Via a link at Ladies Against Feminism, I came upon an article titled An Infertile Couple Experiences the Planned Parenthood Videos. Curious, I clicked through and read. The article by was a woman named Katie.
My husband [Michael] and I just celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary. We are happy in our marriage—he’s a patient pastor, and I’m a restless writer—but I would be lying if I said that our life together weren’t punctuated with a persistent, quiet kind of grief.
You see, we have never been blessed with the gift of children. No precious child has ever been born or adopted into our little family, and we pine and pray for that miraculous day when our lonely party of two might grow to three or four or more.
Some days we bear it well—we don’t have an absence of people to serve in our daily lives, after all—but other days, like yesterday, we are inconsolable. We spend our waking hours breaking the skin of our fists with our teeth, we erode the floral pattern on our couch with rivers of briny tears, and we fall to the kitchen floor in a pile of spineless flesh.
I have never experienced infertility, but I know people who have, and I know it is incredibly painful. I have nothing but sympathy for infertile couples.
What, you ask, would trigger such a failing of our barren backbone? What would cause our grief to ignite and burn the tinder of our tiny house of hope?
The sight of our dead children in one of Planned Parenthood’s clinics.
We saw them yesterday. We saw them on the screens of our laptops. They were broken, bleeding, even pulverized. They were crushed, mutilated, and dead. They were laid out in a pie pan and then picked over with tweezers. Like a gruesome horror movie come to life, they were abused and dismembered before our very eyes.
FYI, Katie, no one is forcing you to look at pictures of aborted and miscarried fetuses. After our first child was born, my husband posted a picture of the placenta on Facebook. (Don’t ask me why, I have no idea why.) Anyway, so many of our Facebook friends were grossed out that he ended up removing it. In the same way, I don’t go looking for videos of open heart surgery.
Our children. Our precious children.
For that is what they are. They are our children, the dear offspring of our hearts for whom we have prayed, hoped, and waited so long.
We would have adopted them. We would have held them and loved them and nurtured them and raised them. We would have given them our name and all that we have.
So would have Matthew and Julia. And Ben and Rebecca. And Dan and Jennifer, Evan and Lena, Jerome and Kristi, and thousands of other couples like us who are ready and waiting with open arms to care for these millions of “unwanted” children.
But we barren are not given the chance. Instead, we are left to hug our untenanted arms around our empty wombs and watch while Planned Parenthood announces over the corpse of yet another aborted child, “It’s a boy!”
Yes, it is a boy. And we grieve him like a son.
I want to pause to note that in the vast majority of abortions, it is impossible to tell the gender. Abortions that take place later, when it’s possible to tell the gender (say, after 14 or 16 weeks), generally occur for reasons of fetal abnormality or maternal health, or because the woman was prevented from obtaining an earlier abortion by finances or abortion restrictions. In most states, abortion after 20 weeks is available only for pregnancies gone badly wrong, and we can cut down on abortions that take place in the intervening weeks by making first trimester abortions more easily available.
But seriously, that’s a side issue to what’s really going on here.
Katie, Michael, those children are not your children. For one thing, being born is generally considered a prerequisite for being a child. Pregnancies represent potential children, yes, but fetuses are not children. But for another thing, they’re not yours. No one owes you a baby. We’re not talking about “‘unwanted’ children” here, we’re talking about unwanted pregnancies. I understand that it is difficult to be infertile, and I can only imagine the pain of it, but no one owes you nine months of their life and all the physical effects of pregnancy just so that you can have a child, especially when there really are “unwanted” children out there longing for a forever family.
If you care about providing homes for “‘unwanted’ children,” Katie, as you write in your post, let me point you in the direction of a very large number of children longing for parents to love them. There are over a hundred thousand foster children available for adoption. Rather than mourning the fact that women with unwanted pregnancies are not willing to gestate and birth a child for you (remember that the vast majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester, before women are even showing, so asking these women to go through an entire pregnancy with all that entails and then hand over the resulting child to you is asking quite a lot indeed), you could give some needy foster children forever homes.
Katie, you write as though those women who have abortions are depriving you of the chance of being a mother, as though there are no children out there who are without parents and need a home. This is not true, and it is deceptive and manipulative of you to suggest that it is. I have two friends who struggled for years with infertility, just like you. One ultimately went through an adoption agency and adopted two beautiful mixed-race babies. The other took in two foster girls and adopted them a year later. Those women who are having abortions are not depriving you of children to adopt.
If you want to adopt a child, and it sounds like you do, looking at pictures of aborted fetuses isn’t going to help you. I’m sure it is difficult to see women abort unwanted pregnancies when you are not able to ever be pregnant yourself, but mourning aborted fetuses isn’t going to get you children to love. You mention that adoption has not worked out for you yet. Perhaps you want to adopt an infant, and are on a waiting list. But if you’re interested in giving homes to “‘unwanted’ children” more generally, as you suggest in your post, you may want to stop looking at pictures of aborted fetuses and start looking through your state’s database of foster children who would desparately love to have a parent who wants them.
Note: I have edited this post slightly in response to points made by several commenters.
Some readers have suggested that I focus too heavily on adoption as the solution for infertility. I absolutely agree that adoption is not always the solution, and understand that it comes with its own set of challenges. I focus on adoption in this post because that is what Katie focuses on. She is not saying “I’m infertile, and it’s hard to watch women abort their pregnancies when I can never get pregnant,” a sentiment I would understand, but rather “I’m infertile, and those women getting abortions are killing my children, because I would have adopted those babies.”
Some readers have pointed out that finding a (white) infant available for adoption can be difficult, and that there are often long lines. I am aware that Katie can’t just snap her fingers and get the baby she wants. I focus heavily on adopting out of foster care in this post because Katie speaks of opening her arms to “‘unwanted’ children” and there are indeed walking, talking, breathing children in foster care who are available for adoption, many of whom will never find homes. If Katie is interested in helping “‘unwanted’ children,” adopting out of foster care ought to be right up her aisle.
In sum, I am tired of those in the pro-life movement blaming women who abort on narrowing the number of (white) babies available for adoption and talking up and down about what a blessing children are while ignoring the thousands of children in foster care who really do need homes.