WARNING - I'm about to express my views on a very controversial subject. Please feel free to leave comments to chime in with your two cents, but I do ask that any comments be respectful and in good taste. I will remove any comments that are hurtful, attacking, or otherwise disrespectful. You don't have to agree with me, but I do insist on maintaining a civil atmosphere on this blog. Disclaimer finished.....thank you.
The A-word. That one word is so powerful - it has brought people to their feet and also brought them to their knees. It can drag you into a hell you never thought imaginable. Everyone has an opinion about abortion although some, like me, struggle to articulate it.
Many years ago, I was undecided on how I felt about this issue. I have a dear friend who chose to have an abortion when she accidentally got pregnant when she was far too young to be ready for it. I respect this woman and love her as a sister and her choice did nothing to tarnish that. Learning about her decision sent me into turmoil, however. Up until that point, abortion was what those "other" women did. You know....the ones who didn't know any better, the ones who weren't strong enough to handle it. I was dead wrong. You see, what I didn't realize was that the choice to have the abortion required more of my friend's strength than I ever thought possible and, contrary to popular belief, having the abortion does not "make it go away." She has never forgotten that decision and never will. She will forever wonder what/who that baby could have been.
Was it the right choice? That's the question that plagued me several years ago when I didn't know where I stood on this issue. Sure, I personally felt abortion was wrong, but were there exceptions? What about the young teenage potential mother who is years away from being able to provide? What about the mother whose child has been diagnosed with a severe defect or illness in utero? What about the woman who was raped and conceived as a result? What about the mother whose unborn child is threatening her life? These possible exceptions plagued me and my husband and I got into more than one "heated discussion" early in our marriage about where I stood on this issue. It wasn't until I started to really seek God's heart on the matter and then when I had children of my own that I finally was able to take a stand on one side of the fence.
What about the young teen mom? My friend wasn't ready, but neither was a member of my family (I'm going to remain vague here to protect identities) who ended up with a beautiful baby boy who is now nearly in middle school. It was hard work, she needed a massive amount of support from her family, but they made it work. Nobody is ever really "ready" to have a baby - you just make it work. If it truly is something that is impossible, adoption is a beautiful option in this situation. So many parents are out there just waiting for their babies. Read Sarah Mae's story at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee for inspiration from someone who has been there and found forgiveness.
What about the child who is diagnosed with a severe illness in utero? This one is hard. I had to show a video for a science teacher I was subbing for on genetics where the parents had twin girls with Cystic Fibrosis and then got pregnant again. They chose to test the fetus and found out it too would have CF so they terminated the pregnancy. Was that mercy? Was it the right choice? All I'm going to say on this one is that Evan and I chose not to do any genetic screening during either pregnancy because we knew we wouldn't do anything differently no matter what they showed. I also think of Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." God does not give us more than we can handle. Instead, he chooses our children specifically for us and us for them. Need a concrete, real world example? Check out Bring The Rain, a blog by Angie Smith. Read the story of her precious Audrey Caroline, the baby who wasn't even supposed to survive long enough to be born. Instead, God gave Angie and her family the gift of a few hours with their beautiful baby girl and the blog Angie started about Audrey has brought comfort, hope, inspiration, and faith to thousands of readers.
What about the woman who was raped and conceived as a result? It's amazing how God can create something so beautiful out of something so ugly. Read Heather's story on inCourage for a perfect illustration of this. I cannot begin to imagine the horror this situation would bring, but I find Heather's choice to keep her baby girl to be nothing short of heroic. It takes a lot of guts to trust God like that when it would have been so easy to place blame and accuse Him of abandonment.
What about the woman whose unborn child is threatening her life? I am not a doctor nor a theologan. I have absolute ZERO expertise in this area. All I know is that God placed more knowledge about these things into the minds of others so I therefore feel it is important to choose your caregivers wisely. My obstetrician is a Christian and yes, that was part of our decision to trust her in my prenatal care and the delivery of my babies. If something were to go horribly wrong, I want someone in my corner who also knows God's heart.
Questions will always arise with this issue. There will always be difficult questions with even more difficult answers. I guess how I feel about it comes down to this: God makes no exceptions with his love, so neither should we.
So, I open it up to you. Do you struggle with these issues too? How do you articulate your opinions?