Does Free Will = Pro Choice?
Wednesday was International Women’s Day! Women around the world were celebrating and allowing their voices to be heard loud and clear concerning the issues we are facing in our country and around the world. In lou of the 45th president's use of power, the security of women’s rights as we know them has been challenged. Many are alarmed, scared and extremely disgusted. While this day should have been a day of celebrating accomplishments, encouraging other women to break the mode and shatter glass ceilings. Unfortunately, there was a dark cloud that over shadowed the day. That cloud was filled with the impending gloom of change concerning women world wide. While for some it was the personal fight to protect reproductive care, for others it was a fight for every woman's right to choose, a few others unfortunately, it was a reminder or trigger of the awful experience of rape, molestation, sexual assault or sexual violence they endured in the past. The mere idea that the liberties and rights we now process over our bodies is one that is being threaten can be a trigger for some. It stands as a reminder that we don't have control over what happens with our bodies. The defunding of places such planned parenthood and the cotrovesy over abortion, leaves the feeling of being raped again but this time by the governmental system.
This one hit close to home for many, one of those people was our founder LaQuisha Anthony. She shared with our team the other day her heartfelt concern and care for those who may have felt what she felt or was merely reminded of their experience due to the idea of someone else having control over your body.
She celebrated Women's Day by wearing red, giving staff the day off and having her yearly gynecological exam. Never dawning on her until after, that her appointment symbolized many things. She said “It reminded me of how we are standing, fighting for the rights over our bodies which to someone who has been violated and didn't have control over what happen to their bodies makes the idea of the that experience more freighting and disheartening. The debate surrounding funding for reproductive care and abortion is one that's extremely controversial. This debate will probably be one that lives on until the end of time. Many fluctuate on their stance based off of different religious and moral views, the way society stands at that moment and other internal factors. Even Trump has had his share of fluctuation concerning his views. Trump has had many different stances on women’s right & particularly abortion over the years. From the years of 1989-2016 he has held a pro-choice fundraiser, he said he was pro-choice but "hates it," and he didn't declare himself anti-abortion until he began to consider the idea of running for president. He then solidified his anti-abortion stance again after he announced his candidacy. He even went so far as to suggest that women should have be punished for seeking abortion, before recanting those comments shortly after. He supports support abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and if life of the mother is endangered. This forms another question though, how do you prove these circumstances?
While I am a christian my views have been shaped by many different factors. I’m a devote christian, follower of Christ & servant yet I’m a survivor of sexual abuse who had an abortion as a result of my experience. Can you imagine how all of those things have influenced my position? As I examined this a little closer something stuck out to me and many questions were raised. Many that I struggled with during and after my abortion. Does having an abortion make you any less of a christian and a lover of Christ? How many christians would admit they had an abortion in their lifetime if they weren't shamed or looked at funny? If I had to relive my experience would I have chose differently? Is it right for one to determine what another can & cannot do with their bodies? Would God forgive me and would I forgive myself? Does supporting or gaining care from a place like planned parenthood mean you are in support of abortion? As well as whether this idea of revoking funding to an organization like planned parenthood due to a percentage of that funding contributing towards abortion, is it morally right? So many questions that many in my position would probably have several different answers for.
s I loomed over my answers I thought about my own personal situation. As I laid down with my legs in the stirrups, I glanced over at the utensils used for my pap smear and I immediately felt grateful that I could even receive this care and attention to my lady parts. Especially, without a thought about of how I would be able to pay for it. I thought back to the moments in my life when I was a young girl who didn't have health insurance. Planned Parenthood was where I and many other young people went to gain care and education. I honestly don't know what my teenage into young adult years would have been like without the services they provided me ranging from free birth control, education, reproductive care and yes even my abortion.
I then found myself having thoughts that I didn't expect to have. It was as if I traveled back in time for a moment. There I was 19 again, pregnant, suffering from severe depression which I wasn't aware of until years later, mere shock and PSTD. My life had just hit the fan and the pieces that knew of it was quickly crumbling around me. As I laid there a while longer, my doctor throughly conducting my exam, I felt as if I was traveling back through time to the day I decided to go through with my abortion. It was the most difficult decision I ever made in my life. I remember being severely depressed as a result of being raped and hating myself more because of what was growing inside of me. Being pregnant was a constant reminder of that horrible experience and how my life would never be the same because of it. I didn't love myself, didn't know how to receive the love of God in this situation nor did I know how to love what was growing inside of me because of how it was formed. Just like my experience of rape, I wanted the whole pregnancy experience to just disappear. Yes, I was saved, I loved God but I had no clue what to do. All I knew was what I couldn't handle in that moment. I had to decide what I wanted to do. I was afraid, ashamed, fearful, in full torment and suicidal(No one knew) but I also felt comfort in knowing that I had a choice. Whether it was the right one or the wrong one, it was a choice I could make and no one could force me or take that choice away from me. It was something me and God would have to hash out on our own. After not having a choice for so long throughout the ordeal, here I was faced with a choice. I didn't realize then how much that meant for me. It was reaffirming that my ability to choose still existed, that I had a choice to receive prenatal care, to terminate my pregnancy or to carry to term and raise my child or give it up for adoption. That choice was the beginning of my power being transferred back to me, I had a say!
17 years later that day still sits with me, I can see it all so clear. I was smack dab in the middle of the hurt, pain, confusion, fear, trauma, freedom of choice, faith, love and every other feeling & emotion that was represented that day but God shifted me back to the place of freedom with the covering of His grace & mercy that I now lie in. Laying on the table during this regular exam God spoke to me about how His grace was and still is suffienct. Also, my mind shifted to my overall relationship with God. In this relationship I was given a choice, He granted me free will in this life. The idea of free will proposed an array of other questions for me. Does that mean God is pro choice? Does pro choice = Free will? Does that mean that abortion is the greatest sin of all? Does that mean that one shouldn’t have the freedom to decide what they do with their own bodies? Hmmm thats the big question! I believe this debate will live on forever concerning these things long after Roe vs Wade until the day that its you vs God.
Although, God gives us commands and instructions on how to live this life He still offers us the choice whether to follow Him or not. This reminded me of Romans 24:15 when Joshua spoke the words "Choose this day who you will serve". The people had to decide if they would serve & obey the Lord or another. I believe that's something every christian has been faced with and is faced with daily. We have to choose daily to reaffirm our choice to serve God and follow the spirit or serve another. Ponder this if God offers us a choice to serve Him or not and to follow His commands then how is it that we argue the government shouldn't all in the name of God. Just an interesting thing to think about. Should free will not exist in this case?
No matter what happens within our government I am just grateful to God that I was able to choose and that choice didn't make Him love me any less. Lets be clear I'm not promoting we all go get an abortion and this is the perfect path. All I saying is this is my story! That may not be your story but its an intricate piece of mines. A piece I use to be afraid to share but because I serve a loving God who's grace is sufficient, I walk in a freedom that I never knew truly existed. I am no longer ashamed of the choices I've made but just grateful! To anyone who is living in shame, fear or regret God's grace is sufficient for you too! Guess what this may shock many, I wouldn't change my decision either. Shoot me or hang me on the cross if you want. The thing about the story of my life is, it has shaped me into the woman I am today! I have no regrets or shoulda, coulda, woulda's because I know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Not just the pretty, kosher, proper, delicate things but ALL THINGS! I’m not here to argue wether one should be pro choice or pro abortion or not, just wanted to pose the question does free will = pro choice? And If God offers a choice to serve Him or not should the government offer a choice on what women can do with their bodies? Should reproductive care be on the chopping block? Is there a way to make everyone happy? What do you believe is right & wrong? Answer these questions for yourself then you can decide your stance. Either way, I'm just grateful God is not like man and I'm able to be free from it all!
Does Free Will = Pro Choice? -V.O.I.C.E Team & LaQuisha Anthony, Founder – CEO of V.O.I.C.E, Author, Speaker & Voice Coach