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Pregnancy Is Not a Matter of Inconvenience

August 03, 1989

Anti-abortionists--their leaders, along with recent letter writers--continue to insist that women seek out and have abortions "for convenience's sake." While the circumstances and reasons for choosing to abort a pregnancy vary, there is always a constant: for all women, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation and the rearing of a child to maturity and independence is not a simple matter of inconvenience.

Women do not take these matters lightly. They know that forced motherhood will not magically turn them into mothers who will be loving nurturers. They understand that to knowingly bring a child into an existence where it will be unloved and unwanted, neglected and abused, is an act of cruelty, not one of love.

Those who invade a woman's privacy, challenge her ability to make her own moral choices for herself and for her family, and attempt to forcibly impose their own narrow religious views on her--while at the same time saying they are doing these things out of love, as Christians--make an unfortunate mockery of the words Christian and love.

Decent, caring people of conscience must object to and expose this profound hypocrisy. In our churches and synagogues we must reaffirm that women are neither cattle nor chattel, but free moral agents capable of self-determination. And in our legislatures and halls of justice we must demand for women safe, legal, accessible and affordable reproductive health care, including birth control and abortion, without harassment, intimidation and interference.

I know what my grandmother's life was like, having eight pregnancies over more than 25 years, the last two after the same physician who refused to tell her how to prevent conception told her another pregnancy might kill her. I know what my mother's life was like too.

If birth control and abortion had been available to them, perhaps I wouldn't be here now, to write these words. I love them both enough to say to you now (as well as to them), that it would have been all right with me never to have existed, if they could have had the lives they imagined as girls, if they could have had a choice.

And if it becomes necessary, I am willing to put my life on the line today for my daughters, my granddaughters and my nieces. Because tomorrow, their lives may depend on it.

S. MARLENE HEAD

Oxnard

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