January 28, 2019

Someone close to our family is getting an abortion today.

It’s ironic that I have found myself in this situation, in this relationship, in this moment, when it seems like social media has blown up with mostly hypothetical discussions around the morality of abortion.

Oh how I long to address this issue from a hypothetical standpoint…to be removed from the actual reality while giving my opinion. Yet the path God has us on won’t allow it.

I have been heavy and heartbroken since this friend told me her choice yesterday, but to be honest, I completely understand why she has chosen in.

Everything and everyone has failed her. She did not want to get pregnant and although I don’t know for sure, my gut tells me she didn’t have much of a choice in the conception. She struggles with mental illness, is homeless, has lost one child to the system, and the only somewhat consistent person in her life is an abusive boyfriend. Her choices, along with my honest commentary, are as follows:

  1. Carry the baby and give him/her up for adoption. We talked about this. She knew this was an option. But here’s the thing – she’s lost a child who was adopted out and the pain of that has been almost unbearable for her. The rhetoric around adoption, most often by Christians, has been so damaging. “It’s the selfless choice…If you really loved the child, you’d do it…Think about the life these other people can give them that you will never be able to.” Bullshit. All of it. I say this as a person who’s benefited from adoption in the form of my two precious younger children. What they don’t tell you is the TRAUMA. Adoption is trauma. Trauma to the first parents. Trauma to the child. Trauma, trauma, trauma. Yes, it can be beautiful and it can be redemptive and it can be reflective of how God adopts us, but I assure you first and foremost it is trauma. It is loss. It is plan B. I don’t believe for a second that God puts a child in someone’s womb for the purpose of adoption. I can’t think of a single scenario where this would be plan A for all involved…and if it’s not plan A for all, then it’s not plan A. Period. This particular friend does not have the mental capacity or emotional strength to give birth to a child only to lose them forever. Call it selfish, but I assure you, there is so much more at play here. She knows that loss and she will tell you there is nothing worse. I don’t know that loss and unless you do, all we can do is take her word for it.
  2. Carry the baby and try to parent. I’ve encouraged her in this…telling her I know she can do it. But for so many reasons, she doesn’t believe it, and if I am honest, I don’t know if I really believe she can either. As I said, she has no home. Her mental illness prevents her from keeping a job. We’ve tried, together, for the last month to get her into a shelter or a program and nothing has worked out. No one has space for her. No one will give her the help she truly needs. I’ve exhausted all of my connections with very little progress. She’s on a couple wait lists, but no one is calling. Turns out there is a direct connection between the anti-homeless sentiments, i.e. “I don’t want a shelter in my neighborhood” and the fact that this homeless, mentally ill, pregnant woman can’t find a place to help her.
  3. Get an abortion. She doesn’t want this. She told me explicitly how much she regrets having an abortion in the past. But when you enter into relationship with her, when you dive head first into the pain, when you believe her words and you know her struggle, it’s not as black and white as we’d like it to be. In her broken down, abandoned heart, she is searching for the least bad choice out of all bad choices. This is the one she believes is the least bad.

Anyway you look at it, she’s facing immense pain and loss. I feel like I have done everything I can to help her not feel like that’s her only choice, but I’m telling you, the system has failed her. The Church has failed her. You would think that if stopping abortions was as much of a priority as so many Christians claim it is, people would be lining up to help her. To house her. To parent her and help her parent her child. To support her long term. To do whatever it takes for her to be successful in parenting this baby, who will turn into a child, and then a teenager, and then an adult. She doesn’t need a short term fix, she needs a long term community committed to her and this baby’s thriving. This is the very thing the Church was created for…

…Yet, here we are.

For so many that claim Jesus, offering her unconditional love and support, the kind that will truly help her see another option, is too risky…too dangerous…too overwhelming…too hard.

I want to scream and beg her not to do it. I know she will regret it. I want to promise her that the Church will come around her and not let her fail. But to be honest, I am doubtful that I can keep that promise. This is too big for just me and my family. We’ve offered her to stay with us in the meantime, but I do not feel confident that anyone will help us implement a long term, sustainable plan.

There is something deeply broken about this Church if we are more concerned with voting supposed pro life people into office than we are with actually doing what it takes to stop abortions from happening. We’ve chosen a supposed moral high ground over true morality. We’ve chosen to absolve ourselves of any responsibility instead of being willing to enter into the mess. Voting for supposed pro-life candidates, protesting abortions, and posting pro life rants on social media has done nothing to save this woman’s unborn baby. And in fact, it’s actually made it harder for me to try and do so.

I long for the day when we will truly be a pro-life people.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Thanks for posting this thoughtful article on such a difficult issue. I hope you will be able to still be there for this individual, to continue listening to her with care, and that even in a tragic wrong choice, that eventually she will be able to find positive direction and hope.

    Isn’t it absurd that so many human leaders–especially Christian ones like of late–go for the simplistic band-aids rather than real, life-caring difficult solutions which take generations to achieve?

  • John Gills

    I second Daniel Wilcox’ comment and am reminded of a sad but true aphorism from years ago. “Folks are pro-life right up until the child is born, then they turn away.”