The hospital gown wasn’t doing me any favors, as my bottom was still exposed. The nurse pulled me into a hug position, squeezed my elbows, and told me that I was “doing great.” It felt like bee stings as the needle entered my spine. My husband entered the room in his disposable scrubs, and all color had drained from his face. The surgeons moved seamlessly around me and talked about their weekend plans as they cut into my abdomen. Within minutes of the C-section starting, the doctor held our baby above the curtain. The room erupted in smiles, and love as I knew it was wildly different.
Women carry birth tales like resounding insignias of strength. My mom describes the story of my birth as one that almost killed us both. I wasn’t full-term, and she developed severe pre-eclampsia that almost led to a stroke. I was premature, weighed a little over three pounds, and lived in an incubator for six weeks.
New York now allows abortions past the 24th week of pregnancy if the life of the mother is at risk. Without dancing around the nitty gritty of this ruling, I wondered whether I would have been a candidate for termination.
We can be confused, angry, disgusted and saddened. However, we can’t be surprised. Whether a baby is pre-term or full-term, and whether the life of the mother is considered, abortion has been a culturally accepted practice long before this ruling. In fact, Scripture shows us that these decisions have long been in the hands of governing rulers. In Exodus 1, Pharaoh didn’t want Israel to gain too much power and sought to destroy the future men. “Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people. Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live” (Exodus 1:22).
Fast forward to 2019, add degrees and legislation and you have a cultural norm. The maniacal king is not visible at the forefront, but he lingers in the shadows disguising genocide as a human right. You see, this is where the argument gets muddied. This is where the Enemy does his best work – between the lines of how society measures human life. Abortion is the leading cause of death, but only to those who share the definition of life. We either believe that life happens at the time of conception, or at the time of birth.
In Luke 1:41 we learn that from within the womb, John the Baptist was very much alive and leaped in the presence of a pregnant Mary. Human life is also scientifically defined. According to Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia, 5th edition, “At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun.” Further, this being has its own distinct human DNA. It is distinctly human, and not an organ or extension of the mother’s body.
If God and science can agree, where are we going wrong? To start, this particular social issue leads us to collide very aggressively with those who aren’t on the same page. The Enemy loves nothing more than moving us farther away from kingdom progress with good ol’ fashioned conflict. In the game of Red Rover, we clench our arms so tightly that the opposing side can’t break through. In Red Rover, they end up joining our team. In real life, the opponent goes back to their side and our team doesn’t grow. Taking a nudge from Jesus, it starts with empathy.
Right now, a woman contemplates abortion and wonders why she was the victim of rape. Somewhere else, a woman who has wanted babies her entire life is holding hands with her husband while their doctor informs them that she will die if she doesn’t terminate her pregnancy. No memorial or grieving allowed for this loss, as it masquerades as a clinical procedure.
Galatians 6 reminds us to bear each other’s burdens and restore one another, while Matthew 5:14-16 reminds us what it means to shine the light of Jesus. These are world-changing charges from our Lord. One soul at a time, through prayer, conviction and love.