By PRECIOUS KELLY
Rantoul Press columnist
In July, I began a discourse surrounding the topic of a “woman’s right to choose.”
My colleague, Joe, had posed four questions that he believed could arise when considering this topic. I was only able to address two of Joe’s questions last month. This month, I am going to address questions three and four. They are as follows:
Question 3: What about situations when the expecting mother has been raped? She did not choose to become a mother, and now a new human being is completely dependent on her body.
Shouldn’t equal rights go both ways, even when we do consider the unborn child to be a human with rights? The right not to be forced to provide life for another individual is something most people would agree with when considering two adult individuals.
Question 4: If we do allow for abortion as an ethical choice in these extreme and serious cases (rape), does the situation change to murder when the mother has accidentally conceived through consensual sex?
In response to question three, undoubtedly, my heart and concern goes out to any female who has endured extreme disrespect to her personhood, whose rights have been so terribly violated, suffering not only physical abuse, but also psychological and mental abuse. Becoming a mother involuntarily in this instance is connected to an inexplicably painful past.
At the moment of conception, these precious victims are presented with the responsibility of carrying another life into this world. It is an individual’s own decision to make how she will receive this responsibility. (I believe it is a matter of how she will receive this responsibility, and not if she will receive this responsibility because abortion does not reverse conception. Abortion can be one response to conception.)
It is one’s personal choice how to respond to happenstances beyond one’s control.
A few weeks ago, my manager arrived to the workplace with a shoebox. It shocked the entire team when we found out what she carried inside: a little baby rabbit. Unfortunately, the little rabbit was dragged home by her pet cat the night before. The little rabbit was traumatized. He was very small and young. Because of the terrifying experience endured by such a young rabbit, my manager thought he would not live through the night.
A very kind and thoughtful person, my manager wanted to ensure the rabbit was cared for as long as it was alive. She and her daughter watched over it and tried to give it milk through an eye dropper.
Before she went to bed, my manager placed the rabbit in a shoebox and gave it a name. She said, “No one should die without a name.” Pretty confident that it would not live through the night, she placed the rabbit in the garage.
When my manager got up the next morning, she discovered the rabbit was still alive. Not able to properly care for it that morning as she was headed off to work, she decided that she would make arrangements at work for a veterinarian to look after the rabbit. She brought the rabbit to work.
At work, my manager opened the shoebox and revealed a baby rabbit. Personally, I do not like to see furry little creatures and hesitated to look at the rabbit. But then I peaked at it, and the little cuddly thing warmed my heart — so innocent, tiny and helpless. You could see his body quiver every now and then, and you knew it was alive.
Everyone was amazed at my manager’s efforts to take care of the rabbit enough to bring it to work with her. She was able to contact a veterinarian friend and made an appointment to drop the rabbit off with him.
Meanwhile, the baby rabbit sat still in the shoebox, being watched by various employees checking on it and trying to administer milk from time to time. (It may have been coffee creamer they fed him.) When it was time for our manager to leave for the appointment, we all said our goodbyes. I wish I could tell you how the rabbit is doing now, but according to my manager’s wishes, the knowledge of the rabbit’s welfare would stay with the veterinarian.
This is a true story of my manager’s efforts to take care of a little endangered rabbit. Without any intention of becoming a caregiver, in the most unexpected and inconvenient set of circumstances, my manager decided that night when her cat violently brought a baby rabbit home to her, she decided to give it a name and help nurture the life that was left. It was her choice.
In response to question four which I now paraphrase as the following: If abortion gives a woman the right to relinquish the responsibility of motherhood when motherhood is involuntary (a result of rape), then is the opposite true? Women who conceive voluntarily should not have the right to relinquish motherhood? Joe asks, is this murder (when those who conceive voluntarily a result of consensual sex, yet not intentionally have an abortion)?
If abortion could relinquish or nullify motherhood, I would consider that argument valid. If a decision regarding abortion can be made solely considering the fact that the act of conception was involuntary, then the opposite decision could be made regarding abortion if conception is voluntary. In other words, if we rule that abortion should be a woman’s right if conception was involuntary, then abortion should not be a woman’s right if conception was voluntary.
To me, this does make logical sense. But I will make a distinction here between what is logical, what is legal and what is love. Love may or may not always be the logical thing to do, but love should always be the rule, not the other way around. Love should be the basis for the law, and not the law determine our ethics.
My sole reason for writing this column is to address what is love when you are presented with the responsibility of motherhood. My manager had every right to do nothing for the baby rabbit, but the love in her heart could not allow it.
Quote of the month: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” — Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman
Precious Angel Kelly, a native of Rantoul, writes a Christian-based monthly column. She welcomes correspondence at firstname.lastname@example.org