*DISCLAIMER: this post used to be titled, “How I Changed from Pro-Choice to Pro-Life”. In the past year, friends and social work colleagues have enlightened me to the fact that it’s not as simple or “black and white” to “choose sides”. The terms “Pro-Choice” and “Pro-Life” mean different things to different people. The terms are often misused and misrepresented. So I’ve re-titled my post (and edited it) to better explain the heart of its message– the message that ALL life is precious. I’m not passing judgement on anyone; that is not my intention. I’m just trying to advocate that there is life in the womb (for those who believe there is not), and I’m also trying to advocate for love and grace to all, regardless of their beliefs or choices.
Today, Feb. 23, 2019, is a #DayofMourning. A day where thousands of people are gathered around the country to mourn, to pray, and to stand up for LIFE.
I am not a political person, and I rarely post anything political on my blog. In today’s society, if you say one thing, you’re often “grouped” with certain political parties or ideologies. I don’t claim any one ideology, political party, or religion. I claim Jesus Christ, and I try to follow Him the best that I can, though I falter and stumble along the way.
But this is not about politics. This is about our humanity. The topic of abortion has been weighing heavily on my heart over the past month, and I simply cannot stand by and remain silent. Not as a mother, a woman, and a follower of Christ.
I have drafted and re-drafted this post countless times. I have prayed and cried over it. No more revisions. No more second-guessing myself. I need to step out in faith and share what is on my heart. So here it is…
* *And if you’re reading this post, I urge you to read all the way through, because it’s important to me that you hear I’m advocating love for ALL life– the mother’s and the baby’s. There are two victims here, not just one. Two beloved children of God (mother and baby) who need our support, love, and advocacy. With that in mind, please keep reading. * *
Here are pictures of my two precious boys, each at 19 weeks of age in the womb.
I held my baby in my arms the other night. He’s three now, but he’s still my “baby.” And I wept. I silently cried as I gently held him, rocking back and forth, feeling his soft breath against my cheek. I cried thinking about the unborn babies who will never be held in their mother’s arms, being gently rocked back and forth.
I cried tears for all the mothers who experienced abortion. I grieved with them. These women (who chose abortion or whose doctors convinced them into it) were faced with difficult, scary decisions. I can’t begin to imagine their fear, heartache, and life-long emotional pain.
I wept and I grieved. But afterwards, I decided to write. I decided to speak up. To be a voice for the voiceless.
In my early college years, I didn’t have strong feelings about abortion one way or the other. This was during a time when I viewed unborn babies (especially during the first trimester) as “fetuses” and “embryos” and not real, living, precious children of God. I also didn’t fully understand what abortion entailed.
Or maybe I chose not to know— I chose to look the other way— because I was too scared to face the truth.
God changed my heart, and I started valuing life– all life– from the start of conception. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” (Matthew 19:14) He valued children and recognized their innocence. He asked us to become innocent like them and to have a childlike faith. And yet, here we are, trying to explain miracles away with science, replacing “life” and “baby” with the term “fetus”. The Bible says that John the Baptist “leapt with joy” inside the womb when he and his mother, Elizabeth, heard Mary’s greeting (Luke 1:41). The Bible clearly states there is life—JOYOUS life!— within the womb.
I believe that everything and everyone has a purpose, even an “unplanned” baby. To the world, the baby may be unplanned. But to God, he/she was planned from the very beginning and is beautifully and wonderfully made.
“For you 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. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139: 13-16)
A word about LOVE and being Pro-Life.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39.
Love God and love others. That’s the value system and ideology I want to live by. “Others” includes ALL humanity. Regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and any other “labels” humans place on each other—or sadly, divide each other with.
Love ALL humanity as yourself. Love ALL life. Life is a gift from God.
For everyone who is “Pro-Life,” I urge you to speak in TRUTH and in LOVE, not in hatred.
All life is precious. The mothers who chose abortion are still God’s beloved children, and God gave us free will to make our own choices. Who am I to judge anyone else for their actions? It’s not my place to judge. It’s my place to love and forgive. I am a sinner just as much as anyone else.
The doctors and nurses who perform the abortion procedures are God’s beloved children too. Keep in mind, some of them think they are doing what is best for the baby and mother; their motives and intent aren’t “evil” in nature at all. Far from it. As men and women of science, some of them may also have different opinions and beliefs about “when life begins.” I certainly did.
So what does it mean to me to be Pro-Life?
To be PRO-LIFE, for me, means we need to value the mother’s life as well, in addition to the baby. We need to do better, as a society and as a church, to support women through their pregnancies and to offer them life-saving options. We need foster families and adoptive families to accept and love these babies and for the parents (who are often minors themselves) to be loved and supported as well.
We need more programs to help families who have children and adults with special medical needs. Many of these families said “No” to abortion. Let’s support them and show the world how precious and valuable their children are.
We need a systemic change in helping families get out of poverty and to give children and teens healthy recreational outlets, keeping them away from substance abuse and prostitution. We need to instill self-worth into our kids, letting them know that they are valuable human beings who don’t need to be pressured into sex to “fit in” or to feel valued. We need to promote abstinence in addition to providing safe-sex education.
Lastly, but not least, we need to give grace and to forgive. We are all sinners, regardless of our actions or beliefs. We need to welcome our fellow brothers and sisters with open arms and show them Jesus’ grace and forgiveness. I truly and wholly believe that God works for the good in ALL things.
*And while we’re on the topic of forgiveness… I ask you, the reader, for your forgiveness if you read my original post (from February 2019) and were hurt by it or felt judged in any way. My overall intention was always to promote love for ALL life, but my original descriptions and discussion on the abortion procedure itself were graphic in nature, and I can easily see now how it was very insensitive, and how it could have had the potential of re-traumatizing someone’s own past experience with abortion. For that, I am truly and deeply sorry. Please forgive me. I did not mean to pass judgment on anyone, but it sure sounded like it when I re-read it months later. Going forward, I have been trying to use a more sensitive lens in what I write when it comes to very sensitive topics.*
So, in closing, being “Pro-Life” (to me) encompasses the “Love your neighbor as yourself” commandment. And how can we help the world become Pro-Life?
By sharing the Gospel of Jesus!
And we, the church, are to be His hands and feet, protecting the preciousness of life (both mother and baby) with which He has gifted us.
Let’s share JESUS with the world! Let’s stand up for LOVE and LIFE!