|The Princess at 12 weeks gestation. Sorry for the blurry picture of a picture.|
|The Princess at 23 months.|
|My friend's daughter at 9 weeks gestation.|
|Miss N at almost 1 and a half.|
Until about 4 years ago, I was vehemently pro-choice. To me, life within the womb was always "just a clump of cells". I would swear up and down that if I ever fell pregnant and was in a less than ideal life situation, I would abort without a second thought. I was not in favor of them being used as a primary birth control method, but heck yeah, every woman should always have the right to however many abortions she needed.
In 2007, I was what I considered to be deeply religious. I embraced a Quiverfull lifestyle, allowing God to bless us with children as He saw fit. While I assumed a baby would be on the way in short order, I was very wrong. God decided I needed the lessons that 3 years of secondary infertility taught me. Part of those lessons was a strengthening of my understanding of when life begins. In my grief over not conceiving, I poured over many websites on human development in the womb. The images I found amazed me.
What I had always been told and assumed to be true was that the fetus was not definably human until quite late in the pregnancy. Although I had 2 young sons at that point, I had not had any ultrasound scans until after the mid-point of my pregnancies. Sure, it was really a baby by the time you're 6 months along. Anything before that, well, not so much.
Another component of my pro-choice stance was that if there was any chance of a birth defect of any kind, no matter how treatable, the default choice should always be termination. As the months of my infertility went by, I really struggled in my spirit with idea of terminating such a long awaited pregnancy. Could I raise a child with a disability? Could I watch a baby die shortly after birth? Could I live with myself if I did abort? Was God preparing my heart for disaster with these thoughts and struggles?
It was a slow and often agonizing process, but I eventually came to realize the one thing that holds true, no matter what your beliefs on abortion are. Abortion stops a beating heart. It's not a potential life, or a "maybe baby". It's a child that God allowed to come into this world. Ironically, it was shortly after realizing that I could never personally choose to have an abortion that I gave up on the dream of another child. As many would point out to me, it's much easier to hold to that ideal when you cannot conceive.
I look at the pictures at the top of the post in awe. Fearfully and wonderfully made indeed. These 2 little girls were visibly human as early as the first trimester. I distinctly remember laying on the table during that 12 week scan, looking at my tiny baby, and wondering how many women terminated their pregnancies at that stage. And after that sobering thought, I wondered just how backed into a wall many of these woman may have felt, that they had no other choice.
I do believe all life is God-given, despite what trying, joyous, or even hideous circumstances might bring those lives into existence. I try to keep a heart of full of compassion for anyone who feels her best or only choice is abortion. I am one of the oddballs in the pro-life community who thinks that open and affordable access to birth control is the best way to lower the abortion rate in our country. I also don't believe that overturning Roe v. Wade will help anything. Life issues are tricky to deal with. The question of how to best lower the abortion rate has complex answers. I just know that for me, life is a beautiful thing, and I hope more will see that as well.