The Wrong to Choose

by Michael Fletcher
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My youngest son just turned one year old this week.

That's quite an accomplishment since he wasn't supposed to be here at all. My wife and I had accepted the fact that we wouldn't have any more children after complications with her first pregnancy and my testicular cancer.

My Story

When the doctor's office called, my wife said, "now, you're just going to have to tell me that again."

After the initial shock, we were delighted. But we didn't have to be.

We had, after all a choice. A choice.

Who could blame us? We were in our early forties and looking forward to someday having that empty nest. We didn't need the financial challenge. My wife's writing career was taking off and our ten-year-old kept us both busy enough. Not to mention the complications my wife had with his delivery.

We had a choice. But it was never an option.

A woman's "right to choose" is the rallying call for abortion proponents. And sadly, the laws of our land currently grant that "right".

There have been more than 38 million abortions in the twenty-six years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized unrestricted abortion on January 22, 1973. All for the sake of convenience. Statistics show that 93% of all induced abortions are done for elective, non-medical reasons.

I've tried to understand it. But I just cannot comprehend how anyone could not believe this is a baby.

By the time a baby is large enough to abort, it has identifiable arms and legs and displays measurable brain waves. Most abortions are performed in the seventh through tenth weeks when fingers and genitals have started forming and the child's face is forming.

Those plying the trade of abortion claim that the baby is just a mass of tissue, still a part of the mother. Yet the baby has a separate DNA pattern, different and distinct fingerprints, and sometimes different blood types and a different sex.

"But it's my body! It's my choice."

Yes, it is your body. But you already made your choice, and choices have consequences.

You can choose to drink a fifth of Jack Daniels every day, but you may have to accept the consequence of destroying your liver.

You can chose to eat a half gallon of "Rocky Road" every night, but you may have to accept the consequence of having to shop at Big Bertha's Expandable Daywear Shop.

And, you can choose to be sexually active, but, even if you practice birth control, you have to accept the fact that you might get pregnant.

But what about the victims of rape and incest? Haven't they suffered enough?

Indeed, those victims have suffered. But subjecting them to an invasive surgical procedure and destroying an innocent life will not erase the horror they have experienced. Rather it will more likely add additional trauma.

Regardless, it's still a baby. Two moral wrongs don't make a civil right.

I need to point out that I don't let my pro-life compatriots off the hook. We've made some major missteps in this fight as well.

I have always been pro-life. I have marched in the March for Life. I have contributed to and volunteered at Crisis Pregnancy Centers. I have participated in fund raisers for CPCs. I have worked for pro-life candidates and have voted pro-life. I have written speeches for pro-life advocates.

I will never be convinced that life begins anywhere but at conception. After all, once the process starts, only an unnatural act can stop it. Abortion is nothing more than the ending of an innocent life just begun.

Pro-life advocates, especially evangelical Christians, need to take a sobering look at our contribution to the number of abortions in the country. While we fight against abortion, we have a history of shunning the unwed mother. If she couldn't turn to the church in her time of need, where could she turn?

We've come a long way in correcting that.

There are 3,000 Crisis Pregnancy Centers across the United States, supported largely by the Christian community. These centers provide tests and counseling, and often offer a full range of services such as helping women obtain housing, maternity and baby clothes, equipment, medical care, financial support, adoption information and more.

Still, those of us who are pro-life are accused of caring more for the unborn than for those children who are already here.

That's simply not true.

Many of those who support the work of the Crisis Pregnancy Centers also provide food, clothing and shelter for the homeless. Many send resources overseas through missionaries or other service groups.

No, we haven't solved all the problems. But perhaps Mother Teresa said it best:

"I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. Just one, one, one ... so you begin -- I begin. I picked up one person -- maybe if I didn't pick up that one person I wouldn't have picked up 42,000. The whole work is only a drop in the ocean. But if I didn't put the drop in the ocean, the ocean would be one drop less. Same thing for you, same thing in you family, same thing in the church where you go. Just begin ... one, one, one."
In all my advocacy, I don't know that I've ever actually stopped someone from having an abortion. I've realized that the screaming and the marching and the preaching won't stop abortion. Those who are adamantly pro-abortion will remain that way until they are convinced that abortion is wrong. That won't happen through legislation. That won't happen through marches on Washington. That won't happen through arguments. It will only happen one by one.

It seems to me that if women really understood the procedure they might rethink their position. So perhaps we should listen to those who really do know the procedure.

This procedure [partial birth abortion] is used to abort women who are 20 to 32 weeks pregnant -- or even later into pregnancy. Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist reaches into the uterus, grabs the unborn baby's leg with forceps, and pulls the baby into the birth canal, except for the head, which is deliberately kept just inside the womb. [At this point in a partial-birth abortion, the baby is alive.] Then the abortionist jams scissors into the back of the baby's skull and spreads the tips of the scissors apart to enlarge the wound. After removing the scissors, a suction catheter is inserted into the skull and the baby's brains are sucked out. The collapsed head is then removed from the uterus.

-- Dr. Martin Haskell, at the 1992 meeting of the National Abortion Federation.

"Following [the doctor's] directions, I took the collection bottle and poured its contents into a shallow pan. Then I used water to rinse off the blood and smaller particles which clouded the bottom of the pan. 'Now look closely,' the doctor said. 'It is important that we have got all the stuff out.' I looked in the pan to find that the stuff consisted of the remains of what had been, a few minutes before, a thirteen-week-old fetus. I could make out the remains of arms and legs and a trunk and a skull. I tried to piece them back together in my mind, to see if there were any missing parts. Most of the pieces were so battered and bloody they were not recognizably human. Then my eyes locked upon a perfect little hand, less than half a centimeter long. I stared at four tiny fingers and a tiny opposed thumb, complete with tiny translucent fingers. And I knew what I had done."

-- former abortionist "Chi An", quoted in Stephen Mosher's "A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight Against China's One Child Policy"

Some choice.

It is pure hypocrisy to advocate policies for the children, to weep over children who are hungry, to anguish over children who are abused and to turn a stone cold heart to the plight of millions of innocent children slaughtered in the name of choice.

My wife and I never considered the fact that the law gave us a "choice."

Was it convenient? Was it the way we would have planned it when we got married almost fifteen years ago?

No, of course not. We planned to be well on our way to retiring in a warm climate by now.

But that, as they say, is another story.

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Written 18 Feb 2001.

Copyright 2001 by Michael Fletcher
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