Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review: unPLANNED

you may be wondering what in the world a book review about the pro-life vs. pro-choice movement is doing on an adoption blog.  for those of us in the adoption world, it goes hand-in-hand that abortion is a big issue to us.  whether is is something we have had to grapple with in the lives of the children we adopt or the birth mothers who valiantly carried them to term, inspite of what society might say is the easy out.  for those of us who adopt, many because we cannot have biological children ourselves (including me!), to see human life destroyed because of societal pressure or because it is the easy way out (generalisation, i know!) .... it breaks our hearts.  when we are desperate to have children and these lives are tossed aside.

that is why i am happy to do this book review here.


unPLANNED, by Abby Johnson.

an unbelievably candid read about a woman's struggle to come to terms with her role as a director of a Planned Parenthood Clinic in the US, and her decision to leave because of heart changing convictions.

graphic content.  it would be easy to assume that this was included for shock affect.  i see this more as an accurate portrayal of a woman's realisation that what is easily termed as a fetus to make abortion palatable, is actually a life being taken.  she is asked to assist under unusual circumstances in an ultra-sound abortion of a 13 week pregnancy and watches as the baby struggles against the cannula for it's life and dies.  yeah ... graphic. but it is the struggle this woman had to go through and she is sharing it in honesty.

i found, in spite of the graphic opening, that her portrayal of both sides of the struggle on what is a very difficult issue to be compassionate.  she paints a very authentic picture of the emotion and struggle between both sides of the issue .... because it is so personal.  she isn't afraid to delve into the good and bad on both sides of the equation ....because her ultimate goal is to show that it is only through care and compassion that human life will be respected.

for the pro-choicer.  you would find the way that most employees in abortion clinics treat clients to be well received and appreciated as they assist these women in making difficult decisions, and that the bigger picture of preventing unwanted pregnancies, rather than abortion is held up as a banner and standard.  you will appreciate the way she portrays the antagonistic approach that some pro-lifers have and the utter lunacy of shooting clinic workers and doctors who perform abortions.

for the pro-lifer.  you will rally with her coming to terms with the idea that no matter the circumstances, abortion is murder.  and you will appreciate the support and nurture she encountered from the pro-life movement in her decision to "change sides."  and hopefully, you will appreciate that there is more to a pro-life stance than simply saying no to abortion .... it has to be about prevention and also care for the mothers involved.

i would not expect that this book would change the minds of anyone who read it.  but, what i do see is a story  about how we can treat each other with respect ... in spite of our differences.  that we can understand that for a pro-choicer, the "opposition" isn't trying to deny a woman control of her body ... but is trying to inform her about what is at the root of what she is doing.  and that for a pro-life, the most important thing for most who work in this field is the reduction in the number of abortions ... not making them the easy out.

she makes the comment several times in the book about how, as a director of an abortion clinic, she actually held with many of the stances of the pro-life movement .... at the centre of which was to reduce the number of abortions by offering other means of birth control.  her point being, to show that in many ways both were looking at the same goals .... but just had different foundations to get there.

at the heart of this book is compassion and grace.  for the workers on both side of the fence and for the women who are making decisions they never hoped to make.  and, whether these women make decisions that we agree with or not ... they need and must be shown grace and compassion.  we can do no less.

on a more personal note ... i applaud the writers bravery and willingness to share her very difficult struggle to come to terms with her life.  she admits she was naive and ignorant in many ways.  any time a person has that sort of guts, they have my admiration.

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