From the heart of a mother, who grieves every time she hears of another rape exception in a piece of legislation:
I was extremely disappointed once again to hear that my son and others like him were targeted for termination in the newly-introduced Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Let me tell you why.
We live in a society which offers us so many choices, anywhere from food, to cable, to what we’d like to become. We also live in a time where we battle on the choice of human life vs. human death, and these decisions are often driven by excuses. I certainly knew some of the selfish “reasons” which would have “excused” a decision on my part to abort: I had a reputation I wanted to preserve as a pastor’s daughter and as a Christian. I had been Class President, Class Treasurer, Spiritual Development Chairman, and on the traveling worship team, and I was afraid of losing the chance to be involved like that again as the person I was known for being. I had no support in my relationship “yet,” he was abusing me and I was trying to “fix” my relationship first. I didn’t have the finances, I wasn’t ready for a baby, I didn’t want people judging me, I didn’t want to be less desirable, I was afraid of the possibly becoming a single mom, I wanted to hide everything that was wrong and get on track without people knowing, I didn’t want to be viewed differently and to lose the ones who loved me, and . . . , I was pregnant by RAPE – a violent rape.
That word, right there: RAPE. The one excuse we hear the most.
Excuses, shame, and hurt should not alter our ethical, moral, and discernable consciousness of the life of another human being -- especially an innocent baby.
Having an abortion as a way of “dealing” with a rape is not healthy. It destroys a woman’s conscience, increases a form of denial, and heightens guilt – whether suppressed or acknowledged. An abortion acts as a cover-up to the true problem.
When I look at my son, and I see his very essence, how he interacts with people, how he makes them smile/laugh/feel, how he loves, and the joy I experience in his presence -- all those excuses and reasons are wiped away like a rainbow wipes away a storm.
Two years ago, when the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (20-week abortion ban) was introduced in Congress, it included all babies – there was no discrimination, no one targeted as less worthy of protection at the time it was introduced, and it was voted out of committee unanimously by every Republican, though a rape exception was later added on the House Floor by Eric Cantor, who since lost his Primary. This year, the same bill was introduced to protect all babies -- except those conceived in rape. This makes no sense to me, as my son is capable of feeling pain -- and love -- just as much as any other child. Is there any scientific reasoning behind excluding a child like him from a Pain-Capable bill? Are there studies which these Congressmen can point to which suggest that my son and other children conceived in rape are incapable of feeling any pain? Or, does it just not matter to them that children like my son are actually capable of feeling pain?
We live in a society fighting hard to take down discriminatory statuses and labels, but when it comes to “convenience” – whether making an abortion decision or making a legislative decision – many will slap on a label which lessens an entire group of persons’ value in order to justify their own decision-making process – a life or death decision. In the pro-life movement, some fight for babies’ lives conceived in various circumstances, anywhere from gender to race to health, but exclude innocent babies conceived in rape. As a mother of one of these children, this breaks my heart! They are basing my baby’s worth on a circumstance which had nothing to do with anything he did, and on who his biological father was and what he did.
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act says to me that only babies conceived in a time of no hurt, no joy, no problems, are to be protected and can therefore live, but other innocent babies can be put to death for someone else’s crime. Even people who lose limbs in a collision can’t legally go and take away the limbs of the responsible party, but a pregnant mother can end the life of an innocent child who did her no harm. In the United States, there’s no death penalty for rapists – only for the innocent child. Any baby, and any child, is precious and worth something no matter what the parents’ thoughts are of them and no matter of the circumstance of their conception.
Does my precious son’s life become less human and of less value than all of those other babies who the Congressmen are defending if my mood, thought, pain, or choice of how I dealt with my awful circumstance changed? No one can put a price or value on my son, not even me -- because he is INVALUABLE. He is who God made him to be, and he is not comprised as a human by what other people have done. Even God doesn’t base our value on our actions. So why should we base a human’s value on other people’s actions?
I think many of us can recall how we felt during times when we were devalued or seen as less of a person for whatever background or reason. So, I hope you know that you are of value no matter the reason of your conception, the labels put upon you, the family you were raised in, being told you were “bad seed”, having a “disability”, having been abused, etc.. You, my son, and I have value and a reason to be protected just as much as those who society deems exclusively worthy.
My son is capable of feeling deeply. In fact, many would say he specializes in his feelings and insights of others. He loves SO much and so intently, that he makes those whom society would ignore, feel pretty special and important. When he was in my womb, he was very sensitive to my touch. I would just barely touch my pregnant belly, and he would respond with quite a bit of movement. Thank goodness all he knew was love and not pain when he was in my womb. But he deserved protection, without compromise.
I take joy in any progress we make in defending life, but it doesn’t mean I will sit back and not say when something’s wrong. To stay silent is like not speaking up when a building is perfectly formed, all but the leaking roof. Eventually, the one imperfection is going to affect the rest of the building. Why give up fighting for all babies’ lives? Not only that, but it seems odd to me that pro-life Congressmen would put a price (or lack thereof) on my son’s life and who he is.
Even people in the pro-choice movement have said that they couldn’t imagine me without my son and how much of a blessing he is in my life, especially having seen how his love pours out and into others. I don’t exaggerate when I say my son has insight into people, feelings, and situations more than many human adults do, and I am not the only one to see and say that. I don’t think this world could afford to just dispose (physically or thought-wise) of a wonderful, little human like him, and disregard the value of all he’s contributed to life already before the age of four, just because of how he was conceived.
You see, when you target unborn children like him – when you refuse to protect them – our world loses children like my son.
I randomly desire to sit and relax at a campfire with good company on a grey-skied day and a cool breeze. Don't forget the s'mores!