Stats or Stories?

by Leon Jones
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It is very unfortunate but, so many times, when there is debate about abortion, both sides seems to get so bogged down in "stats" and "facts", that some of us -- no, make that "I" -- tend to forget what this movement is all about. The following stories have served as a great reminder.

Standing Fast

A lady, whom we shall call "Anne", got married with plans of someday having a family. The problem was that Anne was diagnosed at age 14 with vasovagal syncope. I have been told that the effects of V.S. is much like that of an electrical short. Whenever the brain "short circuits", the heart shuts down, which, of course can lead to sudden death.

Well, despite many warnings by several physicians, Anne decided to go ahead and "have this baby anyway". And she meant what she said! When the morning sickness came, she did not waiver in her determination to have the child. When she had her first heart attack, she stood firm (as well as with her second and her third heart attack.) When the baby was full term and she "crashed" twice and nearly choked on her own vomit, her family stood by her decision.

On August 6, 1997, a healthy baby girl was born. Mother and child are doing fine.

Giving All

Of course, not all stories have a happy ending. Recently, in Florida, a black woman (I mention her race because there are still so many people out there who ask "Why aren't more African Americans pro-life?") gave birth to a beautiful baby. She was diagnosed as having cancer. She refused to accept any drugs that might harm the baby, even if going without the medication meant putting her own life in jeopardy. Five days after she gave birth, she died.

Helpless

Finally, there was a "situation" that happened not too long ago. One that left me and my wife feeling hopeless, one young lady abandoned and one baby dead. Recently, a lady, who knew that I was pro-life, told me that she was having problems with her boyfriend and was going to have an abortion.

The fact that she told me when she already knew my position on the issue made me think that it was a cry for help. I tried talking to her, talking to other pro-lifers to see what, if anything, I could do to stop it. I prayed on it, offered a place for the child but whatever I said or offered stood pale in comparison to her hopes of her keeping her man. She wasn't about to listen to anyone (including that little voice inside of her.)

Time for the abortion to take place was growing closer and closer. And I was totally helpless to stop a murder that I knew was about to take place and there wasn't a #$%@! thing I could do about it! All my "knowledge" about the legal and philosophical aspects of abortion meant absolutely nothing!

It seemed as though I had two choice: 1) do like Pilate and tell God "I wash my hands of the whole thing. 2) Physically threaten her (in which case, the law locks me up and I "prove" that pro-lifers are mentally unstable.

If there is one thing that I hope to get across in my writings or lectures is that we have to make it personal. As crazy and as mixed up as it was for me, it must have been a thousand times as confusing for the lady going through all the chaos. I don't say this to get her off the hook but rather, so that I may better understand, so that I may be in a better position to help someone, the next time (and there will be a next time.)

We -- "I" -- need to go from "facts" to "faces". From "stats" to "stories". Stats and facts are cold and lifeless. Faces and stories give us meaning and purpose. From this point on, let out mission be to get to know, as best we can, that lady who took the life of her own child as well as the women who were willing to and did die so that another may live.


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Posted 14 Sep 2000.

Copyright 1997 by Blacks for Life.
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