Yesterday was the 42nd anniversary of the nation-shaking Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion.
I admit, this has been on my mind. A lot. Not only did write a 100-page senior thesis on the topic of unplanned pregnancy, but I’ve had many dear friends be affected by either abortion or unplanned pregnancy.
Some of my friends are young single mothers. I don’t know if there’s anyone I respect more than these friends. They have demonstrated more love for their children than I think I’ve ever had to demonstrate to anyone, just by the nature of how difficult it is to go through a pregnancy at a young age, decide that you’re going to go through with this being-a-mom-thing, and then choose day-by-day, hour-by-hour, that you are a mother, and your child needs you to rise to that.
Some of my other friends have had abortions. I honor, cherish, and — yes — look up to these women. Many of them are older, and have had more time to sort through what this procedure meant for them. It took a while for them to open up about it. For other friends, it’s fresher in their experience… and for most of these friends they have not felt ready to tell someone.
I even know young men affected by this decision. A single dad trying to go to school and raise a kid, trying to decide whether they should enjoy being a kid or step up and be a man… or both. Men who don’t feel at liberty to even get involved in the discussion, feeling like it wouldn’t be their place to have an opinion about it that might hurt someone. But I think sometimes not caring about it is the main thing that does hurt people. Men, women, and children.
So I’m choosing to have an opinion. And if there’s anything I learned in my thesis, it’s that one of the most helpful things for people affected by unplanned pregnancy… is simply to talk about it.
Abortion has been legal in our country for 42 years. What has happened since then?
1) We’re missing the personal in place of the political.
As the feminist mantra goes, “The personal is political.” But everything personal about abortion, when we talk about it, has become strictly political.
I hate this reality. When you hear the word “abortion,” it’s this political term. We remove ourselves from it emotionally and call it an “issue” and don’t realize that these are people we’re talking about.
But often we pretend these people’s lives and health are just in the hands of the government. But these are our friends.
We’ve shirked off abortion in the past 40 years as another issue that doesn’t apply to us, that has nothing to do with us. But it has everything to do with you. If you don’t believe me, keep reading.
2) We’re missing 1 in 3 women.
1 in 3 women now have at least one abortion in their lifetime.
Do you realize that? 1 in 3. Next time you’re at the grocery store, count them out.
I don’t mean 1 in 3 women are missing. Only 50 million abortions have happened in the past 40 years, so that’s only about 1 in 6 people we’re missing in our classes and workplaces. Which adds up to only 1 in 12 women we would have known if they had not been aborted.
What I mean is this:
You see these women, but you don’t see these women. You don’t know these women. You’re missing them. We aren’t missing these women themselves, not their existence, but their hearts. Does that make sense?
If that statistic shocked you, it’s only more evidence that there are 1 in 3 women who daily think:
You don’t really know me. And if you did, you likely wouldn’t want to be around me.
1 in 3 women. A teenager who was told the best thing she has to offer this world is her body, because if she’s not good enough in class or sports or to make her dad love her, at least she can try to feel beautiful if even for a moment.
1 in 3 women. A businesswoman who struggles enough to be successful at work, whose marriage is already suffering, and doesn’t have time to meet yet another person’s needs. She already has kids. But she is already convinced she’s a failure as a mother.
1 in 3 women. A woman whose boyfriend is abusive and dominating. She couldn’t keep her baby even if she wanted to. And she has nowhere else to go. Her experience is that nobody really loves her, you know, for her.
There are more of these stories, if you’d only listen. 1 in 3 of your female friends have them. Will you decide to hold fast to your conclusions about an issue, or will you put those aside for a moment to listen? Don’t cover up your friends’ pain and guilt because it’s ugly or unpleasant. A band-aid never healed a wound, even if that’s a nice, politically correct thought.
3) We’re missing friends, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters.
Notice I didn’t say “innovators.” Because that’s not what I want to emphasize. That’s part of the problem. We base people’s value on what they can put out in society. Isn’t that a primary reason this is a problem in the first place?
50 million people. If the unborn really are human beings, this is… disgusting. That’s more people than have died in every single great war in history. Combined. It’s the greatest casualties of the most brutal genocide in human history. Genocide is simply the systematic killing of a certain people group. Not only are abortions conducted systematically on people less than 9 months old, the weakest and most voiceless and most vulnerable and most defenseless of our kind, but abortions are disproportionally conducted on minority ethinicities.
Who are you missing? They didn’t get to experience life here. And yes, it’s tough here. But since when do we have a right to decide which people live and which people die? In no other circumstance do we have that choice.
My hope is you’ll meet them someday anyway. And if there is any real justice in the universe, that’s the most logical conclusion I can come up with. But we’re missing much more than just these 50 million Americans (and who knows how many more from around the world).
4) We’re missing our own dignity.
The very fact that abortion is so prevalent signals to me that we’ve forgotten why people matter in the first place. I’ve seen a quote floating around on social media:
“If the unborn is not human, no justification for abortion is necessary. If the unborn is human, no justification for abortion is adequate.”
In other words. If you’re going in for a mere medical procedure, there is no huge reason that needs to be an ethical issue. But no matter how good the reason you’re considering taking someone’s life, that reason will NEVER be more valuable than that life. This should be especially clear when dealing with an innocent life.
But what a lot of my Christian friends seem to forget is that this isn’t just about the dignity of the unborn. I have friends and little sisters who are growing up believing their lives don’t matter much. I have friends and brothers believing they aren’t a real man unless they are intimate with a girl. I have friends who grow up without fathers, and wouldn’t know how to be a good father if they wanted to be, because they have absolutely no good example. There are men running away from responsibility because they were told all their lives they didn’t have what it takes to be a successful worker, a good student, a good athlete, a good father.
I would argue that this is a lie from the pits of hell. But before I go into that.
Your dignity and worth as a person doesn’t depend on how good you are. It stems from the fact that you’re made in the image of God. He put a dignity in each of us that never changes, no matter our color, creed, sexual or gender identity, religion, or intelligence.
I’m convinced the reason we justify taking the lives of the unborn is because we don’t comprehend the value of our own souls in the first place.
Brother, your life is worth living. Your family does need you. And you do have what it takes — not in yourself, but in the God who made you. God, not the dominating, abusive, or neglectful father you may have had, but the Papa who, in all reality, is everything you could ever want or need in a father. This Papa — He didn’t make a mistake. He made you and me — with all our weaknesses, because He is our strength, and He is enough for the both of you. he didn’t run away because of what you did, but loved you all the more, because He wants to see you grow up and be just like Him. Being a husband and a father isn’t about building up your life so much as laying it down and letting God do the heavy lifting. And no matter how much you have in life, you can do that well.
Sister, you’re capable of so much. But your worth doesn’t lie in that. You strive so hard to be a good wife, daughter, girlfriend, mother, student, employee, manager, friend, homemaker. And I’m so proud of you. But when you find your worth in those things, you’ll never be secure. You’ll always wake up the next day and have to do it all over again to prove yourself. And the reality is, you have nothing to prove to anyone. You don’t have to prove you deserve love by giving your body away to some boy who doesn’t even know your heart. You don’t have to toil tirelessly to prove to everyone (including yourself) that you have a unique beauty that deserves to be noticed. You don’t have to hold it all together. Because all of the burden you bear were never meant to fall on just one little girl’s shoulders. Your heavenly Papa loves when you help him build things and carry things, but you have to let Him do all the heavy lifting. You have to let him be the one with the skills and knowledge and teach you and be so proud of you every step of the way. Let Him love you as you are. Let him love you even if. Even if your house is messy. Even if you gain 5 pounds. Even if you said the wrong thing to your daughter today.
Roe v. Wade: Looking back to look forward
I’m not gonna say much about this case. I’m going to assume you know about Norma McCorvey (and if you don’t, you can read more here). But I do want to talk politics.
And only now will I say this. I am convinced abortion is killing a living human person. After investigating biology, sociology, and ethics, there is no justifiable line I can draw of when life begins except at conception, the moment the fertilized egg cell acquires its own unique DNA that contains everything needed for life besides what every organism needs throughout life (nourishment and environment).
But I don’t think making abortion illegal tomorrow will solve the issue. We need to do more than change a law back. Before we can win back the dignity of the dead, we need to win back the dignity of the living. Men, women, and children. We need to realize that, as Ravi Zacharias put so eloquently:
“We cannot talk about human rights without the right to be human.”
And this doesn’t originate in government, society, or science, but the Creator who endowed us with life, liberty and property before any of our founding fathers wrote about them. Because the government can give us money and enforce rights, but the government was never a legitimate father.
So where do we go from here? 40 years. We’re missing 1.21 million of our closest friends. While we’re here wondering if our own lives matter.
We need to stop believing the lies. We need to recognize our own dignity, and only then will we be able to recognize it in others. Maybe this is what my Buddhist friends hint at when they say “Namaste” — which means, “the divine in me recognizes the divine in you.” I am not Buddhist, but I think there is some truth to that.
So this week, I guess I want you to think about where you find your worth. Why do you do what you do every day? What are you trying to prove? Whatever it is, just stop. Please. Your dignity and worth are not going anywhere. And whether you believe it or not, your Heavenly Papa is so proud of who you are and who you’re becoming.
If you don’t now Him, I urge you in desperation and heartfelt love to invite Him into your life. He’s not like the others, I promise, but don’t take my word, because I am imperfect. He’s not. I’m tired of coming into work every day and seeing you running, because it makes me tired how long you’ve been running. Those wounds you’ve been trying to cover up? There’s healing in his arms, and no other beautiful man can offer what you need.
And if you do know Him, make some time to throw a baseball with Him this weekend.
Because one thing He’s been missing… is you.