“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:13
Today I told my nine year old daughter what abortion was. It was the worst conversation I’ve ever had in my life. And before some of you start pronouncing me an awful parent here’s how the deal went down. We went to Wal-Mart for bread, butter, and school supplies. And there, in the coloring book aisle was the current USA Today. Its headline read, “Forced Abortions, broken hearts.” And of course, she read it faster than I could cover it up. “What’s that mean, Momma,” she asked? “I don’t know baby,” I replied. Then I picked it up and quickly read the article. It detailed the horrific practices of forced abortions that are standard practice in China. It spoke of a woman named Pan Chunyan who was abducted by Chinese officials in her own business last April and taken to a hospital. There they administered chemicals to kill her baby and cause her to deliver her third child, a son, dead. She was eight months pregnant. My heart sunk, and my stomach lurched. Tears stung my eyes. Here it was at last, one of those now or never moments. Do I insulate her or tell her the truth. She saw my tears and I didn’t try to hide them. “Why is that pregnant lady on the front of that newspaper,” she asked? I took a deep breath and asked God for grace & strength I don’t possess. “Come on baby girl, we’ll buy the paper, and I’ll tell you all about it,” I whispered. So, on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, on the long way home from the grocery store, my oldest child read the story for herself. And I let her ask the questions she wanted. And I answered them the best I could. I don’t believe in lying to my children, never have. When they ask questions, I answer them. Sometimes they get details, sometimes they don’t. Here’s what I said. China is a communist country. Their people are not free. Their government decides where they live, where they work, and if they go to college. They have laws in place that allow only one child per family. In some cases, exceptions are made. If you have more than one child you must pay a penalty. For each child, the penalty increases. Now, their government has gotten more serious about the situation. This is not the first instance where a woman late in her pregnancy has been abducted and taken to a state facility and forced to undergo this procedure. It will not likely be the last. And this is where the questions started……..”Why momma? Don’t they know that baby is important? Don’t they know that baby belongs to God,” she asked? I tried to explain to her that not everyone believes the way we do, but how do you explain to an innocent when others defile the sacred? It’s like in the movie The Incredibles when the mom leaves the children by themselves on the island and warns them that if the bad men find them, they must run because the men won’t show restraint even if they are children. She understands that analogy perfectly and something inside me breaks a little because we shouldn’t live in world where this conversation ever takes place. Tears streamed down both our faces as I told her that it’s the responsibility of good people to stand up and shout out about injustice when they see it or it will never go away. Sometimes people & governments are bad, I say, sometimes they truly care only for themselves. You must always, always, speak up. I tell her to be prepared because often your voice will make you unpopular, or the object of ridicule. Speak up anyway I say. The only approval you need is God’s, and you’ve already got that. It didn’t feel like we were just talking about abortion anymore. She was worried about Pan Chunyan. She worried that the mother had wanted to abort her baby. I pointed out that the article says her husband was frantically trying to raise the penalty money. That baby was wanted, I say. Still visibly upset she asks if God is upset with Pan, I reassure her, that this act of violence was against her will. There was nothing she could do to stop them. So she wiped her tears away with the back of her hand and then said to me, “Tell me about the other countries momma. Tell me about the other places that aren’t free like us.” And I did. And I’m pretty sure a patriot was born in that black minivan on county road 21 today.
But here are the things I did not say to her today. I did not dare explain that every day in her own country 3,331 babies are aborted (Guttmacher Inst. 2008). I did not dare explain that every day their parents choose to end these lives. They are not forced to do so by our government. That here, in the land of the free, we throw them out as “medical waste.” That right now our new government health care plan will be providing public funds to “community health centers” many of which will be run by Planned Parenthood. I did not explain that to many a baby is a choice and not a child. We distance ourselves with words like embryo and fetus but that does not change what’s really going on. Ecclesiastes 11:5 “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things.” Just because it’s been legal in America since 1973 doesn’t mean it is right. And I cannot help but believe that if these expectant parents only understood how loved and special they were in God’s eyes they might choose differently. If they could but catch a glimpse of what he sees in them, in their potential as his children then perhaps they would give their children a chance; even if it meant giving them to someone else to rear. And if perchance someone reads this and wonders if the choice they made can be forgiven, it can. Maybe someone somewhere told you differently. Maybe people you loved disowned you. Maybe friends who were Christians judged you. None of that would surprise me either. But the God who created you, the God who set you apart from all others still loves you. You are his child. Make no mistake about that. You are still precious. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” Romans 4:22-24
I know today is not the last day abortion will be talked about in my home. Honestly, I hope it’s not. I pray that my children, all of my children, ask me about every disturbing thing that this world has to offer them. I’ve already bombarded Heaven’s gates for help and I know my Father won’t let me down.