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The ‘dark side’ of my reproductive choices

By Victoria Fryer 

I recently wrote about long-term solutions for preventing pregnancy, so when I found a somewhat related article on patheos.com, it piqued my interest—but the conversation was really negative and, I think, worth addressing.

Patheos is a website that comes from a Christian perspective, and the particular article—”The dark side of living ‘childfree’”—is in the ‘Catholic News’ section. Though I have never thought the Christian faith was at odds with a childfree lifestyle, the author of this article obviously does.

In it, the author writes about the dangers of all kinds of birth control, from the pill—”known as a class one carcinogen”—to IUDs and Essure coils—which may cause “organ perforation or device migration,” which is actually something I talked about in the article that I wrote.

So it’s not that I don’t think these are valid concerns. But the author goes on to call abortion “necessary for choosing childlessness.” This is where I become very concerned about the author’s perspective.

“For couples for whom a pregnancy is an unexpected and unwelcome surprise, abortion may and often does seem like the obvious and easy answer to the problem,” the author writes.

I won’t get into the politics of pro-life versus pro-choice here, because the level of controversy that it creates is unnecessary and inappropriate here. But I will venture to say that, for the vast majority of women who have made the difficult decision to abort, that decision was in no way “obvious” or “easy.”

In the end, Catholic missionary Amanda Teixeira concedes, “‘Becoming a parent is a calling, and there are probably people out there who…maybe they’re emotionally not capable of ever loving or raising a child well, and to be wise about that is prudent.’”

I’m sure Ms. Teixeira means well, but I cannot think of a more insulting way to address women—and men—who choose to live a childfree life. It harkens back to a statement I hear often when I tell people I am childfree: “Well, parenthood isn’t for everyone.”

While that’s true, I often hear it with an attitudinal tinge of “Parenthood is hard work, and not everyone is cut out for it.” Again, I find this attitude nothing short of insulting to men and women who, so very often, devote their lives to other great causes and to making impacts in other ways.

I recognize that parenthood is hard work. I also recognize the difficulties women have in preventing pregnancy when they want to remain childfree. But the kind of denigration of women in particular that I found in this article is, I think, unfortunate. I hope that, in the future, we can all move toward a more accepting attitude of one another, despite our very personal reproductive choices.

Victoria Fryer is a 31-year-old writer and content strategist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two pit bulls. You can find her on Twitter @extoria.

Childless

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