On this day when people throughout the world are celebrating the birth of the most significant baby ever born, I think of all the babies who began life but were not allowed to be born. My heart breaks for mothers who make the choice of abortion.
The babies are with Jesus; it is each mother who will forever bear the scars of her decision. I know because I’ve talked to friends who have chosen abortion. You may think you do not know anyone who has had an abortion, but think again; four out of ten unintended pregnancies are aborted, according to Operation Rescue. I have learned to be cautious in my general criticism of anyone who has had an abortion, because someone in the conversation may be reminded of deep hurts.
My most recent encounter with the result of abortion was in my own home tonight. My young friend who had an abortion a few weeks ago, one of the rare ones due to rape, is spending the night with us. To meet her limited budget, Planned Parenthood bent some rules when she got her abortion. She had it later than average because she had to save enough money to get it. Then they wouldn’t give her anesthesia because she had no one to take her home. So, having a local only, she heard every drop of that child’s life being sucked from her body. Even before it was finished, she was horrified at what she’d done.
She is not a Christian and actually is only beginning to learn through us about God’s love. But she’s a good person with a clear picture of right and wrong, and she is appalled at what she did.
Tonight she said she thinks her complications following the procedure are because God is mad at her for doing such an awful thing. I handed her a Christmas gift from us: God is Not Mad at You, by Joyce Meyer. She was astonished at the timing of her statement and the title. I told her that’s the way God works.
Anyone can feel some guilt about something and possibly even talk about it to friends. But when I hear the wrenching sobs and pleas that come from this child when she is sleeping, I know that the damage is deep in her psyche. Years of counseling might lessen the impact, but the decision that she saw as necessary to her life is now destroying that very life.
I talk soothingly to her, smooth her hair, stroke her arm. I tell her that God loves her and so do I. I tell her that it’s all over, that she doesn’t have to keep reliving it. Most of all, I tell her that she’s a good person in a bad situation, and God is not mad at her. Eventually she settles down, only to have the nightmares recur. When she’s home alone, they awaken her and she is afraid to go back to sleep. Sleep deprivation does not make for a good work day.
So that is why my heart breaks for the mothers of aborted babies more than for the babies. This is an irreversible decision, one that God can forgive but that the no-longer-a-mother will never forget. We can only pray that they ask for God’s forgiveness–and forgive themselves.