Friday night, en route to a concert I was reviewing for my music blog, I noticed an ad on the TTC subway system that inspired disgust and anger. The ad promoted JFJ Hope Centre, which also displayed support from the omnipresent Bus Stop Bible Studies. What is the JFJ Hope Centre? Let’s ask them:
Formerly known as Jewels For Jesus Mission and Jewels For Jesus Adoption Agency, our organization has been compassionately caring for families and children in the province of Ontario since 1948.
JFJ Hope Centre offers support and education related to unplanned pregnancies and parenting struggles in a caring Christian environment.
This in and of itself is not the problem with the ad. I fully support the freedom for organizations such as this to advertise on the TTC, with one caveat: the ad must not make a non-Christian feel judged or “lesser than” in any way. The ad currently on the system features a sad, young couple and the above information. Had they stopped there, I would be content. But then, they had to go that further step:
“Adoption is the loving choice.”
Now I’m pissed. I look at an ad that touts a “nonjudgmental environment” and point out how sooty-black the pot is from the perspective of this kettle.
Adoption is a choice, and a valid one. Many unplanned pregnancies end in this choice, and I support it. A good friend of mine has adopted three children and gives them an incredible amount of love and joy. She is truly a Supermom and in the case of those families, adoption ended in a very positive way.
However, giving a child up at birth does not always end happily. Children may enter foster homes that are unfortunately abusive, or group homes with similar misery. Birth parents may spend their lives regretting their choice. Young teen girls may be forced by parents via bullying into a choice that is anything but loving.
Abortion is also a valid choice. For some, it is psychologically impossible to carry a child to term and give it away. Tokophobia, the fear of pregnancy or childbirth, makes the mere confirmation of a pregnancy a traumatic experience. Survivors of sexual violence may be further traumatized by carrying an assailant’s child to term. What is loving for the parents here?
There are parents who choose to abort because of severe birth defects that will make life painful, difficult and/or extremely short for the child if carried to term, or perhaps the child may be stillborn. It is agonizing, but they may choose out of love to abort. That may not be the Christian viewpoint of what to do in these cases, but that doesn’t negate the love behind a gesture.
Herein lays my point: just because a choice is not the preferred resolution that a Christian organization would espouse does not preclude other options from being selected out of love. To state that adoption unequivocally is the loving choice is judgmental, insulting and potentially painful for a TTC rider that has aborted in the past. As someone with friends who have aborted with very loving reasons – who live with the pain of that sacrifice – I am extremely upset that the TTC cleared this ad.
The most frustrating part is that the ad would be acceptable with a single word change. Had the ad stated, “Adoption is a loving choice”, I wouldn’t object. It is one of the choices, and it can be made out of love. In a country where abortion is legal and has been for many years, the TTC should know better.
I am more open than some out there. I am okay with religious and atheist ads alike. People are allowed to celebrate their diversity of opinions, life choices, histories, religion, race, culture, etc. That’s what makes Canada great. But do not make me feel like I am not loving, kind, or a decent person because I would make a different choice than you would. As a childfree woman by choice, I would abort if all of my many safeguards against pregnancy failed. I would do so out of love, for I know I am not a suitable mother and carry many heritable ailments I would never wish on an innocent child. If that’s not loving, I don’t know what is.
Note: comments turned off due to hateful pro-life spam (now that’s ironic).