imageA very pro-woman’s rights friend uttered something utterly shocking, “Unborn children are people. The killing of unborn children is tantamount to murder.

For a woman who stood at the forefront of women’s rights, I was stunned. I’ve listened to this woman for years, fighting for equal pay, equal healthcare, equal benefits and opposing the sometimes strict conservative values proposed by some candidates. She even fought for a woman’s right to choose and rallied against the closing of Planned Parenthood facilities.

Still, to hear the words, “… killing of unborn children is tantamount to murder” from was a complete surprise.

She briefly commented her university approved study of women who’ve had abortions sometimes commented, ‘I hope God will forgive me.’ When asked what those same said participants feared most that drew them to the abortion clinic for assistance, she could not answer.

However, several weeks ago I was contacted by a charitable organization to repair parts of an outdated, rundown computer network. While working, I engaged a young woman in conversation who freely echoed thoughts she felt were common among women her age:

“Most of those adamantly against abortion freely spew their beliefs but rarely ask what my goals were. Personally, I didn’t see anything possible. No one asked what my fears for the future were. Yet, I have many: facing even further pain of loneliness, suffering the humiliation of losing more of her body and life; being unable to care for a child with special needs.

To whom would I call at night when my child refuses to sleep? How could I get out of poverty, when I’m in poverty? Who will watch my child while I go to college? How will pay for food, shelter and quality life for my child.

How come everyone will prejudge me, while the man who claimed he’d stay at my side left for parts unknown. How come he’s not punished, ridiculed, heckled and hated? Who will go for me to some rundown bar, find my ex and get the rent money from him?

It’s easy to say abortion is murder sitting behind the walls of a warm home. But I dare anyone to live my life for 30 days and see the hell I live.”

Some accuse the Unknown Buddhist of playing both sides, i.e., wanting to reduce the number of abortions while simultaneously upholding the rights of all women. If one so chooses to judge accordingly, guilty as charged.

As a man, the Unknown Buddhist is in no position to judge any woman, let alone decide for all women. Accordingly, I believe all women should access to all information and options available, in a timely fashion, so that they can determine their own best course. I believe being in favor of the right to a safe, legal abortion by a trained medical professional who adheres to board-approved standards and practices. I believe we must provide this option available to any woman, without judgment. I also believe being in favor of tax dollars allocated to healthcare provision for those on the lowest income scale, because being poor does not mean you should receive lesser care or have less access. And I also believe being pro-choice means being adamant that we are not going back to the back alleys.