Saturday night in church we sat behind a couple with a brand new baby—a little girl—much smaller than this baby. I have to say, it was quite distracting, but in a good way. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her... except when I would peer down the pew at my own not-so-little baby girls.
Once upon a time, though, that was me—young, with a diaper bag, holding a sleeping newborn in white and pink pajamas. It was about this time of year too, as my oldest will be 17 next week.
Where does the time go?
Even Eva (my “baby”) looked like a giant that night, in comparison. Yet somehow I could still see Eva’s newborn nose on her now 5-year-old face. I could still see Abby’s bald little baby head under her now thick golden mane. I could still see Anna’s round little infant eyes under her mascara and eye shadow. I could still see Ellie’s toothless little grin behind in her beautiful “young woman” smile.
Where, oh where, oh where does the time go?
As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one watching this baby. My kids were staring at her too. Smiling, whispering, pointing, “ooooing and ahhhhing.” At one point my oldest daughter leaned over to me and quietly asked, “how did abortion even become a thing?” I just shook my head sadly. “I have no idea, honey,” I said.
That night, just before going to church, she and I were talking about the wonderful news that Ohio passed a bill outlawing abortion after a fetal heartbeat is heard (which happens around 6 weeks). My daughter is a very passionate pro-life teen who wants to be a civil rights attorney someday... who, ironically, could’ve been lost years ago (if I had listened to the doctor who wanted me to take a medication that would have definitely ended the pregnancy.)
How ironic... that almost 17 years later, she is an absolutely brilliant and beautiful young woman, passionate about saving young, unborn lives (among so many other things).
It was a profound moment that night... one that I can’t really put into words. Me looking at this baby—and then looking at my babies— comparing each of them, then and now... thinking about my pregnancy with Anna, her passion, and her future.
It got me thinking. Maybe “abortion is a thing” because we don’t really “see” it. Maybe what we need is a big-picture view—kind of like the one I had that night in Church.
Maybe if more pregnant women got to hold (or at least see) a preemie newborn like the one we sat behind on Saturday... maybe fewer women would follow through with a procedure to end the similar life growing inside of them.
And on the flip side... maybe if more people who supported abortion saw what it REALLY looks like to take scissors to a baby’s spine, rip its limbs from its torso, squeeze its skull, or burn it alive with an acidic solution... maybe if more people saw THAT, then we could finally agree that abortion is not healthcare. It’s not a clump of cells. It’s not a choice. It’s not family planning.
Maybe if more people saw the tiny mutilated baby parts that are taken out of the mother during an abortion we could agree it’s not actually “part of the woman’s body,” like a lung or a spleen. The tiny fingers and legs and face that are removed are not a full-grown woman’s fingers, legs, and face. It’s undeniably, without a shadow of a doubt, a completely separate person.
I think we need to “see” abortion in all its gory truth. I think there needs to be gruesome ads and videos circulating everywhere, on every form of media. “But you can’t do that,” you say. “it’s way too graphic.”
No, it’s way to real.
If you can’t bear to look at something because it’s too awful... then how can you support it financially, politically, vocally?? If you can’t watch something because it’s too nauseating, because it pricks your conscious too keenly, and breaks your heart too deeply... then how can you vote for it, defend it, promote it?
You can’t. So we need to see it.
People don’t want to see the horrifying details surrounding abortion because they don’t want to face the truth—that this “procedure” they have been supporting is nothing more than the most heinous kind of murder.
If they face that truth then they have to also face the truth that our country has been murdering its own citizens for decades... using the tax dollars of other citizens to do it. They’d have to face the truth that their votes have put people in power that have built a massive killing empire. They’d have to face the truth that they have blood on their hands...
Few are willing to do that, though. Few are willing to look at it because it’s too big, too corrupt, too horrific. So they put on rose-colored glasses. It’s much easier to call it “healthcare,” to pretend it comes from “compassion,” to claim it’s about “women’s rights.” Those terms have a nicer ring to them than “slaughter” or “murder.”
Maybe, though, if we could see it, we’d stop relabeling it. Maybe if we could “see” real people who were conceived in difficult situations—whose parents were advised to abort—people like Mozart and Einstein... and more recent folks like Andrea Bocelli, Steve Jobs, Tim Tebow, Pope John Paul II, even the new Christian convert Justin Bieber.
Maybe if we “saw” their stories, we could agree that they are not mistakes. They are people who have made (or are making) an enormously positive impact on the world. People who, like all human beings, were given great gifts to be used to positively impact the future of us all.
I don’t know. I’m totally rambling, I know. I just wonder if “abortion is a thing” because we don’t really “see” it... physically or spiritually. We don’t “see” the beauty of the baby or the horror inflicted upon it. We don’t “see” the story, the potential, the gift of life.
Staring at that beautiful baby in church Saturday night I was totally mystified—just like my daughter was. How is abortion even a thing? How did humanity get to this point? How do parents who’ve once held a newborn support it? How do we not “see” anymore?
So, my prayer now is that this country begins to really “see” abortion. ironically, the gospel for today is the story of Bartimeus, the blind man whose sight was restored after he cried out to Jesus, “I want to see!” Ironic. Maybe this is God confirming that this really is the key to overcoming abortion. Maybe the real underlying problem is blindness.