I’m scared to talk about this subject here. Really scared to even mention it. It’s so heated and honestly I don’t want to add any fuel to the fire because here’s the thing, I get both sides of the argument. There are so many other topics that I don’t understand one side or the other. Like I don’t understand how you can ignore the dire climate issues, and I don’t understand how you can’t accept a few common-sense gun laws…
But when it comes to abortion, I actually do see both sides of the argument.
People who know me will be surprised to hear this because I am PASSIONATE about this topic. Like ridiculously passionate. I will be marching on Washington if it comes down to that, and I’m feeling furious for people in Alabama right now, and I think women’s rights are under attack. But still, I kinda sorta see the opposing side’s point of view. I don’t think a roomful of men should be making this decision for women, but I can see how some people are against abortion.
So when the abortion story was on the news tonight and my ten-year-old daughter asked what they were talking about, I took a deep breath and explained to her what an abortion is.
As strongly as I feel about the topic, I wanted her to make up her own mind about this one. It’s my job to teach her about the world, but it’s not my job to force her to think the way I do.
ME: Sometimes if a woman gets pregnant and she doesn’t want to have a baby, she has an abortion so she doesn’t have to.
ZOEY: Wait, like she kills the baby?!!
Don’t say anything, don’t say anything, don’t say anything. It took every ounce of willpower not to tell her how I feel.
ME: You can feel that way. Lots of people do.
ZOEY: So I don’t get it. Why are people fighting about it?
Hmmm, how do I say this in a way that’s unbiased?
ME: So some people think a woman should be able to make that decision for herself because it’s her body. If she wants an abortion, she can choose to do it. If she thinks it’s killing a baby, she can choose not to.
I could see Zoey thinking hard for a few seconds.
ZOEY: Yeah, you can’t tell someone what to do. Like at recess I can’t tell people they HAVE TO play something.
ME: Mmm-hmmm. It’s kind of like that, but a little more complicated.
I wanted to say all sorts of things to her. What if you want one someday? What if your best friend does? What if your daughter does? What if you get raped and need one? What if it’s for medical reasons? What if, what if, WHAT IF?!!! But I didn’t. A. She’s not old enough to think about these things yet. And B. It’s not my job to convince her what to think. So I held my tongue. And then she ran out of the room to go work on her LEGO set and the conversation was over.
I wish I had some grand finale to this conversation, some enlightenment at the end of this post, but I don’t. Zoey didn’t agree with me or disagree with me.
But I guess that’s okay because ironically my feelings about abortion are the same way I feel about my daughter’s opinion. Everyone has to make a decision for themselves. If she decides to be pro-choice like her mom, I’ll be very happy. But if she decides she thinks abortion is wrong, that’s totally her decision. And I’ll have to be okay with it. Because it’s her decision, not mine, to make.