The other day I had to have a conversation with my 11-year old daughter that I had dreaded. I knew it would happen one day, but I really, really didn't want it to. No, I'm not referring to "the talk"-- we've had that conversation a few times and continue discussing it as new questions come up. I don't really mind those conversations. This is different.
First, a little background on my daughter. She is deeply emotional-- she doesn't just love you, she LOOOOOOOVEESSSS you. She is very in touch with her spiritual self, with God, and with truth. She loves the Gospel, has faith in our Savior, and wants everyone to be kind, nice, generous and righteous. She isn't perfect, and when she gets mad, she gets REALLY mad, just like any other kid her age, but she deeply values people and relationships and love and life.
Most of our conversations are peppered with "What does ___________ mean?" as her inquisitive nature meets up with her love of the English language. Some days these questions lead me to look up words that I understand, but struggle to define. Sometimes we laugh at a pun or mispronunciation of a word. And sometimes I disburse imaginary points to her for using intelligent words in everyday speech. We love words, she and I. We love reading, writing and discussing. We especially get a kick out of linguistic humor. Words make us think, feel and give greater expression to our thoughts.
But there is one word that I wish I didn't have to teach her about. One word that highlights what is evil and wrong with our modern society. And that one word finally caught her eye and she came straight to me. "Mom, what does "abortion" mean?"
I cringed. I closed my eyes for a moment and sighed a little. She asked what was wrong and I said I wasn't sure how to explain that word to her.
I tried to find words.
This opens up so many scary things to a child. First, that some moms don't want their babies. Second, that moms can decide to have those babies killed and third, that there are doctors that murder unborn babies.
My eyes began to tear up before I even got out the first few words. She asked why I was crying and I said because abortion makes me so very sad. I finally managed to give her a short definition. I told her that some women who get pregnant don't want to be pregnant, and an abortion is when a doctor ends that pregnancy. By killing the baby. That some people don't believe an unborn baby is a baby, they call it a fetus and think it's okay to end its life.
I had to stop because I was crying.
My daughter's eyes got very wide. She just said, "Oh. That's awful!" I told her that I support women finishing out the pregnancy and giving the child up for adoption if she doesn't want to raise it, and left it at that.
She went on to say something about why would a woman get pregnant if she doesn't want to be? (There's what the pro-choicers should be discussing. Want to have power over what happens to your body? You already do!)
Pregnancy is a very abstract concept to her-- she's my youngest and hasn't had anyone close to her who was pregnant or has a newborn in over 4 years, so with her newly blossoming maturity, it's still a very foreign concept.
One day, the real truth of what abortion is will hit her. I remember when I really understood. I think I was in 8th grade and when someone told me what abortion is, at first I really didn't believe them. I couldn't believe that any adult would willingly end the life of a child. How naive I was!
Now we've had that conversation, I guess the rest is downhill from here. I think rape is the last truly despicable word I will have to define for her. Then all my children will have completely shed the innocence of youth. I hate that my kids have to grow up in a world filled with evil.
I know, it's a little extreme to call abortion "evil", but I can't separate right from wrong and then let abortion sit on the line between them. It's either right to kill unborn babies or it isn't. The dehumanization of humanity is nothing new-- slave owners did/do it; Nazis did it; anyone who has ever tried to relegate a person or group of people to a less-than-human status has done it. Including abortionists.