Pro-Choice with a Side of Tears

By January 18, 2011Opinion

I cry a little bit almost every morning. As I drive to my usual bagel and blogging stop, I pass by an abortion clinic. No matter how nasty the weather, there is at least one person there with a sign and a picture of a fetus, usually at 8 weeks old.  I am unable to stop the tears. 

I am pro choice.  I would never take away a woman’s right to choose.  I know many people disagree, and I get it.  This is a hard subject and a hard choice. 

So while I am pro-choice, I still I cry.  I can’t help it.  I think of the little babies that I have lost.  If I am being 100% honest, I think of who those tiny beings might have been.   I think of the pregnant women who have made this choice and imagine them pulling in past these signs and driving past the protesters.  I do not think they deserve this.  I cry for their pain.  I think of all the people who can’t have babies. I remember the feeling of elation as my own body made it past the first trimester and I felt I had some grasp on a successful pregnancy.   A million feelings rush through my head and heart.  I even cry for the man holding the sign, because he cares so much that he stands there every day.  I’m not saying all the feelings make sense, but they are there. 

Those are just my feelings.  If you are curious, I had these same feelings (minus the pregnancy related ones) before I was married or pregnant and had the pregnancy scares like anyone else.  While I cannot ever know for sure, I do not think I would choose to end a pregnancy.   I think I would be all kinds of crazy if I did.  But that’s just me.  Remember, I’m pro-choice.  That would be my choice.

I remember dating Ross, my husband, and being terrified of getting pregnant.  I knew that I would not want to end a pregnancy but I also knew that we would probably not get married simply because I was pregnant.  I knew that it would change our relationship forever and that if we disagreed, the consequences on our relationship could be devastating.  I felt like it was a lose-lose situation – for us.  I was ready to get married to Ross before he was ready to propose.  I know I am not the first gal in this position.  So if we had the baby, I would want to be married.  But I would want him marrying me for the passionate love and friendship and want to have babies with you kind of reasons and not for the baby is coming right now kind of reason.  If we chose to end the pregnancy, I don’t know if our relationship could have withstood the pain of what would have been something I would never forget.  Again, that’s just me.  We were never without 2 forms of birth control while we were dating and people might laugh but what did I care?  An unwanted pregnancy is just that – unwanted right?  An unwanted pregnancy should be avoided. 

* I should have added that I am Pro Choice with a Side of Tears and a Huge Batch of Birth Control.  It works most of the time – I want to help make sure people who want it can get it.*

In my opinion, every women has the right to make her own choice and to have that choice be respected whether or not I would make that same decision.  I am not a judge, I am not God.  I was a girl, I am a woman and I hope to be a friend to other women no matter our differences or situations in life.   

So basically, I am not a fan of the roadside guilt.  I think for most women making the choice to end a pregnancy is difficult at the least and can be a devastating decision for some.  Even for women who do not want to be pregnant at all, or may not ever want to have children, or are not ready for children this is not, in most cases, a fly by the seat of your pants decision.  After thought and counsel and soul searching, a choice is made.  Whatever that choice is, I don’t think the side of the road is the place to demonstrate one’s differing opinion.

We all know that there is disagreement surrounding abortion…disagreement so strong it threatens to smother our love for others and our ability to show compassion and understanding.  I hate seeing those signs because to me they are meant to cause guilt and pain and I want people to avoid causing pain when they can.  I certainly do.

Maybe I cry because this issue is so difficult and so raw and because really there is no compromise.  There is not a grey area, a nice place where we can talk around our differences and find some common ground.  We are pro-choice or not pro-choice, even if it brings us to tears.  We either have the abortion or have the baby, even though both choices change us forever.   

I do not write this to cause anger or to change opinions.  I know that many of you will feel differently than me, and that is okay.  Again, I get it.  Of all my opinions, this is the most difficult one to have.  It does not sit easy with me, it does not make me proud or make me want the debate.  It just lays heavy on my heart.  I suppose I write this to encourage compassion and to remind us that not all opinions are easy.  We can believe strongly in something and still struggle with all the implications.   So yes, I am pro-choice and it makes me cry.  Because it’s a choice no one wants to make.

Join the discussion 39 Comments

  • Violetsouffle says:

    I agree, it’s a choice no one wants to have to make. I’m pro-choice but also pro-make more resources-available-so-women-don’t-have-to-make-the-choice-unless-it’s-right. Thanks for writing this. Those protesters always wrenches me into pieces too.

  • mandy w says:

    I love this post for many reasons. I am also pro-choice. I absolutely abhor abortion. I hate it with every bit of me and wish it wasn’t a reality. It is a reality though and I cannot take that chioce away from someone else. I cannot live their life for them, nor can I promise to help them in all of their needs.

    I am an OB nurse who has held a still-born 18 weeks old fetus in my hands. He was perfect, whole and a person. The only thing different between him and a lot of fetus’ who are aborted are that he was wanted. This makes me cry.

    The road-sign signs also make me cry, and make me furious when strangers are showing my children these horrific signs in the name of Jesus.

    I am a Christian. I feel very confident that Jesus would not hold a sign with a mutilated baby on it. I think Jesus is beside the women in the clinic who is making this choice.

    I think Jesus is crying with all of us.
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  • Shell says:

    This is such an honest post.

    I am Christian and yet pro-choice…pro-choice if there is no other choice, if that makes any sense to you.

    When I was in my early twenties and had just started a job and was waiting for my insurance to kick in, I went to a Planned Parenthood to get birth control b/c it was where I could afford it. It was a Saturday and there was a mob of picketers. I felt horrible and wanted to yell “I’m just getting birth control pills!” Though, even going in there was seen as bad by them. I can get it, I guess- they see it as supporting the clinic.

  • Emily C says:

    I am pro-life. But I can relate to most of the feelings that you expressed in this post. I appreciate sharing your raw feelings. I am also pro-resources. I think people need to be educated and able to access birth control. I think the choice part for me comes in when deciding to have sex. If you have sex, you need to know that its a possibility of getting pregnant. In my opinion, once you have made the choice to have sex, you should be able to accept the natural consequences of having a child. I also know that in reality, people have sex who don’t want to be parents. In that situation, I would be an advocate for educating people on the option of adoption. Killing a living baby is not an option in my opinion. Especially after having babies and knowing what your body goes through, the bond, etc. etc. The consequences of terminating a pregnancy emotionally and physically could seriously affect future fertility, emotional stability, relationships, etc.
    I know you didn’t write this to debate. And I am totally not trying to debate. But I thought I would share my thoughts too. 🙂
    Again I appreciate your honesty on a tough subject. I respect your emotions and thoughts so very much.
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    • Brittany says:

      Emily, thank you for your comment. I did not see it as debate but as your opinion, which is welcome here. Like you, I do not like abortion. I don’t think pro-life people are pro-abortion at all. Abortion actually terrifies me. I wish it was less common and that fewer women were getting pregnant with unwanted babies. But, I am pro-choice becase I do not feel that it is my choice to make for someone else. I agree that people should understand that abortion is not birth control and should understand what a big step sex is and that at its core, it is how we make babies. Abstinence, Birth control, adoption…all of these are things that should be talked about more openly in my opinion and when we talk about sex we should talk not only about the risks of sexual diseases but of the choice that no one wants to make – that to end the life of an unborn child. My kids are too young to understand these things but I know that no talk of sexuality will be without talk of babies and how they are made and what happens when and if you make one. Again, thank you so much for expressing your opinion. I respect your emotions and thoughts well 🙂

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cindi . Cindi said: Thx for writing this RT @mommywords: Just posted my most difficult post to date. Pro-Choice with a Side of Tears […]

  • A beautiful and heartfelt post.

    If only all people could comprehend this and not attack those faced with horrible decisions.

    I am pro-choice, but I do not like abortion. I also took great steps to ensure no “accident” happened while dating my future husband – because I never wanted to make that choice.

    It’s not one I think I personally could live with.

    But the choice should still be there.
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  • Evonne says:

    It is definitely not an easy opinion to have. I am also pro-choice. From what I have been through in my life, I know it is not a choice I would make for myself. If another woman was considering abortion, I would do my best to give her options, but in the end the choice is hers. Whether I like it or not.
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  • Candice says:

    I identify with the title; I, too, am pro-choice with a side of tears. I’m grateful to have never had to make that choice or to have lost a baby and have to deal with the “I wonder” thoughts. I think it would probably be entirely unbearable, unlivable at times. I can’t imagine having to go to a clinic, already heartbroken over the decision I was making, and then having to face protesters and their signs. I understand that that’s exactly the effect they’re going for, but I think it’s unfair and cruel.

    I’m a big proponent of choice and tolerance. We each have to make our own choices in life, be accountable for those choices, and be tolerant of others’ choices, even when we disagree vehemently.
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  • Bryna says:

    I was Pro-Life in high school, but since then my tune has changed. I am now a Pro-Choicer all the way. I don’t believe it should be that black & white…
    I still believe that it’s life that’s being destroyed, but like you, I’m not God. That’s something that this individual will have to face on their own time.

    What scares me is HOW MANY of my friends have had them! Okay, so you weren’t quite ready to have a kid. Now you have to deal with that. What if you terminated the child that would’ve cured cancer? What if you now can’t have children? (like one of my friends who now has had IVF to try to have a child… how much is she kicking herself!)

    From another Pro-Choice mommy with a side of tears… WELL SAID!

    • Brittany says:

      Oh Bryna I know. My family is basically totally pro-life. I mean I am a preacher’s kid from the midwest growing up in the 80’s. Everyone was pro-life and I’m not sure I even knew there was a pro-choice. Things changed as I got older and really thought about it. Yes, so many people I know have had an abortion and I know that many have wondered if it was the right decision but some have no regrets. They are not me. They see things differently. I cannot put my beliefs on them. So I am pro-choice. But man it’s a tough one to ponder. It is really sad.

  • Ashley says:

    I am with the comment up ahead… I’m a Christian, and also pro choice if it’s the only/last choice (having been through a pregnancy, I can’t imagine how hard it’d be to carry a rape baby, for example, to term). I don’t think we should look at the world like it’s black and white – every situation is different and outside the scope of the “rules.” Your post was really great! And I’m glad you’re getting a lot of positive feedback and no haters!
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  • Theta Mom says:

    Thanks for such an honest post Brittany, and I too, come from the pro-choice with a side of tears camp. Candice had a wonderful comment which summed up my thoughts exactly.

  • What a thoughtful, compassionate post, Brittany! You handled this difficult topic so well.

    I’m pro-life, but think that ultimately the solution everyone can agree on is reducing unwanted pregnancies altogether — via education, birth control, and the reduction of poverty — and supporting mothers. Choosing life for your baby shouldn’t mean choosing to end your own life (in terms of being able to go to school, get a job, afford food/rent/childcare/healthcare), but right now, it probably feels that way for many women.

    Really, one of the most important takeaways from this post is compassion. This point in particular resonated with me: “disagreement so strong […] threatens to smother our love for others and our ability to show compassion and understanding.” We can’t allow that to happen, or we can’t arrive at solutions and support each other as we do so.
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  • teri says:

    Quite honestly the responses you’re receiving has blown my socks off. I was a little hesitant to push on the comment section for the “fear” of reading very hateful remarks to you.

    I am a pro-choice person in every aspect of my life. I don’t hate those that do, doesn’t dislike those that can’t see someone else’s viewpoint, I’m not against gay/lesbians, I don’t have a problem with bi-racial couples or those that adopt children from foreign lands that don’t have the same skin tone as they do. I choose not to stand in judgement of others. I am not so tolerate of rapists, murderers, etc. I guess that is where I draw the line.

    I relate to more than one of the scenarios that you wrote of. This issue is so very personal for me on so many levels. A mother to one young adult, secondary infertility and then to find out that our one and only “child” was pregnant (sure she was almost 21 but to us she is and forever will be our child). 🙂 Our house expanded 2.5 years ago by a little person that has taken over every aspect of all of our lives. I am a major caregiver for this little one while my daughter continues in college and works part time.

    I so get this post, I don’t drive by a clinic such as this but if I were to I too would cry for all those reasons above too and then some others that I can’t go into.

  • I am absolutely, 100%, bona-fide pro-choice. I will stand in a ditch, soaked in rain or mud or excrement, sign in hand, to defend a woman’s right to choose.

    But I will tell you, when I got pregnant for the first time and saw that beating heart on the sonogram, it knocked the breath right out of me. That’s a beating heart. That’s not just some cells collecting…that’s a beating heart. My baby’s beating heart.

    And you know what happened? The weirdest thing. If possible, I became more pro-choice than ever. Because I wanted my baby so much, and when I saw that little pulse on the screen, it made me realize that NO WAY is the decision to abort ever made lightly. Women do not choose to undergo a d&c without heartfelt consideration. I do not believe that women “choose” abortion as a birth control method. That choice is hard, and brutal, and I don’t believe for a second that those women choose easily.

    We do what we do. We try to do what’s best, even when cornered and confused. And no matter what side of the rope we stand on, we need to cast no stones.

    • Brittany says:

      Honey I will stand in that ditch with you in any weather. But I still might be crying. And yes, my baby’s beating heart took my breath. It changed my life. The beating hearts of the babies I just tucked in and those of the baby lost far too late…each time I was floored. I know too that it is not taken lightly. That it is already painful enough without anyone standing there telling you that you are wrong. So yes…that ditch…I am there.

  • I am totally and completely pro-choice. I would rather a baby not exist than be born to people who don’t want it and won’t give it a decent shot at life. That said? I couldn’t do it. Even if it meant having a baby at the worst time and making my life a billion times more complicated. I know that I just couldn’t live with myself.

    • Brittany says:

      Me too, me too. That’s what makes this so hard in many ways. As women we are so close to our own bodies and our own emotions that it is very hard to see that others are not just like us. It is hard to know their situations or beliefs and sometimes becomes easy to judge and hard to show compassion or even respect for their different choice. It’s like Candace said…choice and tolerance.

  • Adryon says:

    What a beautifully written post. Thank you for being so raw and honest about a topic that everyone has an opinion about.

    I hate when people think that pro-choice means pro-abortion. It absolutely isn’t. I would never condemn/judge another woman for making a decision that is unbelievably difficult.
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  • gigi says:

    Very well said. You handled such a controversial subject with grace, class and empathy.
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  • I, like Shell, also visited Planned Parenthood for birth control in my early 20’s. I think it is such a shame that such a great organization like Planned Parenthood is portrayed as such an evil organization by the pro-lifers. All the staff from the doctors, nurses, secretaries were always incredibly pleasant in spite of having to work in such a stressful environment.
    I am pro choice, but like you Brittany don’t think I could have ever had an abortion. Thankfully I never had to make that CHOICE. I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my first child I actually felt a little shock at how easy it had been for me. The realization that an “unwanted pregnancy” could happen that easily had me in shock for a couple of days.
    Great Post.

  • Karen says:

    Where do I begin? This topic is so complex. I have an opinion and a belief which I stand by but do I jump in to the conversation? I tossed back and forth on the matter especially when I read the comments about believing in resources. It was when I came to the word “tolerance” that pushed me to speak.

    We live in a country that is full of resources and education. Many educated women with means are having abortions. They are using abortion as a means of birth control or as a back up plan. I could get past not commenting on that matter but then the whole “tolerance” thing sprung up. I am really trying hard not to make this sound like a debate and I honestly don’t know how to do that. Can I not speak for the unborn children? If someone were to harm our children or even our pets we would be on a mission of vengeance. We would want an “eye for an eye” and to see that the offender received justice. When did aborting/murdering a child become our choice? Why should we tolerate such a gruesome act?

    My heart grieves for this matter. I grieve for the unborn children that will never play ball, attend school, or meet their parents. I grieve that they will never know their purpose in life. I also grieve for the mothers that felt the need to make such a decision. It is a decision that they must live with for the rest of their lives. I’m told it is one that haunts them and hurts future relationships.

    I am not for the whole picketing and holding up abortion signs. That truly does not show compassion for others. I know that sometimes people feel trapped and like there is no way out but there is a way out. I know someone mentioned that Jesus is with us wherever we go. He is, but is also promised a way out of temptation. This can go along with having sexual relations or aborting a baby. There are many couples out there that are longing for a baby. Choosing life is not the easy choice but it is one that leaves no regret.

  • Thank you for that post. Seriously. It is hard to find someone who approaches this subject with so much intelligence and care.

    But, I have to warn you, every “bleeding heart” who thinks they must speak out for the unborn fetus…..slams fist on table…..will now feel the right to leave hideously long posts about god, and what’s right, etc. *rolls eyes*

    I would have any problem making the decision. If it meant my life would’ve changed, and I wouldn’t have my girls that I have today, then sign me up. And God help anyone who gets in my way, if one day my children find themselves in that situation and make that decision.

    Put a sticker on your car, and keep your hatred to yourself. Funny how people speak out against abortion and then piss and moan about welfare.
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  • I should probably clarify the above comment….If having an abortion earlier in my life would’ve kept me from having my girls NOW, then I would be okay with doing anything i needed to have these exact two people in my life.

    It sounds like I meant I didn’t want my 2 girls that i have today. Which is NOT what I meant.
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  • oh friend, you have such a beautiful heart.

    i am very prochoice… but i can understand your tears and your ache.

    love to you.

  • amber says:

    I think that’s the first time anyone has ever voiced how I really feel about abortion. I can’t imagine making that decision, but I know friends who have, and it’s always been heartbreaking. It’s a horrible decision to have to make – but it needs to be available for those who need to make it.

  • Becki says:

    I think it’s interesting how everyone keeps mentioning “tolerance”. We demand it, we scream for it, but are never really “tolerant” of that which we don’t agree with. You talk of tolerance for those who are pro-choice, yet you aren’t tolerant of the man in the parking lot expressing his opinion. You talk of giving the freedom of choice to women who choose to end their baby’s life, but give no freedom to the man who stands against it. We don’t judge the woman taking her baby’s life, but we judge the people who stand up for that baby, screaming for tolerance but not giving any ourselves.
    That doesn’t seem right, either.

    • Brittany says:

      Actually, I cry for that man (as I said) and I know that he must feel very strongly to be out there every day. I do not say any hateful things towards him or any other people who choose to demonstrate that way. What I said is that I think the point of those signs is to make people feel guilt and intensify the pain they are already feeling. That is why I am not a fan of the roadside abortion signs. I am completely tolerant of the pro-life message. Most of my family is pro-life and still would find issue with the signs outside a clinic.

      Am I not allowed to express disappointment in this man’s choice of delivery for his message? I made it clear that I personally am uncomfortable with abortion for myself. What I said is that I am not a judge. I did not say that he doesn’t have a right to be there – is me thinking it is not the appropriate place being intolerant of his message? If his message is pro-life – I think it could be delivered somewhere else. He is not going to change any laws in front of an abortion clinic. If his message is to cause pain – then I could be called intolerant of people in any situation purposefully causing another person pain.

      I did say that I am not a judge, and that is true. That does not mean I am not saddened by the frequency of this choice and wish that it happened less. I actually think many people, in their hearts, do judge this decision but still would not want to put their beliefs on someone else and so remain pro-choice.

      Anyway, I understand that you are upset. I hope you understand that I wrote this because I am sad each day and find that there is very little ground here for agreement and so the issue causes so much heartbreak and disagreement. I never mentioned taking away anyone’s freedom though.

  • Allison says:

    You seem like my kind of girl!

    Abortion is a choice no woman wants to make. While I do not think I could ever go through with it, it’s not that easy for everyone else. Since no one wants to see this happen, kids should be taught about abstinence AND birth control options because no method is 100% effective except to NOT have sex! We have to let them know early on, as parents we will always be there for our children.

    But even then, sex is not a choice for every woman either. Thankfully, that is a very small minority.

  • Wow, Brittany. Such classy comments. I’m so glad that the community can talk about this subject with such dignity and tolerance. I love what you said here, and I look forward to more of these kinds of topics on MommyWords. We’ve all got lots of opinions, and if we can come together in a sharing of ideas without judgment, we’re better people for it. Thanks for starting the conversation. 🙂
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  • Melisa says:

    You voiced this perfectly. Another pro-choicer here but abortion saddens me but I also believe a woman should have the right to choose, whether I agree or not. Thank you for stating things so eloquently.
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  • Niki says:

    Count me among the commenters who is 100% pro-life. I will not debate. I personally hate debate. I will only state my belief that abortion is murder and it literally makes me feel sick to my stomach to think of women having this done to their babies. I can no more support/agree with/tolerate abortion than I can people murdering their children after they’re born.

    I admire how well you wrote about this and I’m glad that no one has said anything hateful to you. I agree that we should show love and compassion, regardless of what side of the fence we stand on. “Speak the truth with love.” Those who are against abortion can speak against it with truth and love. They should go hand in hand.
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  • Leah says:

    I do appreciate how well you wrote about your feeling. To be quite honest it took me this long to read this post because I knew what it would do to me. I am pro-life. That means I am for all life, every stage of life, all over the world. I don’t think people’s lives should be taken or should go hungry no matter where they live, in Africa or in a womb and I believe we have a responsibility to provide for them. I have no hate for any one who believes differently than me and I don’t believe all my beliefs are right in so many other areas. But I do know that it is a life inside of a women and I wish there was better education about that life. I wish that unborn human had a choice and it breaks my heart. I didn’t want to start a debate either, I just wanted to really share my heart too. My heart hurts not only for those babies, but also the mothers. I know one person close to me who has shared their story with me about how their whole life was changed when they got an abortion and how their heart breaks even now for their child they didn’t get to love and raise. My heart just wants every human to have a choice. I really hope this comments was well enough written to show my feelings and not to be read with any disdain. I really don’t think I am going to change anyone’s mind, it was really more for me to process.

  • I love that you addressed this. I’m pro choice myself, but I don’t think I could abort a pregnancy if I was faced with that decision. Then again, I’ve not been in those shoes before. This was a great read though. Thank you.

  • I loved this and how you expressed yourself. I am a pro-life activist and do pray at an abortion clinic here in Charlotte regularly and I still understand your concern with the man with the sign. I’m not sure what the image he is showing is but some women going into abortion clinics don’t have a clue what their baby looks like or they don’t have any support, only pressure to get an abortion.
    I experienced that years ago. I was so pressured to get an abortion I made the appointment really fast and had no idea what was going on inside my body. Fortunately, my conscience got the better of me and I educated myself and realized I had no right to take my baby’s life, so I gave her up for adoption instead.
    Anyway, my point is that many women do change their mind when they see us there praying for them. It happens a lot and talk about making you cry. It’s wonderful!
    I do not agree with people who yell mean things to women going in and I know the graphic pictures are hard to look at so I don’t use that approach. Unfortunately, I have had to work side by side with them and don’t think we don’t tell them they need to be more loving. One funny thing is, opposite of you, I actually grew up pro-choice and once, as a 15 year old, I saw one of those “crazy pro-lifers” on the street and gave him the finger. Maybe two weeks ago, at the abortion clinic trying to hand out some literature, I got the finger from a girl leaving in her car. It was pretty interesting!
    I hope this doesn’t sound harsh to other pro-choicers but you are the most reasonable sounding pro-choicer I’ve ever encountered simply because you realize what abortion is and that there really is no common ground, so to speak.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about such an important topic.
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  • Sili says:

    You have taken what’s in my heart and given my feelings words. Amazing. Thank you.
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