How do young people today decide where to stand on the issue of legal abortion? The issue has taken on such heated arguments politically, religiously, and personally that it is hard to listen, read, or speak about where lines should be drawn, or when laws should permit or forbid the act of separating a pregnant woman from the unborn child she carries in her body. That is what abortion literally means, and the physical act required to remove the unborn child from the mother has profound consequences.
One of the reasons I think people have a hard time thinking and speaking about abortion is that is an unpleasant subject and that those people to whom we are speaking have such a variety of opinions, often hard held opinions, due to their political views or personal experience.
Considering the over 50 million abortions that have been performed in America since abortion-on-demand was made legal in the United States on January 22, 1973, it stands to reason that few families have escaped the trauma of deciding what to do when faced with an unintended pregnancy within their family. What families decide to do, I believe, becomes the basis for their family members’ hard held stance on the abortion issue thereafter. They preach it, they defend it, and they counsel others to do the same as they did.
I know that’s what I do. My family faced the challenge of unintended pregnancies that met the typical formula for unquestioned abortion: high school and college aged pregnancies. The future plans and careers of my children were suddenly at stake, balanced against the lives of very small, as yet undetected, unborn babies.
I was fortunate to have studied and thought deeply about abortion before I was presented with the circumstances that sought my advice and support one way or another. In one case, the couple married, only to have the child miscarried shortly afterward. In a second case, I quit my job and cared for the sweet baby while the mom finished high school and started college. In the third case, the child was raised in our home while her mom finished college. And our family celebrates the courage of another mom who carried her child to term and gave him up for adoption, a child we now number among our grandchildren.
Nothing makes these situations “easy”, but studying the issue and knowing where I stood before I personally faced the situation gave me an anchor in the storm. I did not seek the counsel of friends to help my child make a decision. I found that keeping silent as long as possible allowed us as a family to adjust to the new reality and face the comments and questions of well-meaning friends with a united front. The arrangements we needed to make to support the mom and her baby quickly took precedent over whatever criticism we might hear.
Recently I spoke to a woman that I had invited to come to a pro-life fund raising dinner. She said she came because she wanted to keep other young woman from doing what she had done. She was pregnant at age 17 and was afraid to tell her parents. Her boyfriend’s mother took her to a clinic to have an abortion. When her parents found out what had happened, they were heartbroken. If only she knew then what she knows now, she said. If only she knew.
And so, yes, my personal experience does inform and charge my stand for children, born and unborn, with certainty. And I know that other families have faced similar situations under different circumstances. But, more than anything, the sight of those special grandchildren, living, breathing, beautiful children, gives me joy … and causes me to recoil at the thought of what they would have suffered at the hands of an abortionist.
This issue is real. It is important to read about and pray about. To think about and speak about. It will not go away.
Here are a few books that made a difference to me in forming my opinion on legal abortion: Aborting America and The Hand of God by Dr. Bernard Nathanson; Abortion: The Silent Holocaust by John Powell. S. J.; Abortion and Slavery, History Repeats, by Dr. John Wilke; and penetrating articles in The Human Life Review: https://www.humanlifereview.com.