**Warning: This post contains spoilers**
During last night's new episode, Kate confesses to Toby, with a cut-away to a scene of her 18 year old self with a positive pregnancy test, that she [likely] had an abortion.
Though viewers will have to wait until January 5 of next year to unravel more details about Kate's situation, the show brings up a valid point in the current battle of upholding Roe vs Wade, in which at least three abortion cases are pending a Supreme Court hearing.
Unfortunately, many of those who are in need of an abortion are minors who have either suffered rape, molestation, or premature intercourse.
It is not simply an issue of "You made a bad choice so now you need to figure out how to financially, physically, and emotionally be available to support a little person who will have needs."
Most adults struggle to take care of themselves but to ask a minor to be responsible for themselves and a second person is unrealistic and extremely challenging if one doesn't come from a background of a strong support system.
The current pandemic has highlighted how tough it has been for working adults to juggle the responsibilities of working full-time, childcare, finances, and education, even in households that have both parents and live-in assistance.
To leave abortion rights up to individual states to create and enforce bans creates further inequality, division, and economic hardship. Those who are privileged to have cars and take planes forget that some in this country barely have a bus that runs every 15 minutes in order to have stable employment, nevertheless crossing state lines to term a problematic pregnancy.
Furthermore there are the issues of rising childcare and housing costs all across America, in every state. How many are backed up with eviction notices? How many homes are set to be foreclosed on?
Many people who believe that abortions should be outlawed because they believe in God. The problem with this is that the United States is much like God in that free will in personal choice reigns supreme in lifestyle choice.
Pro-lifers have not yet offered efficient alternatives for the mothers or the children who would be forced into an uphill battle in medical costs for a birth, in addition to all the impending costs that follow for 18+ years.
Also not solved is what penalties or restrictions will the men who play the other half in these pregnancies that can no longer be aborted have to partake in? As of 2019, the United States has the most single-parent households in the world (including single fathers). In too many cases, the fathers simply deny their child, walk away altogether to dodge child support, plot to have the mothers killed (or the children), or even simply continue fathering more and more children with no plans to play a role.
If women are going to be held accountable to raising a child, the men who help put them in the position must be held accountable as well. The burden of raising a child should not unwillingly fall to just one parent, especially if the one parent is a minor. What about cases where the father is no longer alive, is incarcerated, unable to work, or unwilling to work?
The other issue that must be tackled in regards to forcing anti-abortion on people is the faulty argument of adoption. Approximately 23,000 of children placed in foster care and placed as wards of the state age out of the system due to lack of adoption, often with very few resources.
People cannot continue to simply say that God is against abortion and yet conveniently forget that God also says to care for thy neighbor (and thy enemy). Is it also not God's expectation to be good stewards of His people in 1 Timothy 5:8, among other verses?
Is it then Godly to fight for the lives of unborn children only to no longer care for them once they are born or are no longer infants? What happened to the cry to uphold separation of Church and State?
At least 12% of Americans identify as atheists or not belonging to any one faith. Why then, should those people be subjected by laws based upon religious viewpoints, particularly when one cannot be discriminated against due to religion?
Is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" not part of the First Amendment? Therefore if we have no established national religion, should there be laws passed that infringe upon the individual rights of some due to the individual religious views of others?
It will be interesting to see the direction that the writers take in Kate's story. Will she be one of millions in the entire world that undergoes an underground abortion so that her parents (or maybe even the father) never find out or will she be able to come clean to Randall or Kevin before confessing to Rebecca and Jack?
Maybe Kate will be one of the ones who doesn't get to make the choice and she has a spontaneous abortion, which could be equally devastating or a relief. The good news here is that Kate is only a character. The bad news is there are more than 16 for every 1000 young girls having the reality of having to make the awful choice of going it alone, whether they keep the baby or not. Fortunately, the rates of teen pregnancies has been on a steady decline.
In 1991, Tupac Shakur wrote and released "Brenda's Got a Baby" about a major result of unwanted teen pregnancy. Sadly today, the "Brenda"s have many more names.
"She's 12 years old and she's having a baby
In love with the molester, who's sexing her crazy
And yet she thinks that he'll be with her forever
And dreams of a world with the two of them are together,
Whatever, he left her and she had the baby solo
She had it on the bathroom floor and didn't know so
She didn't know, what to throw away and what to keep
She wrapped the baby up and threw him in the heep..."
Another reason it is premature to consider dismantling the ruling of Roe v Wade in today's climate is that it isn't just minors who are part of the base seeking the need for abortion. Married women who are in unhealthy relationships and no longer want more children with their partner, such as depicted in the film Revolutionary Road, are often prime candidates.
They have plans of getting out or moving on, and therefore, another child in an unstable environment becomes the potential of another human being with emotional damage or barrier to progress.
Then there are those who are older students who are already saddled with student loan debt or working multiple jobs to pay for classes. Also left out of the conversation are those with disabilities or medical conditions that are struggling to take care of themselves and their finances, already on edge to keep themselves alive or self-sufficient.
The question keeps coming back to who else will be responsible for ensuring that mother and baby will be well-cared for in the instance of economic survival? The father, despite how involved he wants to be? The government, which already doesn't provide enough funding to house the homeless, provide access to healthcare, ensure that all children get adopted, ensure employment during and after graduation, and so forth? The pro-lifers donating their own funds because they insist on the child being born?
Truth be told, pro-life would be able to become more dominant and be much less of a burden for all if the aforementioned issues were tackled first. Until those issues are resolved, forcing childbirth and childcare upon women and men would only further increase probabilities of crime against children, crimes against women, and adults who become so mentally unstable that getting fired prompts mass murder. Of course, these are only worse case scenarios and not all unwanted children go on to have hard lives.
But the reality is that depression is real. Suicide is real. Feeling trapped in an unbearable situation is real. Drug addiction is real. People do often go to extremes when they cannot find relief elsewhere.
Pun intended, this is us. This is the American situation. Life is messy for everyone, even those with money, a support system, and good health. Best intentions don't always get the desired result. The uplift in this article is that continuing the conversation may eventually lead to common ground.
Families should always have the right to choose for themselves when and how to expand its size but perhaps more people would be willing to opt to carry to term if more consistent resources were in place to minimize hardship if that route is taken.
Otherwise it is inhumane to expect for others to suffer in ways that we would not be willing to suffer ourselves. It is easy to say what one would do when not in the same situation, just as it is easy to assume that others should take the exact same path.
Differences have their place at the table just as group-think does. We are currently in a society where people believe they should fight against wearing a mask that prevents others from getting sick or against stricter gun laws that could lead to fewer mass shootings and domestic violence.
Shouldn't we be applying that same vigor to prevent mass babies found in trash cans or rivers and mothers dying by suicide when trying to self-abort pregnancies? Let's start by being pro-life for the people who already exist in their fullest forms so that we can then be pro-life for the ones in development.