I thought I was on the winning side when forty years ago, women won a constitutional right to abortion. We wanted this very old practice legalized and regulated; we wanted the lives of women facing unplanned pregnancies protected. In the afterglow of victory, too few of us thought about the life of the child – being assured “it” wasn’t a life – not really.
Nor, did I ever once think that “God” would care. I have come to believe God does care for both the baby and the mom – and for the father, and grandparents and aunts and uncles – and siblings of the little child who develops from an unplanned pregnancy. But a majority of Americans no longer sees God as a credible authority. (Pew Research)
Shortly after, in 1976, I withdrew from the winners – and joined their opposition, after seeing in quick succession on PBS a Nazi’s film of the careless treatment of bodies of humans who perished in the death camp, and a photo essay in Life Magazine on an abortion clinic, and its careless treatment of so many tiny bodies. Since then, I have struggled with how be a proponent of choosing life – without being dismissed as “a loser.”
Recently candidates who lost their bid for Senate seats, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, demonstrated how hard it is to express pro-life principles clearly and lovingly. How we say what we mean matters. The candidates backed voters off by speaking imprudently on the right of a woman to have an abortion if she has been raped. Both men believe each human life is a unique and valuable gift, even when created through the horror of rape; and that living with the trauma of rape is an inexpressible pain and having a life conceived through rape, even more so.
I think I understand what these men were trying to say. Thirty years ago, I met a baby boy whose mother had been brutally raped – she never saw her rapist; nor, was the attacker ever apprehended and punished. Three months before I met this newborn, I had met his grandmother. She was distraught because she had just learned what her daughter suffered and that she was unable to get a late term abortion for her daughter. Anguish had so crippled the young woman, who was in her third year of college, she couldn’t tell her parents. For six agonizing months, she was alone, and had no help.
A friend and I were able to get counseling for her mom and dad, and they got their daughter help – first, rape counseling, and then birth counseling. The young woman decided on an adoption plan – and the baby’s foster parents let me see him before he went to his adoptive parents.
Recently, I saw the grandmother, who remembered our help. She told me her daughter recovered physically and in time emotionally and mentally; the scars are there – but she completed her course of studies and went on to an advanced degree and impressive career, marriage and her own kids. She has met her first born, and knows he too has done well.
Of course, nobody is living “happily ever after,” but they are living – scars and all. They are living, being loved and loving.
Perhaps winning the abortion versus giving birth argument is learning to persuade people of a better way when they face an unplanned pregnancy. I doubt this will ever happen through elections. Taking the time to listen to a woman’s desperate plea, “Make this go away!” is a start. Being sure, I know how to explain what abortion is, and how the procedure is performed so I can help that precious woman make an informed decision is next. Being willing to walk with her – for more than nine months is just as vital.
How, then, do we help the woman respect and decide wisely about the life she now carries? No easy answers come to mind – although a simple one does. If in doubt about the choice between giving life and terminating the pregnancy, choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Two Important Links:
Christians are differentiated from other people by country, language, or customs . . . They do not live in cities of their own or speak some strange dialect . . . They live in their own native lands, but as resident aliens . . . They marry and have children just like everyone else, but they do not kill unwanted babies. Epistle to Diognetus (Christiansquoting.com)