Freedom to Choose.

Via Ella Lauser
on Feb 14, 2013
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“Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose.” ~ Simone Weil

When discussing abortion, a highly charged political point as well as a big decision that deserves much space and time for reflection, I’m concerned that we aren’t aware of how a child is brought into the world and how they are brought up affects everyone involved.

To choose what is right for your life is, in my opinion, the key to honoring life itself.

I’m pro-choice in all aspects, however, that doesn’t mean I’m not pro-life. They are not mutually exclusive, except in the war between right and wrong. I respect everyone’s choice and individual opinions, even if I don’t agree with them nor they with me.

I choose to give my attention not to war, to fighting, and dualistic black-and-white philosophy, but to love, truth and compassion.

What is true for one is not true for another because of ideals. Ideals change; truth does not. It is through curiosity, critical observation and/or examination that we become wiser, freer and have the ability to create change for the highest good. Inquiry leads us back to ultimate, unwavering and unsellable truth—the kind that just rings.

In my experiences as a doula, supporting people through challenging circumstances and often uncomfortable questions, I’ve become a devotee of questioning, honoring and understanding well-being—with a particular interest in primal prenatal and perinatal health. Very powerful lessons have come through conversation, studies that have given light to subjects I never considered, and questions in my inbox in the middle of the night titled “Help! I’m Pregnant.”

A colleague and wise advisor of mine has been studying the story of Womb to World for upwards of 20 years as a Registered Nurse, Maternal-Child Health Nurse, Birth Consultant, Labor & Post-Partum Doula Instructor and Primal Period Educator. Her name is Anna Verwaal and she recently brought to my awareness something that I think all people should consider and reflect upon especially when politicians are in debate about Personhood Measures that will make it more difficult for people to choose whether or not to have abortions.

Photo: koadmunkee
Photo: koadmunkee

Like Anna, I advocate for the journey that shapes our life, from womb to world.

Consider what goes into the climate of our collective womb. Consider that the emotional turmoil of not wanting to have a child has lasting effects in society.

Womb Ecology shares studies that reflect the genesis of antisocial behavior and being related to pre-labor intrauterine life.

What I found incredibly revealing and helpful to clarify my understanding in the battle of the womb was their perspective from primal health research specifically on “Deviations usually classified as criminal behavior”:

When exploring the Primal Health Research Data Base, the keyword ‘criminality’ leads to research indicating the importance of prenatal factors.

Two Finnish studies suggest that certain maternal emotional states in pregnancy are risk factors.

In one of these studies the authors identified 167 children whose fathers had died before they were born. (64) Also identified were 168 children whose fathers had died during the children’s first year of life. Then the medical records of all 335 of these children were followed for 35 years. Most of the fathers had died during the Second World War when cigarettes and alcohol were severely rationed, if they were obtainable at all. In both groups, the parents were of comparable age and from comparable social classes. All the children grew up fatherless. However, only those who lost their father while in the womb were at increased risk of criminality (plus alcoholism and mental diseases).

The results of this study suggest that the emotional state of the mother during pregnancy has more long-term effects on the child than during the year following birth. The other Finnish study researched 12,059 children born in 1966 and followed to the end of 1998. (65) The pregnant mothers were asked at the antenatal clinic if they felt themselves to be depressed. The Finnish Ministry of Justice provided information on criminal offences for all descendants. For male children of prenatally depressed mothers there was a significant increase in criminality.

Smoking in pregnancy is a well documented risk factor for criminality. (66) In one study (67), involving a cohort of 4169 male and 3943 female subjects born between 1959 and 1961, a dose-response relationship was found between the amount of maternal prenatal smoking and criminal arrest in male and female subjects.

More than 4000 male subjects born in the same hospital in Copenhagen were followed up until age 18 (68) and then assessed again at the age of 34. (69) The authors looked in particular at the interaction between birth complications and early maternal rejection.

The main risk factor found in these studies for being a violent criminal is the association of birth complications with early maternal rejection. Early maternal rejection by itself is not a risk factor. We can conclude once more that very early influences are implicated in violent criminality.

Have you ever thought about what brutal criminals often have in common? They are often unsuccessful abortions and these criminals have suffered from severe early childhood developmental trauma.

Saddam Hussein was not just an unwanted child who never knew his father but had a mother, “depressed over the death of her 13-year-old son from cancer, [who] tried very hard to have a miscarriage by hitting and bumping her stomach. In Arabic, his name means “one who confronts.”  Yeeesh!

Can you imagine what that must’ve felt like for the mother, for the baby yet to be born?

What about a child who is subject to hostile, abusive environments both in the womb and in early development?

One of the most terrifying examples of this is Adolf Hitler, a murderer of millions and a violent criminal of astronomical proportions. “There is substantial proof that child abuse has severe psychological effects that cannot be reversed. The effects include, but are not limited to anger, hatred, aggressiveness, hostility, poor school performance and poor relationships with peers and/or the opposite sex. Many victims of child abuse often become offenders in violent crimes (Dunning, 2004).”


Imagine being rejected by your mother, father, love, the world.

What could that do to your well-being, humanity and life?

For the record, I do not believe that once the fabric of our precious lives has been crumpled, burned or mistreated that we are incapable of healing; however, our awareness and education about the consequences of choice are paramount for our world to be treated, created and sustained wisely.

Emotional well-being and the emotional well-being of the world is dependent on freedom and learning from when it is infringed upon.

What does freedom look like to you?

I invite you to welcome life with love and consciousness.

Let that freedom ring and echo, ”Hello beautiful world, I’m here for love.

Like elephant enlightened society on facebook.

Assistant Ed: Josie Huang / Ed: Lynn Hasselberger


About Ella Lauser

Ella Lauser is a new paradigm sexual health, spiritual growth and wellness coach but more importantly, she’s the sister you probably never had. When she’s not nose-deep in holistic medicine or sex ed research, she’s baking muffins, re-watching Amelie for the umpteenth time, doula-ing (supporting women in birth), on her yoga mat listening to Bon Iver or answering questions from around the world about the “things we don’t talk about but should.” Ella is available to support individuals and couples in one-on-one wellness coaching sessions via skype, phone and in person (if you’re located in/near Los Angeles or San Francisco) and is also available for inspirational lectures. She answers questions and post hot topics regularly on her site. Visit her website Go Ask Ella or email her at goaskella at gmail dot com.


20 Responses to “Freedom to Choose.”

  1. chang says:

    Politics and religion aside, what you are advocating is the freedom to choose to kill life.
    it amazes me how many people believe in yoga and the tenet "do no harm" until it comes to abortion.
    abortion does way more harm than good for our society.
    if it didn't then why is it so controversial?
    if I don't believe it is okay to kill life, then why should my tax dollars pay for it?

  2. chang says:

    also… killing life isn't the solution to child abuse. if it were, child abuse would already cease to exist.

  3. Ella says:

    Freedom to choose what's serving the highest good for all beings is what I advocate for, period. I honor your right to choose and believe what you believe to be true for you AND that EVERYONE deserves the same right when it comes to their body.

  4. Drew Hymer says:

    But you don't support the baby's right to choose. When you say "Everyone" you don't include the unborn baby.

  5. chang says:

    the highest good for all beings? all beings includes the fetus.
    you honor every woman's right to kill a fetus if she wants to.

  6. Ella says:

    Calm down everybody…

    Okay if we're going to ask about fetus rights, how about it's right to choose to come in to be aborted for the experience of teaching a lesson about freedom? If it's going to cause more harm to an economy, a family, a mother, a father, a child to bring forth an unwanted pregnancy to term that should be considered.

    This goes back to basics, in educating people on how to have safe sex and make informed choices.
    To deny the choice (of which there are three) would be inaccurate.

  7. Lisa says:

    Ella and I had this conversation elsewhere last week, but for the sake of those of you who weren’t blessed enough to be part of it, I’ll put this out there again. Sometimes choosing life means choosing your own life over that of an unborn fetus. People are put in situations all the time where they have to chose life and death for someone. You think about quality of life. Will an unwanted baby have a good quality of life? Will it’s parents?? Someone on life support… If you “keep them alive” how will their quality of life be? You have to choose. A rescue worker has 2 victims pinned under a car, a young mother of 3 and an extremely elderly man… Move one and the other dies. How do you choose? Just because the rescue picks one life over another does that make him a bad person? Life is a decision made every day. Everyone conscious person has a right to fight for their life. I don’t know what you believe, and that’s ok, but I chose to believe that a embryo/fetus is not a conscious person. I choose my quality of life.

  8. gigi says:

    I really appreciate the direction of this article. I firmly believe that a lot of hte problems in our society are caused by people who have no business being parents raising children. Crying it out can lead to attachment issues and a lack of empathy in adults, a lack of breastfeeding can lead to additional lifelong health issues, poor nutrition can lead to lifelong health issues and behavioral issues. Being a parent who pays attention to research and science and puts my child first (no matter what it does to myself or my relationship) is about 1000 times harder than I thought.

    I have never put the two together before.

    I know, that had I had that child at 17 and raised it (I wouldn't have been able to give it up for adoption), I would have done a MUCH WORSE job raising my child. I fear that I would not have practiced attachment parenting, realized the importance of good nutrition, and would have spent evenings in selfish ways rather than giving my child a secure sense of self and love. I fear that I would have brought a child into this world that might have been one of the "bad guys" (with no empathy – a businessman only looking out for himself, someone who cheats or lies and doesn't feel remorse, etc).

    As a devoted parent I am so grateful for my right to choose 12 years ago. It was a challenging decision to make and it changed my life – and truthfully, my decision saved my life.

  9. tarenlane says:

    Dear Chang,
    The last time that you read an article, did you take it this personally? Information is important. Shared information, that is a gift. "Do no harm" is more complicated than actually living an entire life without having DONE harm. If you look at the scriptures on the subject of abortion, and of judging and criticizing your neighbor, you will find that in God's eyes, the grace He gives is not limited as humans ability to understand and extend real love AND that no sin is any more or less in God's eyes than the next . . . and certainly failing to love your neighbor, extending judgment that is not yours to give (totally not your job) is no less a sin. Begin with your life and your heart when you judge and criticize. When you realize God loves you no matter what, and that your tax dollars have nothing to do with abortion . . . then let me know more about what is good. Until then, I will look to the Eternal Source for what is good. Only God knows.

  10. tarenlane says:

    You appear to have missed the point. I celebrate Ella's bravery at simply discussing a very complicated issue. This issue, on a large scale, is as complicated as LIFE is, in that LIFE is not a matter of "choice" versus "life", it is a matter of living on an earth filled with poverty and violence, and awaiting and hoping for God's blessings anyway. Nobody "honors" killing babies, but some people try to honor others, try to understand others, and try their best to honor women and at the same time honor LIFE and GOD and whatever else on this planet an individual is trying to honor . . . Ella was pretty brave to speak on a sensitive subject, there is no right and wrong, good and bad . . . before you throw stones, come out of your house and give to a woman who made a choice you support, volunteer at a park or daycare to give time and love to children. Give money to the poor. Tell a woman you meet today that you are glad she chose to have that baby she is holding and ask if there is anything you can do to help out. As a mother, I would love to see that happening instead of all the money and time spent on silly things like billboards against abortion … goodness gracious! My God is good, may His will be done here on earth and may you have a lovely day full of open mind and open heart, dear one. Be good, do good.

  11. tarenlane says:

    ella, lovely thought-provoking article. i think mister rogers would agree with you. take care of those babies. love them and love yourself. choice is a tough subject, i honor your right to speak and your interesting commentary. love and light.

  12. Ella says:

    Thank you Lisa, I so appreciate your sharing and your vulnerability in expressing your perspective. Life is about choices and they are often uncomfortable, rarely are they easy and it is only through these journeys that we learn more about our truth and how to honor it. I honor your quality of life, your right to chose what's right for you and celebrate those choices.

  13. Ella says:

    Wow, Gigi, thank you for sharing a your story and two cents. I'm grateful for the awareness so many of us have today knowing after a bit more time and wisdom under our belts that we can be better parents.

    There are endless check lists of what to do and how to do it as people, as parents, as friends and your child is lucky to have such a devoted and conscious mother.

    Thank you for your support in my expression here, I haven't quite laid it out there in the open before. With so much inquiry into the psychology of birth, It becomes clearer and clearer every day that conscious conception is where it is at!

  14. Ella says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses and for being such a presence here in furthering the discussion of freedom and choice. I so appreciate your mind and heart here. I honor you as well and send oodles of light and love. In the fashion of Mister Rogers, won't you be my neighbor? I'm glad you are in the realm of freedom anyhoo. Big hug!

  15. tarenlane says:

    Oh, thank you for the article and the personal reply. I have never before replied in this internet debate-y fashion!
    I clicked on your article having no idea the topic, and when I finished it, it really opened my mind to some ideas I hadn't considered. And my soul connected to it on the level of what children need (a little more real life and personal Mister Rogers' nurturing, a little less neglect and purposelessness) and what the spiritual, emotional, and even physical result of a failure the grow children well with absolute health of mind and body . . . the result that is very sad, indeed, just as sad as the idea of having to consider or undergo the procedure of abortion . . . and amazing how it is all so connected, right; life and death. Your article was helpful and it was brave. If you live a life that is helpful and brave, how can I not WANT to be your neighbor, and a good one! So, of course, thank you! (and really, on a spiritual level, I am really connecting to the simple grace and giving to children of Mister Rogers lately . . . here is his revelation: we are all neighbors. To be a good one, that is the challenge. A short clip about that is cut-and-pasted below) Further, I was surprised by the commentary that I responded directly to. It was terse and lacked thoughtfulness, really. America has been consistently divided on the issue of abortion, but when it comes to really insightful commentary, there is a real shortage on the divide. It's so taboo and it's very painful to realize that we fail as a society to nurture OUR babies, each one, into the beautiful blossoming seeds of life that is the Eternal and Divine Purpose. That is the real loss, a loss of enough Spirit of Love and Generosity so that love and life blossoms without the awful pause of mistake, mis-step and death for any life . . . the true subject we might address if our goal is LIFE is what can I do right now to support real growth, to give love and to be sure that we do not advocate for LIFE in just words, and maybe cause more harm and suffering; instead that our actions in love supports life in a tangible way, life that we can actually touch, here and now. The effort begins with love for me and mine, but then, as God and Mister Rogers have explained, to also really love my neighbors is essential.

    *BIG HUG* and pat*pat*pat*on your back for being a doula, Ella! That is a great service! -tarenlane

    "The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers." How was Mister Rogers' faith simple?
    Sometimes the word "simple" is confused with the word "simplistic," and it wasn't. His philosophy of life is not simplistic, but it's simple in that there are some basic tenets to it that seem simple but are so profound and so hard to live out on a daily basis. Probably the central tenet of his faith and the theme of the Neighborhood is just the idea of loving your neighbor. When I asked him who is your neighbor, he said, whoever you happen to be with at the moment. So right there, there's no loophole-that means we have to love everybody.

    He said, once you realize that everybody's your neighbor, you have a choice. You can either be an advocate or an accuser. An accuser is somebody who only sees what's awful about themselves so they look through those eyes and look for what's awful about their neighbor. An advocate is somebody who looks through the eyes of God at their neighbor and sees what's good about that person because they're created in God's likeness. That's a very simple, basic truth, but to live that out in our daily lives is tremendously difficult.

  16. Ella says:

    Miss Taren Lane, meow meow meow! I watched Mister Rogers as a child and loved make-believe. What is key in his teachings and what I gathered as a little person was community is key as is believing in the possibility of loving all, serving all and being in service to all.

    Thank you for taking a chance on interacting via internet-i-iness. I, too, am not big on commenting on random things I read so I appreciate your courage and adventurous spirit to check out something new, read thoughtfully and heart-fully, care and type in the box (although your commentary was not box-a-ble).

    Being a doula, for me, isn't just about being present pre, peri and post partum. Being a doula means supporting people in transition and in reflecting about their truth, their heart's knowing and what's keeping them from being a contribution to the world. I feel by being supportive and having conversations, much like this one, we open a thousand doorways for more light and love to come in.

    I recently had the privilege of discussing this in London via TED, here's the link to see the talk. I hope you enjoy it and if you feel like sharing, please do. Let's continue the conversation of being in the heart and of service, spread it and share, share, share.

    My doors always open to fellow doulas, and you my dear, are certainly a doula of the heart.

  17. clare says:

    Do you realize that an abortion is literally tearing a devoloping human limb from limb. If you were pregnant and that happened to to you, or to any “babies” you have known, would that be ok, if mama says, “tear her apart”? All of that being said, in the cases of rape, incest, health of the mother (mental and physical) abortion can be the lesser of two terrible evils. And those abortions make up far less than 10% of the millions of abortions in the u.s. It is backdoor birth control for the lazy and selfish and brainwashed . It has become a devaluation of human life on such a grand scale that women like uou think you still need to fight for it. And just so you know, I gave birth at 19. I did.not.know my child before meeting her, bit I knew that wrong. And that baby that I jad happens to be a boone to this world, but even if i deemed that baby worthless, and destoyed her body and sucked it down a sink, -he-she would have still had a right to her/his life. You are advocating extreme violence. Do not presume to know if the unborn do not want to live or would become hitlers or husseins. You and your opinions are presumptuous, violent and shortsighted .

  18. clare says:

    Unconcious conception is not the fault of the baby, yes baby, ever been to a fetus shower? Me neither, but I bet you selectively refer to either given the situatuon. A wanted developing human is a baby, unwanted is a fetus. Check. You are abjectly, in your article and comments denying any rights of personhood, to developing jumans in their mist vulnerable state. I quite literally fear for any baby who come under your care, and hope you will begin to meditate on compassion and nonviolence.

  19. Ella says:

    Dearest Clare,

    I hear that you've made some decisions in your life that may not have been easy and feel strongly about your opinions on abortion. I would imagine that the research you've done supports your beliefs and I'm completely understanding of this. I have worked with people who have been the "less than 10%" and I've also supported people in other scenarios. I do not presume to know anything, I especially do not presume to know about the right decision for women and children but what I do KNOW is that we are all entitled to our opinions and it's through sharing, expressing and re-evaluating, that we increase our awareness, consciousness and open our hearts/minds to have compassion and clarity in action.

    I would imagine if you felt strongly that it was the right thing to do, to give birth at 19, that your child would be a boon to this world – as any child that is chosen and supported in being here.

    I understand that you may not have seen what I've seen and that I, too, have not had the privilege of seeing/experiencing what you've seen and therefore perhaps we are both shortsighted in our ability to perceive the other. It is my intention in corresponding with you that I don't namecall or make you wrong. Thank you for your insight, opinion, and for sharing your story.

    We tear a lot of things in order to be here and I do not find in my studies nor experience that abortion is an act of limb tearing. I find that consciousness is in all things and there is transition, transformation and transcending on many levels. Violence can be seen as slaughtering cows, rainforests, the approach we have when we communicate, the lack of compassion we carry for others. It is never my intention to uphold violence but realistic and heart-opening considerations and conversations.

    All my best,