I was out of town when I read a post that suggested that those of us who are pro-life may be calloused toward women and have lived comfortable lives distant from the pain of women in crisis. Given the gravity of the statement and the depth of my heart felt reaction, I opted to hold off on replying until I was home and had access to my files.
First, I sadly acknowledge that many in the pro-choice camp are most familiar with the legalistic and hard-nosed portion of the “Christian” world that condemn without insight. The same is true of the pro-choice camp that is only known by the rabid feminists who were the most sensational and offensive members of the women’s march in Washington. They are extreme and demand abortion at ANY point and for ANY reason during a pregnancy. Both camps are repugnant.
It is a mistake to assume everyone resides at either extreme. I concede many pro-choice advocates believe in limits and abortion out of compassion for the women involved. Though somewhat reluctant to resurrect the discussion, I have decided to make the case for those of us who are pro-life and not hate filled. Much of what is included here is about being a voice for others. We walk our talk in ways that are as diverse as the people and personalities involved.
Like my friend Doug , my husband and I have donated tens of thousands of dollars to the crisis pregnancy and single mom’s ministry in our region in the last 4 decades. Surprising how something done consistently adds up.
Mom’s House of Johnson City: For over 31 years, Mom’s House has been providing free childcare and other support services to low-income, single parents enrolled in an accredited educational program or trade school. Our goal is to enable these families to become financially independent and thus realize a brighter future. Education is the means to that end, and Mom’s House is there to give opportunity and ensure success.
Life Choices Center: offers pre and post abortion counseling, supplies, and mentoring: Risk Avoidance, Goal Setting, Sexual Health, Decision Making, Disease Prevention.
You can find both organizations online to evaluate their tone and scope. They are not merely there to guilt women into living on the terms of the organization but combined are there to go the distance.
I know the next charge that may rise. Yeah, it’s easy to throw money at a problem when you have more than you need to survive, but what do you know of the realities of living or being in crisis? Few have any knowledge of the life I have lived so I will offer a bit of insight to dispel assumptions. While completing my applications for law school, I visited my doctor because I had been feeling so ill. Imagine my surprise when she informed me that birth control had failed, and I was pregnant. Yeah, my first born should be exhibit “A” in a sex ed class. He beat all kinds of odds and is proof –life and birth control do not come with guarantees.
Yes, I was married, but a lifelong dream was on the line. I was angry; I was scared. Suddenly, my life was not my own and I was not in control. I had played by the rules, been responsible, worked hard at college, and this was not supposed to happen. I had plans; this was unfair! Then someone suggested I consider abortion.
Abortion was never a consideration. Fortunately for me, I had been well grounded in my faith. It kept me from making my situation worse by compounding a temporary emotional state with the aftershock of abortion remorse that can last a lifetime. I know this because of all the close friends who have not been so lucky.
I define love as acting in another’s best interest. Some sincerely believe abortion is an unfortunate but loving and compassionate answer for women in crisis. This, however, is a lie. Abortion does not serve the best interest of the child, the father, our society, or the mom.
The Christian world is filled with men and women who bought the lie that abortion was a quick and easy answer. Many sincerely believed that abortion would provide relief for themselves and women in crisis only to be devastated by the aftershocks. I have had some cry in my kitchen telling of the anniversaries they experience each year: the date the baby would have been due and the date they had the abortion. Others have gone for counseling and told me of the painful recovery they have endured and the funeral services they have held to come to terms with their loss and grief. One has even had the courage to tell her children what she did and written a book about her journey.
The Truth About Abortion No One Tells You (It’s NOT over when it’s over…) by Tina Chambers Smith available at Amazon
Some live in fear that their children will find out what they chose to do in a moment of weakness and desperation. They had an abortion BEFORE science revealed when the baby’s heart began to beat or when they could feel pain. Other’s little knew the horror of partial birth abortion procedures. Fewer still knew a baby could survive saline procedures and be born alive. These are harsh realities brought to light in the decades since Roe v. Wade.
Two of the most life changing encounters I have experienced were with a young woman from a horrific home life and another of a man from an indulgent background. I have heard many heartrending stories in my lifetime. Rose’s was the most daunting.
Rose was sexually abused from an early age by both her father and her brothers. At the age of 14, she found herself pregnant and with no idea who was the father. She did not have an abortion but opted to place the child up for adoption—not easy by any means. Her only regret some 15 years later was that the file was not open so that her child could contact her if she felt a need. Rose needed help with coming to terms with her anger at her predators. She needed to learn about setting boundaries which was a skill she had never acquired while growing up. She was not, however, filled with self-hatred and remorse. Rose was, instead, one of the kindest individuals I ever met.
Rob, however, was an entirely different story. He became sexually active at an early age and was in a long-term relationship through high school. When his girlfriend announced she was pregnant, he was ready to commit. She, however, was not going to have her plans for college interrupted and opted to have an abortion against his wishes. Her body; her life. To hell with what he wanted and had invested in the relationship or the baby.
The betrayal left Rob cynical and mistrustful of women and commitments. He became a serial hit and run artist. With an abundance of money and good looks, life became a marathon of sexual addiction, workaholism, and alcoholism. Eventually it resulted in an emotional collapse. When Rob sought me out, he was committed to rebuilding his life and did find the courage to face his past and break free. It had been a dark 20-year cycle though and had come at an exceedingly high price to himself and all whose life he touched. I could go on and on about others, but you get the point.
As for society’s stake in the game I will share these links that I have shared on other posts. I have stated that if a candidate has a shallow understanding of abortion, chances are they are wrong on the method and means to prevent them as well. To give help and hope to those at risk, some new messages need to be articulated to a culture saturated in “instant gratification.”
Sex education and contraception are not the answers. Look beyond the surface. Families are falling apart. Children of divorce have given rise to commitment phobias, declining marriage and fertility rates. It took 20 years of abortion on demand, for the harsh reality of life after abortion to hit the social psyche. The false belief that sex exists without consequences is exacting its toll.
Life takes who we are and refines it with the people and experiences we encounter. I became actively involved with teaching and lay pastoral counseling in my church. It was a growing congregation and reached about 1500 in members. I have taught the Boundaries in Dating course from Cloud and Townsend to teenagers and been the target of their outrage when I had the nerve to expect them to read the book and master the material. We ran small discussion groups with extra support teachers in addition to lecture sessions and even quizzes. If even one kid’s life was impacted for the better the effort was worth it.
I have taught adults the Boundaries and Safe People curriculums. If I have learned nothing else in working with people in crisis, it is that boundaries are alien concepts in our culture and that the ability to identify safe, non-toxic people is often rare! Victims of domestic violence are frequently caught in cycles of re-victimization because they are so unaware of these root issues and never acquire these skills.
I never did make it to law school. Other unexpected challenges and opportunities cropped up along the way. I made different choices. After being very active in our local public school for 6 years, I withdrew my kids and home schooled for 11 years. Certainly, this was not anything I anticipated while in high school or college.
The church I was involved with for so many years went through a “split” just as my last child headed off the college. The counseling ministry that I believed would be a full time effort was abolished—the equivalent of a local corporation being shutdown and the workers being displaced. Perhaps this is worse because it is like having and huge extended family decimated by divorce.
I launched a coffee shop/ outreach shortly after I recovered from surgery for a brain tumor. We gave it a valiant effort despite the severe economic downturn and accomplished good for a season. Unfortunately, it became unsustainable several years in.
I transitioned then into building a business in Florida with a friend named Ken. That was great fun and lots of work for several years until he was diagnosed with cancer. My job then was not only to keep the crews running and hire more office staff, but to help Ken endure treatment, handle doctors, cope with insurance challenges as Obamacare disrupted the medical world, and come to terms with death. He died in less than 7 months, at 45 years of age. The company became the target of an ugly takeover. Another one of those times when I sincerely wished I had made a way to fit law school into my life.
These are just highlights from a complicated life that has been blessed but far from charmed. It has had its share of failures, disappointments, setbacks, and losses. From the backside of reaping the benefits of growing up in a home with a full-time mom, my sons used to regularly claim I lived a misspent life. I had not acquire the trappings of “success”: no high profile, no titles, no massive bank account. To be honest, part of me agrees with them.
I know I have fewer regrets because I did not get completely lost in a career while the kids were at home—which would have been extremely easy for me to do. I also know I have tried to be there for others. Still, I have to admit I could have made choices that would have better leveraged my skills into helping more people once the counseling ministry was dismantled. Our choices do matter and I did not get it completely right. I have more to say about that at the following link.
This long reply is my attempt to challenge the false notion that pro-life advocates are necessarily calloused and judgmental. Many are like me. They have had firsthand knowledge of what a traumatic impact an unplanned pregnancy can have on life. Like me, their lives have not been charmed. They are my friends; they are empathetic; they are sometimes involved behind the scenes working and helping in meaningful ways. We recognize that well-meaning people support abortion, but we do not consider that a loving or a best answer for the woman, the child, the father, or society. What comes after abortion is often downplayed and devastating. We also see that the message of sex without consequences is fraudulent. It is tearing lives, families, and our nation apart.