Roe vs. Wade 'Unleashed a Beast'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

A pro-life reader confronted a hard choice:

I was the typical 17-year-old good girl, just before my senior year of high school. Dad was a pastor and we lived in a small town in the Midwest. I had given my heart to a really bad guy and got pregnant.  

At the beginning I wanted this child dead. There is no way anyone could convince me that this is not a human being growing inside of me; I am not stupid. It’s not just tissue and cells. I knew this was a life and I knew I was going to be killing this child. Those are facts that I just couldn’t get around.

But I was terrified. I knew my dad would lose his job if people found out I was pregnant. I knew the biological father was a bad man who would hurt this child. And my life was more important at that time than the child I was carrying, I thought. I really felt I needed to abort this baby.

The day before the abortion, I called and cancelled. I just couldn’t. I knew I would never be well if I took the life of this child. I was prepared to run and hide, but through circumstances I don’t have time to share, my parents found out I was pregnant and planning an abortion. (They didn’t know I had just cancelled it.)

I chose to give this child up for adoption. I became emotionally healthy partway through the pregnancy, as I realized that true love is loving someone more than yourself.

All of the stories I read still do not convince me that abortion is morally right. While the law allows for them to happen, it doesn’t mean it’s right. And right now, that is each woman’s choice. And it’s not fair to the innocent. The thing that we humans forget in the case of the “right to choose” is that our job is protect those who can’t protect themselves. And taking a life is not protecting them.

I saw your stories of the ladies who are trying to justify their actions because of a sickly, special-needs child and I can’t help but wonder: Where will it stop? There are a lot of children and adults in this world with special needs. Severe ones. Do we kill them because they are suffering or because those caring for them are suffering?  

When you cross the line and say you have the right to choose if the human being living in my womb should die, at what point do we start the value of life? Right after the child is born?  When they are two years old?  

The plain and simple truth is, legal abortion exists because of the inconvenience of the human being growing in the womb. And when we gloss over that truth and bring all this other politically correct statements like “don’t take away a woman’s right to choose” and other such statements, we really ignore the true issue: This unborn human being is a bother to me (for whatever reason) and I need to kill it.  That’s the truth.

I am not religious. I am a liberated woman of knowledge. I am a strong woman with a strong personality and I crave the truth in all situations, no matter how hard it is. I am completely against the people who protest abortion clinics and get in the faces of the ladies who are seeking abortion. My assumption is that these women who are seeking abortions are hurting. If they are calloused to what they’re doing, all I can wonder is what the hell happened in their lives to make them this way? I actually feel bad for these people.  

So as I write this, I don’t write it as someone who would ever agree with violence directed toward abortion clinics and those who work in that industry.  I completely disagree with it. And along with that, I know that the violence and murder coming against the innocent in the womb is so very wrong. But that doesn’t justify in any way shape or form someone coming into an abortion clinic with a gun and blowing people up. It doesn’t justify a woman, who is a fanatic, getting in the faces of those seeking an abortion and being verbally abusive to them.  

It’s just that as a country, we’ve lost something: our value for each other.  Somewhere along the road, based on a lie (Roe vs. Wade—I know the story of the woman behind the case), we picked a certain group of people—innocent unborn children—and said, we can wipe them out if we want to, to make things easier for our lives. And in doing so, we unleashed a beast.

Is abortion the cause of this callous society we now live in? I don’t know. But it sure as hell is a major part of it. Our world has not gotten better since abortion became legal; it’s gotten worse. This beast has consumed us and we have shed innocent blood and somewhere along the lines, I believe we will have to pay for it. Somehow.