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I’m 100 percent pro-life: No exceptions for rape or incest, and opposed to all the research and fertility treatments that involve creating zygotes to be left in freezers or destroyed for testing. But I have to admit, I am ashamed to call myself pro-life.
Part of that shame stems from why I am pro-life. I grew up in a family that was both pro-life and adamantly devoted to the bourgeoise American Dream. Children were a gift from God, to be sure, but they were also a gift that should only be accepted when the circumstances were right; i.e., after one had a college degree, a remunerative career, and was married to productive man after buying a nice house in the suburbs. Having children before that point was to throw away one’s life, and a woman staying at home to raise children was a waste of her education. The night we announced our engagement, I overheard my mother flatly say, “Maybe after she pops out a couple kids she’ll realize college is more important.” Having unplanned children was, I understood, a mark of failure to control passions and failure to control fertility.
Moreover, I grew up on a hobby farm. We may not have raised animals for meat, but we lost enough of them that I understood why euthanasia is considered humane: better a quick death by injection than for a cat to suffer through internal bleeding from a car collision, or see the ducks and chickens attacked by coyotes, or a thirty-year-old horse die of dehydration because she couldn’t get up on her arthitic legs. I learned the hard way that sometimes the kindest thing one can do is to let death come quickly and cleanly, as Mother Nature doesn’t let animals die peacefully in their sleep.