Have Your Views on Abortion Changed Since Becoming a Parent?

It’s been 39 years since the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, and the topic of abortion still sparks debate on all sides.

Moms Talk is a weekly feature on all Lehigh Valley Patches in which local parents, caregivers and other members of the community are invited to share opinions and advice on parenting topics.

This week’s Moms Talk relates to changing views on abortion:

This week marks the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade, which affirms a woman’s right to choose. The White House issued the following statement from President Barack Obama about the landmark decision.

“As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right. While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.  And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

That’s what our government says about a woman’s right to choose. But now we want to know what you think:

Have your views on abortion changed since you became a parent?

Our Moms Council members include: 

  • Lisa Amey of Upper Milford Township is a stay-at-home mom to an 8-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. A past president of the MOMS Club of Emmaus and longtime member of MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), Lisa is an Independent Consultant for Arbonne International. 
  • Lisa Drew of Emmaus is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer, wellness and fitness coach with more than 17 years of experience. She is the mother of a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
  • Jennifer Elston of Emmaus has almost two decades of professional experience in child development and counseling. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls. Together with her husband, Chris, she owns Christopher Elston Photography.
  • Jeanne Lombardo of Nazareth is the mother of a 10-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. She’s new to the Lehigh Valley, having moved to Nazareth from Bergen County, NJ in January.
  • Lisa Merk of Lower Macungie is a stay-at-home mother of four boys – a 12-year-old and 6-year-old triplets. Lisa is a past president of the MOMS Club of Lower Macungie East. In her “spare” time, Lisa teaches piano to school-age children.
  • Zoila Bonilla Paul of Bethlehem is a stay-at-home mom to two girls – a 5-year-old and a 14-month-old. Zoila is a member of her local “moms’ club” and says she is “well-versed in the fun that children can bring.”
  • Beth Sharpless of Emmaus works part time in a local emergency department as a nurse and part time from home as a customer support specialist. She has two children -- a boy who is almost 2 and a 5-year-old girl. She says they love spending time outdoors and dancing.
  • Jennifer Willenbrock of Nazareth is mom to two beautiful daughters, ages 5 and 6 weeks. She was previously employed by Catholic Charities, where she worked in a girl’s group home in Philipsburg, N.J.  

If you would like to become a part of the Moms Council and/or have ideas for future Moms Talk questions, please email jennifer.marangos@patch.com.

Mary Anne Looby February 01, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Let me rephrase my last words, rather than there is no killing, suffice to say there is no child.
LM Resident February 01, 2012 at 03:01 PM
then why were you saddened by a miscarriage? after all, in your words--it was not a child anyway. If it's not a child--what were you pregnant with? I don't know how far along you were--but you never felt movement?--you never heard a heartbeat?--have you never seen an ultrasound of a baby in the womb? Was it just a mass/tumor that was growing inside of you? I doubt it--for a mass/tumor would not have a heartbeat.
Rosemary B February 01, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I've been changed and learned things, in some way or another, by everyone of my pregnancies, no matter what the outcome has been. I did not mean "recover" in a bad sense. I meant we will never be the same again. And, if a pregnancy ends with a child, how can it not be a child when it begins? It is just common sense. You don't need science to tell you that.
Chris Miller February 01, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Beth I agree with you that things have changed. I would say the change was not for the better. I have a niece, schooled in the Woman's Liberation message. She doesn't like if if a man opens the door for her. She is in her 40's, head nursse at a very prestigous hospital and is single looking for a husband. That said let me tell you from a bit of experience all the way up to great grandfather and 32 years as a teacher that your kids will keep information from you until it is to late and it is not necessarily a matter of being pregnant. In days gone by it was not just the parents who watched over the kids, the community did that. From the schools to the churches to the scouts and all of your family. That was a good thing but we do not do that anymore. Adults have a job to do, they have to help the children become adults and that does not go away after you rear your own children. It is not easy but it can be done. I would like to see moms stay home and rear the kids not ready for school. I absolutely believe that dad needs to be an equal assistant on this job and I believe that he needs to assit his wife on things that need to be done. I believe this would be extemely beneficial to all involved in the process of making our entire society better. Good book to read "Being George Washington"
Beth February 01, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I agree with you on many points Chris (and I know we are way off subject, now). I don't think things are changing for the better either. I do know that we are trying to raise our children the way we see fit. It seems that over time, people have just sort of forgotten about people and it's a shame. When all of your possessions are gone and everything's striped away, what you have left is people and each other-not the latest iphone, SUV, house in the burbs etc. I am so happy everyday that my husband and I agree on how we should be raising our kids and that's the foundation of the family. And, I look at it more like my husband and I are partners in our house. Of course there will be a lot of things the kids don't share and mistakes they will make, but we will love them through it all and hope they learn from their mistakes. I will look into that book.
Mary Anne Looby February 01, 2012 at 06:12 PM
@LM we were saddened by the loss of what might have been. As far as your other questions, yes,I have felt movement during my pregnancies, I have never had a ultrasound during pregnancy, in my day those things were only done with problem pregnancies. No I did not thing it was a tumor or mass. I KNEW IT TO BE EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS....A FETUS, NOT A CHILD. @Rosemary if you put a seed in the ground, do you call it a plant? No it is a seed that grows into a plant with the proper nourishment. You can argue this point back and forth but it is a waste of time. I understand that you have your beliefs and I wish that you could understand that other people have theirs, wether in agreement with you or not.
Chris Miller February 01, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Beth We do have a lot in common. My wife worked the first year of our marriage while I finished grad school. In our second year she became pregnant with our son. I had been hired on an emergancy certificate as a teacher in Bethlehem. The next year she went back to work, our son went to a baby sitter, and I went back to Moravian to obtain courses I need for education. After that Charlotte was at home with the boy. I had a decision to make do I let my wife do all the homework, customary at the time, or do I help. I ended up behind the and other chores. But we both worked together so that today I can say we married 45 years. It has been a great life and I could not have done it without her. You are correct in that you become partners. The priest who married us all those years ago told us before hand that we would have our respective, designated jobs around the house, she washes the dishes and I mow the lawn. But he also said that didn't mean that we could not assist in one anothers area when needed. You last paragraph is spot on and while it is difficult from time to time we cannot do anything other then help and love our kids
I Am Knowledge February 01, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Why we need abortion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Impact_of_Legalized_Abortion_on_Crime
Mary Anne Looby February 01, 2012 at 08:49 PM
@Allan Bach, you must not get around much. There are plenty of Catholic women who think the same way.
Mary Anne Looby February 02, 2012 at 02:58 PM
@Allan Bach, mine was tongue in cheek! I am sorry that you don't understand the way I think, my husband often says the same thing (not about this subject) when I have something to say with which he disagrees, as I do with him. As humans we cannot help but not understand everyone. It is that which makes us different. You use words like claim and against and other strong language to make your point. You take this all loving all accepting stance when you pontificate, yet when it comes to my pesonal opinion, which I do not force on anyone, you attack, because you do not understand. I guess I could resort to childhood phrase and say to you "mind your own beeswax"! Please stop attacking my beliefs and practices and worry about your own. Peace be with you!
careless fills February 02, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I don't think that we can really expect "science" to come up with the answer to whether or not life begins at conception or at some other time. Clearly there is something quite amazing going on, whether it is a child or a clump of protoplasm, and no one could deny that much growth and change is happening, spontaneously or not. We don't treat our children like we treat our plants or livestock, thus should why wouldn't we treat our zygotes and fetuses better than our plant's seeds or seedlings or our livestock's zygotes and young, never mind eating them at any stage of life. Clearly we also value our pets more than other animals. So why not our unborn young. BTW, I'm basically liberaterian, and whilst against abortion, I feel that the government had no place prohibiting it, but should regulate it to some degree, and also not force people to pay for other's abortions.
Rosemary B February 02, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Mary Anne, do you consider Doctors to be scientists? http://prolifephysicians.org/lifebegins.htm How about The "Father of Modern Genetics" Dr. Jerome Lejeune, Univ. of Descarte, Paris? "To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion ... it is plain experimental evidence." or Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman, Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic "By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception." I totally respect your opinion and all opinions on this deeply personal subject. Why you think I do not baffles me. I also understand in a very personal way how hypocritical all us humans can be. It is my opinion that you need to believe that it is a "fetus" so that you can hold on to both your very honest (and I give you credit for that) feelings on abortion and your Catholic Faith at the same time.
Mary Anne Looby February 02, 2012 at 06:22 PM
@Rosemary, are you billing by the hour? Where shall I send the check!
tamarya February 03, 2012 at 04:19 AM
To rosemary, when I was pregnant with my son at 4 weeks or 5 weeks they performed an ultra sound on me because of severe abdominal cramping. At that point there was no heartbeat or no baby to be seen,basically you saw nothing but a glob on the screen and that the doctor explain is it was not attached to the uterine wall yet. And that I have been confirmed pregnant but could be what they call a chemical pregnancy because no baby began forming. Which means the hormones are there but the pregnancy ends before considered a miscarriage. Then at 6 weeks they did another ultrasound, at that point the head and body are starting to form and the heartbeat starts, but very slow. By the time your 12 week ultra sound is done it has a very normal heartbeat, unless something is wrong. Then it starts looking more like a baby because the arms and legs are now forming, and at 16 weeks the sex of baby can be determined, but usually not done till 20 weeks on the level 2 ultra sound. So going on all the ultra sounds that I got to go through there is not baby there till after 4 weeks. And abortions usually after the 12 or 16 weeks when the complete baby is born are usually health related. After 24 weeks the baby can no longer be terminated legally.
tamarya February 03, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Thats one advantage of todays technology you get to see the cycle of life. Kind of interesting too, because my 2 kids level 2 ultrasounds are pretty much what they looked like at birth. My daughter I got them all the way to the end because of health concern with her and I actually saw all the changes at the end when they switch position for the delivery.
tamarya February 03, 2012 at 04:34 AM
And to LM Resident, she may have been saddened because she was looking forward to the child that was on its way. But unless the she was at least 12 weeks she would have felt no kicking, and possibly never heard the heartbeat at all. Just want to ask you to LM Resident, but you sound very unfamiliar with a pregnancy and seem to have no knowledge of what carrying a baby is like, so how can you be so opinionated on what a pregnant person should do in regards of carrying a child till delivery?
LM Resident February 03, 2012 at 01:02 PM
@tamarya----4 children; very familiar with what it feels like to be pregnant.
Mary Anne Looby February 03, 2012 at 01:32 PM
To all you nay sayers regarding abortion, I hope you have all read yesterdays Patch article about the girl from Coopersburg who has been committed to jail on a $200.000. bail for attempted homicide. Her victim was her 6 month old baby. There are some pregnancies that should be terminated.
Mary Anne Looby February 03, 2012 at 02:53 PM
What I am saying is that this is often a quite real result of an unwanted pregnancy, nothing more.
Rosemary B February 03, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Tamarya, according to you and your doctors, at 6 weeks the mass begins forming into a baby. But previous to that it will either die (which means it was a living thing to begin with) or grow into a baby. Those are the only two paths for the "mass" to take. To me and to scientists (see my post further down) That makes it a baby at conception. I am not judging anyone's opinion on abortion as right or wrong, but it is my thought that to believe that it is anything but a baby from the moment of conception is simply trying to find a way to rationalize abortion as not taking a human life, which it clearly is.
Mary Anne Looby February 03, 2012 at 03:05 PM
@Rosemary, given your response Tamarya, if, in fact, this is a living human being, please tell me why we do not afford it the common decency of a funeral and burial? Why, because modern science does not in recognize life at conception.
LM Resident February 03, 2012 at 03:16 PM
RE: f, in fact, this is a living human being, please tell me why we do not afford it the common decency of a funeral and burial? Guess that depends on the person--for I have friends and know couples that have had funerals and burials for miscarriages and still births. You can if that is your desire.
Rosemary B February 03, 2012 at 03:20 PM
To me, giving a child a burial or not has little or nothing to do with this issue. That is a societal custom. Nothing more or less. Science does not dictate that custom.
Rosemary B February 03, 2012 at 03:36 PM
As individual living human beings, we all have Human DNA. That Human DNA is formed and present at conception and does not change during our lives. Therefore I come to the conclusion that our individual human life begins at conception. Many scientists feel the same. Again, I am not judging anyone's opinions on abortion just trying to interject some facts into a very emotionally charged issue.
Rosemary B February 03, 2012 at 04:19 PM
The reason that some miscarried babies do not get funerals or burials could be purely financial. Those things are very expensive and when you have other children to think about I can see how you can say no to spending thousands of dollars on a funeral and burial when you might also have expensive medical bills from that pregnancy to also pay. I don't think it is a statement on whether that life was legitimate or not.
Mary Anne Looby February 03, 2012 at 04:53 PM
@LM having had two miscarriges, one first trimester, second,second trimester, I have never been given any option by a hospital or by my church. I too know people who have had funerals for their still born children. I do not see miscarriges and still born in the same catagory. @Rosemary, that is a crock! Any parent who belives that they were in fact carrying a living human life would not give a damn about the expense of a funeral. First and formost, there is a Funeral Home, right here it the good old Lehigh Valley who will handle the death of a child FOR FREE and hospitals are aware of it. Seperate and appart from that, a service in your church should cost nothing in this case, and almost every other funeral home will let you use a casket, assuming you are going to creamate. If you are going to have a burial, then yes, you would have to purchase a casket and have a grave site and incure all the expenses that go with doing that. If I believed as you do, I would not care if I had to beg, borrow or steal to give my child a proper funeral. You on the other hand seem to think it is not a problem to throw this living human being, as you believe it is, out with the rest of the hospital medical waste.
Mary Anne Looby February 03, 2012 at 04:57 PM
@Rosemary, you are right, science has nothing to do with funerals, burials, etc.
Rosemary B February 03, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I've never miscarried so I did not know these details or had to think much about how the remains are handled . I am sorry for your losses that led you to having this knowledge. I was just assuming costs would be the same as with other funerals and burials. I still think it is a social custom thing and has nothing to do with the science of whether life begins at conception or not.
Rosemary B February 03, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Sorry if this offended anyone. I can just see how people of minimal means might have to make tough financial choices and might have to choose to spend limited dollars on the living.
Lisa Amey February 06, 2012 at 07:54 PM
My views on abortion have not changed since being a parent. However, my depth and breadth of tolerance and understanding regarding both sides of the issue has grown exponentially since becoming a mommy nine years ago.


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