Embracing Life -- Day 37

Chandra White-Cummings

Day 37: The Illusion of Choice

I was talking yesterday to a young friend of mine about the information commonly circulated to young people about contraception, STDs, and other sexual health subjects. For example, she was surprised to read in a brochure I gave her that condoms do not protect against all strains of HPV. She had been told, “Just use a condom, you’re covered.” During the course of our conversation, she became more shocked at what she was reading. HPV is the same as genital warts? She believes that if more teenagers knew this kind of information, more of them would make different choices about being sexually involved. My thought exactly.

The information-leads-to-more-choice paradigm also applies to abortion. Today’s 40 Days reflection points out that Frederica Mathewes-Green has written that no woman wants an abortion like she wants a Porsche or an ice cream; rather, she wants it like an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg. An accurate, albeit grisly metaphor.

From my own experience, almost all young women I’ve known of or heard about who considered or eventually decided to have an abortion acted out of a sense of having no other option. That’s why the term “pro-choice” is such a misnomer to me. It’s not uncommon for women to be misled about what their options truly are. Available resources might not be mentioned. Hardly a word about adoption. So what is touted as a liberating choice actually turns out to be an ill-informed non-choice. Tragic.

To some it might seem like meaningless quibbling, but I firmly believe that if someone is going to make such a life-altering decision, at least give them all the facts. That’s what informed consent is all about. In other elective surgery scenarios, if someone is dead set on getting that face lift, the plastic surgeon makes doggone sure that the patient knows about side-effects, other ways that she can achieve the same result, recovery issues, etc. If we take these precautions for procedures with far less severe consequences, shouldn’t we do the same when lives are at stake?

Goodness, sometimes I just wonder what we’re thinking.

Find out more at the 40 Days for Life website.

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