The pit-in-your stomach, heart stopping agony at seeing a tiny, severed arm being picked up by a pair of tweezers is truly indescribable and the farthest corners of my vocabulary cannot begin to explain the sorrow in my soul as I witnessed it, even on screen it was devastating. The tiniest of hands that only a few years from now could have waved cheerfully from a window like that of my 3 year old nephew when I come for a visit, the smallest of little feet that could have one day traveled the world, a teeny pair of lungs that never had the chance to breathe air, and an almost inconceivably small eye that was never able to see the smile of someone who loved him, all a bloodied, muddled mess in a petri dish being picked through like pieces of chicken on a butcher’s block.
Looking at the shattered pieces of that little boy my mind immediately went to what could have been. What was that man destined to do? Who was he to be? Now, some of you may dislike my use of the word “man,” but that is ultimately what we are talking about here right? The precious, little, soul attached to those now wretched limbs was meant to grow into a man, to experience and live life, to be shaped by his childhood joys and traumas, have dreams, ambitions, and passions to chase. But, this man wasn’t allowed any of it, every chance and choice was stolen from him and in a moment that must have been pure hell he was literally ripped limb from limb. Now to add insult to the highest of injuries this man’s organs are being picked through for usefulness, given a market price and sold. Does it make a difference to you to think of the little being as a man rather than a fetus? It shouldn’t…
At one point we were all in the place of that fetus, anyone in my generation or those since should count him/herself blessed to have made it out of that prenatal war-zone alive, that their foxhole wasn’t stormed, and they were granted safe passage into the world. Many were not so lucky and our world is changed because of it.
Maybe we lost the great leader of nations who would help guide America back to her glory days or the brilliant scientist with a mind built to discover great feats of medical advancement. Maybe there are now fewer Average Joes: hardworking, family types, who are the foundation of middle class America. Or maybe, we kept a few homeless off our streets, or cells empty in our prisons. In truth, even though we often use these arguments it doesn’t matter what that life would have amounted to, the cost of the loss is equally and utterly devastating. Every chance that little being had to grow and change and choose was stolen and our world is a darker place because of it.
Human worth is not dependent on what you do, how much you make, your contribution to society, or any other arbitrary factor. It is simply granted by being human, as soon as the sperm tunnels into the egg you are a chasm of untapped potential, potential that is uniquely you and will never be duplicated. Whether or not you meet this potential does not affect your inherent worth.
It is no wonder that as adults so many of us believe love must be conditional, that our worth is dependent on how good we are, how smart we are, or how much we are wanted.
As I scroll down my facebook feed on almost any given day I can see pregnancy announcements, gender reveal party pictures, or descriptions of the size of the unborn child as compared to fruits and vegetables. All of these “fetuses” have one thing in common, they are wanted. So that begs the question, are these children inherently more valuable than others because they are desired? Certainly not, but somehow we treat them as such.
Nothing in the child is different between the one blessed to be in the womb of the woman who excitedly opens a box and dodges pink or blue balloons as they flutter past her smiling face, and the one whose mother feels helpless, alone, and unable to continue on the road she has found herself. Yet, we treat them so differently. We are willing and ready to celebrate with one family and shrug off the removal of an unfortunate accident for another. Until we resolve this within ourselves, we will never have peace or rest in our society on this issue. So what is the answer?
Love! And yes I know how cheesy that sounds. In fact, as I type this I am hearing The Beatles “All you Need is Love” running through the back of my head and my inner voice is gagging on the gigantic cheese puff I just offered you. Unfortunately though, sometimes the truth is cheesy. No one ever came to Christ because you beat them with a Bible, called them names, or yelled in their face. We absolutely should be excited with our “expecting” friends, we should rejoice over the new life at every opportunity. And the broken, sad woman on the way to the abortion clinic? Love her too! She may need and appreciate it more than your friend on facebook.
We will never win the abortion battle if our strategy is judgement and anger. Love, compassion, and understanding are the only tools that matter. To the mother of the little boy in that dish, I don’t hate you. If you weep, I weep with you and for you. It breaks my heart to think that you may have felt you had no other option and I want all women in your shoes to know how deeply loved they are and their great worth in the eyes of their Heavenly Father. I want them to feel empowered to face the road ahead of them, no matter how utterly terrifying life may seem.
We often do this very well in the pro-life movement, there are so many crisis pregnancy centers with volunteers willing to listen with love and help where and when they can, there are programs to give pregnant women in crisis housing and support through the pregnancy and birth, as well as charities whose heart is with single mothers throughout their child raising years. We know how to win with love and do so daily in little ways. It is when these scandals appear that we sometimes forget.
The church, the pro-life movement, the world is filled with imperfect people doing our best in an imperfect world. We cannot let anger fill our hearts and judgement leave our lips, especially when the control of it is most difficult. Why would Mary Magdalene change her life and follow Christ? Love. Why would Peter walk away from his livelihood? Love. Why would a man allow himself to be nailed to a cross for sins the rest of us committed? Love.
It is ok, appropriate even to be devastated by the loss abortion has brought upon this country. Allowing love and sadness to replace judgement and anger in our discussion of abortion and Planned Parenthood seems small, but it is vital to appropriately help the suffering women and allow our country to understand our heart and hurt where abortion is concerned. Anger is easy…and when was the easy road really the best road?