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A Grandmother’s “Right to Choose”?

by | Oct 14, 2013

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Maria Gallagher

Maria Gallagher

I will never forget a young woman I will refer to as “Erin.” She walked up to the abortion facility, then fell down on her knees in fervent prayer. She later told me that someone she knew had been hurt inside. As the conversation continued, she suddenly said, “I’m sorry I lied to you. I was the one who had the abortion.”

The words then poured out of her like a torrent…she wanted her baby…but her mother forced her to have the abortion… she now hated her mother…

Thankfully, I was able to refer her to an organization providing counseling and comprehensive support to women who have suffered the loss of children through abortion. I spotted her later in a church parking lot, smiling, a look of hope beaming across her lovely unlined face.

But what a tortured road to travel–and to feel as if you were the passenger, rather than the driver, on the journey.

Some compelling research has shown that as many as 60 percent of abortions are coerced–meaning someone in a woman’s life is pressuring her to abort her unborn child. That someone can be the woman’s mother–the grandmother of the baby in the womb.

Which brings up an interesting question: Has a “woman’s right to choose” become a “grandmother’s right to choose”? And was that the intention of the male justices of the U.S. Supreme Court when they issued Roe v. Wade, the tragic decision which, with its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, legalized abortion on demand across the land? How often is it grandmothers who are issuing the demand?

Certainly, the news that one’s daughter has become pregnant unexpectedly can be a shock. The baby’s grandmother may believe that she will have to relinquish part of her own autonomy in providing financial, material, or emotional assistance during and after the pregnancy. She herself may be burdened by guilt–thinking that the unwed pregnancy is evidence of her shortcomings as a parent. And she may be angry at her daughter for the decisions which led her to this point in her life.

However, to pressure a young woman to have an abortion is not a remedy for these concerns.

It has been said that the loss of a child is the greatest loss a parent can experience. When there’s the knowledge that the death could have been prevented, how much greater the pain?

Consider these words of sorrow from post-abortive women, posted on the Rachel’s Vineyard website:

“The abortion ruined my self-esteem.”

“My abortion has left me with a feeling of emptiness.”

“The abortion that I have had has caused me to shut out all emotional contact with both men and women.”

Is this what we really want for our daughters?

The abortion rights movement gained legal and media acceptance through the catch-phrase “a woman’s right to choose.” But the underlying assumption was that it was the pregnant woman who was doing the choosing. The fact that it may be another woman–or a controlling boyfriend–raises serious questions about the “freedom” promised by supporters of Roe v. Wade.

And, let us never forget about the unborn woman living in the womb, whose fundamental right to life is violated under an Orwellian guise of female autonomy.

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