The Federalist featured a piece by D.C. McAllister, titled “Navigating The Waters Of A Broken Life: My Abortion Story.”
From the title, one may think or fear that the author had chosen abortion, and the piece reads very much like a story which will keep the reader on the edge of her seat. While McAllister thankfully did not end up choosing abortion, which she herself recognized would have meant “hav[ing] chosen death[,]” her story surely does point a lot to the pressures women faced when dealing with unplanned pregnancies.
McAllister knew that it was a matter of life and death. She mentions that “…killing was what it was. No one could tell me otherwise. I’d had two children. I’d lost two others. I knew what it was like to feel a child grow inside of me.” Many women do know that they are pregnant with their children, with real human beings! With McAllister’s situation, and with many others, it’s not that they don’t believe their child is a person, but rather they find themselves in an impossibly difficult situation, one which may be so hopeless that choosing an abortion would be the better option. This may not only be for just the mother, but her child as well, if the mother fears the kind of life and circumstances she may be subjecting her child to.
She thinks of what having an abortion would do for her, but then McAllister also realizes what the reality would be:
The tangled web of emotions and consequences was a noose I couldn’t escape. That’s when I thought about abortion. Killing the baby. It would fix everything. How ironic—how twisted—that I couldn’t bear the thought of adoption but I could contemplate death. Yet, in that moment of darkness, I thought it was the best choice. It would be so easy. Millions of women did it every year. My life could go on like it had before. My marriage whole. My children would have their mother again. God would forgive me. The church would accept me back. My family would be together. My children would be happy.
But my baby would be dead.
Could I sacrifice this child on the altar of my selfishness? This beautiful child growing inside of me? A child I was responsible for? A baby I had brought into this world by my own choice to have sex?
The next paragraph details McAllister exiting her car to enter Planned Parenthood, and although she ultimately chose life for her daughter, she does seemed to still have had a sense of justification for if she had gone through with the abortion:
The smell of stale fries brought back memories of my children laughing, of days when everything was good. Maybe not perfect. But good. It could be that way again. Just step out of the car, keep the appointment, lie down on the table, close my eyes, spread my legs, and let them cut out my mistake.
And McAllister’s words at choosing life, and why some women do not speaks to the heart of the abortion issue:
I didn’t kill my daughter. I’m ashamed that I wanted to—even for a moment. In the end, though, I couldn’t do it. Her blood would not be spilled to make my life easier, no matter how right my motivations might have been when it came to my family.
Choosing life changed my world forever. It was never the same, and it has been difficult as I’ve struggled to navigate the waters of a broken life. Women who abort their children do it because they say they want a better life. But it’s not a better life they want—it’s an easier one. It’s a life without outward struggle, without the consequences of choices already made. It is easier. But it’s not better. It’s never better. Death is never better.
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If I had chosen to abort my baby, I would have chosen death. Blood spilled to wash away my sins. Another’s life taken so I could have mine, so I could be free of the consequences of my choice to have sex. But the blood of a child can never fix what is broken. That sacrifice is a lie.
Another issue at play in McAllister’s article is the role of the church. Her denomination and specific church are never mentioned by name, but the actions of her husband and the church leaders, who told McAllister she could not have been a mother to her child for her actions can hardly be categorized as supportive and loving as Christians should be. McAllister does not blame them for considering abortion, but one can surely deduce that the pressures she faced could have driven her to thinking about choosing death.
Whether such behavior comes from the church, partners, friends or family, a pregnant woman needs love and support. She does not need condemnation, especially when she is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and may be feeling a sense of shame and confusion as it is. With such kinds of behavior, we can surely hope that more mothers will choose life for their children, and that we will hear more stories like this one, realistic, but with a happy ending after it all.