The year was 1983 and my mom was in turmoil. While walking around the neighborhood, thoughts flooded her mind, a battle of “what-ifs” pulling at her heartstrings. Her doctor just told her to have an abortion because she had received x-rays not knowing she was pregnant. The doctor advised her to terminate the pregnancy on grounds that her baby (me) may have deformities due to radiation exposure. My mom knew all along that she couldn’t go through with killing her unborn child, but that fact didn’t stop the doctor’s voice from ringing through her head. This was before the widespread use of ultrasounds and decades before genetic testing was done. My strong mother rejected abortion and I was born perfectly healthy, praise be to God.
The point of this story is not to say “I was almost aborted.” My mom had the resources and support to say no. But, my mother was in an extremely vulnerable place and the doctor that she entrusted with both her life and mine, and whom she had held in high regard, told her that the presence of a disability meant my life was not valuable enough to be lived. Additionally, such a “diagnosis” and advice told my mom that she could not handle a less-than-perfect child. Whose children are perfect, anyway?
Without faith, education, resources, and support, I can see how many women in crisis choose abortion instead of allowing their child a chance at Life. These women are in the most vulnerable position of their lives and places like Planned Parenthood offer them a way “out” through an alleged “quick and simple” procedure, moving “on” from your worst nightmare.
But what abortion clinics do not tell these women is the full story: they do not tell you that most women will carry that “little” procedure on their hearts for the rest of their lives. They do not tell women that an abortion decision will undoubtedly impact their self-esteem, their future relationships, their faith, and many times even their chances of again becoming pregnant. The repercussions of such a decision are never discussed at Planned Parenthood. In fact, their website claims “For the majority of patients, emotional responses after an abortion are positive and women are able to move forward with their lives” (PlannedParenthood.com). They offer pre- and post-abortion counseling for a fee, but how can you expect quality, unbiased counseling from providers that profit from selling you a procedure?
Enter Pregnancy Resource Centers. Unlike Planned Parenthood, pregnancy resource centers are committed to loving both of their clients – moms and babies, educating their clients and providing actual, tangible resources and support desperately needed by the women who seek their services.
I volunteered at a Pregnancy Resource Center not long ago. What I witnessed were incredibly loving, Christian women walking alongside other women in crisis pregnancies, offering them hope for their lives and the lives of their precious babies. From the moment those women and men come through the door, they are greeted with a smile and shown respect. Pregnancy Resource Centers offer free pregnancy tests. Free ultrasounds are offered for parents to see their baby for the first time and determine age, and counseled on their needs and their options. Clients receive information about their baby’s development, are counseled on proper diet and nutrition, and are shown how to apply for Medicaid and which physicians in the area accept Medicaid. If parents lack adequate supplies for their babies, they are directed to organizations that provide diapers, wipes, clothes, formula, etc. In Texas, we even have a car seat program available to families in need. But help’s not just hand-outs. Most pregnancy resource centers also provide birth, nursing, and parenting classes. As an incentive, some of the centers award free gifts for every class attended, or “dollars” that new moms can use to earn baby supplies. If the client chooses to place her baby for adoption, the center helps match her with an adoption agency. The goal of most of these centers is to love the clients like Jesus would. No matter what they choose.
We are called not to judge others, but to walk hand-in-hand with those suffering. I feel horrible for what women who have chosen abortion have endured, and for what they have lost. As Christians, we are called to love on these women. Jesus demonstrated this wholly by befriending and loving those who were most weak and vulnerable. In Colossians 3:12, the Apostle Paul writes “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
My mom was in a vulnerable position, but I am so grateful that she was grounded in her Christian faith and that she had the resources and support she needed to say no to abortion. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most women in crisis pregnancies. In fact, the culture of today celebrates and promotes abortion. To counter these forces, those of us who stand for Life must be bold in our faith and our convictions and support people and organizations that will love and support women in crisis pregnancies – before, during, and after their pregnancies.
I am not Pro-Life because of my story. I am Pro-Life because I believe three simple things. I believe that Life begins at conception. I believe that God created Life. And I believe that we must protect God’s most precious creation.
If you agree, please join me by:
– supporting a pregnancy resource center in your area;
– praying for women and men in crisis pregnancies; and
– supporting Pro-Life candidates at the state and federal levels.