On September 28th, at 2:16am a woman made a desperate decision, she abandoned her newborn child in front of a church. The infant was discovered in the morning and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The police are currently seeking the mother because it is a class c felony to abandon a child in this way.
That is the jist of the story that I heard on the news, and later hunted down on the internet. What caught my attention was everything that was not said in the media. There was no conversation about the lack of good sex education in schools resulting in higher teen pregnancy rates. Would this child even be alive to be abandoned had her mother effectively learned how to prevent pregnancy in the first place?
There was no discussion about the ways in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to get an abortion. Some women have to travel an entire day to get access to a clinic. There was no discussion that even for the women that have access to abortion sometimes the choice comes down to getting an abortion or paying rent or purchasing food?
Imagine how desperate this woman must have felt to leave her child in front of a church, hoping that she would be discovered before something serious happened to her. This is what happens in a society where women are not given education about their bodies. This is what happens when we reduce access to birth control, abortion and then fail to support the child after we have forced its existence into being.
When and if they find this young woman, she will be charged but how much of this situation are we all socially culpable of creating? In each step along the way patriarchy's desire to control women lead to her faithful decision. It is simply unfair to take all of the elements of choice away from a woman and then punish her taking one of the few options that was left open to her. The child is healthy and I cannot see the benefit of punishing her other than to teach other women that they must accept motherhood on the states terms should they happen to become pregnant.
If we really want to stop things like this from happening we need to teach sex education in schools. Birth control and abortion is something that should be freely available to all women. The social slut shaming of young unmarried mothers has got to stop. Their bodies may bare witness to the sexual activity but they certainly did not get pregnant by themselves. For those that decide that they want to follow through with the pregnancy socially we need to take a more communal approach to raising children. We cannot force women to have children and then do nothing to help raise that child.
I hope that they never find her. She made a very difficult decision that morning. Her child is safe and healthy and her privacy deserves to be respected.