The Right To Choose Death… by Toni Cross

All these fights

Over women’s rights

And yet you forget

That it’s a death threat

You’d take my life

With an abortionist’s knife

As I float in the dark

You quench my life spark

Why do you try

To justify

My untimely death

My stolen breath?

How can you say

That I have no worth

When others would’ve rejoiced

On the day of my birth?

 

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My Midnight Soapbox: Abortion and Child Abuse

Few subjects raise my hackles as quickly as child abuse and abortion. In my opinion, the two subjects are directly related. Right now, I should be in bed. But, this topic has been eating at me all day long and I know that I won’t rest well until I’ve written my two cents.

And you know, it isn’t that I hate abortionists, abusers, or mothers that have aborted. Actually, what I feel is more akin to sorrow, grief, and pity.

But beyond that, the defenselessness of the innocent makes me wish I could rise to their aid in some tangible way…

I think that part of the reason my heart bleeds so much for these issues is because of my own experience.

Regarding Child Abuse:

I have family members who are/were abused children and who have abused children. I also witnessed abuse, when I was still a child.

Being a survivor of abuse is a truly awful thing, but watching what abuse does to people you love hurts almost as much.

 

I know many people, both adults and children, who are still suffering the effects of childhood abuse

Growing up, I was led to believe that as long as an injury wasn’t seriously life-threatening, as evidenced by a hospital visit, or wasn’t physically disfiguring and obvious, it wasn’t REALLY abuse. I now know better.

What is the difference between abuse and discipline?

“Physical abuse is nonaccidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caregiver intended to hurt the child. Physical discipline, such as spanking or paddling, is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable and causes no bodily injury to the child.”

Discipline should never be done in anger or for the purpose of venting frustration on a child. The goal in disciplining a child is to teach them what is safe and healthy and what is not. The object is to make “bad” choices seem undesirable to the child, in the gentlest and kindest way possible, thus protecting them from harm. Discipline should never become a way to visit retribution or vengeance. Discipline should also NEVER cause the child actual physical harm.

 

 

Regarding Abortion:

I should have been a prime candidate to be aborted.

My mother was divorced from one husband already and the man who was my father was married to someone else. As a late-in-life baby, I was statistically more likely to have birth defects. But the biggest reason that I was at risk? The Women’s Lib Movement had convinced my mother that abortion was a woman’s right and a simple matter of choice. It is a miracle that I’m here today.

 

I have experienced a first trimester miscarriage.

In addition to the amazing facts that I learned about fetal development and pregnancy, personal experience is a powerful thing. I felt what it was like to have a life growing inside of me. I saw my baby’s flickering heartbeat on the ultrasound monitor. I labored and gave birth to a tiny dead baby. I have grieved over this loss for more than a year. No one can tell me that my child was just a clump of tissue.

 

I know women who have suffered in secret for years over an abortion that they regret.

Two things stand out in my memory from when I was still a young teen. In the midst of a group of adult women, I watched one of them break down in grief, admitting to having had an abortion many years before. Minutes after her confession, several others burst into tears and sobbed that they had, too. In the case of each woman, because she had chosen her baby’s fate, she felt that she had no right to mourn their death. That horrid hidden bereavement and shame had eaten them alive for almost as long as I had been alive.

 

If you have any doubts about whether abortion is morally right, here’s something to think about:

 

Dead or lifeless tissue?

Life is defined as “a state of living characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, and reaction to stimuli… the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional plant or animal from a dead body.”

Death is defined asthe irreversible cessation of all vital functions especially as indicated by permanent stoppage of the heart, respiration, and brain activity”.

At six weeks, the brain waves of a human fetus are detectable. At twelve weeks, a fetus has all of the parts necessary to experience pain, including nerves and spinal cord. Vocal cords are complete.  It can hear and its heart pumps several quarts of blood through the body every day. The baby can “breathe” amniotic fluid and urinate. At 22 weeks, preemies that are born have survived and grown up without any severe aftereffects.

 

And just in case any of you plan to say that women who have abortions are mostly teen mothers, rape victims, ect., that just isn’t true. 61 percent of women who terminate a pregnancy in this country already have at least one child. Less than 2% say they became pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

In closing, let me be clear:

I realize that some women who seek out abortions are very desperate and are victim to horrible circumstances.

I also realize that many abusers were abused themselves or have been improperly taught in regard to discipline of children.

I don’t stand in judgment of either group. I’m merely hoping to share some of what I’ve learned and experienced, in the hope that it might save the life of even one child, either by preventing an abortion or by giving someone the courage to report abuse.

Below, I’ve included a few websites that relate to this post. I hope you find them helpful.

 

Fetal development:

http://www.pregnancy.org/fetaldevelopment and http://www.americanpregnancy.org/duringpregnancy/fetaldevelopment1.htm

Government statics on abortion (USA):

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/births_deaths_marriages_divorces/family_planning_abortions.html

Child abuse:

http://www.childwelfare.gov/responding/reporting.cfm

Parenting and discipline:

http://www.parents.com/kids/discipline/spanking/

 

Disclaimer:  I’ve collected these facts from a variety of website and I tried to be very careful to verify them in more than one spot, but please feel free to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. If I have made any unknown technical errors in the definitions, it was not intentional.

“The Mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks: A Different Sort of Poetry Reading

I created the following poetry reading on an impulse. This poem speaks to me- I’m not sure why, but it does. The rawness of the anonymous mother who grieves her aborted babies echoes my own heart’s desperation, as I long for my miscarried little one.

…empty shoes… written by Toni L.A. Cross

children playing on a swing-set

a little girl with bouncy blond curls

says soberly:

when I grow up,

I want to be a doctor.

I’m gonna cure cancer!
poof. she’s gone. where did she go?

all i can see where she stood

are her little pink sneakers and a tiny scroll.

a dirt smudged boy

plays in the sand

when i grow up, declares he

i’ll be the president.

i’ll make sure there are enough jobs

for people like my dad

and no more fighting about things that make sense.

poof. he’s gone. where did he go?

all i can see where he stood

are his little scuffed tennis shoes and a tiny scroll.

a serious looking set of tow-headed twins

each trying to swing higher than the other

one says to the other

someday, you and i will find a cure for aids

and people like our cousin

wont be born ready to die.
poof. they are gone. where did they go?

all i can see on the empty shifting swings

are two matching sets of mary-janes and a tiny scroll.

now everything is silent

and this playground resembles a graveyard

scattered with scrolls and little empty shoes

instead of tombstones or crosses

i pick up a scroll

and read these words

written in what looks like dried blood:

i was never born.