Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Diversity Series

Making A Choice: Family Over Career
By Hillary Trautmann

Growing up in the 1950s was by far very different than growing up in the 2000s. Besides the differences in technology, among other cultural changes, people’s moral values seemed to be quite different as well.

When I sat down to interview Rosalie Morris, I was not expecting what I got. At age 68, she is still very talkative, opinionated, and full of energy. She stands at only five feet, but her bright red hair gives her at least another inch and a half. A mother of four children, two girls and two boys, says that she “has had a very fulfilling life.” That her family is the most important part of her life, and that she has never regretted giving up a career in the fashion industry for them.

Born on February 29, 1939, with the name Rosalie Nappi, to a Jewish mother and an Italian father, she has always been very open-minded and liberal in her beliefs. “Being born with mixed religious beliefs was not very common at that time, and I have found because of that, that it has made me more understanding of things such as, homosexuality and interracial marriage. Really, I believe that people should be able to do whatever makes them feel at their best.”

At 15, Morris met her future husband, Stephen, at an ice skating rink, in Bronx, New York, where they both grew up. They quickly began going “steady”, and were high school sweethearts, attending the prom together at William Taft High School. Two years later, they were married while he was attending The Fashion Institute of Technology and working towards an associative degree in fashion design. After graduating, Morris found out that she was pregnant.

“The thought of an abortion never crossed my mind, but of course in 1958, the times were so different from now. Abortion was still widely considered inhumane,” she said.

After the topic of abortion came up, I was interested to know what her feelings were on a women’s choice now, which is quite a controversial issue. “Let me tell you a story. A few years ago, I was walking to the store. It was very cold outside so I was wearing my fur coat. As I walked past two young girls, probably in their late teens, they commented on my coat. Telling me that I was an animal killer, yet all I could think was that they were baby killers.”

Morris explained this story by saying that she felt that because women have such a right to choose that they are no longer careful. That women seem to be much more promiscuous than ever before, that they almost seem to be taking advantage of a medical procedure. “This is not saying that I don’t believe in abortion in extreme circumstances, but I believe there is always another choice,” Morris said.

It is interesting that Morris feels that way though, because according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control, in 2003 in the United States there were 854,122 legally induced abortions done. Whereas, in 1989 the highest recorded number of abortions was done in the United States, being approximately 1.3 million.

Morris was on the right track though with the reasons for abortions. In 2000, only 1% of abortions were because of cases of rape and/or incest, whereas, the number one reason was simply the want to postpone childbearing, with a whooping percentage of 25.5.

So, even if abortion were an option for Morris’s life, would it have made a difference?

“Absolutely not. Although my life could have gone in an entirely different direction, and maybe I could have been a successful career woman, I am a successful family woman instead. I was in love when I became pregnant, and still am. I wouldn’t change my life for anything,” She says this with a smile, and she means it.

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