Each One and Only Face

We’ve passed another March for Life, another hopeful milestone in the woefully long, dark, despicable history and practice that is abortion in America. I’m left thinking about fear, and choices, and money, and the priceless uniqueness that is every human being.

First, the money. Rhett Butler put it brutally but accurately in Gone With The Wind, when he explained that when civilizations die, there’s “fast money in the crack-up.” No one can see the abortion industry in our country without seeing the vast money-making behemoth that is Planned Parenthood. It is our modern-day Confederate speculator, exploiting the desperate to build untold wealth, culpable and guilty of the death of innocents, while cultural destruction goes on all around.

But it’s not quite fair to highlight the pecuniary focus of Planned Parenthood without noticing all of the other organizations that turn a profit off of abortion. There are pharmaceutical companies that make abortifacient drugs and contraceptives. Then there are all the clinics and schools–oh, the schools!–that parrot the mantra of sexual “freedom” without responsibility. Responsibility, most notably, to any human being that might result from all the “liberating” trysts that individuals are “entitled” to. Just like our entertainment industry trumpets, “real” life is about career–oh, the schools!–and travel and fun! And to miss this self-indulgent life, or to jeopardize the illusion of its appeal it by having to deal with pregnancy, child-bearing and child-rearing, is unutterably terrifying to many in our culture.

Fear and money go together. Christians know that life and stability and dreams lie not in financial transactions or material comfort, but boy, even we fall prey to the allure of dough’s promise when we get stressed. It’s like that tongue-in-cheek old phrase: “Money isn’t everything, but it sure does help.” And we see children as burdens, as ciphoners of our treasure, as unbearable weights on our personal autonomy, or at the very least as killers of our ability to survive a harsh world. Yes, we can turn even helpless, microscopically or less-than-ruler-sized small children into killers–of our dreams, of our relationships, of our idolized futures. We have so feared that abominable fate, the idea that what we have desired might be thwarted by a child, and we grasp at the promises of money that will free us from that horror.

Here’s a prime example. This montage of me-first messaging for the contraceptive Beyaz unironically intones, “You know what you want today. But you never know what you might want tomorrow.” And what do the smiling models “want”? They want to shop–for grad school, for travel, for all kinds of modern goals. But they all skip over the stork. Their wants are invariably presented as neat and tidy market options. Babies aren’t in these girls’ presents, or even their futures (remember the opening line? I guess babies don’t even make the “I didn’t know I wanted that” list for Tomorrow.) They’re the one priceless gift actively–and in the case of hormonal contraceptives–specifically, even vehemently, avoided.

Even more, it is a strange, infinitely sad time we live in that so many of our leadership class discuss openly and even proudly shout their own abortions. Only a people that has denied God and is still shackled with shocking, unavoidable decay can embrace Death as though it is a friend and a savior. Death becomes the only meaning and the only answer when fear hits.

And when Death is the answer, life itself is flat and uninspiring. The revelatory images of prenatal ultrasounds, among many other examples of humanity, must be rejected and ignored. How can we possibly look at a wholly unique face, one that cannot be replicated, and deny her worth?

Caitlin Flanagan recognizes this. In “The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate,” she writes:

A picture of a 12-week fetus is a Rorschach test. Some people say that such an image doesn’t trouble them, that the fetus suggests the possibility of a developed baby but is far too removed from one to give them pause. I envy them. When I see that image, I have the opposite reaction. I think: Here is one of us; here is a baby. She has fingers and toes by now, eyelids and ears. She can hiccup—that tiny, chest-quaking motion that all parents know. Most fearfully, she is starting to get a distinct profile, her one and only face emerging. Each of these 12-week fetuses bears its own particular code: this one bound to be good at music; that one destined for a life of impatience, of tap, tap, tapping his pencil on the desk, waiting for recess.

Such a beautiful recognition of irreplaceable humanity, this. And yet Flanagan, in trying to show the true and crippling fear that motivates many women to abort, fails to remember the truth of each baby, the distinct profile of each one and only face. In her article, she stays in that gray area of fear instead of telling the truth: that we cannot let fears dictate our choices, especially our power to kill our own children.

I wish Flanagan and those like her would read pieces like this one by my friend Aubri, who writes in “Did God Really Say Children are a Blessing?”: “It’s hard not to want to make decisions based on the whims of my feelings, based on whether or not I think children are worth it or whether or not I can prove to anyone that my life as a mother to many children is good. 

The fact is God says children are worth it and that they are good gifts” (emphasis Aubri’s). Fear is real, as Aubri knows. But it is not the end, and it does not dictate what is good.

Screenshot of photo by Jeff Malet of the Daily Signal.

I was so heartened to see all of these signs at the 2020 March for Life. The ones of people who could have been aborted, but whose mothers backed out at the last minute, saving their lives. The ones, like the one above, that remind us that fear can’t drive us to destroy each other. The ones of honest and brave post-abortive moms and dads. The ones that testify to the pricelessness of life. All of the people whose faces we can see and appreciate as unique.

I have been so blessed to see my children grow, both via ultrasound and in the flesh. I love the picture above, of our oldest living child, kicking his foot up at just the right time to be captured in an ultrasound photo. He was 22 weeks old when that picture was taken. And now, at nearly twelve years old, he continues to surprise us. He, and each of our sons and daughters, have their own faces and bodies and souls, just as every person does. The ones that are still with us here sing and tap their pencils. They change every day, even a little. They are themselves, and they are miracles. We should see all children and people this way, and we must remember this as our days pass by. We must remember this to love each other as Christ has loved us.

When Time Runs Short

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!

Wait for the Lord;
   be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

~ Psalm 27:13-14

What happens when time runs short for a child? How do we wait?

On Monday, July 8, Jon and I visited a high-risk pregnancy doctor at an exclusively high-risk practice in Denver after receiving a referral from Dr. M. We met Dr. L, a friendly man in his 60s, who introduced himself. Then he sat at the ultrasound monitor, explaining that he was going to show us some things. But then he turned back to us, looking directly at me.

“The first thing I need to tell you,” said Dr. L, “is that you didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t use the wrong shampoo. You didn’t stand too close to the microwave. You didn’t eat the wrong thing. You didn’t cause this.

“And the second thing,” he said more quietly, “is that there’s nothing we can do.”

That’s when all of our fears from the prior month were confirmed. Our son, Christian, had less than a five percent chance of survival, and he would probably not live long in my womb. Dr. L told us to go back to Dr. M for checks at least every two weeks. If you were my daughter,” he said, “I’d probably fit you in once a week. Just to see if Baby is still alive.” We spoke about another high-risk appointment in a month or so, maybe even meeting with a cardiologist, but both Jon and I felt like that talk was perfunctory, a going-through-the-motions. Neither of us felt like Dr. L thought we would need that appointment.

At the front desk, as the receptionist and I discussed dates and times, I was acutely aware of the mothers waiting behind me. I tried to speak calmly, normally. The last thing they needed was to see a distraught pregnant woman, a fulfillment of their own fears. And the last thing I wanted, at that moment, was to be that mom, the one who’d just received heart-shattering news.

***

So what did we do? Jon and I decided that, as long as I felt physically able, we would to try to maintain our normal routine. This would help us cope, it would help our other children, and it would give Christian what we hoped was a little bit of normal life. The day after our meeting with Dr. L, I took the kids to a parade. It was jarring, and unreal, but it was also life. I watched the little ones run for thrown candy and mesmerizingly watch four-wheelers and tractors and floats. It was sunny and warm. We were together.

We kept on. During quiet time when some of our kids napped and others quietly played or read books, I read a book about continuing pregnancy when Baby is not expected to live. I usually cried. I cried in the shower and at night as I prayed. I would talk to Christian. “I’m sorry Mommy is crying so much. I love you.” And I talked to him about his siblings. “Boy, your big sister sure is loud sometimes, right? She loves her blanket. You hear her yelling about it a lot. She likes to snuggle with you.” She did, and she does. “‘Nuggle?” she says. “‘Nuggle?” Then she climbs over me with her blanket, her Dida, nestles right above my belly, and comfortingly puts her finger in her mouth.

During the other times of the day, right after the news, life was quietly blessed. The kids and I sat on the patio swing or porch rockers, sometimes talking, sometimes reading, sometimes just sitting. We went swimming. We visited with friends at parks and on a few playdates. We are with generous friends who brought us food. We went on walks together. We sang songs. We watched movies together and ate ice cream and popcorn. We read books like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. We went to the library. We laughed together when Jon would wrestle with the kids, them screaming in glee. We prayed together and read Psalms. We went to church and received Jesus together. We snuggled a lot.

I would get emotional sometimes, and occasionally the kids noticed. “I’m just sad because I’m thinking about Baby Christian,” I would say. “But I’m glad we have time together.” Unfailingly, they would speak of how they loved him and prayed for him. Sometimes they would just hug me, and in hugging me, they would hug him.

***

At sixteen weeks, a week and a day after we met with Dr. L, I dressed up as though for church and went to see Dr. M. to see if our Christian was still alive. Jon came, too. We spoke together with Dr. M of what will likely happen, which includes induction after finding out Christian’s heart stops beating, to me suddenly going into labor with no warning. Finally, I climbed up on the table, and Dr. M got out the Doppler. I expected to hear nothing–no heartbeat. I expected to hear that our son was dead. This is what I wrote after that visit.

“The relief and joy at hearing our son’s heartbeat–I can hardly describe it. Hours later, I’m still joyfully incredulous, delirious on the high of knowing he is still alive. Our son is still alive. Every moment is precious. Yes, if I think about what will probably happen, and soon, I am terrified. At the same time, I was reminded today that only God knows our times, and they are in His hands. I pray we can cherish every moment, and every day, that he is with us.”

***

Outside of the doctor visits, life was–I don’t want to say simple, but it was simple. Eating. Drinking. Thinking. Talking. Chores. Visits. So often, simple moments were charged. The hidden thought was always there: this is probably one of the last times/the only time Christian will be here for this. Playing Horse with our rising fourth-grader and laughing at how bad Mom was at taking shots. Poking toes in the sandbox. Grocery shopping. Brushing the girls’ hair. Tickling the little boys before bed. Talking on the phone in the kitchen. Every day, and every week was poignant, but mostly in a cherishing kind of way. This time is special. Only occasionally would I fall apart, thinking of what would never be. Seeing a plane pass overhead on a drive home and thinking, “He will never be a pilot.” Tousling my eldest boy’s unkept, sun-lightened hair and thinking, “He will never stand next to me like this.” The tears would run and run down my face the way they are running now. But I needed those moments like I needed the crazy herding kids “where-are-your-shoes-we-need-to-go-NOW” moments. They were, and are, all tied together.

***

At seventeen weeks, last week, I experienced some cramping and spotting prior to my appointment. I went in, again with Jon, fully expecting to hear no heartbeat. Once again, Christian surprised me. That time, I was shocked–actually dumbfounded–that he was still alive. Once again, we had an ultrasound to see our son.

“See his feet here?” Dr. M pointed out. We marveled at his tiny toes. But I could see that something wasn’t quite right. “You can also see how they’re swollen,” she went on gently. Our son has been slowly swelling with excess fluid, most likely because his heart isn’t strong enough. It’s like congestive heart failure in adults, who deal with bloating and water retention. I had worried about pain for him and asked Dr. M before about that, not sure if I even wanted to hear the answer. What could we even do about it? But she had explained that as a baby in utero, Christian’s nervous system wasn’t fully developed yet, so he likely wasn’t feeling pain. “Also, this is his normal,” she said. “He’s never known anything different.” As I looked at his feet, for the first time I thought, You need heaven.

***

Yesterday. Another week, another appointment. We were silly, waiting with the big boys who’d just had dentist appointments, telling them a story about me that made them embarrassed, grinning, and acting like they didn’t want to hear any more. They stayed in the waiting room when Jon and I went back.

Instead of the Doppler first, due to a nurse shortage, we had an ultrasound. We saw Christian right away, a white figure moving in the black on the screen. His heart thumped. Da-dum. A pause. Da-dum. Another pause, a little longer. Da-dum.

Both Jon and I thought, “Maybe Dr. M isn’t holding the wand right.” We all watched Christian move for a moment, the lines from the erratic beating creating a messy pattern below him, the sound of his heartbeat a pausing, uncertain staccato-like sound. Then Dr. M said quietly, “So you can see how his heartbeat is irregular.” My eyes blurred, and tears ran down my cheeks.

This was stark and real. Christian’s slowing heart was telling us the end of his time on earth was fast approaching its end, and though we’d expected this, I suddenly ached, almost gasping. No! Not yet! my heart screamed.

I pulled it together. In spurts, I managed to ask, “Is there any way to know how long he could make it?” Dr. M was already shaking her head. “His heartbeat could have been irregular before, and we just missed it. Or it could have just started its irregularity. He could last a week or just a day–we don’t know.”

***

That happened yesterday, at our third weekly appointment since our meeting with the high-risk doctor in Denver. Today, I will see Dr. M again, to see if Christian is with us. If he is, I will go in more regularly. I no longer feel comfortable with weekly checks. I know we don’t have that much time.

If Christian has died, between yesterday and today, I will be induced to go into labor, and the last part of Christian’s life on this earth will commence. This has all been so surreal and yet real at the same time. I don’t really want to sleep–I want to be awake as long as he is with us. As I write this, I think I just felt him kick. That started last week–the fluttering kicks of his quickening. I never thought I’d experience that. It is an extra gift, just as he is.

After the appointment yesterday, through my choking sobs, I spoke to Christian. “You’re going home soon, Baby. Home to Jesus. He loves you more than all of us combined.” He died so Christian will live. His body will be perfected and on the last day, he will rise with a terrifically strong heart. The kids gave me hugs last night as we told them Christian’s time was short with us. “Tell him you’ll see him again,” I said. “We love you, Baby!” our five-year-old yelled. “See you in heaven!”

So we wait now, not knowing what today will bring. We wait knowing while our time here in earth is short, we will live forever in Jesus. There with Him, we will have all the time in the heavens. And He will wipe every tear from our eyes.

Small Beginnings and Why They Matter: One Story

The pro-abortion news from New York, Virginia, Illinois, and Vermont in 2019 has thus far illuminated a distinct lack of empathy for–even outright hostility toward–small beginnings. It’s horrific to see the spectrum of enthusiastic responses for abortion, from overt support toward death by negligence to the celebration of small lives intentionally destroyed. At the same time, such responses show the true murderous reality of abortion. Abortion has always been about snuffing out inconvenient or fragile lives for the sake of preserving the autonomy of the mother, father, or other adults.

This year, Americans can’t pretend that other motives, more practical or even “altruistic,” provoke the murder of our children. As Hans Fiene has written, abortion supporters have found themselves, intentionally or not, climbing what amounts to an enormous skyscraper as they’ve had to justify increasingly more barbaric practices for the sake of preserving abortion. Now, even infanticide is okay.

Our very own U.S. Senate, just this week, blocked a bill that would require doctors to provide care to children born alive after botched abortions. Abortion advocates insist that such a bill is unnecessary because infanticide is illegal. They purposely misinterpret this bill. Abortion–and tellingly, abortion up to the moment of a child’s birth–is now legal in parts of the U.S. (see above). And so now doctors are faced with terrible quandaries. They must preserve the life of infants in every situation they encounter them–except after abortions. Some lives, it seems, are more deserving of care than others.

This entire debate has always passionately interested me, mostly because I was taught–and I deeply believe–that every human being, from the moment of conception, deserves a chance at life, no matter how difficult or short that life might be. It’s occurred to me in the last month or so, though, that as abortion supporters are attempting to codify limitless access to abortion, and by extension, encourage infanticide when it’s connected to abortion, I need to share my own small beginning. My story is just one example, among many, of what can happen when doctors and other medical personnel strive mightily to give even very small children a chance to live.

Our Birth Story

Last weekend, I came across some family papers. They included family trees, copies of old documents, things like that. One of them was a November-December 1981 copy of Hi-Lines, a publication of Illinois Power Company (which has since been bought by Amren). My father, Stephen, worked for Illinois Power in the 1980s. On the cover of this particular issue was a picture of him, my mother Talitha, and my twin sister Amilia and I.

L-R: Amilia, me, Mom, and Dad.

The title of the article in which we were featured was “The Most Precious Gift.” At the beginning, the columnist Glenda Collins wrote, “Each of us possesses this gift, but many of us take it for granted acting as if ‘we’ are in control of the situation. This gift is as fleeting as vapor… here one minute and, without warning, gone the next. No human can give this gift, but many are guilty of taking it away from others. When given, this gift is accepted without thought or choice. The most precious gift is… the gift of LIFE!”

I wonder if most people in state of Illinois even believe Collins’ comments anymore.

My parents found out in May of 1981 that my mother was expecting. In August, they found out they were expecting twins. In October, right before they were supposed to begin their prenatal classes, my mother went into labor at about 29 weeks–at the very beginning of her third trimester.

Thankfully, Mom was able to receive care at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which included a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). She was given intravenous (IV) drugs, then oral medication, and then IV drugs again in multiple attempts to stop labor. After some tests, doctors confirmed that the babies’ lungs were undeveloped. My parents were told that if labor didn’t stop and their children were born, the babies could be blind, that they could have permanent disabilities, and that, frankly, they could die. The doctors gave the babies’ chances of survival at between 25-50%.

My parents were overwhelmed. Mom was 22, and Dad was was 25. As they prayed, they struggled. Mom remembered: “[We] couldn’t rejoice in the fact of two new lives because we weren’t sure if that was what God had chosen for us. I guess that’s the hardest thing to ask God; for strength to accept His will.”

Just over twenty-four hours after my mother was admitted to the hospital, her labor was unstoppable. My dad remembered what happened next.

By 8 p.m., in the words of the doctor, ‘the party was over.’ The labor and delivery ward went from calm to a ‘controlled’ pandemonium. The doctor was a general in the midst of the battle…directing his personnel in strategic moves which had been made many times before.

Emotions in the waiting room hit a new high. In times of great uncertainty, especially when the matter becomes life or death, one turns to God. Everyone has probably experienced the feeling whether it is the life of a friend, relative, or even your own life. Now I was asking God for two lives. ‘Thy will be done’ almost caught in my throat. I felt selfish asking God for both babies. I didn’t want to accept the possibility of one life without the other.

“The Most Precious Gift,” Hi-Lines. November-December 1981.

At 8:19, I was born. I weighed two pounds, eleven ounces. My sister was born at 8:20. She weighed one pound, fourteen ounces. Each one of us could be held in a palm of our father’s hand.

Me, in an incubator after birth.

We spent months in the NICU. Countless nurses, doctors, and other dedicated medical personnel cared for us. Relatives poured out support and help to my parents. My sister developed hydrocephalus in her brain and underwent several procedures before receiving a ventriculoperiteneal (VP) shunt to correct the blockage. She had to have surgery as a small child to have the shunt lengthened, which was successful. Amilia will always live with the shunt. She also developed viral pneumonia just after being released in late 1981 and had to be airlifted back to the hospital for treatment. Thankfully, she fully recovered. In early 1982, we were both finally at home with my parents.

Thirty-seven years later after our traumatic birth, my sister and I are not blind. We have no disabilities. We survived, and we believe we have thrived, in the quotidian ways of millions of Americans. We are college graduates. Both of us are married and cherish our families. We work at jobs and engage in our communities. We both have always lived with deep gratitude that we live. It would have been so easy, so remarkably easy, for us to have died.

Though we live far apart, Amilia and I talk regularly about our lives, books, culture, and our shared Lutheran faith. We have no doubt that God has blessed us with our lives, and that He has directed the hands of many hundreds, if not thousands of others, to preserve them.

L-R: Mom, Amilia, me, and Dad.

What happens to small beginnings now?

In 1981, no doctor could fully foresee the kinds of challenges and blessings that lay in store for my sister and I. And the fact is, aside from speculating to my parents about certain risks we faced, the doctors who cared for my sister and I never tried to argue that our lives weren’t worth saving. It wasn’t even a conversation. For one thing, U.S. and Missouri law prohibited them from wrapping us in blankets and leaving us in a corner to die. For another, the ethical oath of their practice, a version of the Hippocratic Oath, bound them to do right. One early translation of the Hippocratic Oath reads: “I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm.” Our physicians assumed, as doctors have historically always done, that their jobs were to use all of the skills and tools at their disposal to keep us alive, regardless of the outcome.

But what happens now when children are born alive who, just a moment before, physicians were trying to kill? I can hardly believe that doctors would be so callous and unloving to deny care to any child. But then, doctors have been actively killing children in utero for decades. It is not a bridge too far to see that children ex utero will likewise be targeted for death, whether through intentional harm or passive neglect. Both options are abhorrent beyond belief.

And then there’s the parental role in baby death. My parents had no idea what kind of lives we, their daughters, would have in 1981–if they would be short or long, if they would include ongoing medical treatment. They were frightened by the prospect of our deaths, but also by the possibility that we would live with terrible physical or neurological problems. My sister and I can rest in the knowledge that even if my parents had somehow been given the choice to determine whether we would receive care and thus live or die, they would have chosen care.

But many parents now hold both the awesome and appalling power to both choose death for their small ones deliberately through abortion and passively through neglect. It breaks my heart that doctors in several states in our country will now be obligated to cease treatment for babies like my sister and I due to the fears, both real and speculative, of the mothers and perhaps fathers of those babies.

1983. Me, on the left, looking thrilled. Amilia, on the right, admiring some grass.

And as a mother myself, I empathize with mothers and fathers who believe that aborting their children is their best choice. Birthing and raising children, no matter their health needs, is hard. But my empathy does not extend to support for death. We can all acknowledge that life itself is hard. Ending the lives of helpless children of any age or condition is neither caring nor loving. Too many of us are afraid of what might happen. We fear that our unborn child might need expensive or involved care. We fear that she will suffer physical or other pain. We fear that he will die and we won’t be able to handle it. We fear that whatever might happen might just be too much for us to take, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. These are the fears that can overwhelm us, that can make abortion seem necessary, even merciful.

History can guide us here. In 1949, medical utilitarianism, or the idea that lives could be judged worthy of care based on a set of increasingly subjective qualities, was rightly under assault. Why? The world had seen, in awful example after awful example, how the argument for merciful death could lead to the Holocaust. Wesley Smith wrote, “Writing after the revelation of the depraved practices of the Nazi regime’s doctors, who engaged in infanticide, the killing of disabled adults, and many other infamies in the name of science, Leo Alexander, a psychiatrist and medical adviser to the office of chief counsel at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, warned that the utilitarian infection that destroyed German medical ethics could spread:

Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived.

Quoted in “As Doctors Euthanize Patients and Harvest Their Organs, the Hippocratic Oath is Dead.” LifeNews.com. 17 September 2018.

Small beginnings are, in fact, not small at all. How we view them, and treat them, reveals how we view life itself. Medical utilitarianism doesn’t spring up overnight. For over forty years in America, abortion has been a depraved and horrific practice hidden in plain view. Millions upon millions of our children have died–and they have died legally. Now we can see the natural, slippery progression of attitude shifts and thus actions. Doctors kill lives in the womb, and now they are allowed to leave others to die outside of it. This is no fallacy; this is actually happening. We must never forget that some gas chambers built to euthanize people in Germany during the mid-twentieth century were built on hospital grounds. Once some lives are deemed not worthy to be lived, others will be, too. They already are. If my sister and I were born in 2019 at twenty-nine weeks to parents who decided we shouldn’t receive care, then who is to say our lives now, thirty-seven years later, are worth keeping or saving? Will doctors act as “[generals] in the midst of [battles]…directing [their] personnel in strategic moves which [have] been made many times before,” as my father noted, in efforts to preserve life? How will they treat small beginnings, and how will they treat others?

No matter how dark our way forward looks, though, we can reject the fears that drive us to seek solace in death as the lies they are. We don’t know what will happen, and we don’t know how we will handle whatever comes. But Someone does, and He always has a plan for us and for our children. We can admit, no matter how long we’ve believed that abortion and infanticide are acceptable, that they are, in fact, wrong. All children deserve life, no matter their ages or conditions. We can embrace this fundamental truth. If you haven’t, know that God still loves you. He knows your entire life, from your worst thoughts and failings and actions. Despite them, He still wants you —small, little, mortal you–to live, from your very beginning to your God-deemed end. Hans Fiene again:

So, yes, voters, you should have stopped voting for pro-choice candidates a long time ago. Yes, politicians, from day one you should have feared the wrath of God more than the wrath of NARAL. But it’s not too late to do that now. It’s not too late to escape condemnation and find peace with the God who has already written out of existence every sin you committed against your most innocent and defenseless neighbors.

So don’t be afraid to take the plunge out the window. Don’t be afraid to jump. Don’t think that your father in heaven wants to watch you splatter on the sidewalk. He doesn’t. He wants to watch you land safely in the hands that have been waiting to catch you from before the foundation of the world. And don’t worry that you’ve doubled down on your sin one too many times. Don’t worry that you’ve climbed too high to survive the fall. Jump and see that the gravity of guilt is no match for the grace of God.

UPDATE: From my sister, Amilia.

I can’t, and won’t pretend, to be impartial about abortion. I have always been pro-life, and my own story has a role why I take that side. Though to me it’s not a sides issue – we’re all human, and we all started out small.
To me, making abortion illegal has never been about taking away someone’s rights – it’s acknowledging that there’s more than one person’s rights involved. As Dr. Seuss said, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” And in weighing the rights of the people involved in an unplanned or risky pregnancy, as a society we need to take into consideration the rights of the person who cannot speak for themselves just as much as the woman carrying her or him. It seems to be the just thing to do. Not to ignore the smaller, infinitely weaker person. That to me is what bullies do.
Our humanity is not based on how much we’re wanted by our parents, or whether we’ve got good health (mental and physical), or whether the circumstances around our births are perfect. It’s not based on how little of a burden we’ll place on others by our existence. Our humanity is established in this fact: that we EXIST, both before birth and after. No matter how many years or months or days or breaths of life that we’re given.
We don’t know the effects we have on others. Emily, thank you for sharing our story.