“Choose life, and your soul will live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Remember that line from Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) to Cora (Madeleine Stowe) in The Last of the Mohicans (1992)? “You be strong, you survive … You stay alive. No matter what happens, I will find you!” Life shouldn’t be a choice. It should be an imperative: live. Whatever you do, live.
I am pro-life and strongly anti-Planned Parenthood, but sometimes I back away from the rhetoric because life should be more than a political football. It’s too serious. And most of the voices I hear are young and outspoken about issues they have never personally experienced. It’s theoretical. It’s talk. They have an opinion, but not insight or compassion.
When I was a young married person, I sometimes went to the county health department for my children’s inoculations and for women’s health check-ups. I was there one day when I overheard a “health provider” with Planned Parenthood “counseling” a junior-high-aged girl. The provider was giving the anxious young teen birth control—I don’t know that the girl was even yet sexually active—along with a smile and “Your parents will never know. It’s your body.”
This disturbed me. Why was Planned Parenthood allowed to have contact with an underaged girl behind the parents’ back? Why didn’t staff need parental consent? Why was providing a schoolgirl with birth control not considered “contributing to the delinquency of a minor”? What they were doing was immoral, indecent, and should have been illegal; yet one could see they were operating at a county health facility, presumably within the law.
Since that day I have had no use for Planned Parenthood or a government that not only condones such activity but supports it financially. Clearly, from what we are seeing in public school sex education, entertainment, and music, someone is actively trying to demoralize our children and young people. And they have done a successful job of it. Our young people have been brainwashed to accept things that no decent culture in thousands of years would have countenanced. Decency has been turned on its head.
A few decades ago—in my lifetime—abortion, sodomy, fornication, and adultery were not only stigmatized but criminalized. Now we have propaganda movies like Shag (1989), Absolute Strangers (TV 1991), Cider House Rules (1999) and Revolutionary Road (2008)—not to mention the zillions of films with profanity, nudity, and graphic violence—literally advocating indecency. Why? What is the conscious purpose of such “message” films?
I overheard a person with name recognition suggest every female should have an abortion, at least once, for “fun”—intentionally get pregnant and unpregnant for that purpose—to show there was nothing to it. Meaning we were all animals, mere tissue, and abortion was no more than taking out the garbage. If you can get God out of the picture and perpetuate the lie of evolution, then you can make people believe human beings, alive or dead, are nothing more than products of conception with no eternal accountability.
But that’s the Liberal Left, which all decent, life-hugging people should disdain. Leftists are not euphemistically “pro-choice”; they are pro-death. Like vampires and Nazis, they are not satisfied until someone dies. And if you claim to be Christian, and vote Democrat (Socialist), then you should at least know what you are promoting—gross indecency and death—and you might as well call abortion advocates what they are—deathmongers.
On the other hand, I sometimes have problems with the opposite group, the pro-life Right, as well. Because a well-meaning person can become so polarized and so rigid—with tunnel vision—that he loses perspective. Being pro-life should mean being pro-mother and pro-family as well as pro-baby.
My sister almost died with her first pregnancy. The child did, but my sister, still unconscious, still lying in a hospital bed, couldn’t make the funeral. Her husband, my husband, and our family, with the pastor—five of us—went down to the cemetery on a cloudy, somber Sunday afternoon and laid to rest her firstborn. My sister, unable to go through the normal stages of grief—she never knew or saw the baby—found her own expression. Every day, for a year or more, she would go down to the cemetery where the child was buried, sit there, and cry.
The point is not her unresolved grief, but that pregnancy is not the usual state of a woman’s body, and it can be dangerous. Some women, like Michelle Duggar, may be able to sail through one pregnancy after another, as if making pancakes, while other women struggle to produce one or two surviving children. Physically, all women are not equal. Neither are babies.
I have personally known two sets of pro-life grandparents who had to stand helplessly by and watch a daughter carry to term an anencephalytic baby. One child was stillborn; the other died, within minutes, in the mother’s arms. I have known a dozen families with children afflicted with Downs Syndrome or other birth defects. Sometimes it turned out all right. Sometimes it didn’t. Always, if the child lived, there was the burden of care—and retarded or disabled children never grow up, become self-supporting, and leave home. Even if you are pro-life, twenty or thirty years of daily, unrelenting caregiving may change your perspective on a lot of things.
One night I witnessed, in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), two physicians bring in twin boys—about eight inches long, maybe a couple inches wide—and lay them on a crib. They were the smallest human beings I had ever seen in my life. And the bed, designed for a preemie, dwarfed them. Their skin was so thin it was translucent. Even standing some distance away, I could make out some vital organs. I thought the men would try to save them as they tried to save preemies, but to my surprise, the physicians began to “dissect” the infants. Unmasked and unscrubbed—meaning they knew these little ones had no chance of making it, they were just experimenting—the physicians took a scalpel and cut them open to have a look. The little ones winced with pain and cried in a wee voice, but lived only a few minutes.
Later, I happened on an infant boy addicted to oxygen. Ideally, if a medical team saves a preemie, they shortly wean the child of oxygen, because oxygen is serious stuff. This boy, however, had not been weaned, could not be weaned, and now at seven months of age was still living at the hospital under an oxygen tent. The pro-life mother refused to give up. She came every day, sat by his crib, knitting, and at night was calling prayer groups to pray for him; but as yet, he was still in that condition. The attending nurse sounded harsh when she said, “They never should have kept him alive. Now what are they going to do?”
I imagine with today’s HMOs, and with upcoming ObamaCare, someone else, not the mother, will be making that decision. I cannot imagine “death panels,” for instance, allowing a “retarded” girl, as Jane Wyman was perceived in Johnny Belinda (1948), to go through with an unwanted pregnancy, can you?
Real medical teams, decent people, not “abortion providers,” have to make real life-and-death decisions every day, and they do not think like laymen. They think like scientists and pragmatists. On some issues, I’d just as soon back away, and let them have their space. Because in some cases, life is a judgement call.
More recently, I happened on a pro-life voice who wanted to spare even infants of an ectopic pregnancy. Knowing that ectopic pregnancies (mostly tubal pregnancies) were life-threatening to women, I shuddered. What if pro-lifers went so far to the Right that they codified such a view? Or a dad got hold of bad information and tried to stop a woman from seeking medical care? Ectopic pregnancies are a medical emergency requiring medical intervention. The word abortion*, as commonly used and understood, should not enter into it. It is a surgical procedure.
On the other hand, you give the “vampires” and the “Nazis” a loophole, and they’ll be calling every unwanted pregnancy an “ectopic pregnancy” or a “medical emergency.” If they can, without a conscience, kill babies and steal a girl’s virtue, they can certainly lie.
So, what do we do about the evil of abortion?
Preach life. Preach abstinence. But respect the fact that pregnancy is not a sure thing; it can be dangerous to both mother and child. Leave some calls to the decent, ethical medical practitioners. And be very careful how we write our laws.
“You are valuable because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are.” ~Max Lucado
Copyright © 2015 Alexandra Lee
*For the layman: abortion is a general term for any aborted pregnancy, including spontaneous abortion, otherwise known as “miscarriage.” So, if you are reading up on something, be sure you understand the terms.