Appearance is Everything: Seeing Behind the Words

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.

Mother Teresa

Pregnancy. Infant. Baby. Life. Woman. Mom. Man. Dad. Girl. Sister. Boy. Brother. Unit. Family. Isn’t interesting how the turn of a phrase of word can alternate your perception? Pregnancy makes you think of a woman’s growing stomach. Baby makes you think of an adorable, tiny human with 10 fingers, 10 toes, and belly laughs for miles. Family evokes fond or distasteful memories of childhood while unit sounds like a math problem. Every word/phrase is carefully constructed by the messenger to evoke a set of messages to the audience.

Recently I attended a training on birth control (I know – shocking). It was advertised as a way to “better the quality of life for my clients”. The idea was that pregnancy may alter the ability of a woman to have a successful complete life. What if I reworded that though. A baby may cause a woman to have a sad, incomplete life. Does that impact your feelings of the message? The first probably makes you agree while the second sounds like you think babies cause problems. I watched this rhetoric and terminology continue to progress for 2 and a half hours.

The purpose of us coming together was supposed to be a chance to prevent infant mortality. To simplify – baby deaths. Milwaukee has a crisis of baby deaths. What I learned was – we can prevent infant mortality by preventing conception/pregnancy. In other words, we can prevent baby deaths by making sure they are not created. This seems counterintuitive to me. We do not want babies to die so let’s make sure they are never born? I don’t quite follow that logic.

What made more sense was when I found out Planned Parenthood was sponsoring the event and one of the speakers, it made more sense. Generally, I stay out of “pro-life” articles or rants. Simply because I have seen too many “supposedly pro-life” people talk about how they want every baby to be born but show little to NO care for the women who are having the baby. I believe that love starts as an act to every individual you meet. To put it simply – I am pro – love. Love a mother. A baby. Father. Family. Demonstrating that through extending a listening ear, providing housing, providing resources, and coming alongside someone in need.

Coming from this background I was horrified at the general hatred of humankind hidden behind terminology. Throughout the session, I began to notice a unique pattern to the hatred. Phrases like low-income, high school drop-out, poor, African American, Hispanic, and minority. During this time, I plugged into the internet and researched statistics regarding “mistimed” pregnancies or “unwanted” babies. The Guttmacher Institute had some interesting stats.

First, nearly half of the pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. This means that we were discussing how to eliminate half of the room based on this statistic. Or 3.05 million people in the United States. In other words, 1 out of every 2 of you reading this are unimportant. Your life is a problem here on earth. For example, I was with a friend and we were both unplanned pregnancies. Both of us are a problem and we want to make sure no one exists like us again. Sounds harsher put in those words doesn’t it?

Next, unintended pregnancies tend to be among a certain group of people. Those people are minorities. Specifically, teenagers, African-Americans, Hispanics, and poor people. In other words, we do not want more illegal immigrants to be here. We only want wealthy people – especially if they’re white. Maybe the BlackLivesMatter movement should start here to fix some problems. Representative Gwen Moore (who is African-American) stated that Planned Parenthood was a needed resource for African-American and poor women. In other words, she is saying there should be less African-American and poor babies. Seems harsh doesn’t it?

All of these statistics combined with the information reminded me of a modern day, clever version of eugenics. Negative traits to eliminate: African-American, Hispanic, and poor. Desirable traits: Caucasian, wealthy. Planned Parenthood’s desire is to apparently create a wealthy, white America. African – American, Hispanic, or poor? Go to a training by Planned Parenthood so you can hear about how much better you will be if you don’t have babies so there will be no more of you. How does that make you feel?

I am the daughter of two teenagers. My birth was not planned. There was not a lot of money in my childhood. One of the people with me was a minority. Her life unplanned. I certainly am glad my parents did not try to prevent me. So glad that other person is alive and I can’t imagine a life without her in it. My desire isn’t to get into some debate but to portray what I saw right before my eyes.

I am grateful to know I was made in the image of God “imago Dei”. My desire is that every person I encounter knows that they are here because they are LOVED. I have never seen so little love and hope that not many are exposed to the complete devaluing of humanity I saw. Every woman and man deserves to know they are worthy. That they are EMPOWERED to do amazing things. Every life that comes on earth happened for a reason. Those 3.05 million people bring something unique to the world. With the right tools, every woman should know that when she is pregnant – she has value. Her baby has value. Both of them are sacred and add to this world. Family adds a closeness that cannot be replicated and should teach love. Show love. Instead of elimination, teach love.

 

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