Watching the deaths of two friends this month has helped me be bold. Yes, another friend passed away a couple days ago, bringing the death toll to two. A quick calculation in my head helped me see that had we not had a miscarriage, we’d likely be celebrating that child’s 2nd birthday this month. January, a month of beginnings and endings. Oh what a vapor we truly are!
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Eph. 6:19
As I’m realizing the importance of boldly declaring the gospel, I’m also recognizing that it is okay for me to have convictions. Asserting my opinion does not make me heartless. In fact, my silence and appeasement very well might embitter me so. In silence, we shame those we claim we want to assist. Let’s talk about the hard topics. Let’s be real and in doing so, find that we are truly free and living.
I have been pro-life for as long as I can remember. You can think it is a result of my conservative upbringing, and that likely played a part, but it still remains, I have been pro-life for most of my life. [Interesting that I have a choice because God and my parents gave me life.] I’ll agree that I didn’t use to operate with mercy, compassion, and understanding that I try to exercise now. I can remember getting into a Facebook argument and saying, “Legs should be kept closed.” Yes, I said that. I regret that and for every woman that that would harm, please accept my apologies. That was cruel and unsympathetic! The statement was sinful! I have repented and hope you understand that statement was an emotional outburst. It was inappropriate and I’m sorry. It was that very argument though that helped me to address my conviction in an entirely different manner.
Over the course of a few years, including years of infertility and my own loss, I began to see a person. I no longer thought it was just a self-absorbed person choosing their own comfort in regards to abortion. Instead, I witnessed an individual who was scared, anxious, and concerned. This beautiful woman was wondering how she might provide for a new life, if she was capable of doing so, how the church might perceive her if the child was out of wedlock, or if the quality of life for a disabled individual would be sufficient, to name only a few emotions in the gamut of them. Yes, I no longer saw an issue, but a person. Oh thank God for his mercy. My struggle with infertility and my miscarriage actually assisted me!
I no longer saw the issue in terms of legality. I see women, and sometimes couples, needing help, assurance. I also see the foolishness of some arguments. Note: Correcting a foolish argument is in no way meant to dehumanize or belittle the individuals in which the argument may impact.
1.) A woman has a choice to her body. Abortion doesn’t matter because it isn’t a human anyways.
First, removing all semblance of morality or religious reservations, let’s analyze this statement from a purely biological standpoint. Can a human beget anything other than a human? If you can provide historical records of a human giving birth to anything other than a human, please do so. Also, has science been able to create life at some other stage than conception? If we can create a human being at a later stage of development than we might be able to argue that the early stages of pregnancy don’t qualify a human. We must realize that throughout time, people have also used the “non-human” clause to promote racism. Which argument are we going to accept? Is racism acceptable or is something that has human DNA not necessarily human?
Let me clarify the racist clause. For centuries, individuals have argued that people of different intellect, social status, skin color, etc. were somehow less human or inferior. These arguments were used to oppress, ostracize, and even kill people they thought unworthy of life. Hitler used abortion to kill thousands of Jews. Eugenics. Sadly, the developmentally disabled community has suffered from such foolishness as well. Hundreds, if not thousands, of babies are aborted because a woman or parents are told that the child will be born with down syndrome or some other developmental disability. Are we saying that the developmentally disabled can’t have a good life; that they can’t contribute positively to society? I don’t think that is the intent, but understand that is what are actions denote. In the same regard, are the poor less worthy of life than the rich? By no means! However, we are saying that their quality of life (a subjective measure in regards to money) will definitely be dependent on their socio-economic status!
A child born to poor parents doesn’t have to have a horrible life. Children born to affluent parents don’t automatically have an easy or blissful life. Also, just because you start out in a particular social class doesn’t mean you will stagnate there. My father was very poor growing up. They lived in campsites at times. They had no heat or hot water, but used fires to stay warm and heat water for a bath. My father studied and worked hard. He came out of the poverty he was born into. Could anyone have foretold that? No.
I’ll make another point in a similar fashion to my argument on racism. Is sexism acceptable? Abortion has been used in countries like China and India to kill baby girls. In fact, ultrasounds are forbidden in India because they were being used to find out the sex and when it was discovered that the child was a girl she was aborted. Can feminists (of which I would call myself one) say that choice is permissible here? We are killing the women we say we want to defend, build-up, and promote. Is this a logical fallacy? Does the argument implode? I think so.
2.) It is a woman’s choice. We are cruel when we deny a woman a choice to her own body.
Even if we omit the term baby, a zygote is not comprised of the sole DNA make-up of a woman. A zygote is half the DNA of a mother and half the DNA of a father. Yes, a woman incubates the zygote until the next stage of gestation is reached, but the zygote still is part of the father. Does the dad not have a choice in abortion? Are we promoting true equality or not? Why does a woman get the whole decision if she wants to terminate the pregnancy when the father played a necessary part in starting the process? (Cases of rape and incest to be discussed a bit later.)
Why are there double standards too? When a woman is beaten and the child is lost, isn’t the abuser charged with some form of murder? Would we say it was unjust if there wasn’t a murder charge? Why would our justice system do this if a gestating child isn’t in fact a child, a human? Do we only call it murder when the baby is wanted?
[I realize some will think I’m reaching callousness now. It reads as though I’m calling abortion murder. As such, it must follow that an abortionist is a murderer. Someone who assists in the premeditation of that would be an accomplice to murder. Right? This is where the argument frequently breaks down between pro-choice folks and pro-life folks. I’m not trying to be cruel. I reiterate, I’m not intending to deface or devalue the woman who has made the hardest choice in her life. By no means should a woman who has endured such a difficult decision be made to feel scorn, rejection, or judgement! Anyone who makes a woman who has endured such a hardship into a monster, is themselves, a monster.
However, I’m not going to mince words to make things feel comfortable. How would the gospel be if I did that to it? The gospel says that Christ died on the cross, resurrected on the third day, and after 40 days ascended into heaven. Christ said that he is the way, the truth, and the life, no one gets to the father but through him. Yes, if we don’t take Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will not enter heaven. That is the bold claim of following Christ. It isn’t comfortable. It isn’t easy. We can’t understand how seemingly good people, according to our measure of goodness, would be eternally separated from God. I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. They confuse me too. I’m baffled. I question and sometimes doubt plagues me as I mull these questions too. You are not alone there. Faith is faith and it isn’t without suffering or wrestling. Even Jacob had to become Israel. (Jacob wrestled with God and after sustaining a permanent limp, was called Israel, the promised one of God, an heir.)
I realize I digressed some. Yes, I do think abortion is murder. We are taking human life. Miscarriage is not the same as abortion. My body terminating a pregnancy because it isn’t viable is not equivalent to a willful termination of pregnancy. (I had a friend correlate the two once.)
Now, all this to say, I realize that a woman who chooses abortion is wrought with emotion. She should not be imprisoned for taking the life of her gestating child. (Just like someone who felt defenseless and protects themselves should not be imprisoned. Self-defense.) A woman who had an abortion is most likely feeling confused, sad, and alone. She needs love and support. It is our duty to come alongside her and know that she is forgiven. She is given mercy and love. We can teach these women that there are other choices though.
I am a proponent of literacy (shameless plug for Usborne…yeah, totally inappropriate) and education. Programs like First Choice are wonderful because they educate women and then still let them decide. If a woman chooses abortion, they provide after-care and counseling. Sometimes a woman earnestly feels she has no other choice and will opt for an abortion. It is at that time, we wrap our arms around her and cry with her. We hug her and let her know that she is loved! This woman was made in the image of God and her actions don’t devalue her worth before God!
It is time we helped lower adoption costs though. We need to make foster-care better. For individuals who want to adopt, like my husband and I, the process is arduous and expensive. Why? There are so many loving, infertile couples who yearn to adopt. There are many couples who have children already, but just have even more love to give away. (FYI, I do think that homosexual couples should have a right to adopt. If they want to save lives or make life better for a child, then I fully support it. I realize I can come into controversy with people over this. I also know that this statement is not necessary to add, but I did anyways. It is superfluous. My brain fires rapidly.) Let us find programs to make this process stream-lined, efficient, and beneficial for everyone who is involved or wants to be.
Now I will briefly touch other cases here: rape, incest, and the health of the mother: First, these instances are rare in abortion cases. A woman who has experienced rape, incest, or has severe health concerns is not likely to want to undergo an experience where she feels even more vulnerable, prodded, etc. It does happen, but it is rare. In these cases, the argument is more nuanced.
Frank and I talked. If we had a situation where I could survive if I aborted my baby, we would make the difficult decision to terminate. I have two other children and him. It would be the hardest decision of my life, but to I tell you this to let you know that I have thought about the issues further. It isn’t always an easy decision. Sometimes, there are grey areas.
As for rape and incest, I think we need to come along these women and assist financially, emotionally, and physically. A baby could be the good that rises from the bad. Having never been raped (I have been sexually assaulted however) and impregnated, I can’t tell you what choice I would make or another woman should make. In this instance, it is not so black and white.
So yes, I want to be a voice for the baby who hasn’t yet found its voice. However, I want to do so in a manner that might actually help and not just with red tape.