Recently my son-in-law Dan Franklin, married to my daughter Karina, wrote a very insightful article on his Facebook page. Dan is the teaching pastor at Life Bible Fellowship in Upland, California. Dan takes a fresh slant on new developments in the abortion debate. I concur with his analysis and am grateful he gave us permission to post it here as a guest blog:
For most of my life I have been struck by the inconsistency of the pro-choice position. If a woman is happy about her pregnancy, then she is carrying a baby; otherwise, she is carrying a fetus. An unborn child can be aborted, and yet we are mortified when pregnant women drink or smoke. No one posts ultrasound pictures to Facebook and says, “Look at my fetus!” We celebrate unborn children when we want them, but we distance ourselves from them when we don’t want them.
And this position, while inconsistent, makes sense to me. It is hard to hold a consistent pro-choice position. It requires us to say and do things that are distasteful to us. It would require us to listen to a pregnant woman go on and on about her baby and say to her, “Well, it really isn’t a baby yet.” It would require us to be utterly unsentimental about ultrasound pictures. It would require us to stop telling pregnant women how to take care of their bodies while pregnant. I am not surprised that the pro-choice position is typically inconsistent because there is a level of proper shame that keeps us from that kind of consistency.
But that inconsistency is being challenged now.
Earlier in March a Portland couple was awarded 2.9 million dollars in a lawsuit against a hospital. The hospital’s crime? They failed to properly diagnose that the couples baby, while unborn, would have Down syndrome. The couple, whose Down syndrome daughter is now 4 years old, say that they would have had an abortion if they had known the diagnosis. They never wanted a Down syndrome child, and they never signed up for a Down syndrome child. So now, someone has to pay. (Read the story here.)
Take that in for a moment. This couple is saying of their 4-year old daughter, “We wish we had aborted you.” When I heard the story, it disturbed me deeply. It disturbed me because the couple demonstrated a lack of the normal human shame that keeps us from being consistent with a pro-choice position. The only true shame that they showed was in the fact that they didn’t want to comment on the story or sit down for an interview.
And this is not the only story about someone acting more consistently with the pro-choice position. Recently, a woman challenged Rick Santorum on his stance that pre-natal testing encourages abortion. (Here is a link to the video.) The woman spoke of her own experience with a special needs child: “Nearly two years old, he is already blind, paralyzed, and increasingly nonresponsive. I expect his death to happen this year. . .If I had known Ronan had Tay-Sachs I would have found out what the disease meant for my then-unborn child—and then I would have had an abortion."
I was shocked when I heard her response. I had assumed that she was going to say that she wished she had known more about the disease so that she could provide proper treatment for her son. Instead, she simply validated Santorum’s point. She says, “I would have aborted this son of mine, if only I had known about this disease that he would have.”
For a long time we as a society have legitimized abortion, but have sought to avoid the hard work of looking into the eyes of children and saying, “I wish I would have aborted you.” In both of the cases above, the parents have been willing to take that hard step. They have overcome the normal, instinctual shame that keeps us from being consistent with a pro-choice position.
I am sickened by the hypocrisy and inconsistency of most who hold a pro-choice position. But I am frightened when people go all the way and stay consistent. It seems like there are only two options of how to respond to this growing consistency. One option is that we finally come face to face with the horror of what we are doing and we stop. The second option is that we so harden our consciences that we allow ourselves to go even further with eliminating unwanted children.
I pray that the sad consistency of parents who say to their children, “I wish I had aborted you,” will wake us up to what we are doing and what we are approving.