“What if she can’t afford a child?” “Would you really want a child growing up in poverty? Hungry? Abused?” “Will you still care about that child after it’s born?” “I don’t have a house for this child…it was the easier choice.”
I’ve discussed abortion with a lot of people, both on campus and on my Tumblr blog. In almost every conversation, one of the above questions comes up. In fact, the last statement in the paragraph above is a quote from a Cal State San Bernardino student last month who shared her justifications for why she’d chosen to abort her child a couple of years before our conversation.
I can understand why these questions are so popular. We see hungry children in TV ads for charities. We hear about kids living on the street or in foster care waiting to be adopted. We hear about children who are abused, or who can’t afford new clothes and shoes when they have a growth spurt. We hear about children who have no place to call home, and no one to call family.
We need to care about those children. We need to support them and meet their needs. We need to keep those children safe from those who would hurt them. We need to protect the most vulnerable among us. That’s something people on all sides of the abortion debate can agree on. So why do some people propose killing children before birth as a solution?
Usually, it’s because even those who recognize the preborn as a child still make a distinction between the preborn and what they would consider a “real” child, such as a newborn or toddler or kindergartener. They think that there’s a period after conception but before birth in which we can prevent a child from being brought into a bad situation. Often, it’s before a certain pregnancy milestone, maybe before 20 weeks, or in the first trimester, or before they “look like a baby.” The problem is that in pregnancy, a child has already been brought into the world. That child is already living in poverty, and killing him or her is not the answer any more than killing homeless adults is the answer to homelessness.
What we really need to do then, is recognize the humanity of that preborn child and include that child as someone who needs compassion. That’s why we show images of children who have been brutally killed by abortion. Abortion is not a kindness or a “lesser evil” than poverty or abuse. In fact, killing a child is the highest form of child abuse there is.
If we want to prevent children from living in poverty or hunger, we need to support mothers and fathers and connect them with resources so they can provide for their children inside and outside the womb. If we want to prevent child abuse, we need to oppose it all throughout childhood, starting at conception.
I wish I had met the student I mentioned above while she was still pregnant, before her abortion. I would have told her that her local pregnancy center would be there to walk with her throughout her pregnancy and connect her with resources to meet her needs. I would have told her that she could have found shelter in a maternity home or had her housing needs provided through the adoption process, if she decided to go that direction. I would have told her how, through adoption, she could choose a family that would take good care of her child. I also would have told her how abortion would kill her child and hurt her. I would have told her that I had something better than abortion to offer. Instead of abortion, I would offer her support, help, and resources. Instead of a dismemberment, I would offer her child a loving home and family. Instead of death, I would offer life.
If you or someone you know needs pregnancy resources, call (800)712-HELP or visit optionline.org to find a pregnancy care center near you.