I’ll never understand how it is as humans that we tend to have big fat opinions about shit we know nothing about. How does that even happen? Why do we find the need to control other people’s decisions that have zero impact on us? Why do we somehow feel qualified to pass judgment on others about things with which we have zero experience, relationship, or context?
Today, I found myself involved in a pretty controversial Facebook thread - it shouldn’t have been - but by its very subject matter, it was. I typically intentionally stay out of these kinds of discourse on social media because in my experience, they tend to be futile. It seems when hidden behind the security of a computer screen, people will say whatever they hell they want with zero regard for what an insensitive asshole they are being. I wholeheartedly believe that if people had to verbally say to someone’s face some of the nasty things they say to other people on social media, they would not write the things they write. BUT - that’s probably another post for another day.
In this particular situation, someone had shared a heartbreaking, traumatizing situation in which they learned that there was a good possibility that the child they were carrying may have a rare condition which would prevent it from fully developing and surviving beyond birth - if it made it to delivery. She learned of this possibility just days before she got into her third trimester and the medical staff asked if she wanted to terminate the pregnancy.
Understandably, the mother wanted to wait for the test results to make a decision like that. However, by the time the test results would come back, she would be days into her third trimester and no longer legally eligible to terminate the pregnancy. She literally had 45 minutes to make this life-altering decision. The mother chose to continue her pregnancy and wait for the results.
The results of the tests came back positive. The baby had a genetic chromosome disorder which resulted in several physical deformities that prevented the baby from surviving outside of the womb. Not only that, but the baby would suffer immensely if she did live past the birth. Due to the regulations around abortion, this mother was forced to carry her child full term to 40 weeks and watch her daughter suffocate in her arms within 30 minutes of her birth.
The mother shared the torture she experienced every day after she found out the results of the test, knowing her child would die, having to share that with her other children and the rest of her family, having to smile and say thank you when people would congratulate her on her pregnancy because explaining the situation over and over was more than she could bear. The point of her story was that medical decisions should be between the patient and the doctor. Period.
At least one woman on this thread had the audacity to comment that the woman SHOULD HAVE FELT BLESSED to have been able to hold her daughter even for a few minutes.
So, let me stop here and set something straight before some of y’all run off down the rabbit hole debating about abortion and/or how you feel about this particular scenario. THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT ABORTION, SO PLEASE DO NOT REPLY WITH YOUR STANCE ON ABORTION. You know why? Unless you’re talking about YOUR abortion, I don’t care what you think about abortion. Period. As far as I’m concerned, if it’s not your body, it’s not your business.
Far too many people have way too big opinions about entirely too many things they have never experienced, likely will never experience, have no personal knowledge or context about, and will never be directly impacted by. Abortion is a perfect example. If you don’t agree with abortion, it’s real simple. DON’T GET ONE. No one is going to force one on you.
In fact, I’d really like for anti-choice people to really think about how they would feel if someone DID force them to have an abortion. What if the country passed legislation that required all babies who were determined to be not-viable prior to their delivery to be terminated? How would they feel if THEY were the woman in the very same story I relayed and they were forced to terminate the pregnancy? I’d be willing to bet they would argue that that decision should be THEIRS to make. And guess what - they would be RIGHT. Although it is not a choice I believe I would make personally in that particular situation, I would wholeheartedly support their right to carry THEIR baby to full term and do whatever they felt they needed to do for their baby, their body, and their family. THEIR BODY, THEIR BUSINESS.
However, abortion is not the only issue in which people really need to just mind their own business and bodies. Gender identity and sexual orientation are two other good examples. If same-sex relationships or relationships with people who do not fit nicely into your ideas about the gender binary make you uncomfortable, guess what! Great news: you don’t have to have those relationships! Yet, there are people out there who make it their mission to stop LGBTQ+ people from being who they are - AND do it in the name of God.
I do not understand this. A) Someone saying, “YOUR LGBTQ+ identity is unacceptable because of MY religious beliefs” is like someone saying, “YOU can’t eat meat because I’M vegan.” It makes no sense. NOTE: One can easily replace “LGBTQ+ identity” with “abortion” here, same outcome. B) What’s your God got to do with me? Contrary to popular belief in this country, not everyone shares your religious beliefs. In fact, many don’t believe in God at all. *gasp* And guess what? Both YOUR religion and their LACK of one, is okay! So long as neither of us is telling the other that YOU have to live by MY rules. THAT is where we run into all kinds of bullshit.
There is not one way to live life. There is not one way to love and be loved. The beauty of humans is that we are each unique, divine creatures who are all connected to one another. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could learn to really listen to each other? To actually listen with the intention of understanding rather than responding? With curiosity rather than contempt? Imagine the problems we could solve if we ALL could only learn to truly listen to each other and let each other live our lives.
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Jennifer Miracle-Best is an author and speaker whose Calling is to help victims of spiritual violence find healing.