Note: I’ve been sitting on this for a few days, waiting for God to lead the timing for when I should post it. The things I heard today are so horrifying that I cannot stay silent any longer. I hope by going public with my convictions, other believers in Jesus Christ will be encouraged to do the same.
Just last week, I wrote about my son who turned 40 years old on January 21. I told Facebook friends that after our two-month old son died from complications related to a congenital birth defect, my husband and I were never going to have more children, and then I wrote:
“There came a day when we realized that other people’s babies were no longer painful reminders of what we had lost. We had healed from unspeakable pain and were ready to trust God for a healthy child — and He was faithful.”
But I left one big thing out. One of the reasons we decided to move forward with having another baby was because the defect we worried about could be identified through amniocentesis, and if something was wrong, I could have an abortion. Yes. We said that, and we meant it. We rationalized our decision with statements like these:
- “If this baby has the same defect, the compassionate thing to do would be to end the pregnancy.”
- “It’s a blessing that medical science has advanced to a level where people can make these decisions instead of suffering through the heartbreak of raising a handicapped child.”
- “Thank goodness abortion is now a legal option for people faced with these kinds of dilemmas.”
Though impressive for its time, what was diagnostically possible in 1978 was radically different from what is common today. In fact, it wasn’t even possible to tell if a woman was pregnant until she was into the third month of pregnancy, and prenatal testing wasn’t done until 12 weeks. The fetus would be 16 weeks old by the time any results were available. By that time, I was feeling movement, and the evidence of life within me was undeniable.
During those weeks of waiting, I watched a documentary on TV focusing on the first ever actual intrauterine images of developing fetuses. The most famous one is of a baby sucking his thumb. As I gazed upon those pictures, I knew I would never have that abortion – no matter what the test results showed. So, we decided that instead of terminating the pregnancy if the results were unfavorable, we would use the remaining time to prepare for whatever was ahead and trust that God would see us through as He had done before.
However, working through the decision of whether to have an abortion was a valuable experience. What had started as a pragmatic pronouncement, suddenly became personal. As a Christian, it also became a spiritual struggle. Thankfully, God reminded me that He alone is the giver of life. We had identified many man-made reasons to consider abortion, but none of them could be supported with biblical truth.
During this time, I gained greater empathy for others dealing with similar situations. I know people who chose differently than I did, and it was an agonizing choice for them to make. That’s why I’ve never been quite as black and white about the issue as others have been. But that changed last week. The passage of the law in New York crossed a line for me.
- Because of this law, the same baby who would survive outside the womb tomorrow could be aborted today for any reason.
- The baby born at 28-31 weeks gestation has a 98% chance of survival if born prematurely but can be aborted for any reason and have a 0% chance of living.
- In many states, prenatal drug exposure is grounds for terminating parental rights because of abuse or neglect, but those same children are not protected against death.
This goes far beyond what was originally framed as a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. This is now about a child’s right to live. It is often said that you can tell a lot about a society by the way they care for the most vulnerable – the children, the elderly, the poor, the handicapped. It’s time to add the unborn to that list.