Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nashville, Day 1: LAUREN

After dinner with Caroline, we rush home to meet Lauren, another med student at Vanderbilt. Lauren, 23, grew up in Memphis, went to nursing school in Texas, and just moved to Nashville in April to get her masters in midwifery. Lauren echoes some of Caroline’s hesitance about current ob/gyn protocol, telling us that “women are often treated like machines.” She believes that the birthing process is a woman’s domain. “I don’t think there’s room in childbirthing for men. It makes things awkward when a male doctor enters, even though I do respect some male doctors. Midwives really believe in women’s bodies, and that they can do it on their own.”

Does Lauren consider herself a feminist? “I wouldn’t. I don’t have the clearest picture of what it truly is…but I have a definite need for men in my life. When I was getting into midwifery, I heard stories about feminists that are very anti-men, anti-establishment, ‘hear us roar.’ That’s not my heart. From what I know of it, feminism seems like an imbalance. But I do think women were created beautifully and created strong, and I want women to be able to fulfill that, even in childbirth.”

We ask her if there are any other issues that she is passionate about. “Yes,” she says. “Abortion. I’m very pro-life. I believe that every pregnancy is a gift from the Lord and that there is a life at the moment of conception. I volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center, and I’ve worked with women who have had abortions that feel like they have killed someone. I also see the lack of counseling given to pregnant women. I know women have their own choices, but I don’t think they know about the other options out there.” But Lauren thinks that if abortion was illegal, “there will be some women that will abort no matter what, so more women’s lives would be at risk.”

Lauren’s pro-life stance is directly related to her faith, which is extremely important to her. Emma asks Lauren if her political views are necessarily tied to her religion, and how she feels about separation between church and state. “That whole division is really hard for me, [because] my relationship with the Lord is everything in my life,” Lauren answers. “I don’t ever want to live a compartmentalized life; I strive to be the same person wherever I am.” Lauren sees the Christian right’s agenda as compatible with her views on women. “I don’t think our President is perfect by any means, and he professes to be a Christian. No matter how good a person is, they are going to make mistakes. But I believe Jesus supports women 100 percent.” Do pro-life male politicians have a place in legislating abortion if they don’t have a place in the delivery room? “My gut instinct is yes. Their position of being pro-life furthers knowledge and education, instead of them just wanting to have control of women.”

Lauren is concerned that too many young women “play around with sex,” and she believes in waiting to have sex until she is married. “I’m a virgin myself,” she tells us. “I grew up in a high school where most of my friends dated guys, and I was the girl that they came to, crushed, after they broke up with them. The girls were just giving themselves away…they were getting broken and torn apart. When I finally do get married, I want to be whole and not have had my heart broken.” But if Lauren were to counsel a young women on sex, “I’d maybe tell my own story, tell them about the risks, but I would also give them birth control.” Lauren doesn’t believe in abstinence-only education “because it’s not a reality. Girls need to know about STDs and pregnancy.” With both premarital sex or abortion, Lauren’s goal is “not to change or judge people, but to accept people, counsel them and give them advice. If a 16-year-old girl comes to me and still goes through with an abortion, I will still support her.”


Discussion Questions:
Question 1
Question 2


Aurora said...

I am dying to know how you girls responded to this complex and very intense-seeming interview! You guys have made it sort of clear during the whole roadtrip that you are liberal, leftist, pro-choice, what-have-you...did you argue with Lauren, or take it in stride and hold your tounge? This is a person who strikes me as both very pro-life and very pro-women's health, which in the media and in the general discussion about abortion from the left's perspective, is kind of an oxymoron. I hope you guys tell us the true story about your reactions in the book.

Have you heard of Lynn Paltrow? She works for the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. She is one of the few public figures that is trying to bridge this gap between pro-choice and pro-life. You should try to track her down.

Anonymous said...

Wait...Lauren thinks that men have no place in the birth process, but have a right to lead anti-abortion legislation??? Making abortions illegal and difficult is akin to being present at a woman's gynecology appointment. This woman may be pro-woman in some ways, but is hypocritical in others.