John Michael

Life Is a Sweet, Tender Bruise XXIV

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John Michael continues his series Life Is a Sweet, Tender Bruise, reflecting on life and people encountered, weighs in on the topic of abortion and ponders both sides.

 

I have written about abortion in the past and extensively, but it is surfaced again as an issue. I have seen a lot of hard hearts and self-righteousness on both sides of the issue. Things heated up again after New York made third trimester abortions legal and celebrated it as a huge step forward for women’s rights. Then, several Southern states reacted by making it much more difficult to get an abortion legally; essentially saying, not so fast.

My position, at the moment, is still pro-choice for several reasons. First, I am not one for government interference in much of anything at all. Secondly, I am also aware that we are eternal beings and a part of us always remains beyond the hands of death. Third, I believe a woman can be sensitive enough to know when a pregnancy and child would work in her life and when it would not.

Saying that, I fully respect those who see a baby in the womb as a human being with rights of its own. I have read stories of gurus who have full memory of entering and dwelling in their mother’s womb. There is also the Biblical story of John the Baptist leaping with joy in his mother’s womb when he sensed the closeness of Christ while Mary was pregnant with him. I have also talked to women who deeply regretted having an abortion and went through a deep grieving process because of it. I have also talked to a woman who found the ordeal traumatizing and lonely.

Many want to shape the argument as patriarchal; in other words, men telling women what to do with their bodies. That may be partly true in some cases. But there are many women who see abortion as murder as well. There is also patriarchy on the other side as well, with men forcing women into abortions with physical threat or the withdrawal of financial support.

I also thing there is an assumption that poor people’s lives are somehow less or worse than those who are financially secure. As if love and care depended on money, this is not a case. There is a significant amount of Black people who see Planned Parenthood and abortion as a way to keep their numbers down.

 

The best way to eliminate abortion is to create a less isolated and more loving world.

 

The good news is, abortions are trending down and have been for quite some time. I am making an assumption that it has to do with better access and acceptance of birth control, but also improving economic conditions for many.

Far and away, most abortions are chosen by women in their 20s. A time when people are out in the world trying to figure out who they are both personally and sexually. They are away from their families and they are testing what family values fit and the ones they are willing to stretch or let go of completely. This can be an awkward and fearful time in life, one where you find yourself living with, and around, people you don’t know all that well.

We are such a shame-based society that most of our early sexual encounters are combined with alcohol and drugs. It makes sense that there are going to be more unwanted pregnancies during this time.

So, if you are pro-choice, I have a question: If a friend approached and said they were contemplating an abortion, would you say, “Yes, absolutely, go for it,” or would you pause maybe a minute? I know I would certainly pause, but also examine why you paused, which I am doing at the moment. That is also why my being pro-choice could change.

If you are pro-life, would you be willing to comfort someone who confessed to you that they had an abortion, without shaming and guilting them first?

I guess I am asking for all of us to stretch our hearts to find enough room for all involved, regardless of their belief system. The best way to eliminate abortion is to create a less isolated and more loving world. Being self-righteous and hard-hearted can only lead you, and those around you, to feeling isolated.

 

John Michael

Hello, good people. I am rarely sure how to describe myself. If I say I am a Christian, many things may arise in your mind that ain't necessarily so. I was homeless for seven years and learned more about myself in that stretch of time than in any other segment of my life. I read the Bible a lot out there and came across a passage in Proverbs that has shaped my approach to life: "A man's pursuit is his kindness." I am well educated with a Master of Social Work degree and have worked a wide variety of jobs in my 52 years. None have lasted too long however. When I was homeless, the beauty of Texas wildflowers made me decide to want to live again. Along with kindness, beauty, play, and self-expression are life-guiding ideas. My shadow contains things like feeling sorry for myself, a truckload of defiance, a desperate need to please women, and no small amount of cruelty. A quote from Luke also has had a lasting effect on me: "For God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil." When I read that I thought, "Hell, I have got a fighting chance." I am here to tell you, you have a fighting chance as well. Besides Christianity, practicing Buddhist and Shamanic techniques inform my relationship to God and the world.

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