I am a woman.
I am Catholic.
I love people.
So why is being pro-life so difficult?
In 6th grade, I wrote a paper on how I thought abortion should be permitted in certain circumstances. My public school teacher pulled me aside, quietly whispering, but, honey, aren’t you Catholic?
Yes, I am, I replied, but I didn’t understand why she even asked. Wasn’t the mother’s life important, too?
This conversation is cemented in my memory, as pivotal moments often are. This brief exchange about faith, unexpectedly encountered on a school-day, was the gift that education brings, the opportunity to think about life.
Historically, women have had no choice, whether inside or outside of marriage, as to whether to have a child. It did not matter how they became pregnant. Once they were pregnant, theirs were the lives that were irrevocably changed.
To this day, parenting responsibilities remain unequal, regardless of how involved the father decides to be (and that one word highlights the inequity…in our current society, the father has a choice, the mother does not.)
Do I wish people would not have abortions? Yes, I do.
I believe that life begins at conception. It makes no sense to me that a baby who is wanted is called a baby the moment the parents find out they are pregnant, but a baby who is not wanted is called a fetus until that bundle of cells is eradicated.
It makes no sense that personhood is defined by how much that person is desired.
But I also understand that, until women have as much control over their bodies and their lives as men do, abortion will not go away. Pushing to make it illegal will change nothing.
As Catholics, there are a million ways that pro-life work can have a huge impact, and all of them require the input of women.
I wish the Bishops understood that.