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Hello all! I had no intention of writing this blog. However, I think given the urgency in our time it needed to be addressed. I could not get this off my mind no matter how hard I tried. When this happens, I know Jesus wants me to write because He has things to say. Time for obedience. I am writing this to Christians but I hope that non-Christians will see truth in it as well. Please stay with me and hear His heart and mine. I may say this a few times because I know this stirs intense emotion in all of us.
I have been thinking about the abortion debate and overturning Roe v. Wade over the last several days. Personally, for me (not speaking for anyone else), abortion is out of the question. Spiritually, I can't do it and would not do it. Why? I believe God not only knows us before we are born, I believe He knits us together in our mother's womb. He makes us all different and very valuable to Him and to one another (Psalm 139:13-24). This informs my faith, my work, my writing, and my civic participation. As an RN, I have chosen not to work in labor and delivery units where I would have to assist with abortions. I also choose not to work for any abortion provider. I know too much about what that entails - especially for infants who are further along in their development. I simply don't think I could stomach it. I can't tell other RNs what they need to do. I can only inform my own work with my faith.
I want to start by giving you a brief run down of abortion procedures, ideas of personhood, fetal pain, and our current laws. This is not an all encompassing or exhaustive look into procedures, ideas of personhood, fetal pain, or our laws so please do your own research. Let us begin.
Babies in the first and second trimesters are vacuumed out or there is a dilation and evacuation procedure done and medication may be injected to stop the fetal heart rate (see
https://www.webmd.com/women/abortion-procedures#:~:text=Most%20abortions%20done%20in%20the,or%20dilated%20for%20this%20procedure ). Partial birth abortion or as the medical community terms it, intact dilation and extraction, involves collapsing the skull of an infant 16 weeks and above and extracting their brain after their head or part of their trunk is delivered (see https://www.webmd.com/women/abortion-procedures#091e9c5e8163c466-3-9 ) To be fair, the Women's Health Protection Act of 2021 (which has passed the US House) cannot supersede the already codified US Code 18 1531 (b)(1) which is the 2003 partial birth abortion ban (look this up here, https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3755/text - see Limitations). I do want you to know that the procedure is used if there is an impending emergency with the mother or a serious problem with the pre-born baby. I was a NICU nurse for 7 years. I took care of infants from 23 weeks gestation to term. I assure you those children in the NICU felt pain and they knew affection, even at 23 weeks! The infants who are partial birth aborted (intact dilation and extraction) feel pain too. In fact it is postulated that babies feel pain before 14 weeks gestation (Fetal Pain in the First Trimester, Bridget Thill, MD, MS; Linacre Q, Dec 2021) so it is very possible that an infant who is aborted early (say 10-12 weeks) would feel pain as well. In regards to personhood, one scientific article; Personhood status of the human zygote, embryo, fetus (by John Janez Miklavcic1, and Paul Flaman from Linacre Q, 2017 May ; 84(2): 130–144) postulates that the human person can begin at fertilization. This article poses the question, it does not give a definitive answer. Please understand that all babies generally begin to look like people at about 9 weeks gestation (embryonic stage). I challenge you to read these articles and references. Do your own research into the science and what our US Congress is doing on your behalf.
For the sake of addressing the "my body, my choice" argument fairly; yes, it is my body and I can choose what I do with it. Now here's the rub. Just because I can choose what to do with my body does not mean that choice is good, the best choice, or life giving for me or anyone else. The apostle Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 6:12-13a if you want to see for yourself. "My body, my choice" does not hold philosophical water once a new little body is clearly visible inside. Go look at a 3D ultrasound of child in utero if you don't believe me. We now have two bodies; one who can make informed, consensual decisions, and one who can't do either. One who can make a choice because she is fully aware of the consequences; and one who is aware of their surroundings, but has no control over the choices made for him or her by their mother or father. Do you see the difference? I won't pretend to tell you when the human spirit enters a little body, just as the authors in the article I mentioned previously could not answer that question in regards to personhood. All I know from a practical perspective is, past the cell-dividing stage of embryology, when there is a little body, that child is alive and looks very human. I know this because I have taken care of them outside the womb, in life and death. I believe all children come from the Father of Light. Everything from the Father of Light is good and can't be evil. Would most of you agree who have children that they are good and are one of the best things that ever came into your life? Please stay with me, and hear His heart and mine for you and for the nation.
I know that terrible things happen to women in this world such as rape, incest, and domestic violence. Many of these things are at the hands of evil men. I have been in a marriage where there was domestic violence. For me personally (and only me), any pregnancies I would have had from that relationship, I would have carried - that child would not have been responsible for their father's issues. However, I chose not to bring any children into that relationship by using birth control. My husband chose for me in his own way because of his instability and violence. I was not protected, they would not have been protected. I also believed it would have been cruel to do that to a child. I, again, am speaking for me and that situation, not anyone else or their situation.
We must approach issues like these with compassion for both the woman and the child. I have listened to stories from abortion survivors and those who were almost aborted because of these issues and it changed my personal opinion (my opinion, not yours) on abortion for rape and incest, an opinion I thought was solid and just. I am thankful these people have life today! I have also listened to women who have had abortions for these and other reasons and who have had regrets. My heart hurts with them too. I want them to be healed too. I can tell you this for certain; women DO NOT want to hear how evil they are if they choose an abortion after they have been through anything as traumatic as rape, incest, or DV. They DO NOT want to hear how evil they are if they are frightened and choose abortion because they have zero support from a man or anyone else including their faith community. They DO NOT want to hear how evil they are if a man or their parents force them to have an abortion and "they let him or them." When you are coerced and threatened, it is hard to say no. When you are afraid or traumatized, you are doing the best you can in that moment with what you have to give. When we speak to women in an uncompassionate manner who have chosen abortion or want to choose it for these reasons, we close the door to any change of heart they may have and cease to be like Christ. Women need to know that no matter their decision, they will be loved and cared for too. This is the essence of what it is to be pro-life!
What of ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages? These are malfunctions of the reproductive system and/or infant chromosomes that can pose serious health risks to women. I have seen this with my own eyes. Is a woman evil if a pregnancy has to be terminated because of these issues? No! This is why laws in some states like Oklahoma that constitute tattle-telling on people who went to get an abortion or suing the person who took them, which is 5 year-old behavior, are ludicrous and do not take into consideration these issues. I am going to say this about such laws and people who do such things in general; if you have nothing better to do then tell on people and spy on your neighbors, you need to get the real Jesus and a life. These laws are uncompassionate and unChrist-like and frankly untenable. Telling women they are evil for terminating such pregnancies IS evil and as far from Jesus as it gets.
All of that said, I have real concerns about overturning Roe v Wade as well. Are we doing this in the name of love and protection for women and children because we truly love them and want what is best for them? OR; is it really control in disguise because we are afraid - afraid God can't change hearts through relationship, love and truth so we will make them bend to our will because they don't see it our way? The latter isn't Christlike nor tenable America and I have a suspicion in some Christian camps, it's the latter. I believe completely overturning Roe v Wade is untenable and would likely be reversed within the next 10 years if it is overturned in June. Where is the compassion from our faith-based communities for the social issues that send women to abortion clinics in the first place? Where is the compassion for unwed, single moms? Where is the compassion in the Church after abortion? Where is pro-life from womb to tomb? No one seems to have an answer for me and this greatly concerns me in the wake of multiple state laws (largely not voted on by the people in those states including Oklahoma) and the impending and, unknown as of yet, Supreme Court decision. We have our cart before our horse. We see abortion abolition in Christendom as this all consuming solution but we haven't even begun to compassionately solve the problems that lead to such decisions. I fear this will lead to back alley procedures and endanger the very women and children this overturning is supposed to protect. How is this good? How is this compassionate? Do you see what I am getting at? America, we have to approach the abortion debate with Christlike compassion and nuance. We have to speak truth, love, and grace to those it involves. We have to let Jesus do his work in people's hearts. We have to recognize that not every women will agree with us and that is okay, we aren't responsible for them. Our only job as Christians is to love them and let Jesus change their hearts. We also have to recognize that some will choose to use abortion as birth control and those decisions are on them and them alone. I am not responsible for any woman or couple who will not take responsibility for themselves and their sex life or the consequences there after. They and they alone are responsible. I am not referring to coercion, rape, incest or sexual abuse here. I am referring to two consenting adults in a sexual relationship because they want to be in that relationship. And yes, I am including the men! It takes two to tango gentlemen! Help your partner by being responsible or leave her alone. You've been let off the hook for too long. I love you and that is still true. Do you want to see women and children truly protected and abortion end in America? If you do, let's get seriously compassionate about the social issues that lead to the decision to have abortion and solve those issues FIRST. Let's get rid of the tattle-telling laws that turn adults into 5 year old children. Let's listen to women's stories about abortion. Let's listen to abortion survivors and near abortion survivors. Let's listen with Christlike compassion and empathy to all of these women and men and offer them the love of Jesus instead of the rule of law. The law never changed any hearts. Let's hold men accountable for their role in unintended pregnancy, it's long overdue. If you are going to teach and preach abstinence and/or "safe sex", teach it to both sexes as it takes a woman AND a man to make a child last I checked. The time has come for men to be called to task and take their responsibility too. If you want to end abortion, we need the real Jesus in America (not the screaming, out of control, ridiculous people you hear on the news who supposedly represent him). We don't need to control people by having more laws in this land or our states. When the love of Jesus has the hearts of men and women, all things change because love is greater than any law that was ever written or is to be written. Love is greater than control because it casts out all fear. You want to end abortion? Stop trying to control people in your own fears and let Jesus do his loving work in their hearts. His loving work is greater than law, his love completed the law (Romans 10:4). It doesn't get better than that America. I love you.
With much love and grace,