This week, Lift Your Voice released a podcast on abortion and the truth of a pro-life stance. Sadly, I wasn’t able to be with the LYV “crew” during their recording last week, but I was able to listen to it tonight (which I advise all of you reading this to go do as well!). I don’t have a story like Jennifer who had an abortion and struggled through the pain and guilt to find grace in God’s love. But I do have a stance on the sanctity of life that has evolved over the years.
I have always been pro-life for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a Christian home, attended church regularly, and believed God’s Word on the sanctity of human life. Though I wasn’t very outspoken about my views, I do remember an instance in high school in which I got to voice my pro-life views to the class. In government class that day, we were debating abortion. I use the word “debate” in a fairly informal way: we didn’t have out of class research to refer to or copious notes. It was more “on-the-spot.” You should know I was a wallflower in high school. I studied, I was pleasant, and I had a few good friends, but being in front of people and sharing my opinions would make my face flush red and my palms sweat. But this day in class, we were discussing abortion, and I spoke up. I remember listening to my classmates talk back and forth on the subject. “What if the child to be born is deformed or handicapped?” someone questioned. My hand quickly shot up. I remember adamantly saying that the child’s life should still be protected regardless of how healthy or “imperfect” they were. And then I said these words: “Sometimes having a handicapped child is not about them, but about you, and how it can change you for the better.” (I said something like that, though it probably had quite a few “ummm”s and “you know”s thrown in there.) I’m not sure how many of my classmates agreed with me, but I truly believed (and believe) that all children are God’s children and have a purpose in the world that He has divined from the beginning, from conception.
I don’t have any stories of close friends or family members who dealt with abortion, but I do know people who I’m sure had to face the overwhelming discovery that their child would be born disabled. When this fact is presented so nonchalantly by some doctors, abortion lingers in the back of your mind as an option. “Would this be right?” they may have wondered. Thankfully, they chose life for their baby. One of my friends is a dwarf, and I am blessed to know her. She is a blessing to her friends and family, and I cannot imagine her not existing. Thankfully, her parents chose life. For my teaching degree, I had to visit a school for children with learning disabilities. Many of them had emotional, physical, psychological, or social handicaps. And they were all beautiful children. The experience visiting the school was nothing like I imagined. It was better. Many of these children were incredibly smart and kind and had huge dreams. I asked one of the girls what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she matter-of-factly replied, “The President.” She believed it was possible. It brings me joy to know that many of the parents of those children, when faced with a choice, chose life.
Many of our greatest contributors to society were/are “imperfect” (I say this in the most earthly way, not in light of a Christian worldview). Helen Keller, a great author, political activist, and lecturer, may never had been born if her parents had been able to know before her birth that she was deaf and blind. Here is a long list of highly influential people that were believed to have had Asperger’s Syndrome (autism): Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Carl Jung (psychoanalyst), Emily Dickinson (poet), Beethoven, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Van Gogh (painter), and Mozart (just to name a few). What if science, during their time, had allowed their parents to know that their child was going to be born “defective” or “different”? Would these people have even existed? How different would our society be today?
Bringing it in, a little closer to home, I think about what pro-life means to me now. I still believe that life begins at conception, but what I choose to do with that information has changed. As many of you may know, I am a happily married woman. Before my husband and I got married, we had to consider birth control options. (TMI, you may be thinking, but please, stay with me.) I attended a Christian college that seriously confronted the issue of life, when it begins, and what birth control routes can be abortive (if you believe life begins at conception). Because of this (and other health reasons), my husband and I ruled out The Pill. Other birth control options that may be abortive (meaning that they may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine lining) include IUDs, “morning after” pills, and the depo-provera (hormone)shot. Before I was married, I visited my doctor and talked to my GP, and one recommended the pill and the other suggested an IUD. For health and moral reasons, I said “no” to both.
You may not be in a position where you are considering having children or the possibility of children, but that day may soon come. It really is sobering to me when I realize the impact I have on my future children. Their lives are literally depending on me and what I choose to put in my body. Cigarettes and alcohol can be detrimental, and even pharmaceutical drugs can harm a fetus in the very early stages of pregnancy. This is something I had to face as I stepped over the threshold of matrimony. How would my prescription drugs I take affect the life of my future child (planned or unplanned)? I’ve done some research, and I realize now that because I am pro-life and want the very best for my children, I will stop taking certain medications when we want to have children, even if it makes me less comfortable. I am thankful that God directed me to a Christian family doctor in our area. When I discussed my medication with him and thinking about a future family, he completely understood the importance of protecting the life of an unborn child. It was so refreshing for him to tell me honestly what he felt in good conscience I could and could not take during future pregnancies.
I know you may not be thinking about children, marriage, or medications, but I DO know that you probably think about relationships. You probably are or desire to be in a relationship one day, and you will probably be physically attracted to someone of the opposite sex. Know that the God-designed gift of sex carries great responsibility. When you make love, there’s always the potential to make life. Please, wait for marriage to enjoy God’s gift of sex. And, when you’re married, please, take the responsibility of potential pro-creation very seriously. The life of someone else depends on you, even if you may or may not know it.
Grateful for God’s blessing of life,