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We feature commentary but most of all action alerts on the same positive, abortion-reducing measures we cover in the Directory.


These measures include post abortion healing; male responsibility; comprehensive sexual/reproductive health education; all voluntary pregnancy prevention methods, plus rape and incest prevention & treatment; and life-affirming ways to get through crisis pregnancy and beyond.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Red Envelopes for Life Don't Tell the Whole Story

The Red Envelopes for Life Project asks people to send empty red envelopes to the WHite House with the folliwing written on the outside:

"Dear President Obama:
This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception."

Yes, every abortion takes away an irreplaceable child. I'm not disputing that part of it.

But I cannot help but wonder *whose* responsibility begins at conception?

Is all the responsibility going to be heaped upon the pregnant woman, before, during, and ever after birth, same patriarchal set up as usual?

Or is the child's father going to assume his share?

Will the extended family and friends assume *their* share?

Will the schools, workplaces, religious institutions, and other private/civil society institutions assume *their* share?

Most of all, will the larger society assume *its* monster's share of the responsibility? Will it make an all out public commitment to reducing abortion through comprehensive sex education, full access to all prevention options, universal health care, living wage, et al?

And anyway, even if we're just speaking of individual responsibility here--doesn't individual responsibility begin before conception?

Doesn't it also reside in becoming fully informed about sex and reproduction well before one is ever facing the prospect of sexual activity?

About the various prevention options and all their strengths and drawbacks?

About prenatal development?

And doesn't it reside with boys and men as with girls and women?

Don't boys and men have the responsibility to learn that women are fully human beings, not just objects for their gratification?

Don't males have the responsibility to be utterly conscious that their sperm might fuse with ova and result in children they must support before and after birth?

Don't males have the responsibility to do all they can to have mutually consenting, egalitarian, nonviolent relationships with women?

Doesn't the larger society at all levels have the responsibility to support men in unlearning power-over women and learning power-with?

The Red Envelopes only tell one part of the whole story.

3 comments:

Tom Gilson said...

I agree 100% that the Red Envelopes don't tell the whole story. That is not their intent. It takes other modes of communication to tell the whole story, including your blog. I note that your blog post doesn't tell the whole story either, but that doesn't mean it doesn't accomplish its purpose or that it adds nothing of value.

The intent of the Red Envelopes is not to explain the issue. It would be ludicrous to expect that of it. The intent rather is to demonstrate how many people take the pro-life position on it.

Marysia said...

Tom,

Well, no one person or effort tells the whole story about anything...I'd be interested to learn what part of the story that you believe my blog post and blog don't tell.

When prolifers mention "responsibility"--that *definitely* needs explaining!

Because some antiabortionists in their zeal for the unborn child--and sometimes in their punitive atttitudes towards women-- forget or deny that that child lives within the body of another equally important, living human being.

And so they adopt a sort of "You made your bed now lie in it" attitude. They throw all the difficulties of bearing and raising that child onto that woman, which is deeply, deeply unfair.

Even if they profess to be Christians, they do what Jesus said decidedly not to do: throw heavy burdens on people and not even lift a finger to help.

Nothing made me suffer unnecessarily more during my own crisis pregnancy back in the day than people who responded in this vein.

Despite this, despite the other truly difficult circumstances we faced, I was able to bear and raise my child, in large part because of people who responded in love. But we definitely could have done without the hatefulness!

And sadly I'm not the only one who has ever encountered such punitiveness and judgmentality.
Many, many women have been driven to abortion--it still happens, a lot--- because they have gotten such horrific response to their pregnancies, or because they fear, with good reason, exposing themselves and their children to this sort of vehement scorn and rejection. When abortion seems better than facing this stuff down--you know it's horrific stuff.

So prolifers need to be clear at all times that we actively value the life and wellbeing of the woman as well as the life and wellbeing of the child--not merely in rhetoric but in deed.

Any mention of "responsibility" needs to make this very, very clear, that prolife is about societally shared responsibility and sacrifice--not nastily dumping everything onto the pregnant woman and fetus.

This should be an integral part of prolifers standing up and being counted--not something off to the side. because wherever there's been an unborn child, there's been a woman.

Sophia said...

And a man who fathered the child!

I think you covered the whole story beautifully, Marysia.