I have always been adamantly pro-choice. Depending on the discussion at hand, I will argue in favor of Judith Jarvis Thompson's violinist perspective, take the position that even if it is a life, it’s okay to terminate a pregnancy, and support the legalization of late-term abortions. I attended to March to Save Women's Lives on the Mall a couple of years ago, and I always write cranky letters to my conservative senators whenever NARAL or NOW sends me an email alert.
But while in some debates on social issues I find it nearly impossible to see the other side of the issue (How does letting gay people get married threaten the quality of others’ marriages exactly?), when it comes to the abortion debate I can see where the other side is coming from. After all, if I truly believed that abortion was murder of a human being, I would feel a moral obligation to work to make it illegal, too. I think it was my ability to see the other side of the abortion debate that made me briefly question my beliefs last year after I miscarried.
I’m not sure what brought the idea to mind initially. I was lying in bed in the middle of the day, looking out the window and listening to the hum of the air conditioner while I let my mind drift. Suddenly I found myself wondering: if I am grieving like this for a nine-week-old fetus, how can I argue that it wasn’t a life? How can I believe that it’s okay to end a pregnancy on purpose if I’m this sad to see this one end for no apparent reason?
It didn’t take long for the answer to occur to me. I knew that I wasn’t grieving the loss of a life. Not yet. I was grieving for the loss of the hopes that I had attached to my pregnancy. For the plans I had made for my baby's arrival in April. For the transformation of my life and my self that I had looked forward to so eagerly. I wasn't grieving for "Elvis" (um, I'm apparently into the stupid fetal nicknames), but for the baby I had hoped Elvis would one day become.