Freedom of Choice Rooted in My Family Tree

Abortion was a topic in my house this year.  Our U.S. 2016 Presidential election stirred up this conversation along with immigration and freedom of speec and others.  And before I was ready, I found myself in a position of explaining these weighty issues to my 9-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son.  Finding the right wording for my tender aged daughter was as much of a challenge as I thought it would be.  


My daughter’s step-mother is a staunch advocate for the pro-life movement.  I, on my the other hand, uphold a woman’s right to choice.  This left my poor daughter reeling as she explained to her friend when asked about her thoughts on the candidates:

“It’s confusing because I have 2 houses and they are both different, ” I overheard her saying.  

Lizzy my dear, we are all a bit confused.

With that being said, I wanted to explain to her that an abortion is not a black and white issue.  It rarely is.  If it were, it would be so much easier decision to make.  

We are familiar with the usual arguments and in no way is this a complete list:

  • A fetus is a human life vs. when is a fetus considered viable, with soul, etc.?
  • All life must be protected vs. what happens in precarious situation such as rape, incest, rape of a minor, etc.
  • What is to be done when a mother’s life hangs in the balance?
  • What is to be done when a woman, family cannot support a child?
  • If a women are unable to obtain a safe abortion, many will die from complications from unsafe procedures.

I told my children about our family history as it  haunts me with these very questions, questions that I cannot overlook or deny.  

My Great-Aunt Sulvia, born in the Ozarks of Missouri had 2 girls and was married to a share cropper.  These are farmers who rent land and have to produce crops enough to feed their family, make a miserly profit I and enough to pay for renting the land.  Her husband suffered from grand mail seizures and was often sick.  Lacking birth control during the turn of the century, she found herself pregnant and fearful about how to raise yet another child with their meager wages.  Desperate for help, she sought an abortion from the only person who offered assistance.  He turned out to be a faux Doctor and she died in excruciating pain at age 28 from complications.  She left 2 children and a husband alone.

Aunt Sylvia who died from an unsafe abortion at the age of 28.

I view her death as senseless.  The family did as well and were wrought with grief over their fallen daughter, mother, wife, and friend.

My Great-Aunt Sylvia is pictured at the top right of this photo.

I hope my daughter will never have to face a decision of wether or not to have an abortion.  But, I will do my part to ensure that she has the choice.  

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