I just read an article about abortion; and as I always do after reading such things I began to ponder the entire situation surrounding abortion.
I’m pro-life, and have a hard time wrapping my head around the thought of killing an unborn child. It turns my stomach to think of a woman volunteering to have her own baby cut out of her body and thrown away as trash. But that is an all too common practice, both here in the U.S. and around the world. I wish it weren’t. I wish I could make every mother and father love the life that they created together. But I cannot.
So, tonight as I washed dishes and thought about abortion I let my mind wonder over reasons women may choose abortion. And reasons so many feel it is their only choice at all.
Statistically, it is much easier to go about finding information on abortion, than information or resources to help a mother raise an unexpected child, or finding an adoption agency. I won’t bore you with numbers but suffice it to say, I have read many articles where people have researched or taken polls on the streets to learn what it is like to choose between life, and abortion. It is very much easier to google “abortion” and find a clinic, than it is to google “pregnancy help,” or something similar, and get a good outreach program or adoption agency. So, that is probably a huge reason women (particularly young women, and teenagers, I would guess) choose abortion. If there is so much information available so quickly for one choice, and the other choices take so much more digging; then panic kicks in and you go with the first choice — abortion.
Second, I would guess nerves probably get the best of many women (and men, because we don’t need to leave them out of this equation.) Raising a child is a HUGE undertaking. Perhaps these women look back at their own childhood and see pain, instead of a steady, guiding hand. They don’t know how to be a parent because they realize they were dealt a pretty crappy example in their own parents. Perhaps the reason for late term abortion is simply nerves on overdrive. “I thought I could raise a child, but I have a dead end job, my family has disowned me, I don’t know who the father is, the costs are going to cripple me…” Until abortion seems like the only way to survive. (Remember, self preservation is a hard-core instinct in all of us. We all worry about our own survival.)
As a society, and particularly as Christians, we have largely dropped the ball on caring for women at “risk” of abortion. Think about it for a minute. If a new family comes to church and they have a 16 year old, very pregnant daughter, how is that family welcomed? They aren’t. They are stared at. People whisper as they walk by. Nobody goes up and shakes hands with them all and then offers to help. Oh sure, they may pass the dad a brochure on family counseling. Maybe they even give mom sympathetic smiles. They may welcome the other children. But the one girl feels like the elephant in the room. And heaven forbid she walk into church alone. Things would only feel a million times more stressful for her. Even a young woman, pregnant, in her twenties that might try to attend a singles group would be judged in many churches. I don’t feel like we have any concept of how hard we make it on women when we act this way toward them for carrying a baby, and then we preach long and hard on the evils of abortion. We can not lean both ways! We can not.
To just step back a minute, all mothers need to ask themselves, honestly, if they have always felt “ready” to have and raise a baby. I know I sure as heck have questioned my judgment! I’m expecting baby number 3 and I still question “how on earth am I going to survive this? How can we afford this? Is this even the right thing for our family?” Having a baby is a BIG DEAL. Bringing a baby home is a BIG DEAL. Not only are there expenses to prepare for baby (and I’m talking minimal preparation — a few clothes, diapers, car seat, crib… expenses $$$.) There are doctor visits; how many of us want to go alone to find out what we are having, because mom and dad won’t talk to us, don’t know who the dad is… whatever? Not easy. There are medical bills, hospital bills, insurance questions, on and on, and on. I think most of us, who are currently moms, can all agree that we could not have survived even 9 months of pregnancy, let alone the first week or so at home, without some support. Not all of these women who seek an abortion have any such support. In fact, many do not. Instead they have a boy friend threatening to leave, a husband mad because he never wanted kids, maybe angry parents… Abortion seems like the only option.
I don’t have the answers to all of this. I really do not. There is one wonderful program that has really learned to stand behind women. Save the Storks is doing things right. They are offering real help, and real support. Showing women real options to these real questions. I love what they do, and encourage you to check them out here https://savethestorks.com/
I also think we, pro-life-ers, need to stand behind pregnancy outreach centers. I volunteered some at such a center when my husband and I were newly wed, and broke did not even begin to describe our financial situation. I wanted children but there was no way that it was the right time for us. We lived in an RV (cheap rent, by the way) I had a crappy babysitting job that barely paid $5 an hour, he worked part time and was going to school full time… broke. But I’d go volunteer when I could. And now I encourage others to give to pregnancy outreaches whenever possible. These places pretty much have to survive on grants because, obviously, they don’t charge for their services; and people aren’t just lining up to volunteer, or give money. Even donations of items — diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, toys, blankets, etc — are a huge help most of the time. And this is one way to get behind these women who may otherwise choose abortion.
We need to also remember our own resources and use them too. I have a great desire to help women through unexpected pregnancy. Some day I hope to be able to find these women and help them financially, either with a cash gift, or by taking them to buy things to prepare for a baby. Right now I am not able to do that, because money is tight. Just like it isn’t smart to jump in the water to save a drowning person, it’s much safer and more effective to rescue them with your own feet planted on the ground; now is not the time for me to try to “rescue” other mothers. I wish I could but right now all I can do is help a little, instead of a lot. I don’t say all this for a pat on the back, I just want others to catch the vision and look for ways they can help too. Maybe you are done having kids and could give your crib, swing, and other “gear” to a young mom. Maybe your kids are grown and gone but you could mentor and “grandmother” a new mother and child. Find a way to be a part of the solution.
My final thought before I go is a sad one. This is at the very end because I don’t have a solution for it. It breaks my heart, and I hope others can see how it is truly an issue and together we can work to correct the damage. Think of the children. The unborn children. The unwanted children. Where would they be, if they had not been aborted? We like to proclaim the great things these lost lives would have done…but who would have raised them to do those great things? If millions of babies have been aborted since abortion became legal; how many of those millions would have been foster care system statistics? This hurts to write, but we can not ignore that we have thousands of “unwanted” children already in the system. Where would thousands more go? What will we do to fix that broken system so that babies can be raised in homes with loving families, instead of in group homes, or tossed around between foster homes until they age out of the system? Think of the children.