Gone Are the Golden Months of the Fetus

by on July 9, 2019 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach, Women's Rights

By Joni Halpern

Since 1896, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections – 1944 and 1960 – giving rise to the state’s renown as a “bellwether” to which candidates cannot afford to turn a deaf ear.  If Ohioans are going to be so influential, maybe we could help inform their future choices by sharing some concerns from the Golden State

Dear Ohio,

It has occurred to me to ask you to take a second look at the abortion controversy. It seems to be splitting us apart as a nation.  Apparently, it is not enough for some groups of Christians to refrain from abortion in their own lives.  They seem to believe they can save their souls only if they ban abortion for every woman of every belief, under every circumstance.  They contend that a full-fledged human life with all rights to maximum protection begins at the moment sperm and egg join.  They believe government must protect the fetus.

In the old days, long before modern techniques of abortion were available, women of every culture and religion knew how to encourage miscarriage.  Mothers and grandmothers taught daughters and granddaughters.  There were potions and teas before there were coat hangers and curettes.  Were all these miscarriages the product of improvident women who had no conscience?  Or were many of them the product of women who could see they would never recover from religious, cultural, criminal or societal circumstances that gave them no choice in the matter of pregnancy?  Is it possible that many of these women whose hands were nailed to their sides by such circumstances knew deep and serious reasons why the tiny cells within their womb should not become a child?

I knew a woman once who was raising a child conceived because of rape.  “I try so hard to love him the way I love my daughter,” she said.  She had sought counseling after the rape, married a few years later, and had another child.  “It’s just that I can’t stop thinking about that night.  I can’t look at my son without wondering if he will turn out like his father.  There is a wall inside me where he is concerned.  I should never have had him.  It’s not fair to him.”

Perhaps the little boy felt that wall, and in spite of it, might have grown up to be a scientist or a judge, a plumber or a business owner.  Maybe he turned out to be a good son, a good father, a good neighbor.  But that really would have been a miracle.  Because when the emotional pain of rape and birth destroyed his mother’s marriage, this Christian woman turned to Christian America for help.  Once a month the church that had convinced her to have the child gave her a bag of random groceries.  At Christmas, this church helped her with a box of food and some toys.  When she returned for help before the next eligible distribution, they told her the church could not continue to help her, because there were so many others to help and the church did not want to create dependencies.

It seems the passionate interest in children’s lives falls away once a child is born.  If the child is hungry, if he is homeless, if he cannot be properly educated, this can be blamed on the parents.  In years past, we never heard an outcry from pro-life advocates about welfare reform laws that prohibited even one additional dollar from being given for any new baby born during a mother’s tenure on welfare.  This was intended to discourage additional pregnancies among welfare mothers.  Instead, the first state to implement it registered a slight uptick in abortions.

If a child comes to America because he and his parents cannot survive in their home country, we do not hear an outcry from pro-life advocates about the squalid cages in which this child and others are imprisoned.  Instead, we see these advocates continue to celebrate the architect of those prisons.

When the golden months of cellular or fetal life are gone, Dear Ohio, I guess it is every child for himself.  Let him sink or swim.  There is no other choice.

Joni Halpern is a Point Loma resident, an attorney for low-income families, a former contributor to the San Diego Free Press, and an award-winning journalist.

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