Tracy is a petite brunette who has been struggling to keep body and soul together since she graduated out of foster care a few years ago. She has been working one, sometimes two minimum wage jobs at a time but frequently gets behind on bills. She came to my house to shower, since her water has been cut off.
She is three weeks pregnant by a soldier stationed nearby. He is not interested in marrying her but will pay child support if she chooses to keep the child. For those who have a pre-set opinion on abortion, there is no question. They will say Tracy should 1) Get an abortion 2) Give her baby life. But Tracy is the one who is pregnant and she has no such pre-set. She sees that she has choices and she sees each one is life-changing.
Eight months from now, she might have a baby. How can she take care of a baby and work two minimum-wage jobs? Many working poor qualify for SNAP (aka food stamps) but aren’t they trying to cut food stamps? She has no health insurance.
Some right-wing Christians insist that Tracy must have this baby or she is a killer. However, they also insist she deserves no help in the form of food, shelter, or child care.
To them I suggest there is more than one way to kill, and some ways are structural and slow. Hunger and lack of health care also kill-quietly. The baby has a right to life, they insist, but once it is born they will throw it into the Darwinain jungle of survival of the richest.
She deserves no help because she had sex outside acceptable boundaries, some would say. To these I say, unless you have never done the same or tried to, drop your stones and walk away. At this point I should either be seeing the backside of every self-righteous right-wing politician (and preacher!) or the front side of a lying hypocrite.
To pro-Choice advocates there’s no big deal. Get the abortion. To Tracy there is a big deal. Tracy is not sure the life inside is not a living human being. NO ONE is sure of that, the big question knee-jerk pro-choice advocates avoid. It should humble us that we insist on human rights and cannot define a living human being. “It’s not living, it’s not a human being.” But you aren’t sure. Is an injured person on life support a living human being? How dependent are you before you are no longer a living human being? Is Stephen Hawking a living human being?
I am a Christian and a lefty. I’m a lefty because I believe what Jesus said, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” He said many other radical things in regard to the poor also. For example, he said at the last judgment the criteria would be: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:35) Why does he say “I”? Because he is that poor person, that hungry person, that incarcerated person.
He is Tracy.