How do we spend our waking hours?
The answer, I’m sure, is similar for all of us. We wake up, pick up our cellphones, open news and social media apps, and dive into the panic of the Internet: a whirlwind of misinformation and hate. Maybe we get to see an upbeat human-interest story amongst the chaos from time to time, and maybe we share some memes to distract from it all, at least for a little while. We work, we eat, and perhaps we play. We watch some Netflix with our families. We put our children to bed and wish they could stay little so that they never have to know the horrors of the world.
The above is an incorrect assumption that we all have the health and career opportunities necessary to afford us smartphones, cell service, transportation, food, luxuries such as flat screens and internet, and children.
These days, I am saddened by most of what I see when I open up the apps on my $800 smartphone that I bought myself. What I see, using the cellphone service my parents still pay for, is a monsoon of incorrect statistics, misquoted politicians, and blatant lies surrounding the fundamental human right granted by Roe v. Wade in 1973: the right of a pregnant person to choose an abortion.
I am white. I was raised, for most of my conscious memory, in an upper-middle-class household. I have amazing parents AND stepparents, and though I grew up in what one may consider a broken home by traditional standards, I wouldn’t trade my four parents for the world. They always had the funds necessary for me to partake in extracurriculars and go on trips. They bought me a car when I turned 16. Two weeks later, I wrecked it, and they bought me another one. I got to spend my waking hours going to school, eating good food, and doing things I enjoyed. I was a privileged teenager—a teenager that couldn’t imagine how someone could ever abort their child.
I was a sexually active teenager. Though sexual education was basically nonexistent in the areas where I grew up, thanks to a puberty book and the internet, I knew enough about how human reproductive systems work to give myself the best chance of not getting pregnant. I assumed that was the case for everyone, and if you slipped up, you should have to live with your choices because it wasn’t fair to take the life that didn’t ask to be created. Unless, of course, you were raped and you didn’t make the choice to have sex. Then, and only then, was it okay. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized this issue is so, so much more complex than that.
As a teenager, I lacked the perspective I have now—the perspective I was afforded with the privilege of higher education and worldly experiences. I lacked consideration for the people that grew up without sex education, or even so much as a puberty book or internet access. I lacked consideration for the people that grew up with abstinence-only education that paints sex as a forbidden fruit, and so their bodies urged them to taste it, unprotected. I lacked consideration for the families barely keeping a roof over their heads already when their uneducated 15-year-old became pregnant. I lacked consideration for the struggling working parents who accidentally conceived again because neither of their companies’ insurance plans would cover birth control. I lacked consideration for the thousands of children already in the foster care system. I lacked consideration for the unplanned children that would wind up there when their struggling parents were forced to make illegal decisions in order to keep their heads above water.
I lacked consideration for those whose waking hours differed from mine.
If I got pregnant 10 years ago, I would’ve been able to keep my baby. My family would’ve supported me, and though being a teenaged parent is less than ideal, we would’ve been able to make it work. We had, and still do have, the resources necessary to usher another life into the world with minimal trauma. If I got pregnant today, it would be a happy accident. My partner and I, with the support of our families, would be able to start our family earlier than initially planned.
I have always had the PRIVILEGE of being personally pro-life, and I will forever remain pro-choice for the sake of those not as privileged as I am. Though I could choose to be a parent right now, a lack of choice would mean nothing but struggle and heartache for many that differ from me.
When we’re fortunate enough to spend our waking hours thriving, we must be a voice for those who spend theirs surviving.