In an article on msn.com titled "I Received Grace: Why I Chose Adoption," the author tells the traumatic story of her rape and then her struggle over the question of whether or not to have an abortion. In the end, completely terrified, she decided to carry the baby to term and was relieved by the unexpected grace she received from family and friends.
I thought the reasons she gave for her decision were worth noting:
Truth: I saw the truth of what was happening inside me. When I saw the medical pictures of fetal development, I couldn't deny that she was human.
Love: I secretly loved that baby. It seemed to me then that I wasn't supposed to love her because of the way she was conceived. I came to realize later that the love a woman has for her child has incredible strength--no matter what the child looks like, what handicap he may have, or the way he was conceived....
Vision: ...I struggled with the knowledge that the value of a child is constant. My circumstances would continuously change. Should one of my children live or not live, depending on my changing circumstances? Or should I protect my children in the face of unpredictable circumstances? My desire became to protect this child, even though I couldn't figure out how to protect myself.
Belief: Even in my numb state, I believed that doing the right thing would benefit me at some point. The right thing was to let this child live. It did not feel good. I knew I would have to walk through five more months of stares, questions, and self-perception struggles. But I believed, and it turned out to be true.
This article is paired with another, "Real Life: Why I Chose Abortion," written by a woman who chose abortion when she and her husband learned their unborn child had a serious birth defect. (I'm surprised they didn't pair two stories about the same type of pregnancy--i.e., two women who were raped or two fetuses with birth defects--so we could truly see the difference the choice makes. It's hard to compare two from such different situations.)
I think part of this second article reveals why it's so hard to change people's minds about abortion after they've experienced one. Consider her reaction to a pro-life statement: When President Bush talked about "defending the life of the innocent," she could only hear him "calling [her] a baby killer." Why? When she was pregnant, she probably instinctively felt many of the things the author of the other article felt (above). The tone of her story, then, is understandably defensive. The emotional pain of her abortion (and the story really is heartbreaking for both the husband and wife) is already so excruciating on its own that any attempt by someone to clarify the identity and value of the unborn in general proves to be too much for her to bear. She reacts strongly and fights against it, for she hears every word spoken for the unborn as an accusation against her, personally. How could she seriously consider what we say? The stakes are huge here, and she can't be wrong for the sake of her own sanity. Can you get a sense of the weight we're placing on her with our arguments?
The only way I see to reach past this wall is in the title of the first article: grace. While speaking to those who have suffered through an abortion (and you never know when that is the case), we had better give our arguments for the value of the unborn child in the context of grace and forgiveness, in light of the One who is willing and able to carry the resulting weight of the implications for them.