Tomorrow is the 44th anniversary of the famous Roe vs. Wade decision by the Supreme Court which put into motion the legal killing of unborn babies in the United States.
From that date to today over 59 million babies have been aborted in this country alone. To put that in perspective, about 6 million Jewish people were slaughtered by the Nazi regime during WWII. That means the killing of babies in the United States is 10 times that of the precious lives taken in the holocaust. I wonder if we'll ever look back on abortion in the United States with the same horror and shock as we do the holocaust. I wonder if we'll ever think, "How could we have done that!!??"
My Mom's Crisis Pregnancy
I was born the year after Roe vs. Wade was decided. I am my mom's first viable pregnancy. I was thinking about that today. My mom didn't have a crisis pregnancy as a teenager. She wasn't pregnant as the result of incest or rape. But she did have a pregnancy that threatened her life.
My mom's last pregnancy, I guess technically, would be considered an abortion. She had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy that could have taken her life had the doctor not removed the ovary and fallopian tube where her newly developing baby was growing causing the rupture of her fallopian tube and emergency surgery. I'm sure the folks who defend a woman's right to abortion would site my mom's situation as one of the reasons abortion needs to be a legal, medical procedure in the United States. I guess people will spin things the way that serves them best. The doctor did not perform an abortion to save my mother's life. He saved my mother's life by stoping the hemorrhage from a ruptured fallopian tube. The life that was growing in that dying place died as a result of that place being incompatible with human life. She grieved the loss of that life and three others who died before they could breathe outside her womb.
I've been thinking today about the fact that neither my mom, nor I have any idea what it feels like to be in a crisis pregnancy, but in thinking it through I've decided we both knew crisis in our pregnancies. My mom was pregnant for the first 7 years of her marriage and married to a mill worker who provided a home, food on the table, and a car to drive, but it wasn't fancy. Someone else in my mom's shoes may have felt she couldn't handle another pregnancy. It would cost too much. It could effect her health. It was emotionally distressing. I'm sure my mom felt overwhelmed. And each pregnancy did damage my mom's body and caused financial strain. She suffers this day from horrible varicose veins that were tremendously worsened by her 3 vaginal births and 7 pregnancies. My mom struggled with hormonal changes, depression and emotional distress due to having babies. And there were times I remember that she came home with a cardboard box of government issued cheese, rice, beans and canned foods because my dad was laid off work and her small hairdressing, babysitting, housecleaning and flower arranging jobs were not enough to feed a family of five.
I'm so thankful for a mom who gave of herself for my sake and the sake of my brother and sister and the 4 in heaven.
My Crisis Pregnancy
I wanted desperately to be pregnant 10 years into my marriage and was told I wouldn't conceive without medical intervention. My strained marriage didn't need a baby to support and so my husband was actually relieved to hear he wouldn't need to worry about that. But God heard my cries at 29 and I conceived Connor. My husband wasn't happy. I felt the weight of burden increase when Connor was born. My broken marriage was barely holding together and now we had a child to raise. My body didn't quite know what to do with itself in the months after Connor was born and at one point I was so sick the doctors thought I had Hodgkins lymphoma. But by the time Connor was a year old my body was starting to recover and I found out I was pregnant again. I'm sure that would be the point at which some might say I was in a crisis pregnancy. Maybe. I'd say it was 6 months later when my husband left me.
I was seven months pregnant. 28 weeks. Barely viable. I'm sure for some that would have been the crisis that led them to a Planned Parenthood where they would have been directed to make an appointment to terminate a 28 week pregnancy. Instead I was in a hospital getting turbutaline shots and Magnesium Sulfate to stop my preterm labor probably caused by the stress of my family falling apart. Ryland was my crisis pregnancy, but the crisis never led me to think I needed to end his life, rather it led me to call on the One who was knitting that life together in my womb.
My crisis pregnancy was where I walked with God like I never had before.
Hope and The Gospel of Christ
As I've been thinking about abortion in the United States today I've thought about how I can't identify with the women who are choosing this. But I want to.
I think my lack of feeling a connection with women who choose abortion comes down to hope. I have hope. I had hope. I knew who I was and Whose I was and so when crisis came when I was pregnant, and when crisis came when my mom was pregnant, we depended on the promise of God- that we are his children, that he would never leave us or forsake us and that he would work all things for our good.
And it's not just hope that is different in my case, it's the gospel. I knew the gospel of Christ when my crisis pregnancy came and I clung to it! Christ died to give us life. I believe that. And I believe that is the life we are made to live- a dying-to-self life. A mom's life is a bearing of stretch marks, weight gain, postpartum depression, grief and pain from babies who've died in our wombs and wombs that have died too. It's a bearing of varicose veins, hormonally induced hair loss, emotional instability, painful periods, financial strain, relational strife and a thousand other ways moms die daily to take up our cross and follow Jesus as we love our children more than ourselves.
The women who choose abortion have no hope outside what they can do for themselves and they don't see their life in Christ so that they know if they cling to their life (even at the expense of the life growing inside them) they'll loose it, but if they loose their life in a thousand ways everyday for Christ's sake for the baby that is being knit together in their wombs, they'll live!
Abortion is a Symptom
The thousands of abortions performed in the United States today weren't medically necessary abortions because a woman is hemorrhaging and a ruptured fallopian tube needed to be removed to save her life. The blood of our babies cries out because of our self-centered darkness. We kill our babies when we were made to die and suffer for them. Every life that ever lived was born by a woman. We were made to give birth to life though it rips us apart. We were made to be fed off of and give and give and give of ourselves that another might live and live and live. We were made this way because we were made in the image of God. Abortion is a symptom of the denial of that purpose. Without the conviction that were are image of God bearers we can create any sort of reality that suits us. But the truth is the truth. If we cling to our lives we'll loose it. If we keep killing our babies to save our lives it will destroy us. But if we loose our lives in the image of the One who made us, we will live. Even though we die daily.
Moms are The Giving Tree
Have you read the book The Giving Tree? You probably have. It's iconic. But if you haven't you should. The Giving Tree testifies to the fact that we know it noble and right to give of yourself even if it costs you your life. We know this enough to write a timeless children's book about it. Moms are the Giving Tree in the flesh! We are made to give life not take it. Even it when it takes life from us. Its beautiful. Its Christ-like. It honors the One who died on a tree to give us life!
I don't know exactly what I'm going to do now. But after thinking about this all day I know I want to be more conscious of the high calling I have as a mom to the 13 and 12 year old sons I'm still bearing. And I want to be part of stopping the women who are stumbling to the slaughter, blindly going against the Christ-like nature they were created to display.
The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. -Genesis 3:13
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. -1 Peter 2:21-24