Normally on my blog the only really controversial subject I write about is my belief that Jesus is the only way to salvation. It is a subject I feel strongly about and feel led to share about.
There is another controversial subject that I have never written about here, but that has been on my mind a lot lately. In fact having this post rattle around in my head taking up space for the past month is a big part of the reason I took a month off from posting. I have wanted to avoid this subject because no matter how I approaches it, there is bound to be someone who takes offense and reads something into what I’ve written that was not what I intended. It is a subject that is typically “discussed” with sound bites and angry one-liners.
In the end, I’ve decided to write about this subject in terms of my own story as well as adding a bit of a book review in the mix. This controversial subject is abortion.
For much of my life I was strongly pro-choice. I even attended a NARAL rally with my sister in Portland, Oregon many years ago. I was (and still am) a strong proponent of a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her own body, and I believed that making sure a woman could have an abortion any time she chose to was the best way to protect that right.
But then something happened that changed my heart and mind on abortion. My son was five years old at the time and I found out I was pregnant. My husband and I were thrilled because we had been trying to get pregnant with our second child for four years. We were so excited that we told everyone when I was only six-weeks along.
About a week later I started having some spotting so I went to see the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office. She sent me for an ultrasound. I had never had an ultrasound before except when I was almost nine months along with my son, so I was not really prepared for what I saw. The ultrasound technician pointed out my little baby and his or her heartbeat on the monitor. The baby was very small, but the human shape and the beating heart were unmistakable.
Unfortunately, the ultrasound also revealed that my placenta was tearing away from the uterine wall. I was directed to go home and rest, and I hoped that it would heal and all would be okay. Two days later I had a miscarriage.
In my grief over the loss of this child I cried out to God, but I found comfort in the thought that someday I would meet my little baby in heaven. Suddenly I realized how hypocritical and illogical it was to mourn the loss of this child only seven weeks after his or her conception while simultaneously believing that to abort a child at the same stage of development involved only the mother’s body. I realized that what Dr. Seuss once said through the words of Horton the Elephant was true: “A person’s a person no matter how small.”
Several years later a friend loaned me a book titled Won by Love by Norma McCorvey. It is her autobiography as Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. She tells the story of how she became the poster child for the pro-choice movement, worked in an abortion clinic, and was ultimately won over by love to the realization that abortion was not a right worth fighting for. Her story is heartbreaking and compelling. In her first-hand recounting of her time working in an abortion clinic, Norma exposes the truth that abortion clinics and doctors were more concerned about their bottom lines than about the health and care of women facing crisis. Her story is worth reading.
Then when my son was in the eighth grade he took a communications class in which he was required to prepare and present several speeches. When the persuasive speech assignment came up, he was randomly assigned the pro-life position on abortion. As he worked on his speech he shared with me the research that he had found in the school’s article database. The research showed that women who have an abortion with their first pregnancy are 30% to 40% more likely to suffer from depression, attempt to or successfully commit suicide, and to get breast cancer than women who brought their first pregnancy to term. I wondered if these risks are shared with women facing this choice by clinics like Planned Parenthood. Based on Norma McCorvey’s story I suspect that they are not.
When all is said and done, I find that I do not advocate for making abortion completely illegal. This would only lead to those who profit from this industry to go underground and abortion would become even more dangerous than it is.
What I do advocate is that when faced with a decision about what to do with an unplanned pregnancy, women should be given all the information necessary to make an informed and logical choice. They should not be led to believe that the only option is to abort their child, because adoption is also a viable option. They should be made aware of the fact that the child inside them is a living being with his or her own heartbeat. They should be informed that having an abortion increases their risk of depression, suicidal tendencies, and breast cancer by as much as 30% to 40%. They should be made aware that the child they are considering aborting may be destined to be a woman who also deserves the right to choose.
But all of the facts, statistics, and rhetoric in the world will never be enough to change a person’s position on this issue. My position was changed by love – by the love I felt for my lost child and the love of God. Norma McCorvey’s position was changed by the love of the folks at Operation Rescue that moved in next door to the abortion clinic she worked at and the love of God. Ultimately it is love that will win the day in the battle for the lives of unborn children who have no voice of their own.