A little boy is going to be born soon and I can't wait to hold him. Many months ago, I wondered if he would live to see this side of the womb.
I sat across from his momma visit after visit as she talked about her reasons to have an abortion. Each week, my faith would falter and I wondered if this would be the visit she would cancel, telling us she had had the abortion. But each week she showed up, tearful and undecided, letting us love on her and be a safe place to process her unplanned pregnancy. I'll never forget when she tearfully told me on her third visit that she had decided she was going to "terminate." She felt there was no other option.
But through God's grace, the power of prayer, and lots of love and tangible resources, she's now awaiting the birth of her precious son. Her ultrasound with us was the first ultrasound she had ever seen. The flickering heartbeat that first connects a mother to the life within her.
Last week, I stood on the sidewalk by the abortion clinic for a peaceful prayer vigil and I talked with a fiery pro-choice protester. We discussed our thoughts on abortion, on post-abortive women, on poverty and privilege. I was grateful for the discussion because so often in this deeply emotional topic, we stick closely to our own sides and regard the other as enemy. This young woman and I parted ways in peace, not anger, and even discussed our own motherhood and wished each other well for the weekend.
But there's something she said that's sticking out to me like a thorn. Because I think it's indicative of how so many view abortion today. She said she knew that a life was ended in abortion, but that it wasn't a meaningful life. The 'fetus' as she preferred to call it didn't have a meaningful life. And if the mother was poor, even after being born it would not have a meaningful life.
Is this where we are as a society? We can look at a human life and decide if it has meaning and should or should not live? What if we disagree? What if I think it has meaning and someone else does not? This is so relative. It pains me. The child gets no part in the decision of whether or not its life is meaningful.
So much can happen in nine months, both in a woman's situation and in a woman's heart. Yet I see the pressure in a woman's mind and heart to make a hasty choice when she finds herself in an unexpected pregnancy. The pro-choice protester argued with me that if a woman can't afford to eat, you can't blame her for choosing an abortion and that we should give her that right. I think that's a sad solution to her struggle-- let's give her the right to spend hundreds of dollars for a decision that will likely wound her soul and still leave her poor in both body and spirit. Why do we think this is a solution? Shouldn't we instead be rising up to give her money, resources, love and support instead so that she can choose parenting or adoption? Shouldn't we be feeding both instead of ending one's life and continuing to allow the other to starve?
I recently sent an email out to friends, family, and church members asking for diapers or meals for my sweet client due soon with her baby. I was overwhelmed by the immediate responses of these people, offering meals, money, diapers-- even one woman offering to buy baby food for her six months from now! One friend who leads our mother's group at church wrote and said they had decided to host a baby shower for her. The Body of Christ showed up and I was humbled.
These pro-life people are the ones that the world would have you believe are only 'pro-baby' or 'pro-birth,' that they don't care about the woman but only that she chooses to give birth.
I don't think so.
These are the people who believe that every life has meaning. The woman's life. The baby's life. Even the life of the abortion doctor. From conception to natural death.
And so I keep praying. That abortion will become illegal, but even more that abortion will become unthinkable. That those who are pro-choice will see that the choice of abortion leaves one life ended and another life deeply wounded. That we will cease to see abortion as a solution to a problem, but instead to see it as a symptom of a greater problem. And that more mothers will have the strength within and the help of the community around them to choose life for their children. And that every single one of us will regard every life-- from the smallest to the greatest and including our own-- as having meaning simply because we are created by a loving Father.