On Fatimah

So I never really thought much about my views on abortion, other than I would never personally have one.  Until one day at my mother’s mosque, where the Imam talked about our Beloved Prophet’s daughter, Fatimah. It was the first sermon I’d ever heard that was specifically focused on her.  He talked about her virtues and how she was called Umm Abeehah, the “Mother of her Father” because of the love and care she gave to her father.  He also said that the work of nurturing society was very important, just as important as becoming a doctor or and engineer.  And that we needed to value it a lot more.

Then he quoted the Quran (Surah al-Isra, 17:31): “Do not kill your children for fear of poverty”

I don’t know what the Imam was referring to (most likely gendercide), and there was nothing to indicate that he was encouraging taking a political stand on abortion.

But that statement had a profound effect on me. I had to go back and consider my opinions on abortion and choice.  And realized that while I didn’t explicitly oppose women’s rights to bodily autonomy, I also did not want to stand up for them in the case of abortion rights.  That there may be times and places when it is appropriate to take a human life, but there should also be strong limits on doing so.

So when a friend called me a year or two later to inform me that she was pregnant, and that she wanted my advice on keeping the baby or getting an abortion, I did not know what to say.

She pressed me for my moral views on the matter.  And asked me something along the lines of “what would you do?”

What was I going to tell her?

I didn’t tell her that her partner wanted her to get an abortion.  She already knew that.

I didn’t tell her that my mother’s partner also wanted her to have an abortion.  But that she chose to have my brother anyway, and to raise him as a single working mother. It wasn’t my story to share.

I wanted to tell her “I would keep my baby.  And I would be supportive of you if you wanted to do that, too”,

In the end, I just told her it was her own decision to make, and that she needed to make it on her own terms.  And she decided to do that.

I hope that was her own decision, and that she wasn’t pressured into doing something she didn’t want to do due to lack of support.

I still wish I had shared my opinion when she asked for it.

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