“If an ultrasound revealed their birth defects, I would have certainly aborted your sisters, Sydna,” my mother outlined casually. “Why would I carry a child to birth knowing the child would die?”
I shivered at the realization that my mother’s emotional pain over her daughters’ deaths would have been far different had ultrasound been available in the 50’s. I consider that, perhaps, I would not be alive due to all the physical complications of abortion at a late term level.
It doesn’t matter the reason for having an abortion. Many continue to say that abortion in cases of rape and incest, or with fetal anomalies, is an acceptable solution. Few understand that the emotional and spiritual pain on the other side of that loss can be much the same as a woman who chooses to abort a healthy child.
My oldest sister, Naomi, died at six months due to complications from Spinal Bifida. Two years later, my mother gave birth to my sister, Cydney. She would live just three days due to having a hole in her heart. Both children may have been able to survive with fetal surgery today. But in the 1950’s, they were doomed to die shortly after birth. My mother cared for her daughters carefully, and remembered their lives each year during their birthdays.
My mother’s point was not that she supported abortion at all. She simply felt that aborting my sisters would have allowed her to get pregnant again with a healthy child. When you lose two children in back-to-back pregnancies, maternal time is precious. But she did not understand the emotional impact of abortion.
In my early ministry years at Focus on the Family, I answered all the pregnancy crisis calls. These were parents who were against abortion and looking for some information on what to do. When someone called who had received a bad fetal diagnosis, I would start by asking them, “Do you believe in God?”
Every caller responded, “Absolutely.”
I would then ask, “Do you believe God is the author of all life?”
All would respond, “Of course!”
Then I would query them saying, “Do you think God can make mistakes?”
Nine times out of ten, their response was, “Yes. He made a mistake in this pregnancy.”
My conclusion was then offered. “Then you don’t believe in God. God doesn’t make mistakes. There is a reason he gave you this child.”
By taking over God’s role in ending a life for any reason, emotional and spiritual pain could certainly result. When I outlined my personal abortion experience at an emotional, spiritual, psychological, and physical level to these parents, they listened closely. The majority chose to continue their pregnancies.
These parents often outlined the extreme pressure they were receiving from their doctors to end the pregnancy. Some medical professionals refused future care if the parents did not follow their advice to terminate. It was the rare OB/GYN who would support these parents in their decision not to abort.
It was startling to hear from some of those individuals after their baby was delivered, outlining their child was perfectly healthy and the fetal diagnosis had been incorrect. Those children have always been precious to my heart because they outlined that God can do miracles in any situation. It also spoke to the fact that medical science can be very wrong.
Many fetal abnormalities are discovered later in the pregnancy. Most women are referred to the local abortion clinic for this procedure. Once there, they sit among women like myself who chose to abort for different reasons. Aborting a wanted child in such a situation bears its own form of trauma.
It is a common abortion clinic experience to hear verbal shouts of pain and suffering in those waiting rooms when young adults who could not afford anesthesia endure this process. Abortion clinics are rarely set up to help parents grieve their aborted children, even in cases where the child had been very wanted.
Aborting due to fetal anomalies also impacts everyone in the family. To be connected to the abortion option, even in these cases, can be hard for associated family members.
Even in situations of rape, women often endure a double impact discovering the abortion was more traumatizing than their sexual abuse!
Abortion is never a good or safe option. Our world just isn’t that perfect. Late term abortions often have a physical impact on future pregnancies. The uterine lining is very tender and easily harmed, particularly in late term procedures.
Our world has become a shallow place when those children diagnosed with livable physical problems (i.e., clef palate, Down’s syndrome, etc.), are also aborted. Bringing these imperfect children into the world often entails a future of long-term care. In Iceland, 100% of unborn humans that receive a Down’s diagnosis are sadly aborted. Eliminating imperfect people from our society has a chilling effect on a nation at so many levels.
Thankfully, there is a great deal of support today for those who determine to continue their pregnancies with the help of perinatal hospice programs. The joy of holding a child where abortion was encouraged, even for a few minutes, shows the joys of God in these circumstances. The family is blessed by even a few minutes with a child.
Galatians 2:19-21 NIV, shows we need to trust God in all circumstances – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!