Poverty, Difficulty, and Suffering
Written by Clarissa Canaria
Over one fifth of abortions are reported to be for financial reasons (Guttmacher Institute, 2005). In my years of being a pro-life advocate, this situation has been one of the most common I have heard, with the “logic” being something along these lines:
If a woman is financially unable to take care of a child, both of them will be in poverty. And if both of them are in poverty, both of them will suffer and live difficult lives.
Some people then carry this situation further, saying:
If that’s the case, the child is more likely to be a criminal in future.
We can all agree that having financial issues and being in poverty can lead to some challenges. But the above thinking contradicts so much of what we appreciate and value in the people around us and those we admire: their courage and perseverance in overcoming difficult circumstances.
If we would not accept the killing of born people who are starving in a third-world country, a toddler who’s parents are in a financial crisis, or those living in low-income neighbourhoods because statistics show possible correlations between poverty and crime, why do we use this same reasoning to kill preborn human beings?
Our society has been inconsistent for far too long. We are encouraged to help those who are suffering, by giving of our time and resources to alleviate their pain. We commend individuals who choose to take a difficult path and who have found the strength to overcome their challenges even though it may be hard. Regardless of their background or circumstances, we provide opportunities for people to do good in this world. However, in the case of abortion we overlook these calls to action, discouraging people from taking what may be a difficult path. Promoting abortion in these cases, stating that the preborn would be better off dead, devalues the lives of those who do in fact live in these challenging situations.
I once spoke to a woman who identified herself as being adamantly pro-choice, citing these exact reasons of poverty, difficulty, and suffering to back up her perspective. After asking her similar questions about how we treat born people in difficult circumstances, she said it herself: “In an ideal world, there would be no need for an abortion.”
Killing the preborn child does not suddenly make this an ideal world. It doesn’t eliminate a mother’s financial problems nor does it remove her difficult circumstances. We can only work towards this ideal world when we as a society consistently encourage people to choose the right thing, even when it may be difficult, and help and support those who do. We do this because we know that each and every human life is worth living and has value, and this value is not dependent upon the circumstances we find ourselves in – or the state our world is in.
So in everything that we do, let’s strive to create a world where we affirm the lives of all those around us, helping those who are facing difficulties and empowering them to overcome their challenges.
That’s something we can all agree on.