The Right To Dream

dreams

America is a very consumer culture. We want the newest iPhone, the newest iPad, the newest gaming system, whatever. We think we should be able to get anything and everything we want.

This also translates to our bodies and our children:

New Lawyer Argues for “Her Rights”

“Not Guilty,” a pseudonym used by a writer for the Abortion Gang blog, writes that becoming an attorney “is the culmination of a 16 year dream of mine.” But, if she were to become pregnant, it “could defer my ability to get called to the bar by 3 months, minimum.” Thus, an abortion would be justified:

But I do not believe that reaching my 16 year dream is a mere “convenience.” It’s my dream and I have worked exceedingly hard for it. I am entitled to enjoy the rewards of my hard work. Suggesting that women have abortions for “convenience” diminishes the hard work of women and is beyond insulting. Living my dream is my right. Not having my body hijacked, especially when I am doing everything possible to prevent pregnancy, is my right. [emphasis in original]

Funny how using contraception is considered “doing everything possible to prevent pregnancy.” Tell that to the 54% of women having abortions because their birth control failed (13% of whom swear they were using The Pill properly at the time they got pregnant).

What Is “Everything Possible To Prevent Pregnancy”?

I’ll be entering law school in the fall. I haven’t been dreaming about becoming a lawyer for years and years, but I am looking forward to it. And so, in the words of Not Guilty, I am doing everything possible to prevent pregnancy. And since you can only get pregnant one way, I’m not having sex. So, shockingly, I won’t get pregnant and won’t need to worry about having an abortion.

As I write this I have the strange feeling that I’m revealing a lot about my personal life in these sentences. But anybody who knows me already knows I’m living a chaste life according to my Catholic faith and values. So this isn’t a big revelation. And yet the awkward feeling persists.

But if Not Guilty (and zillions of other people) can brag about having sex, I suppose I can state that I am not having sex. This isn’t because I’m a particularly great person, but according to my state in life, this is what I am supposed to do. And you, as the reader, can decide which strategy is more responsible and more likely to bring about my/our dreams.

What Else Could Delay Your Plans by Three Months?

It also occurs to me that there are many other things that could delay a person’s dreams “by 3 months, minimum”–getting mononucleosis, getting into a car accident that lands you in a body cast or a coma, having a family crisis or a death in the family, having your house wiped out by a tornado, being kidnapped by Lilliputians, etc, etc.

If any of these things happened, a person in this situation would have to shrug it off and adjust her/his schedule to fit the new circumstances. None of these catastrophes can be avoided. Sometimes life just happens that way.

None of these catastrophes would end in the birth of a beautiful baby, either. These other circumstances, which a person would just have to accept, would bring nothing happy or beautiful to one’s life. But a baby–the only delay that could bring life and joy–Not Guilty would reject, and kill, to avoid.

That’s just illogical.

There Goes My Life

I listen to country music; I like the stories the songs tell. And from the first moment I read Not Guilty’s post, Kenny Chesney’s song “There Goes My Life” has been stuck in my head. It’s notable because this is the story of a man whose dreams were changed by an unplanned pregnancy (despite Not Guilty’s implicit opinion that men’s lives are not changed by pregnancies). Here’s how the song begins:

All he could think about was
I’m too young for this
Got my whole life ahead
Hell I’m just a kid myself
How ‘m I gonna raise one

All he could see were his dreams
Goin’ up in smoke
So much for ditchin’ this town
And hangin’ out on the coast
Oh well, those plans are long gone

[Refrain] And he said
“There goes my life
There goes my future, my everything
Might as well kiss it all goodbye
There goes my life”

As his little girl grows up, though, his perspective changes. Here’s my favorite line: “That mistake he thought he made covers up the refrigerator.”

At the end of the song, as his daughter drives away “to the West Coast” (fulfilling the father’s dream from the beginning of the song), he again sings “There goes my life, There goes my future, my everything” but this time he sings, “I love you, Baby, goodbye” instead of the line about kissing his dreams good-bye. His life has become this child he wasn’t ready for and didn’t want. Despite not being ready for her when she was conceived, he loves her now with his whole heart and can’t imagine life without her.

I hope that anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy will reflect on this shift–that good can come from what, at the time, seems only bad.

There’s So Much More To Say

There is so much more that could be said–like Not Guilty’s admission that having sex early led her into a lifestyle of drugs and booze–like the connection between co-habitation (note she’s living with her “partner,” not her husband) and higher abortion rates [pdf]

but that will have to remain unexpressed for now…

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