Monday, October 27, 2008

Choose Life

I'm going to go a bit off topic and get personal here. Right now my wife is with one of our good friends about to welcome a new life into this world. From the world's perspective, our friend is (about to be) a single mom, with no job, and health issues. A perfect candidate for an abortion right? To quote Lee Corso, "not so fast, my friend!" Or better yet, to quote Paul, "By no means!" (Rom 6:1) It wasn't a "Christian value" issue for her, or even a question about convenience. She wants to be a mom, and I think she'll do great at it. She didn't let the fact that the father (this will be the last time I mention him) bailed on her dissuade her from valuing life over convenience. For that she should be commended.

At the same time, another friend's niece just passed away at less than two weeks of age. She was born with heart problems and they did everything they could to save her. Again, life was more important than convenience.

I'm reminded of the flack John Kerry took for being pro-life, but voting pro-choice. Personally I understand it, but couldn't understand why the Catholic Church would not serve him the Eucharist while I know there were multiple adulterers in the parish I grew up in. His wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry related their own personal story of a baby doctors feared wasn't going to make it, but she chose not to abort, trusting that God was in control. When she miscarried, she knew it was meant to be. Politically, she's grateful she had the choice to make, even though she chose life.

Similarly, a couple from our church was having a baby ultrasounds showed would be born with deformities and tests showed would have serious issues. Doctors encouraged an abortion, but they too, chose to trust in God. And God knew what he was doing when the pregnancy ended in miscarriage.

These are painful experiences, to be sure. But I also know of other families who would give anything just to be able to get pregnant. The brother who officiated my wedding and his wife just welcomed twins into this world. They were trying to get pregnant for years. Finally, they chose to adopt embryos. What? That was my reaction too. But this is becoming increasingly popular. Just as First Century Christians rescued babies from infanticide in Rome, many Christians today are rescuing embryoes that would otherwise be discarded. Our friends adopted embryos, leftovers if you will, from a couple who did in-vitro fertilization. These are the same types of embryos at the center of the stem-cell debate.

Another family at my church returned a month ago from China after adopting their second child from there. In China, you're limited in the number of children you can have. So if one is born with a defect, or God-forbid is a girl, the baby is usually discarded like an old pair of shoes. Their first child was born with a clubbed foot. This child, with a cleft palate. Both now can overcome these "hardships" with first-world medical care. And a family who couldn't bear children are blessed with two beautiful girls.

Meanwhile yet another family at church has adopted two black children with family histories of drug abuse. Unfortunately, no one wants a black baby, especially one with that kind of history. They can't wait until they have enough saved to adopt again.

And one of the biggest things that's keeping me from supporting Obama is this clip where he states he doesn't want his children "punished" with having a child if they make an irresponsible decision. Now, I get where he was going with this, but as a recovering addict I understand the difference between a punishment and a consequence. And as a Christian I understand the difference between justice and mercy. But those words from the likely future President of the United States burn me bad.

I write all of this because this is a very personal issue for me. I am the product of an unwed, teenage mother that probably got pregnant on spring break, based on my birthday. I'll never know the circumstances because I was adopted at two weeks. But I remember debating abortion in my high school civics class when one girl said that men shouldn't have any say in the abortion debate because it doesn't effect them. I beg to differ as living proof of "choice". In a different era, under different circumstances, would I have been aborted? Probably. And that thought sends chills down my spine and brings me to my knees to thank God for my very breath.

After seeing my own children develop in their mother's womb and being there as they drew their first breaths, I could never, ever, support "choice" for the sake of convenience. Is that the only "political" issue important to me? Of course not, but no other is as personal.

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