Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crosses at the side of the road.

Several times a year, I'm not sure the official occasions, but several times a year, different Catholic Churches in our area post hundreds of crosses outside near the main drag with American flags and signs about how many children are "killed by choice".

Just to put it out there up front, when we're talking strictly politics, I am pro-life. I know that there are all kinds of horrifying circumstances under which pro-choice folks would say that I was being an unmerciful and complete jerk, but after have my own child (the first one) I finally understood the miracle of birth, of life, and I realized that killing an unborn child was just wrong, period. Before that, I was pro-choice in certain circumstances - like rape, for example. I will say that I have a lot of nuancy little beliefs regarding circumstances like that - or incest, things like this - but let's just say for the sake of argument right now that I'm totally pro-life.

A few years ago I always felt a sort of righteousness about those crosses standing at the side of the road. I always thought they carried some kind of important message to those unwed mothers who were thinking of getting an abortion for the sake of convenience or because they were afraid their parents would be upset. That should teach them - or something.

But lately I've realized that the approach of bumper stickers and roadside crosses is really the totally wrong approach.

I find several things interesting about the particular display I've been passing taking my son to school this week.

The first thing is that there is no sign accompanying this display for a help line or something else for women considering abortion. Just this morbid display.

The second thing (and then I'll stop because there's a lot more to address) that I notice is that accompanying these crosses are a bunch of American flags. I'm not sure what message this is supposed to send - like - Americans are evil? Or Americans are the people the message is for? Or Americans are the ones who have killed all of these unborn children? Or is it supposed to be some symbol of patriotism? No idea. I think it makes zero sense. Either way abortion is an international deal. Also, if it's supposed to make me feel all patriotic and like it's my duty as an American citizen to be pro-life, then maybe they should have some stuff about war there as well. I'm sure THAT would go over well in an area supported by a Naval Base - but really? War causes the death of thousands as well. Where's their statement on that? Oh wait, the pro-life stance also has to be the republican stance, which is generally pro-war. Not saying how I feel on that issue really, but I do see an issue with the juxtaposition of statements.

Also, I remember when I was pregnant with my first child. There was an element of shame accompanying that. I've spoken about this before. We are trained as young women that getting pregnant is pretty much the worst thing that could befall us as a result of our sexual actions. The shame didn't go away for me just because I was married. It still felt scary and like I'd done something wrong to be in the place that I was in. I admit that as a teenager if I had gotten pregnant I would have strongly considered abortion. I would've felt that anything was better than facing the shame that would be brought on my family and the disappointment I would feel from my parents - the discrimination I would feel from pretty much everyone around me - the unwed teenage mother - people would stare. People would talk. My life would generally suck. No amount of crosses along the side of the road or pro-life bumper stickers would make me feel differently.

The baby growing inside of me - even as a married mother - was remote. Especially in the first trimester. The only evidence of the little life was me vomiting and feeling generally crappy. It's not a lot of inspiration for a fifteen year old girl whose parents will probably disown her (at least that's what they've threatened) if they find out. A young girl will do ANYTHING to hide something like this when they've been brought up to feel they will be looked SO down upon, disowned, sent away, scorned, ridiculed, etc.

So perhaps, we pro-life folks should try another page in our book. One where those girls are welcomed into our homes. One where those girls are supported and taught how to care for their children and educated that pregnancy ISN'T the end of the world. There are other reasons to avoid pre-marital sex.

So maybe if we MUST place those crosses by the roadside, we could also include a cute baby picture and a phone number someone could call who is considering abortion. Maybe when we see a young girl with a swelling belly we could be kind to her, open the door and carry her bags and ask her what she's thinking of naming the little life, instead of staring blatantly and talking behind her back. Maybe we could wipe her tears and hug her instead of deciding that she is a worthless member of our society. Love trumps hate - every time. Making her feel badly for already doing something doesn't change what she's already done. More hugs, less cross displays. Thanks.


Pete said...

Right on, and well said as usual.

Time to email your post to the Catholic church in question?

Missy said...

Pete, you have a point there.

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