A Woman’s Right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”

Yesterday President Obama began his inaugural speech with a quote from the Declaration of Independence, which states we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable (incapable of being surrendered) rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I’m blogging today on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America.  NARAL is an acronym for National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. Today is national Blog for Choice Day.

I’m writing because I support a female human’s right to make choices about her life and liberty, and her pursuit of happiness.  I’m writing today especially concerning her human right to be the one who makes decisions about her reproductive system.

As a retired social worker who was involved in child protective services for many years, I have seen firsthand the consequences of bringing unwanted children into the world.  There are also consequences of bringing ‘wanted’ children into the world by girls barely out of puberty who become ‘mothers’ without knowing what they are doing.

Those who maintain the inflexible position of NO abortion stand in judgment of these females.  (I refer to females because I do not consider a 13 year-old teen a ‘woman’, even if she is able to procreate.) And it seems to me that those who take that stance are the last ones who would want to adopt one of the children forced to be born.  Many times these children arrive with birth defects and diseases such as fetal alcohol syndrome, addiction to illicit drugs, mental deficiencies, and other conditions.  Frequently the mothers are unprepared, and incapable, of handling such a situation.

When a hospital contacts human services because there is a child born who is ‘at risk’ of being properly cared for, the assessment by a social worker often results in a removal of the child from the mother, and placement into the foster care system.  In fact, sometimes the mother, being a minor, is also placed in foster care.

While it is considered protection of these vulnerable beings, the tax-payers of our country pay for their care, in millions of dollars every year.  The children with ‘special needs’ are often NOT the ones who are adopted, and many children remain in some kind of institutional care because it is medically required, again at the tax-payers’ expense.

If that young mother was not required to bear her child – and state legislators across the country are passing legislation to make it extremely difficult to obtain an abortion – she might have a much better chance at life herself.  If the energy to stop abortions was put into creating a supportive environment for females to grow into their best selves, I think our country would be better served. It is THESE lives who can pursue their dreams, and become the leaders of our country’s future. THEY are the lives that need to be ‘saved’.  What purpose does bringing a ‘life’ being carried in the womb into the world, and discarding the life of the person whose womb it is?



5 thoughts on “A Woman’s Right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness””

  1. I am also a social worker, and was struck by your comments. It started making me think how a child would address this issue with someone in authority…this prose was the result:
    Life, Liberty, Happiness…Please Don’t
    Please don’t give me life, if you would take it away with a handgun, or drugs people sneak to me to keep me quiet, or people you let hurt me. That’s a hurt that kills or never goes away. Please don’t give me life if I cry myself to sleep at night because I’m hungry, or I can’t concentrate at school because they don’t feed me right. Please don’t give me life, if I’m so lonely and fending for myself, and no one–NO ONE– ever comes and saves me. And I know that I’m alone, and I’m angry, and I hate you for doing this to me.
    Please don’t give me liberty, if you let people say very bad things about me–if you let them call me stupid or tell me I’m not pretty. I’m not stupid, and I do see what you let happen to me. You let me ride in cars that are not safe because people drink. You let me go to school where I’m not learning because I’m afraid—afraid that someone with a gun will come and kill me. I see these things, and I see nothing happen to the people who do these bad things. You say you care about children, but I think you like the bad people more than me. Liberty should mean that I feel free, like flying—I don’t fly; I sink. You are free; I am in a very bad place. Please don’t give me liberty, if scare me from flying. Mr. Jefferson, I think he was a president or something said, “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” You really don’t think about me at all, and I’m really afraid of you. Please don’t give me happiness, if it’s not really happiness at all. My mommy can’t find a job; we had no Christmas presents this year. She cries a lot. No one is coming to save her either. I can’t talk more; I’m too sad to talk. I think it would hurt less if those words (life, liberty, and happiness) weren’t there. Could you please take them down?—seeing them only makes me want something I’m never going to have.

    1. Thank you Diane for your thoughtful response. Yes, if we could only create lives for our children in the collective from their perspective, instead of from the authoritarian, religious perspectives. I appreciate your comment.

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