Abortion critic would be more credible if he acted on his beliefs
James P. Donahue '91 has shown us a wonderful example of the extent of the compassion an individual can have ["Society morally responsible for care of unwanted children," April 3]. I would only offer up one critique of his mother: she obviously did not teach him the maxim "Do not ask from others that which you will not ask yourself to do."
If Donahue really wished to put an end to the need for abortion, he would have acted accordingly, and dropped out of school so that he would be able to devote his time to the children he would adopt. Then if he said that he believed society had an obligation to care for every child conceived, I would believe him. But Donahue himself has failed to bear that burden: how can he ask it of others?
Some of MIT Pro-Life's posters have made a big point of how a woman should not be allowed to decide to have an abortion autonomously because the fetus was conceived through the act of a woman and a man. Surely, if men are to have equal voice in the decision of abortion, they must be equally responsible for the care of the resulting children. Surely if a person says "I think this child should live," that person should be willing to say "and I will care for it," instead of expecting some other to do his bidding.
Donahue is willing to say "All women (with rare exception) must bear and raise all children they conceive," and even willing to pass it into law, yet he has not proven that he himself is willing to take care of those children. Or even if he won't take the children into his home, he hasn't even shown that he is contributing to the food of some of those children in foster and adopted homes (or those who aren't even so lucky, being placed in institutions); he hasn't shown that he is making sure those kids have clothing, or heated houses; he hasn't shown that he is looking after those kids' education, or that he is making sure they aren't being abused or neglected; he hasn't shown that he is even giving his time to those kids whose birth mothers did not choose abortion, but instead put them up for adoption. Those women did what MIT, and national, <>
Pro-Life said to do; why isn't Donahue helping them now?
Donahue says "I called my mother the other day and heard unmistakably the weariness of her voice. The saddening thing is not that she was tired but that no one else in the world seems to recognize the diamond that every child is. . . ." Tell me: sadder for whom? For her? Donahue just consigned all of us to that weariness, and I have seen the children of that weariness. I have worked with them, and taught them, and listened to them, and simply spent time with them when no one else would or could.
While there was not a one of them I would ever say I wished dead, there is not a one of them I would ever have wished to consign to the hells that were their lives. I feel responsibility very, very deeply. I will do everything in my power to make sure I do not become pregnant at a time I am not ready or fit to be the parent of a child. But if despite my efforts, I do become pregnant in such circumstances, I do not think I could bring myself to slough off the child into someone else's lap.
I will take responsibility for what I do; I should think that I would abort a pregnancy, the results of which I could not handle myself. I will not pass the buck; a child I cannot raise, I will not bear. I think that would be a very painful situation in which to be, but that is, I feel, the choice which my morality would command. I understand that some other women may not be as strong, but I would not ask them to be. I understand some other women have other opinions as to what is moral. Fortunately, the First Amendment to our Constitution secures the freedom to have differing moralities.
Vanessa Layne '93->