December 18, 2011
The Strangers Knocking At My Door
As they did the Christmas season last year, they’ve come twice in the last day. They’re kids out running “a raise money for NARAL” scam. They get a cut of anything they pull in, and they use any info they get to sell to Planned Parenthood or other death mills.
They’re pleasant and they are enthusiastic (I love the painting! I really admire the tree!) and they hand you the clipboard expecting you to sign in your enthusiasm to support their “work.”
I listen and then I tell them, “No, I don’t support what you’re doing or the people and causes that you represent. I think it’s evil for you to do this, and worse still to do it for money.”
Here in Seattle's Queen Anne, where smiles, nods and signups for their scam are their usual rewards, they seem genuinely surprised and taken aback.
“You mean you’re not pro-choice?”
I assure them that I am not even if though, long ago, I was.
Yesterday evening, at night on the darkened porch, it was a young woman. She just shook her head and walked away to get on with her “mission” of going door to door bilking pro-choicers out of money. I guess she forgot to leave the chalk mark on my door that indicates “Satan!” because just now a boy old enough to be a man but forever avoiding it knocked with the same knock and announced himself as, “Hello, I’m your friendly neighborhood feminist.” He pointed towards the pink watch cap he wore.
He ran through the same spiel and handed me what could have been the same clipboard. I listened and handed it back to it saying, “I don’t support this.”
“You mean, you’re not pro-choice?”
“Do you have any children?”
“Have you even been through an abortion with, say, a woman you love in support of her right to choose?”
“I’ve been through two. The first was one that I supported. The second was one that I had deep misgivings about but didn’t oppose.
“Those were all long ago, but now I know that those were two children I didn’t have and will never know, and not a month goes by I don’t think about that and regret it.
"If it ever happens to you, you’ll agree at the time and then, years later, it will come back to you. It will come back to you that you are missing children in your life and it is partially your doing. And it will haunt you, the thought of the people they could have been.
“You’re young and deluded. You’re going to walk away and make this a story you’ll tell to the other kids out running your scam. Then you’ll forget all about it for years, maybe decades, and you’ll go off and have some abortions of your own.
"And then one day, years after that, you’ll come to know what I know now. That’s when you’ll remember me; a man who through his own vanity and foolishness, kept two children out of his life.
“That’s when you’ll remember this moment. But like me, it will be too late for you.”
He walked away shaking his head, already moving into the forgetting. Some day, it will come back to him. I’ll be remembered as a stranger, but suddenly not all that strange.
Posted by Vanderleun at December 18, 2011 10:08 AM
That is so true. You did that young man a large favor. I now have two, sixteen and thirteen. I often think of the first, who would now be 26. I comfort myself with the thought that there is a strong probability it wasn't actually mine, but it was somebody's and that child should be here in this world.
I'm your age (as you know,) and have been through a handful of abortions as well. What was most striking, however I responded, was that I was categorically never consulted about my feelings on the matter, and was judged only on my ability and willingness to "support" the process.
I was, of course, blamed - regardless of the fact that I was told each time that contraception had been taken care of by my partner.
I love babies, and had my own taken from me in a divorce (also not of my choosing.) My anger over these things years later is only equaled by my remorse over lost chances to be a parent. One of the great unexamined tragedies of our age is the effect abortion has on young men.
Good for you for giving those children something to think about. As you've noted, they'll blow it off now, and repent at leisure. They may even remember that somebody warned them, but they will never forget their regrets if they're unhip enough to live past 50.
The young man was lucky to have been spared the fate of so many of other young men and women who might have existed, had they been children and not choices.
This is a terrific piece Gerard. Our generation was the first to have complete freedom to choose on the back end of conception. Now that we've played out millions of those choices, we're first up to speak honestly of the ongoing, long-term repercussions to ourselves, our families, our psyches. Who knows, you may save two other babies somewhere down the line by your honesty. Thank you for posting this.
Well, I will risk sounding corny and go ahead and say thanks for sharing that; with him and with us.
Thanks for this, Gerard. I also live in a neighborhood where it's just assumed that the denizens will support any and all liberal causes. I've been able to keep most of these naifs away with a "no solicitors over the age of 18" sign, but I could have used your speech last week for the NARAL solicitress who claimed to be 17. Will post it by my door for the next one...
%6 years ago (give or take a month) my mother made the choice to have me (yes it was illegal to make that kind of choice back then, but her doctor felt I was no longer here, due to massive bleeding on her part).
We all make choices every day, some which result in greater consequences, down the road, than others. Hopefully the young man will benefit from your hard won wisdom soon enough to bring a son or daughter into the world. And if he does, I wonder what he will tell them 10-15 years later ... about choices, responsibilities, and such.
I'm really sorry, Jerry.
That is a true loss.
It's a sorrow to me that it takes so many years before I realize that I must say something.
Our greatest classicly liberal quality is our broad idea of acceptance and live-and-let-live; and our greatest shame is our passive acceptance of some very unlivable allowances that we silently watch.
So speak. So say. So love.
Your tender and painful mercy toward the young man may yet bear on his conscience; surely he revolves in circles where he's never heard such before.
This is awesome. Both for the lesson it imparts to the young man and your readers.
Try having an abortion because the man has decided that he cannot tolerate a child of "his" living out there, somewhere, adopted by someone else . . . though he himself was an adopted child.
I'm not ready to make it illegal, yet--but it is an awful, awful business. Heartbreak after heartbreak.
Thank you for helping, as they used to say, to raise this poor young man's consciousness.
I am not married. I do not have children.
I have neices and nephews.
I would not trade one of them (at their most infuriating) for "jungle full of monkeys".
"The soul, whence and whither".
My then girlfriend, now wife, and I had two abortions in the 80's. Our rationale was that we weren't in the right place, either financially or relationally.
After some years of marriage we had two beautiful daughters, now 21 and 15. I have entertained the possibility that perhaps the two souls we denied entrance earlier returned to us when we were ready.
too much truth in few, few words.
Before the age of forty I cannot recall an important idea that I did not first object to.
Gerard, it's not your choice. Good or bad it is the woman's choice to make and she and she alone must bear the responsibility.
Actually, in a marriage that's not true although many would like to convince many that it is. Indeed, it's one of the bigger lies going around.
Gerard, you beat me to it.
Alan Kellogg, that is unmitigated bullshit. Your attitude does exactly nothing except perpetuate the notion that men don't count, or are somehow so lacking in humanity that they don't care. "Women" have absolutely no right to abort without consultation with the father of their child.
It's your baby too, and if you're too much of a child to bear that responsibility, I can only hope you've chosen celibacy as your life path.
I totally agree with Gerard and Rob: In marriage the man's decision counts equally, though I too believed the feminist lie in those dark early years. In fact, in Christian households he's the head and leader of the family.
It's another reason why we 'should' know as well as we can the person we're about to marry and become one/make a family with.
My wife and I went thru a similar situation. She got pregnant shortly after we were married and had an abortion. That child would have been around 32 today. Over the years when the topic of abortion has come up, she and I would look at one another and share a sad smile. I often think of the decision we made those many years ago and wonder about what might have been. At the time it appeared to be the right choice. 20-20 hindsight and a lot of water under the bridge have shown us both that it wasn't.
Like one of the other writers, we are comforted by the decision we made to subsequently have children. Both of our daughters are in their 20s, the oldest of whom is married and just gave birth to our first grandchild who turned 5 months old last week. Life is good.
Terrific story to tell. As a counselor, I deal with a number of women who made the choice that later came back to haunt them. The tears shed in my office are collectively enough to clean the carpet many times. Such sadness is never told by the NARAL people. Thank you for sharing this.
A very close friend aborted a child decades ago and now regrets it bitterly and deeply. She has changed from a feel-good liberal to a thoughtful conservative, and I often wonder if anger at the corrosive lies about abortion contributed to her conversion.
I have a son who was one of a set of twins. His brother was stillborn. Not the same thing, I know, but reading this post and these comments today made me realize that the pain of losing a child has not gone away after seventeen years. I cannot imagine willfully denying a child that chance at life. Thanks for making me reaffirm my beliefs today.
I have had the same experience as you, and I feel the same way about it.
Regret, self-hatred, and isolation.
For years, I punished myself and/or relieved my guilt through substance abuse.
Then I began to take more seriously, God's promise that there is nothing so big, evil, sinful, or frightening that it can separate me from His love.
Nevertheless, if my other child would have been born, he/she would now be 24 years old, and I think about that quite often.
Check this out:
Listen to the lyrics.
Powerful stuff, sir... You are the F-1 Saturn V engine of writers.
from human sacrifice to slavery to the holocaust and all of mans butchery in-between and to come... All will pale in comparison to this evil that is inflicted for mere convenience.
As harsh a blow as I have ever seen struck on any man, like the blow of a war ax. And one of the greatest kindnesses ever.
Alan, I "get" that a lot of that hard work, early on, must be done by the biological mother. But I don't understand--on any level--why the voice of the biological father has to be repressed regarding a decision that both parties will have to live with for the rest of their lives.
I mean, the guy gets sent a bill, irrespective of which choice is made. And I understand that I abdicated too easily to the man's wish in my own case (though believe me--he would have won eventually: we lived together, and he played dirty, dirty). But if the man is financially responsible for the woman bearing a child, why is he not morally responsible for her aborting it? How is this one party's sole decision? For crying out loud: he gets an invoice, either way . . .
Here we go again...
A key point, often ignored by anti-choicers, is just when in the pregnancy an abortion becomes an abortion rather than contraception. (Yes, I am perfectly aware that anti-abortionists often also dislike contraception - and that really is elevating religious dogma over choice.)
IUDs work by preventing implantation rather than preventing ovulation or fertilisation. Arguably, therefore, any doctor that fits an IUD is an abortionist.
An even less clear case is the "morning-after pill". As I understand it, this particular drug stops implantation as well. It's often used by women who have been careless, admittedly - but in what way is it really different from contraceptive pills or devices? And how about what that drug was first designed for - the case of barrier methods failing? (Split condom, basically.) Should a woman who was not intending to get pregnant have to be pregnant because of some manufacturer's poor quality control?
According to the RC Church, the situation is quite clear. Sperm and egg microns apart are not human - but 30 seconds later the sperm's head is inside the egg, and according to the Pope the resulting zygote is fully human. As is probably rather obvious, I don't agree.
Fletcher Christian ignorantly generalized: "A key point, often ignored by anti-choicers, is just when in the pregnancy an abortion becomes an abortion rather than contraception."
Evidence? Statistics? "Often ignored?" How often? Under what circumstances? By what "anti-choicers?" Catholics? Presbyterians? Moslems? Ba'hai? From where you do to pull this facile, bogus kind of statement out? And what the hell are you even takling about? What the hell do you know about the mind and soul of any anti-choicer, or anybody else for that matter? Oh, and Merry Christmas, Mr., uh, Christian.
Avoid the answer all together, Fletch. If left to continue, the egg and the sperm would have become a baby. A son or daughter. A man or woman with perhaps a family, too. The painful loss is what that once inconvenient person could have added to society, to the man's life. Everything you have stated is meaningless blather.
Fletch...if not human being then what?
Thud - Obvious. The answer is "a potential human being". Others don't agree, but I don't think a single cell is human.
Jewel - Does that mean you believe that nobody should ever use contraception? Cue the wonderfully satirical Monty Python song "Every Sperm is Sacred".
I have no problem with contraception. Sperm is sperm and egg is egg. We are talking about the two coming together, creating an entirely new life, no longer sperm nor egg. You haven't made any valid point. You have just cluttered up the thread with strawman arguments.
Jewel - Nope. Is an IUD contraception or abortion? Same question for "morning-after pill". In both cases, why? Seeing as neither method prevents the merging of the germ cells. And then we get into the question of just how many cells there have to be in the morula/blastula before it becomes an embryo. Assuming, that is, that one does not take the Catholic line that a zygote is fully human from the first second.
I often remarked the fact that my decision to have an abortion at 21, and shamefully again at 40, seemed to have no effect on me.
And then it did.
At 61, I can't remember when it began, but the effect is with me now.
My son and his sibling are not.
All I can say is, thanks for sharing that, and thanks to the posters who have the courage to do the same.
We're not discussing this to engage in some justification for destroying life, rather, an object lesson from people who know there is a price to pay for committing such an act, and compassionate enough to share their experiences as a warning and an object lesson to others.
Your lack of compassion for the context of this message is unexcusable.
While it is no guarantee that your child will not be aborted, it is much rarer for a married woman to abort than an unmarried one.
I counseled at a CPC for three years. Only one married woman I counseled aborted.
The wisdom of the world today is that fornication is harmless. It is not. The abortion of millions of children is but one result.
So men, I recommend you wait until married until you have sex. Novel idea for most, I know.
Cheezburgrr - I myself am anti-abortion. But the difference between me and some of the far-Right religious nutters is that I recognise that there are times when an abortion is either appropriate, or necessary, or both. Obvious examples are foetuses that are either grossly deformed and/or genetically abnormal, and those produced as a result of rape. And I certainly don't agree with the "life begins at fertilisation" crowd.
I also recognise that the there is a scale here. Last-month partial abortion is utterly abhorrent and should not be considered unless there is a genuine danger to the life of the mother. At 8 weeks it is nowhere near as clear.
Marie - "So men, I recommend you wait until married until you have sex." I would substitute "think of fathering kids" in the obvious place. I know quite a few couples who had been living together for years, and got married when they decided that it was time to have kids.
The issue is about responsibility; not about whether you have had formulaic words said over you by someone in either funny clothes or a cheap suit. On that, we will probably never agree.
I feel for you, Gerald.
Years ago, I noticed that may aunt had this porcelain doll in her room. It had a cherubic face (light skin, blue eyes) and a nice little sailor suit. She gave it a (male) name. Every time she saw it, she had a smile. My aunt never married or had children, so "Mark" the doll was the child she never had.
In many other circumstances, she was a bitter woman. She made my life away from college quite miserable (I used to stay with her during the breaks.) She even threw in my face that I shouldn't marry my husband. There is no other way to summarize four years + of it with the word "misery." Her bitterness was always taken out on someone else: she had also made the same impression upon all of my relatives.
But years later, I understood why. "Mark", the porcelain doll, was not the child she didn't have, but the poor substitute for the one she had aborted years ago.
Don't tell me that taking a little something made of you (which embeds the essence of you into a brand-new human being) and cut it into little pieces, or sucking its brains out, won't harm you. If I hear someone say something so crass, I will feel comfortable enough to call them a liar... unless they have no heart, of course.
This thread is not about whether abortion should be legal, or Federalized, or enshrined as a right, or driven by the judiciary.
And it's certainly not about how great eugenics are, and how we should kill persons who are different or "defective."
This thread is whether we, as a society, intend to continue this pretense that aborting a fully formed fetus--an unambiguous person--doesn't cost us anything, spiritually or emotionally.
Because that is what young people are told, and it's a lie.
All sin, including abortion, is built on the lie of no consequences (Serpent in the garden to Eve: 'God didn't really say that, did He? Oh no, those would never be the consequences... because if you eat the fruit, God didn't tell you, you will really be like gods etc. etc. etc.')
Bad as abortion is, however---and we all can agree it's terrible, with myriad and long-term, unintended consequences---it's only the end game of the sexual revolution and radical feminism lies and myths we live by---sex without boundaries and life-long commitment, before, during and after marriage. Sex with anyone, anytime, anywhere. Pornography. Etc.
Doubtful it's going away anytime soon. We live in a country of individuals looking out for number one. Until we make Him Number One, we won't be able to change our own boundaryless sexual predictions. Even as we point the finger at others and decry the demise of the family and the 'awfulness' of abortion.
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Será que é verdade?
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This will be solved with guns. Polar opposite positions exist and they're grounded in two different religions. One deals with ethics as it's operating base; the other is devoid of such.
As to abortions, I'm in favor of such if confined to Marxists, Proggy fools in uteri. Failing that a .45 works. It will come to that. Anyone that thinks the left will give up it's position without a vicious fight is sippin' RINO Kool-Aid.
I had a remarkably similar experience about 15 years ago. I was then in my early forties and figured I was done. I then met the Woman (h/t Conan-Doyle) did the wedding thing and the boy is setting the table for dinner as I type this.
Don't give up.
Give it time, Peccable, give it time. All that's really needed is to get Roe vs. Wade overturned (easier said than done, I know) and thereby get the issue returned to the states. Overturning Roe vs. Wade won't outlaw abortion, and that's the beauty of the tactic-- the pro-choicers can still get abortions if they want them (in deep-blue Massachusetts, for example) while the pro-lifers can work on getting abortion outlawed where they can.
Of course, the pro-choicers will scream bloody murder (ironic, that) about Roe vs. Wade being overturned, but if we (and they) truly care about freedom and liberty (said caring not always a given on the Left), we have to de-Federalize a lot of things, abortion among them.
My two cents' worth.
Pikesville, People's Democratic Republic of Maryland
Thank you for sharing. It's easy to get caught up in posturing for the stance and forget we have a responsibility to seize opportunities to touch the hearts of the misguided. But when our own president boasts to the world that he would facilitate the termination of his own grandchild, what chance is there that we can affect change to match our own regret? Abortion is a very difficult social and political issue, even while advances in science and technology give us insight into how fetus develops... and suffers. We aren't equipped to deal with such regret - and that is why we are fortunate to have such a loving and forgiving God.
I understand and appreciate what you are sharing.
We bought the liberal package and as you have said settled done to raise a dog. But, we have also promoted and financed the use of children as an income, the feminization of men and the diminution of the father.
I search to understand how these ideas have taken hold. Was the WWII generation too shell shocked or diminished to pass on their wisdom?
Thank you for sharing this, Gerard and all of you. I share the regret, isolation and pain of many others. There is a child, who would be 25 if not for my callous selfishness. I never had any other children. Peace.
GV: Thanks for posting this. My confessor assures me that I have been forgiven by the Almighty for the murder of four of my unborn children. I believe him. As for myself: the blood on my hands will never, ever wash off.
Fletcher Christian: I am a right-wing religious nutter, and you are wrong. A fertilized egg is a human being. He or she is not a potential human. The only difference between a fertilized egg (a zygote) and you is the number of cells, not their nature. You are a human being now, with a zillion cells; you were a human being then, with one.
Abortion should be illegal, everywhere and in all circumstances. Ditto contraception.
A very powerful piece, Gerard.
Love reading it again! Poor things don't realize they were lucky to make it through the gauntlet of their parents crazy thinking. Sad, I was there once too. I gave up way too much for the "I am woman" psychosis!! Now I make it my purpose to tell all young women not to miss motherhood! You are a TRUE GEM Gerard! You are making very good use of your "Bonus Life"!
I've never been in this position. However, my wife and I did suffer a miscarriage early in our marriage. We've got 3 beautiful children who bring greater joy into my life than I had thought possible, yet every so often I find myself thinking about the one we didn't have and get misty-eyed when I do. I cannot imagine willingly terminating a pregnancy. Friends of mine did it long ago and yet it lingers with them to this day.
As a counterpoint, yesterday I went in for a blood test, and shortly before reading this post received the news: God-willing, this time next year there will be gifts for two children under the tree, not just one. We couldn't be happier; we've had to do this the hard way.
The thought of abortion makes me ill. I've never had one, but I've seen the lasting devastation it has wrought upon close family members who honestly thought they were making the right choice at the time. I can't imagine what I would say to someone showing up at my door to raise money for it. Maybe just pointedly hold my little one while slamming the door in the idiot's face.
What courage and what eloquence. I hope that solicitor reflects on your words. I too was one of those, just married, kids weren't in the plan, we had school, a house to buy, a world to see, so we aborted a month or so into our marriage. 16 years and 5 children later, with a completely different and by all accounts happy and successful life, not a week goes by that I don't ache for that child. No one ever told me that would happen, good for you for speaking up. Merry Christmas!
Well said. And so, let me propose a toast: To my Youth. May Almighty God say me from a relapse.
Thank you Gerard for your hard won wisdom.
And to Fletcher, Life is not sacred, it is precious beyond compare. Life is a gift not to the parents, but from the parents, to the child. Do you not cherish your life?
I followed the link to NARAL and a phrase, a lie, leaped snarling off the page at me: "the war against women" is really a war against children. With skydiving a choice is made when one leaps from the plane, irrevocable. With sex a "choice" is made when a man dips his wick, irrevocable. Everything after that is either joy or regret, but the child is blameless. If you must kill, kill the rapist. Steve Jobs was adopted. I'm glad he lived. The world is alive with possibilities, abortion is opportunity lost.
Three things you can never get back: an arrow in flight, a word spoken in anger, and opportunity lost.
Many writers are merely glib.
These words echo with the wisdom of a haunted man.
I know someone who did a master's project on fathers of aborted children. He contends that it is a huge psychological problem for men, and that while there is now some sympathy for women who have had abortions there is none for men. He says that men are expected to simply forget about it and, when they can't, there is nothing, anywhere, to help them, and that they often feel guilty for feeling guilty! He thinks there needs to be a huge effort to help such men, but -- because awareness of the devastating effects of abortion is still low and there are few resources to devote to it -- so far all the effort is going to help women. You are not alone.
Man it's good to have you back, G. Fantastic work as always.