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Carol Hoenig

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Bumper Stickers' Platitudes

Posted: 06/20/10 11:58 PM ET

The other day as I was pulling out of a parking lot, a parked car with the bumper sticker, "Aren't you glad your mother was pro-life?" got my attention. It was an obvious albeit pathetic attempt to open the eyes of those who believe in anything but the so-called pro-life movement. Had the driver appeared before I pulled away, I am not sure I would have said anything, since it probably would have escalated into an argument where no one would win. The topic is a passionate one and not just for those who stand outside clinics with posters condemning women who are forced to make a difficult choice. It's as though the "pro-lifers" think that women terminating a pregnancy are irresponsible and cold, as if the decision wasn't a difficult one to make. And, yet, I think it is these women who understand the serious ramifications of bringing a child into the world more so than those who are simply determined to make sure that pregnancy yields an infant; after that, let the chips fall where they may.


When I read that bumper sticker my first reaction was, how myopic and presumptuous! Any number of people reading that message could have been born during a time when terminating a pregnancy was illegal, so there was no choice in the matter. Or, maybe the mother was pro-choice, but at a place in her life when she wanted to have a baby. The thing is, many years ago, due to where I was at in my religious beliefs, I was "pro-life." I was taught to believe that life is sacred since it was created by a higher power who instructed that we be fruitful and multiply. Nevertheless, over time, I began to question such teachings and wonder why if life is so sacred, how come it can occur so precariously? Besides, we were fruitful ad nauseam and look where it's gotten us.

According to a recent New York Times article, women seeking an abortion are now being given more information about adoption, which is fine; if there are women willing to carry a fetus to term so that another person can have a baby, that is all well and good; however, it should not be compulsory. In other words, a woman who finds herself pregnant should not be forced to give birth for someone who is unable to conceive.

That aside, there is an arrogance in that aforementioned bumper sticker, one with the implication that anyone reading it was brought into this world because they were wanted. Yet, I wonder what would be the reaction of the abused or neglected child? Should they be grateful that someone irresponsible and incapable of loving a child brought them into this world? Isn't there something to be said for the quality of life? Shouldn't that very precious life be treated as such long after it's made its way through the birth canal?

These are issues we must all sort out for ourselves, but for what it's worth, such complicated matters cannot be watered down in a bumper sticker with a less-than-pithy platitude.


 

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