My two unplanned babies giving each other a quick snuggle at a local restaurant.
There has been an article circulating with the title, "5 People Share Why Their Abortion Was Beautiful." This article was written in response to a section of a literary anthology entitled, "Abortion Isn't Beautiful." Oddly enough, neither work is pro-life. The author of "Abortion Isn't Beautiful" doesn't seem to come to the conclusion that life could have been beautiful. She states that she had two abortions but doesn't dwell on whether having either (or both) of her babies could have been a beautiful thing.
Side note: I think it’s telling that the abortion industry is working hard to reframe abortion as a positive choice. We're not hearing, "safe, legal, and rare" anymore, and we're not hearing much about how it's a difficult decision. The new trend is to celebrate abortion, as though it is something to look forward to and enjoy instead of dread and later regret.
The truth is this: abortion hurts. Abortion hurts the woman who goes through it, the baby’s family, their community, and (of course) her unborn child. There is nothing beautiful, wonderful, or empowering about having your body's natural function of growing and protecting a child halted and reversed. There is nothing lovely about bleeding, cramping, diarrhea, and nausea. There is nothing empowering about an infection, hemorrhaging, or even death. While I have never been through an abortion personally, I am close with many women (and some men) who have been. Each one deeply regrets their abortion decision. Don't believe me? Read some of the testimonies of women who have been through it. Abortion is awful.
The article, "5 People Share Why Their Abortion Was Beautiful," tells the stories of five women. Five women who insist that their abortions, or the results of their abortions, were "beautiful." Or, in my opinion, five women who are determined to ignore their own regret, grief, and pain. I truly believe that the most vocal proponents of abortion are the ones who are hurting the most. In order to acknowledge the pain of a past abortion you must also acknowledge that you were wrong. Furthermore, you must acknowledge that you killed an innocent child, your innocent child, and those aren't easy facts to come to grips with. Instead, I believe that many women (and men) choose to drown out their pain and regret by shouting loudly how happy they are that they chose abortion, and how thrilled they are with the results of their choice.
Maybe I'm wrong. But I don't think I am.
The article begins by listing all the "not beautiful" things about abortion. You might think they would talk about the destruction of an unborn child, the blood, the pain, or the emotional roller coaster that often follows. Instead, the author focuses on pro-life laws meant to educate women. Pesky things like mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods, and pro-life protestors. You see, she believes that the issue isn't that abortion kills an innocent human being. The issue is that people are pointing out that abortion kills an innocent human being. If we could somehow completely avoid the facts and airbrush abortion to be a wonderful, peaceful, simple medical procedure we would be just fine.
An eleven-week-old preborn baby, ultrasound image used with permission.
Or would we?
More likely, women's bodies, hearts, and souls would cry out against the injustice of abruptly and violently ending their child's life. Then, they would retreat into a world of private agony wondering what's wrong with them and asking why such a wonderful surgical procedure carries so much guilt and pain.
But again, maybe I'm wrong.
Continuing to read the article, the woman in the first story, Caitlin, shares that she found both of her abortions to be beautiful. Not the procedure itself, of course, but the freedom that the abortions gave her. To quote, "My abortions brought me joy and relief and sanity when I needed it most. They allowed me to be myself and direct what happens within my own body and life."
An interesting sentiment. Caitlin is rejoicing in her ability to abort her children as a way of regaining control over her body and her life. What about her children’s bodies? What about their lives? She certainly has choices about what she does and with whom, but once the choice to have sex has been made there should be an understanding that pregnancy may naturally follow. Are there other choices that could have given her control over her body and her life? Yes. She could have decided how to manage her pregnancies, chosen how to deliver, and even picked loving families to place her children into.
Instead she chose destruction. She chose to be selfish. She chose death for her children.
The next story is pretty light on facts. The mother, Jordyn, (because she is, and forever will be, a mother) shares that she is now an advocate for abortion and for positive abortion stories. Her story makes me wonder, what will happen when her grief sets in? What will happen when she runs across a child the age her own should be and the pain hits her like a ton of bricks? Where will the positivity be then? Many women share that immediately following their abortion they felt relief. Whatever issues they were facing should be over now, and they can go on with their lives. But eventually the regret sets in. I hope this young woman will find the support she needs when this happens. Jordyn experienced her abortion five years ago. I wonder if she will feel as positive about her choice in another five to ten years.
Abortion hurts. My prayer is that when the hurt inevitably sets in that these mothers will find the help they need.
Third is Holly. Holly, like Jordyn, had her abortion when she was in her late teens. Like Caitlin, Holly celebrates her choice. She is proud of herself for graduating college and recovering from an eating disorder, two things she believes would have been impossible otherwise. She acknowledges that abortion isn't universally beautiful, but states that hers was. Like Jordyn, she doesn't share much about the actual procedure. Instead, she focuses on the mantra of "choice."
Fourth, we meet Michelle. Michelle is older at the time she shares her story, she's 38. Michelle's story is similar to many that have been floating around the internet in response to the 20-week abortion bans. She chose to abort because her child was diagnosed with Trisomy 13, often a fatal diagnosis. She goes on to talk about her abortion decision - a decision she made with her husband, but legally the decision was all hers - being one made of "compassion and love." She chose to abort because otherwise her child would be born damaged. She chose to abort because her child might be born dead or born with only a few days to live.
This begs the question: how is abortion more merciful? How is preemptively killing a child (for there is no question that a 20-week-old fetus is a child) better than allowing the baby to complete their development in the womb and be born? She doesn't share what the procedure was, but there is no such thing as a painless abortion. The stark truth is this: this child's parents decided a baby with problems was too much for them to deal with. Instead, they killed him before he had a chance to inconvenience them any further.
There is no beauty there.
Finally, another 38-year-old, also named Michelle. This story is surprising because typically by the time 19 years have passed the regret has set in. Michelle says, "I was busy working and going to school full-time while parenting my daughter, who was born my senior year in high school. I knew that I did not have the capacity for, nor did I want, another child." She shares that she faced many financial challenges in procuring her abortion but now works to provide money for women who desire an abortion but can't afford one.
Michelle's story isn't unusual. Often a mother, already exhausted and struggling, will choose abortion because they can't fathom having another child. They're worn out, tired, broke, and sometimes even hopeless. One child is hard enough, how can she possibly handle two?
My heart breaks more for her than perhaps any other mother in this list. Why? Because she knew the love she could hold for a child and went through with her abortion anyway. She knew the beauty of birth, loving on your baby, and raising your child and did it anyway. Mostly, though, because one of the clients I worked with has the same story yet chose life - and she is rocking it as a mom of two.
There is so much beauty to a sibling loving on their unborn brother or sister.
This brings me to the title of my response to this article: Five Reasons Unplanned Pregnancies are Beautiful.
First, because when there is life there is hope. I don't believe that adoption is a one-size-fits-all answer to unplanned pregnancies. However, there are many situations where adoption allows the birth mother to continue with her life while still preserving the life of her child. Often in these situations, the adoptive parents have prayed and wept for years over their inability to conceive, and suddenly they get a phone call that a young woman has chosen them, them, to raise her baby. The birth mother can know that she is a mother to a living child and still carry on with her plans unencumbered by the daily chore of parenting. Abortion is not beautiful but adoption is. Adoption carries the promise of life and hope in a way abortion never can.
Second, unplanned pregnancies show us that life's twists and turns are often the things we look back on with gratitude. Certainly, we could plan everything and never deviate from that plan, but what about welcoming the unexpected? What about finding joy in something that initially seems terrifying? My third son was a shock to me. I remember staring at the positive pregnancy test in disbelief. My husband had been permanently injured at work and I had just rejoined the workforce, making very little money. We were struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table, and now we were staring down the barrel of a third baby. For us, abortion was never an option, and by the time my sweet boy was born I couldn't imagine life without him. We didn't plan him, but we needed him, and I am grateful every day that he is part of our family.
This is a truly terrible photo of me just days before the birth of baby #3.
Third, all children (planned and unplanned) force us to do better. They make us want to be better. When we can't do the right thing for ourselves, we often can for the tiny child that looks to us for everything. I have seen many young women whose lives were spiraling out of control pull themselves together when they realized that their child needed them to be better. Instead of preventing them from finishing school or meeting their goals, their child spurred them on to be the best person they could possibly be.
Fourth, every life, no matter how short, is worth living. Some children don’t survive outside the womb. Others may live for only minutes, hours, or days. We don't have the right to cut their lives short because they aren't what we want them to be. Bringing a fatally ill child into the world is devastating, but snuffing out their lives early isn't going to cure the pain or grief of loss. Abortion may seem like a way to regain control, but there is beauty in allowing God's will to be done.
Fifth, and finally, unplanned pregnancies allow the community to come around mothers in beautiful and incredible ways. Michelle, the one whose story truly broke my heart, could have reached out to a pregnancy center. She could have found help with diapers, wipes, baby clothes, and other items. She could have found a church family to love on her and both of her children. Instead, she chose life for one and death for another. Why? Because she was tired and overwhelmed. There is no beauty there, only despair.
I am a mother to two beautiful little boys who were wonderfully unplanned (and two beautiful little boys who were "sort of" planned!). I know many brave young women who chose life in the face of daunting circumstances who found great beauty in their choice. Life is beautiful. Death, especially early and violent death, is not. We were created to live, not to die, and certainly not to kill.
Each of these stories is deeply sad to me, mostly because they have turned their abortion stories into their rationale for encouraging, promoting, and even funding the abortions of others.
Someday I will look back on my life and see the lives of many others twined into it. The lives of women who chose to carry their children to term and the lives of babies who might not be here otherwise. These women will look back and see their lives touched by death at every turn. The death of their own children, the death of other children, and possibly even the death of women who followed in their footsteps.
You have to choose what kind of legacy you want to leave. Will you leave a legacy of life, or one of death? Will you leave a trail of beauty, or one of destruction?
Abortion isn't, and never can be, beautiful. People can shout their abortions, tweet their abortions, and gussy them up with pretty words, but they will never be able to run far enough or fast enough to erase the grief and pain that is chasing them.
Be the person who chooses, and encourages others to choose, life. You won't regret it.