Abortion opponents have a new voice
In the often heated debate over abortion, a less confrontational, more pragmatic force is behind a record number of antiabortion laws and pro-choice's 'bad year.'
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After Huckabee flamed out, Yoest negotiated a job with AUL allowing her to take one child with her on each business trip – an effort to expose them to different parts of the country and provide her with additional quality mom time.Skip to next paragraph
When Yoest told her parents of the opportunity at AUL, they asked her to consider seriously if she wanted to be a one-issue advocate, to give up all the other matters of political and public interest to her.
Ms. Crouse says the family was never issue-focused when Ms. Yoest was a child, and that abortion was not a topic of conversation in the house. Faith was viewed first and foremost as the critical foundation for living "authentic lives" and treating friends and strangers alike with kindness. Ms. Yoest says she has never had an abortion and that she would never consider it. But when it comes to prevention of unwanted pregnancy it's worth noting that she is less forthcoming. Contraception is not part of the AUL platform. And abortion foes often disengage on this question – because the use of birth control suggests sexual activity that is not purely procreative. For her part, Yoest bristles when asked about her personal use of it. She says she believes there should exist some "zones of personal privacy."
Yoest does note that the stresses she and her husband endured during her fourth pregnancy added nuance to her thinking about the politics – and humanity – of the abortion issue; he was out of a job, finances were tight, and they had to sell their home.
"You could search and search and search and never find me minimizing the choice that some women make, because I do completely understand the panic, the fear of how are you ever going to be able to handle the situation," she says.
But what about rape? Or when a mother's life is at risk as a result of the pregnancy?
In the case of the former, Ms. Yoest says that she is sorry for the pain of the mother. But heaping tragedy on tragedy is no solution. Abortion, she says, "only adds more irrevocable sorrow."
And in the latter circumstance: "If a woman is facing a pregnancy that threatens her life, I would make sure she knew a real pro-life doctor who would treat her and her baby as two patients," she says. "If a baby dies in the process of trying to save a mother's life, as long as the intention is to save both lives, then there is no moral system in the world that sees that as equal to elective abortion."
Yoest says she believes, and she points to data her adversaries would readily dismiss, that the majority of women who have abortions regret their decisions and that there exists a heightened risk of drug and alcohol dependence, suicide and psychiatric admissions for women who have had an abortion, and increased risk of premature birth for later pregnancies.
"Every single human being has crisis points in their lives, you have to come to grips with that," she says. "You have to figure out how to put your life back together and move forward. The thing that's exciting to me about pregnancy is that even in the most awful circumstances, there's a redemptive opportunity and a hope that comes from new life."
Hope in crisis is not a situation with which Yoest is unfamiliar. After a breast cancer diagnosis in early 2009, she underwent a mastectomy and months of chemotherapy.
Her husband and sons shaved their heads in solidarity. "That day I remember," she says. "I will always remember."
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