There is much controversy across North America, outrage at the decision in the State of Georgia to criminalize abortion. Rumours are flying about which State and Province will be next. A little voice inside wonders what man or woman began this in order to distract us from what else is happening. Regardless, it is not a topic that I can remain silent about. This is not a topic to be taken lightly. In this writing, I will share insight, stories from my perspective, however in no way will I tell a woman what to do with her body. I love men, women, and families and have five children of my own…Much of my education has been centred around women and families throughout history, and my soul is crying over the leaps backwards our society is taking.
In 1988, the criminalization of abortion in Canada was overturned. The original law was created in 1892 and also criminalized the use or distribution of contraceptives. Taking a historical examination, we know that the government had an interest in expanding the population and this is evident of the creation of “baby bonus” following World War II, and incentives from before. During the Inquisition in Europe and North America, and for centuries previous, men and men in power in the Western world, have tried to control the female body. These individuals were running a program instilled in them, a program of fear and lack of understanding, by the fathers, government, religious leaders and power holders before them. Midwives, wise women, healers, women who held property without a man overseeing…these are the historical victims who advocated for women’s rights.
During the Christmas break of 1987, I was finally allowed to watch “Dirty Dancing” for the first time. I was at my Grandparents’ cottage, and although my mother had told me “no” countless times, my Grandmother insisted it was a movie that I should be allowed to see. Grammie often came to the rescue, and in that moment, it was more than just so that I could learn some dance moves and fall in love with the characters and story. This was my first exposure to abortion. My Grammie had a gentle way of getting her way in things and in getting her point across, and in fact there are only four times in my whole life that I saw her get serious and adamant. The topic of abortion was two of those times, and this chilly winter evening was the first. Here is what she said to me.
“Sammi, women have died to protect their bodies. You are one of the lucky ones. Your generation is so lucky because you will have options. If you ever, and I mean ever, find yourself pregnant and should not be, I will find you a safe doctor and you will have a safe abortion. I will pay for it and I will make sure that you have options.”
My grandmother was ahead of her time in many ways, She was a career woman and being a stay at home mom was not something that she wanted to do. She shared with me that although she had a career that she loved, she did not have the ability to choose what happened with her body and she did not have the option of abortion when she knew it was what would have been best for her family. She was responsible and she was faithful to my grandfather. She was married. And she became pregnant, and was powerless to make a decision that would impact the child to come and her children that would come after.
In 1992, I would have my first experience with abortion through a friend in high school. She was raped by her father. She was denied an abortion and would spend years trying to recover from the trauma of having and losing a child of rape, being herself such a young age. Also, that spring, another friend from high school would have an abortion. She spent years trying to emotionally come to terms with what had happened and the judgements of others. She too had been raped. In 1994, I became a teen Mom, and no she was not planned…birth control and a condom broke on my 17th birthday…however she has been a blessing in every sense of the word…and no I did not consider abortion as an option for me, even though my doctor offered it at least 6 times over the first couple of check-ups. I just knew it was not for me. I will be very honest. I did not ask her father what to do with my body. I know that he supported my decision from later conversations, however it was my body carrying that baby, and it was me who would ultimately be caring for that child. I made a choice…and as my grandmother prophesied, I was lucky enough to have had that choice. Over the years, I have worked with and personally known many women who have in one way or another experienced an unplanned pregnancy. Some kept their babies; some chose abortion and one chose adoption. You see, we all made choices. We all explored our lives and what was best for us and for the babies. It does not matter if I agree with their choices or if they agreed with mine. We all had medical professionals following our pregnancies or terminations, and we had the ability to make informed decisions. None of us had to seek out illegal abortions, performed by doctors with “a dirty knife and a folding table”. What all of us did experience was judgement, even though we all took different paths, we all experienced judgement and a lack of compassion and understanding.
That brings us back to what created witch hunts, and missions to disempower women in the first place. FEAR! Fear comes from what we do not understand and/or what we can not control.
Let’s fast forward to another perspective. Since a child, I have been connecting with Spirit. I give readings to people, messages from their loved ones that have crossed over. Babies in Spirit have not been excluded from these messages. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have had an unborn baby come through to ease the guilt and pain of his or her parents in a reading. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have said “you have 3 children” …” No, I only have two.” And Spirit continues to insist and shares that there was either a miscarriage or an abortion. Those Spirit babes stay in our Soul circles. The messages, not once, have been in anger, resentment or fear. The only thing that comes through is love, compassion, acknowledgement.
I have another grandmother. One who chose to stay home with her children and grandchildren. She told me the week before she died that “all babies are a blessing and should be celebrated.” She also asked me to be good to myself and have adventures. Both of my grandmothers were strong women who lived very different lives. Both of my grandmothers expressed joy and excitement for the options and rights that women in my generation were offered. I believe our grandmothers and the women before them sacrificed so much so that we could have choices and options.
Here is my two cents…which of course, you can take or leave…let’s raise strong and loving boys and girls, who grow to be compassionate, responsible and respectful adults. Rather than taking rights away, let’s teach and educate, and make resources available so that some options will never need to be explored…and if they do, it is in a supportive, safe way that promotes healing and growth. Allow women to make decisions that are in the best interest of women. Allow men to make decisions that are in the best interest of men. Allow men and women to come together to teach and explore what is best for everyone. Allow men to teach their fellow men about consent and respect and see those qualities as manly. We do not need to erase the work of hundreds of women, if something needs changed, explore how to make it better, not take it away. It is time to take the power of fear away from those in power and replace it with understanding. This debate is not bringing men and women closer together. It is creating a greater divide. I wonder, whose best interest is that???
Here are some things that we can do to become more enlightened…
- Watch “Dirty Dancing” and listen to other stories that will help you to understand what brought the legalization of abortion and other topics forward in the first place. Even though this story is fictional, it is based on societal truths.
- Talk to some women who have had unplanned pregnancy, not from the position of judgement or to prove something, but in open exploration. What supports did they have? Who helped them make the decision that was best for them? Did they feel empowered? What could have been done differently to make the process easier for them? What would they have done differently, if anything?
- Teach young people about their bodies, without shame. Teach them about consent, about respect, about the differences between making love and having sex.
- Explore the platforms of people that are creating the decisions where you live and around you. What interest or motive do they have in passing particular legislation?
- Turn off the drama. And if you want to keep it on…explore how to replace the fear and lack of understanding with knowledge and compassion.
I love you. You are a blessing. We are all here learning lessons and doing the best that we can. Lessons are much easier to learn when we see the whole picture.