A certain subject in the news seems to me to show that certain people need a wider perspective. Rep. Joe Walsh says, “This is about religious freedom.” But there is also freedom from someone else’s religion that pertains, especially re an employer that accepts government money.
And so I share this memory:
Thirty years ago, we were living in a married grad student apartment complex, a set of four buildings facing each other with playground equipment for small children in the middle. There were several of these.
And quite a few of the women in our courtyard started getting hang up phone calls that summer. So many that it began to become a subject mentioned and oh yeah me too and talked about around our little playground.
What we did not know is that he apparently wanted to know who was home when: the one single mom who lived there (just one; doesn’t that sound quaint?) was being stalked. Till the day he broke into her ground-floor apartment through her window and threatened to kill her young daughter sleeping in the other bedroom if she didn’t cooperate. She was raped by a man she had never seen before.
She called the police after he was gone and was transported to the local hospital, where they examined her–
–and then refused to do anything to make sure she hadn’t gotten pregnant in the last half hour or so. The ambulance had taken her to the local Catholic hospital.
She had to find her own transport from there in the middle of the night to the other one in town to clean off that man’s filth.
That could have been any one of us at any time and we women knew it.
There was no way she wanted a child of hers to have to accept how it had been conceived. Or to be from that man’s gene pool, and on into the generations to come. No way she wanted to have to tell her small daughter why she was going to be a big sister now–can you imagine trying to explain that one to a four-year-old?! And no way she was going to let a violent rapist dictate the rest of her life and her child’s and possible future children’s.
“A bad man hurt my mommy” –I have never forgotten that phrase–and in their own home is a heavy enough burden for a young girl to grow up with.
Now. I am not a Catholic, granted, and my own church calls abortion not murder but rather “like unto it,” to be avoided if at all possible. There are times when that is not possible–you cannot grow and produce a living baby from a mother who has died of the pregnancy.Â But in a situation like this one, when there isn’t even a single cell dividing into two yet, to me there is no question she did what she had to do.
But whatever choice a woman may make or may have to make, that woman is to be loved and supported unconditionally, as are we all.
I understand where people like Rick Santorum are coming from, believing that all life is sacred. I feel that yes; yes, it is. But it is also messy, and I feel that must be taken into account.
I guess I am still incensed that a half hour later, when conception probably hadn’t even taken place yet… (And yes, the ambulance driver totally blew that one.) She had to find her own way across town alone in the middle of the night while knowing that man was out there somewhere to get to the other hospital. Thank goodness there was one.
I want to tell all those men who testified in Congress on the subject of contraception–this wasn’t even about abortion but contraception!–allowing no woman to give any opposing viewpoint, that I will do everything I can to vote them out of power and out of office.
The other part of my neighbor’s story? Her bike was stolen, too. Another neighbor reassured her that some men are good and kind by giving her his, a good one, even though we were all grad students living on nearly nothing and that was his main transportation. It was what he could do.
Earlier, someone had given us their window air conditioning unit when they’d moved away; our baby had had heat rash, it being 108 humid degrees in our upstairs apartment, and they wanted to make our lives easier, since theirs were immediately about to be so with their graduation and new job to go to. Here. Take this.
About a week after that event that devastated us all, and just before we ourselves moved away, we gave that AC unit to that single mom. Not only were she and her daughter going to be far more physically comfortable with it: nobody was going to be able to break through that window again without first making enough noise for her to be able to call for help.
It was what we could do.
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