough for me. I am interested in WHY someone thinks what they do. Just as I want to have solid answers for why I think the way I do. What thought process went into the conclusions? What reasoning?That is why, in my initial response, I outlined my reasoning on the abortion issue. For me, the primary movers are reasoned through science and law. These are fairly concrete, much more so than just feelings.


  5. Derek,I am not suggesting that someone keep their comments to themselves. Your first comment was one of many questions which typically leads to debate/argument. I am not game for that at this point in time. The past has typically been antagonistic and belittling and I'm worn out on that. You are completely free to own your own opinion and I am completely free to own mine. I gather that you just want to argue. You have Mark for that:) I know my limitations and I know that I am easily dragged in to an argument. For example these "comments" are nothing more than an attempt to drag me in to a debate. Of course I have answers to each of your questions but I do not have the time or energy to keep hashing out these issues. I don't see anything wrong with me wanting to put my thoughts out there publicly. There are people who are genuinely interested in me. And there are people who will feel encouraged by these posts and some that will find them horrible and disgusting. I accept that. So feel free to comment just do not expect a response. Not because I don't have one but because I am choosing to step away from the arguing. Just because my opinion is different than yours does not mean that it constantly needs to be clarified and justified. But thank you for sharing. I always know that I can count on you for a strong opposing opinion:)


  6. Good for you, Amy. This is one of the most thoughtful and well written articles on this subject that I have ever read. I wish my mom were around to read it! She had given birth to ten children; and initially was against the legalization of abortion. Then through her job later in life, as a social worker, she learned about young women committing suicide over the judgmental reaction to 'unwed pregnancies' of family and so-called friends, of girls having to 'prove' that they were raped not just to the police but to an entire community of 'judgers', of babies born so horribly deformed that there was no possibility of them ever having even a small chance of a happy life, and other examples too numerous to write here. But what finally made my mother 'cross over' was the behavior of anti-abortionists who put out photos of mangled babies in the mail, on signs, and so on; the sanctimonious, self-righteous judgment of the anti-abortion crowd against even the most reasonable medical need for an abortion; and then to add to the irony, the outrageous distribution of misinformation ( we used to call that lying) about birth control in general. It became clear to my mom that many of the people behind the 'pro-life' movement had an insidious agenda that involved a lot more than saving the lives of babies: an intrusive invasion of personal privacy and an effort to control women. In other words, women, in their minds, were not smart enough, moral enough, or "religious enough" to make their own decisions in partnership with medical doctors. She came to the same conclusion that Andy Rooney stated on "Sixty Minutes" a few years ago: "I don't like abortion, but I like the behavior of people who support legal abortion better than the behavior of people who do not support it." I walked that journey alongside my mother many years ago. I'm grateful for having had a mother who had the ability to "straddle the fence"…and see another point of view. Amy! The world needs more young people like you! God bless you. Nancy Kayhart


  7. Pingback: I Believe | ThinkingWithVitality

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