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A Counselor's View: Embracing A Holistic Perspective of Abortion

by Linda Weber


January 26, 2012

Imagine the whole universe -- the vast expanse of reality in which all things move from the formless to form and back again in a dance of infinite creation. All relationships manifest in this context. None exists without it. All perceptions reflect this. Not one exists outside of it.

Now, imagine the whole earth in your mind's eye. See the body of our dear planet and how it is made up of a complex web of life forms, each of which is in relationship with other life forms. The intricacy and beauty of earth's living being is astonishing to behold. It is impossible to take it all in. Within the flow of life forms, human beings come into bodily form, develop and live their lives. Each of us is given a piece to know. Each piece becomes the substance of a lifetime -- the individual experience of each individual human being.

Now, imagine you were treated as though your experience was neither relevant nor legitimate and that it was less important than other experiences. What if you were told that some of your experiences were bad, and you didn't necessarily perceive them that way? Wouldn't you be a little suspicious? Wouldn't you question the truth of that? Wouldn't you wonder why the female half of humanity was subordinated to the male half? Wouldn't you want to change that?

I have spent the better part of my life questioning in this way. In 1970, at the age of 26, I became one of the first abortion counselors in the U.S. It was then that I began to learn first hand about the experiences of women with abortion. From where I sat I could see that a great movement of history was expressing itself through the lives of individual women who made considered choices not to continue their pregnancies at certain points in time. The women were taking charge of their reproductive health and stepping into their power to lead their lives according to their own sensibilities. They were making intentional decisions to not have a child in relation to a particular pregnancy, or, in some cases, ever. Their decisions went against some of the most foundational tenets of patriarchy. It was clearly revolutionary.

It was also evolutionary. There is an inevitable evolutionary push towards higher development and the rectification of imbalances in life. This includes the steady march of liberation for all people. For women, this is represented by our emergence into intrinsic power. We are taking charge of our lives and pressing for equality. But this is not just for us as individuals; it is to help humanity take charge of caring for the earth and all of its beings. It's not a simple thing. The reorganization of the world requires a reordering of our thinking as a species, a profound change of perspective that puts relationship and interrelationship in the center of world society. It is a sea change in consciousness and it requires an accurate understanding of death.

The presence of conflicts about abortion provokes us to learn about this.

The unwillingness of our culture to accept death as a legitimate part of life is most dramatically expressed in our alienation from the natural world. We tend to see death as the opposite of life instead of as an essential part of the organic creativity of life. Earth folds us back into herself, recycles us, and births us anew. Death is an inevitable part of life, not separate from it, and definitely not bad. Pregnancy moves through a woman's body, and engages her consciousness in a biological, psychological, mental and spiritual dance. Sometimes the outcome is birth; sometimes it is death. The considered decision to have an abortion is an exercise of innate feminine power. It is a reflection of female consciousness and is as much a part of nature as the body. Women have a moral responsibility to make pregnancy choices and have done so for the millennia. The current in-your-face opposition to this natural power is an expression of the hysterical resistance of the patriarchy to the changes that are taking place all over the world. It is a sure sign that women are rising.

I spend a lot of time in wild nature where lessons about life and death are plentiful. As a psychotherapist, I have supported numerous women to work through their personal conflicts about abortion. Many of them were led to reflect deeply on themselves as women. Some of them experienced a profound reordering of self.

The issue of abortion is about much more than abortion. It is about how we want to live on this planet and how we make conscious choices about our lives. That is the main teaching of abortion: how to make conscious, responsible, respectful, heartfelt choices about life.

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Linda Weber is the author of "Life Choices: The Teachings of Abortion" (Sentient Publications, 2011). She is a psychotherapist, spiritual counselor and women's vision quest guide in Boulder, CO. See more on the website and blog for "Life Choices."

Also see "'Love Means Second Chances': Reproductive Freedom in a Novel" by Susan Elizabeth Davis in this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

See "Where the Reality of Abortion Resides: Intimate Wars" by Merle Hoffman in this edition of On The Issues Magazine.


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