Thursday, May 9, 2019

Thinking of Those Who Will Never Know Their Mothers

Another Mother’s Day is just a few days away, giving us another opportunity to express and demonstrate our appreciation. Not only to our moms, but also to the mothers of our own children, and all women who offer such devotion and sacrifice in caring for their sons and daughters. Thank you all, so very much!

But as the “pro-choice” vs. pro-life debate continues to ramp up, I can’t help but think of the millions of infants who will never celebrate a Mother’s Day, those unborn persons whose “moms” chose to end their lives in the womb.

Admittedly I have “skin in the game” when it comes to this: We have two grandsons whose birth mothers made courageous, selfless choices by bringing their babies to term and then, unable to take on the responsibility of raising a child, surrendered these little boys for adoption. We also have a son-in-law who, more than 50 years ago, was born to a teen-aged birth mother who also released him to be adopted, refusing to terminate her pregnancy.

How our lives would have been different if any – or all – of these birth moms had chosen to kill their babies before they were born. And because of these brave, noble decisions, two women unable to conceive biologically have had the joy and privilege of becoming “Mommy” or “Mom” to their sons.

I know terms like “kill” and “murder” for some are the equivalent of waving a red flag in front of a bull. Fighting words. Civil discourse and common sense are so lacking in this crucial issue. While it’s difficult to dissuade the opposition, the rights of the unborn must be defended.

Before one of our granddaughters arrived on the scene, we were delighted to see her ultrasound photo. The image of pre-born Brynn was at 23 weeks, still in her second trimester. Clearly she already had all of her parts – her head, body and limbs were formed. She just wasn’t ready for life outside the womb. No doubt, even at that stage of development, she was a baby, fully human, not fetal tissue just floating around in amniotic fluid.

It’s reported that abortion centers are reluctant, and often refuse, to show pregnant women ultrasounds of their unborn babies. When I’ve shown pro-abortion friends the ultrasound image of my granddaughter, they have looked away. Why do you think that is? 

Brynn was born five weeks premature, at 35 weeks, necessitating a stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) of Children’s Hospital. Even at that point, according to recent legislation, had she been born in states like New York or Virginia, she would have been eligible for “termination.” Looking at her lying in the incubator, tubes attached, growing slowly and gathering strength for going to her new home, it was hard to imagine how anyone could authorize ending such a tender, promising life.

Today that same little girl, now 2, is attending preschool, singing along with her favorite songs, learning colors, and brightening the room with her mischievous smile. 

Some would argue that since I’m a man, what right do I have to tell women what they should do with their bodies? To an extent, I understand such thinking. A pregnant woman is, after all, “inconvenienced” for nine months during gestation. And if she doesn’t want a baby, or lacks the resources to care for one, isn’t it more “humane” to end the pregnancy in the womb? 

Nothing, I believe, would have been humane about not allowing a little one like Brynn – or any child – to be born and be able to experience the opportunities of this wonderful world. Or begin to fulfill the potential of God’s unique design for them. 

As Psalm 139:13-16 beautifully expresses it, “For you [Lord] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb; I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well…. All the days ordained for me were written in your book, before one of them came to be.”

This isn’t the only place where the Bible talks about the life of the unborn. In the gospel of Luke, we see the response to Jesus by prenatal John, who would become known as John the Baptist: “…Mary got ready and hurried to the town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth [her also-expectant relative]. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby [John] leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:39-41).

How can we read such passages and assert the Bible says nothing about the personhood of the unborn or aborting them?

Even more tragic, in many cases there’s more than one victim of an abortion. In 2017, the Journal of American Surgeons and Physicians published a study of 1,000 women showing that for the vast majority of them, abortions had not made their lives better; many needed post-abortion counseling. 

Studies also have shown abortion can cause future infertility and miscarriage, and other medical studies have found post-abortive women run a higher risk of mental health disorders and substance abuse. These facts, of course, are typically ignored or excluded from the abortion debate.

So on this eve of Mother’s Day, I’d like to again congratulate all moms and wish them a wonderful day. We owe you much gratitude for giving us life. For those birth moms who have unselfishly offered their babies to be adopted by loving parents, thank you! You’ve made someone else’s Mother’s Day. And for women who have undergone abortions and suffered pain in the aftermath, may God grant you peace, comfort, and the restoring power of His grace and mercy.

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