January 22, 2013

Being Born

40 years ago today, the Supreme Court handed down their decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion, and our nation has been divided about it ever since. It's still a hot-button issue that gets a lot of people fired up both in support and in opposition - especially whenever an election is coming up.
Some people see a legal abortion as a safe alternative for a woman in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, maybe particularly if the timing interrupts other important plans. Others would say that a new human life is more important than convenience.

Some would say an abortion is a humane choice when it's known that a child will have disabilities. Others would say that everyone deserves a chance.

Some would say it's unfair to expect a woman to raise a child born as the result of rape or incest. Others would say it's unfair to punish the child for something that wasn't his/her fault, either.

Some argue that the mother's life should be more important than the child's. Others argue that the child's life should be more important than the mother's.

Some say a woman should have the right to choose what to do with her body, regardless of the circumstances. Others say the child should have the right to life regardless of the circumstances. Still others say the circumstances make all the difference. Data from The Pew Forum shows that even now - all these years later - only just over half of Americans think that abortion should be legal in most cases.
Without getting too deep into it, I just want to say...

I'm happy to be alive!!!

According to The Guttmacher Institute, around the time I was born, the rate of abortions per year was at its peak. In the early '80s, 29.3 out of every 1,000 pregnancies in the U.S. ended in abortion (down to 19.6 in 2008). What's truly devastating is to realize that so far, there have been around 54 million legal abortions in the U.S. in the past 40 years! Being alive is a blessing!

I was an early reader... ;-)
My parents had no idea I'd be visually impaired until after I was born, but with the advances of modern technology, it scares me to think how many parents might find out their child is going to have some kind of deformity, and they might decide based on that info alone not to have the child.

Maybe they think it'll be too much work.

Maybe they're afraid they won't have the resources or the skills to handle a child with special needs.

Or they think they'll be doing the child a favor by not letting them live with the pain of being different.

Maybe they think it'll just be too painful to watch their child struggle - especially, perhaps, if there's reason to believe the he/she won't live very long.

I know life's not always a bed of roses, and I wonder how many times my parents may have felt like the burden of raising a child with special needs was just too heavy to bear. But by the grace of God, they did the best they could (or at least, that's what my mom tells my wife!), and I strive every day to be living proof that different does not equal disabled!

I firmly believe that even in the worst cases, those who find the strength to honor life will find blessings that make it worth the pain! But I don't presume to have all the answers.

To someone who might actually be considering having an abortion, I just want to encourage you that no matter what your reason is, you should remember: we only have a limited view from where we are. Sometimes things that seem bad can turn out better than we expect. Sometimes the reality of whether or not you can handle something is all about how you look at it - the right perspective is essential. And just because you decide you really can't keep a baby, that doesn't mean someone else wouldn't love to have it!  

Sometimes, giving a child up for adoption 
can be the most loving option of all!

Pray about it, talk to your doctor and your family, talk to a pastor. When you're dealing with another person's life, it's never a light thing. I pray that you make the right decision, and that you have peace.

To the rest of us... Sometimes I think we have this stereotype that the only women who get abortions are careless people who go out and sleep around all the time without thinking of the consequences, and then they just use abortion as an easy way out when they get themselves in a predicament. But I have to believe that for a lot of women, the decision of what to do is a complex and agonizing thing, and there are a whole host of reasons why they end up making the choices they make - some I'm sure I haven't even thought of! It can't be easy! And what they need most of all is to be loved, no matter what!

It may be easy also for Pro-Life folks to stereotype Pro-Choicers as evil feminist baby-haters, or for Pro-Choice advocates to see Pro-Lifers as hateful, uncaring woman-haters. But I pray we can all understand that this is a complex issue, and I hope we can remember to respond to each other with grace and mercy and love.


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