Rape, incest, and the mother's life...oh, and abused children...better aborted than abused.
How many times have we heard these acceptable exceptions to a ban on abortions? It is easy to see the point of view that makes these exceptions acceptable. No sane person wants to inflict further hurt and suffering on those already in pain. Worst of all are the faces of children who live in horror. Children who might, it is imagined, count themselves lucky to have never been born.
What becomes of these children when they reach maturity? Common wisdom places them in prison, in poverty, or most probably becoming abusers themselves. Surely the world would be better without such people wandering around among us. Have we ever asked them? Could we if we tried?
The problem is finding these now grown children. The shame of what was done to them causes them to retreat into silence and hide the shame. There is shame in not being loved enough. Abuse in families typically centers on one child and leaves the others alone. This leaves the target feeling responsible and complicit in the abuse. The survivors hide among us, never talking about what was done for fear of public condemnation and embarrassment. How, then, do we combat the "better unborn than abused" argument? If the abused children can not find the courage to speak out for the value of their own lives, how can anyone else? Someone must speak out for them and the value of their lives.
I will do it. My name is Rebecca and I was an abused child. I spent more nights than I can remember sleeping on the floor of my closet underneath the hanging clothes for fear of what might come through my bedroom door. It was scary and horrible and took me many years to forgive, but at no time during or after did I ever think that I would have been better off if I had never been born. At no time was death a preferable alternative. I am the face of the abused child all grown up.
People don't like to feel guilty and will do just about anything to not feel bad. I understand this impulse. The thought of children who are being harmed in some way is unpleasant and easier to ignore than to admit, but we are here.
The next time you hear someone try to dismiss the problem by saying those children would be better off dead, tell them what you now know. The majority of abused children grow up to live lives that look like any other life. We learn to deal with our pain and to forgive those who hurt us and move on with our lives. Tell them that even worse than being abused is being murdered. If that doesn't convince them that their "better aborted than abused" rhetoric is wrong, then tell them to come over here to where I sit with my wonderful husband and our beautiful children. Let them come and see the great life we have built for ourselves, look me in the eye and tell me that I would be better off dead. Let them come and tell me to my face.