Dan and I recently celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. As we pass the five-year mark, several of our friends and acquaintances are starting families of their own. Some of them have cute little kiddos running around already, and I love to watch them grow up through the Facebook pictures and posts. But as time goes on, more of our friends are also losing their precious babies. It’s so hard to watch. I don’t know what to say or do, and my heart just breaks over their losses. It’s hard to understand, and hard not to ask, “why?”. No parent should have to say goodbye. No parent should have to bury a child. All we can do is pray and trust and let our hearts break for them.
Our hearts are breaking. What’s more is that we’re losing children too. According to the most conservative numbers I could find, more than two babies are being aborted every minute. Some of you are right here with me. You’re hearts are breaking too. The numbers make you sick to your stomach, and you don’t understand how this is being allowed to go on. Others of you are thinking about closing this page or skimming the rest of this post. “Oh, she’s just talking about abortion. That’s different.”
Is it different?
What’s the difference between the loss of my friends’ babies (anywhere from just a few weeks along in the pregnancy to several days old) and the loss of an aborted baby, really?
I see abortion from a slightly different perspective than many. My first two children were born several weeks early and had to spend weeks on the neonatal intensive care unit. They couldn’t breathe on their own. They couldn’t eat or keep themselves warm. They couldn’t even cry. When I see images of a tiny little baby in the womb, I see my baby girls after they were born and learning to survive. When I hear about some of these late-term abortions I think, “That could have been my baby”.
Did you know a baby has a heart beat just four weeks after conception? Think of it! Four weeks and the little guy already has a beating heart! My babies had heart beats before I even knew I was pregnant. Nine week old babies have been observed swallowing, sucking their tiny little fingers, and yawning. Ten weeks into the pregnancy a baby’s vital organs are already starting to function and the baby will respond to touch. Although doctors and scientists disagree about when, at some point between 8 and 20 weeks (gestations at which abortion is still legal), babies start to feel pain.
The question that begs answering is this: are these little ones human beings? At what point do their lives deserve the right to be protected by the laws of our nation?
I know there are horrible situations everyone wants to consider first. What about rape? What about incest? What if the mother’s life is in danger? But before you can figure out what to do in those terrible situations, you must answer the question: is that little one a human being? (And perhaps it would be helpful to mention that the vast majority of abortions are NOT being done in situations of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother).
Why isn’t that little nine-weeker who can suck his thumb considered a human? Why aren’t we protecting the life of the ten-weeker whose organs are all functioning and who can react to touch and, yes, feel pain. You see, again I come at this from an interesting perspective. My daughters couldn’t survive outside of me after they were born without drastic and immediate medical help. Were they human? And what about Paul? He was 35 weeks and was even able to come home with us, but some 35 week babies still need time in the NICU. Are they human? The youngest preemie on record to survive was born at just 21 weeks and 6 days. Was she human?
Did you know that whether a child can survive outside of mom, or the moment a mom first feels Baby move are very dependent on things like race, gender, and birth-order? Should your race, gender, or birth-order play in to the time when we start protecting a human’s life? Maybe simply being born is what makes someone a human with rights, but how does it make any sense at all that a person’s location determines their humanity? One moment the baby can be legally aborted and two centimeters later the baby becomes a human life worth saving?
You see, it doesn’t work. We can’t take a baby at one point and declare him or her as non-human or without rights and one moment later declare that he or she suddenly is human and has rights. Ultrasounds have allowed us to see too much, to know that the little babies who are legally allowed to be aborted are not so different before they are born as we might have previously thought. Maybe by declaring one baby as human and another as “just a fetus” we are stepping into a role far too important, too sacred for us to fill. And by allowing that baby to be killed, to step aside and let this continue to happen, maybe we are covering our own hands with the blood of helpless and vulnerable victims who themselves have done nothing wrong.
It’s easy to talk about abortion as a medical procedure involving the removal of some tissue, but when you actually stop and consider what’s happening the picture isn’t so pretty. Take a moment and think about the little baby with fingers and eyes and a beating heart, developing safely in his Mommy’s womb and then let the reality of what abortion is really sink in. There are two general types of abortion: at-home (medical) abortions and in-clinic (surgical) abortions.
For an at-home abortion, medicine is given which causes the lining of the uterus wall to break down, essentially causing the baby to suffocate or starve to death. Then a second pill is given which causes contractions and forces the baby out of the uterus in a process that can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. This method can only be used in pregnancies less than nine weeks along.
For pregnancies that are further along, there are several different methods. The two most common are aspiration and D&E (dilation and evacuation). Aspiration is when a small tube is inserted into the uterus and sucks the baby out of the uterus. Dilation and evacuation is usually performed in pregnancies past the first trimester. The cervix is dilated and then a combination of tools are used to cut apart and remove the baby with suction and/or forceps.
You see, abortions aren’t pretty. Our society tries to make them look that way by using big medical terms or vague language. The truth is, abortions involve a lot of cramping, blood, bones, and body parts. It’s because the “embryonic tissue” that is being “removed” is not just a clump of cells but a living human being. That “pregnancy” is really a baby.
Over the past several weeks The Center for Medical Progress has been releasing videos revealing that women’s health care and abortion provider, Planned Parenthood has been illegally selling body parts of aborted babies.
I encourage you to watch these videos. They are available in both edited and unedited versions.
If you choose not to watch the videos, here is a brief overview of the ones that have been released so far:
#1: National leader of Planned Parenthood discusses the sale of aborted baby organs and tissue
#2: Planned Parenthood official haggles over the prices for aborted baby body parts and at one point appears to be suggesting that the abortion procedure could be altered to preserve organs and tissue
#3: Graphic footage of a Planned Parenthood technician sorting through baby body parts collected after an abortion
#4: Doctor negotiates sale of body parts and suggests ways to avoid legal consequences
#5: Another graphic scene sorting through aborted baby parts, director of research for a Planned Parenthood in Houston affirms that abortion procedures can be modified to get more intact tissue and organs
#6: A former technician reveals that patients were encouraged to sign fetal consent forms but sometimes the aborted baby organs were sold without the consent of the mother
#7: Includes story of harvesting an intact brain from a late-term male baby whose heart was still beating after the abortion procedure
#8: StemExpress (which buys and resells aborted baby parts from Planned Parenthood) admits that Planned Parenthood sells fully intact aborted babies
#9: Again admits that sometimes Planned Parenthood sells fully intact aborted babies
#10: Planned Parenthood leaders discuss the lengths they would go to hide their selling of baby body parts and the public relations nightmare that would occur if the information was leaked
Whether you watch the videos or not, I urge you to again consider the question: when does a baby become “human”?
When should a human’s “right to life” be protected by law?
Should our tax dollars be going to a company that has been selling aborted baby body parts and bodies?
Unplanned pregnancy can be scary. Having a baby is hard. Most of the pregnancies in our country are unplanned. But, if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, or know someone who is, you have options. Even if you can’t care for the little baby growing inside of you, families all over America are eagerly waiting for a baby they can adopt. I literally know a church full of families that would welcome your baby into their home. Your baby may not have been planned, but your baby is loved and wanted and needed in this world. Find and visit or call your nearest pregnancy care center. Please feel free to contact me as well.
Maybe you are one who would never personally choose abortion, but you don’t feel you can impose that belief on others. I recently heard one of the presidential nominees share how he used to hold that view, but he went on to say this: “I began to think if abolitionists a long time ago began to think that ‘I don’t believe in slavery, but anybody else can do it if they want to,’ where would we be today? So that changed my opinion of a lot of things.”
Maybe, as you read this and other information about abortion in our country today, you are thinking, “What can I do about this?” Know that no matter what situation you are in, there are several things you can do to help.
The first thing you can do is PRAY. Pray that abortion will end in our nation. Pray for women in crisis situations, that they will choose life for their unborn babies. Pray that our country will start to value life at all stages. Often as I pray for our country, I read the repentant prayer of Daniel for his own nation. It’s remarkable how well this prayer fits the state of our own country if you just change the Israel’s to America’s. The big difference is that Daniel’s nation had already fallen under God’s judgement.
You can also sign the petition to defund Planned Parenthood. Did you know that your tax dollars are going to support Planned Parenthood? That doesn’t have to be the case. Sign the petition, or, better yet, write your representative an email (good), give them a phone call (better), or send them a letter (best, bonus points if it’s hand written) explaining why you don’t want your money going to support an organization that is responsible for providing one-third of the abortions in our country and has been exposed to be selling the aborted babies’ body parts.
You can also volunteer your time at a local Pregnancy Resource Center, show love to a single mom, or donate to programs like Option Ultrasound (providing ultrasound machines to Pregnancy Resource Centers to encourage women to choose life).
I recently learned about a biannual event called 40 Days for Life, a community-based campaign to end abortions. The next 40 Days for Life campaign starts on September 23 (that’s next week). There are a few ways you can get involved. First you can commit to pray and fast. Second, you can sign up to go and pray outside your local Planned Parenthood. For 40 days, this organization tries to have a round-the-clock presence outside of Planned Parenthood constantly praying. Third, you can participate in their neighborhood outreach.
Since I’m still nursing Paul, I’m not really up for fasting for 40 days, but I’m planning to fast from a couple of my favorite staples as I pray with my family during the campaign. I encourage you to look up your nearest 40 Days for Life campaign location and get involved in the coming weeks (some are having a kick-off prior to the actual start of the campaign, so don’t wait until the last minute if you want to get involved).
May I make one request? I would be so encouraged to hear what others are doing, whether it’s praying, volunteering, donating, fasting, or contacting a representative. Or maybe there’s something I haven’t even listed. Leave a comment below and let me know. That would really make my day.
William Wilberforce was a key leader in the movement to end Slavery in England. He presented his Abolitionist Bill to the House of Commons for the first time by speaking on the horrors of slave trade for three hours. He ended the speech by telling the crowd, “having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know”. As many others have, I want to echo that statement today.
If you’ve made it this far in a very lengthy post (or if you’re just skipping to see how it ends), I urge you one last time to consider the questions,
Are these little ones human beings?
At what point do their lives deserve the right to be protected by the laws of our nation?
And what are you going to do about it now?
All of the photos used in this post are of my own daughters, except for the last one. The final picture is a screen shot taken from the fifth Planned Parenthood video. It is the hand of an aborted baby held up by a pair of tweezers.