If you follow Living Letters with any regularity, you might have noticed every month has a theme. The May first blog was the story of three hymnwriters. The next one was supposed to be about worship music, and the last an interview with a worship leader. But obstacles popped up for both of those and they never got written.
Then about this time someone somehow leaked the draft of a Supreme Court decision not yet official that seems perhaps destined to overturn Roe v Wade. This has sent off torrential protests as well as a barrage of opinions on social media. Demonstrations have moved as close to the homes of Supreme Court justices as they can without trespassing. Justice Clarence Thomas has commented that the Court will not be bullied into changing or making their decisions.
At any rate, as my Facebook feed last week began displaying the disparaging voices of abortion advocates, I found myself wanting to answer them (though I doubt it will change their minds), rather than writing about sacred music. But I left the title I had chosen with a bit of an addition because I think it applies. We cannot cry out to God too much to remove the life-killing, self-pleasing idol to abortion, at whose altars our nation worships.
“ We cannot cry out to God too much to remove the life-killing, self-pleasing idol to abortion, at whose altars our nation worships. ”
Though it is a highly charged political issue, I do not write with political intentions. If one pays attention, clearly both pro-abortion and pro-life views can be found in any and all U.S. political parties, among those of all various religions, even atheists, and are even pretty equally distributed among both men and women. This last statistic is based upon Gallup polls taken in the U.S. each May from 2018 to 2021. Forty-five percent of the men were pro-choice while 50 percent were pro-life and five percent had no opinion. Fifty-two percent of women were pro-choice while 43 percent were pro-life and four percent had no opinion. The scales are not tipped in favor to either side, as pro-abortionists often insinuate.
All I want to do here is state some rather obvious facts. Sometimes I feel my blood pressure rising when the ignorance of the other side shows itself. They talk loudly. They are backed by big bucks. They’ve got politicians, educators, celebrities, social media influencers, and civil rights folk on their side. (As do both sides.) But talk is cheap when it sidesteps reality and truth and leads people, especially women, astray. So I’m just writing to speak truth; not my truth, but the truth.
A favorite quote right now is: “My body, my choice.” I wonder how much choice we really have over our bodies. Where were these same sign carriers when well-meaning citizens refused the covid vaccination because they believed we as free Americans should have a choice of what we put into our bodies? That thought aside, we can choose to eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, etc.—and still get cancer, have a heart attack, stroke, or many other things. No one chooses debilitating diseases. They can choose treatment plans. Pregnancy, however, is not a disease.
“ ...the first choice regarding pregnancy begins before sexual intercourse, not after. ”
Rather, the first choice regarding pregnancy begins before sexual intercourse, not after. Too often our culture portrays sex as a fun past time that should be available to all whenever they wish with whomever they wish. The fact that life could result from it, is ignored, downplayed, discouraged, and consequently life itself is demeaned. We have twisted a God-given gift meant to consummate a loving, committed relationship, into a selfish activity used for our individual pleasure as we see fit.
Finally, let’s not forget that a pregnancy contains an entirely different human body from a woman’s body. That tiny body has no outside voice to choose for him or her, no choice but to grow peacefully inside his or her mother’s womb—in what should be a haven of safety. If you’ve ever watched a video ultrasound during an abortion, you can see the pain and fear of that tiny body vainly trying to hide from the life destroyer coming at him or her.
Of course, there is the possibility of rape, when a woman could become pregnant against her will. Here are the statistics on that: One of every six women in the U.S. is the victim of attempted or completed rape (14.8% completed). About 32,100 pregnancies a year result. Of these, 32.2% of the victims opted to keep the infant, 50% underwent abortion, 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% miscarried. Yet only one percent of the abortions in the U.S. are results of rape, and the rape victims who most often abort do it because incest is involved.
“ The end of Roe v. Wade does not mean the end of abortion in this country. ”
(As an aside, three of every four sexual assaults are not reported, and out of every 1,000 rapes only five rapists are convicted. Seems like we could spend our time, legislation, and law enforcement better protecting women—even encouraging them to report these incidents and providing free counseling for them. What about legislating against pornography and prostitution and then enforcing those laws more effectively?)
The end of Roe v. Wade does not mean the end of abortion in this country. Not by a long shot. It means that laws concerning abortion will return to the individual states. Some will greatly restrict, a few might even outlaw. However, estimates right now are that the 50 states will divide about right in half on this issue (https://reproductiverights.org/maps/what-if-roe-fell/). States keeping abortion legal will likely expand their laws to include it all the way up to birth.
So the idea of back street unqualified abortionists rising up is not really a concern. This was never the problem abortion advocates make it seem anyway. Let’s also not forget that there are at least 200 deaths per year in the U.S. as a result of legal abortions gone bad (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/ss/ss7009a1.htm). This statistic is probably inaccurately downplayed as there is little government regulation in how abortion statistics are gathered, and I can tell you that an abortion-caused death is not what any abortionists wants to admit on a death certificate (https://journals.lww.com/jphmp/fulltext/2018/05000/state_and_local_health_department_activities.10.aspx). The whole industry has little government control overseeing it, and there continues to be some profit seeking, careless doctors performing abortions while women are injured or killed as a result.
“ And for each one of their answers, multiple women are able to attest to birthing and raising their babies, while completing personal goals and working their way into successful careers. ”
Lobbyists are a big factor in lawmaking. Money is often their motivation. Yet, it is hard to find the money behind the pro-life movement. Largely because no one is making any. On the other hand, abortion is a huge industry, and Planned Parenthood is the single top abortion business with almost $1.9 billion in net assets in 2017 (https://www.heritage.org/life/commentary/planned-parenthoods-annual-report-out-heres-what-you-need-know). While Planned Parenthood provides more than half of the abortions in the U.S., there are other abortion practitioners using clinics and hospitals that have little accountability to the public about their profits. The cost of a surgical abortion can be anywhere from $600 to over $2,000 (https://www.compasscare.info/health-information/abortion/abortion-costs/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20most%20common,you%20are%20in%20your%20pregnancy). Drug induced abortions are becoming more popular, but vary in cost from state to state. Nevertheless, the cost is always several hundred dollars.
In recent years, in an effort to encourage the pro-abortion view, there has been a movement to “shout your abortion.” Women, (although the number doing so are less than the pro-abortion side would wish), testify that their decision to abort their children was a positive one, one that they would gladly do again. “I was able to finish college because I had one,” says one. Another says, “It just wasn’t the right time to have the responsibility of raising a child. Now I am married and established in my career and I have two beautiful children—a wonderful family.” At the expense of whom? And for each one of their answers, multiple women are able to attest to birthing and raising their babies, while completing personal goals and working their way into successful careers.
Many women have been telling their abortion stories all along. Not shouting them, but clearly speaking what they did and why they did it. And what happened afterwards. Carol Everett is one such woman (https://www.priestsforlife.org/testimonies/1122-testimony-of-carol-everett-former-abortion-provider). Sixteen or 17 years after my abortion, I was driving alone scanning my car radio for something to listen to. Carol’s voice and the words she was speaking stopped me. As I listened, tears streamed down my face and I began to realize that my felt distance from God at the time, was actually being blocked by unresolved conflict regarding my abortion. By Carol’s words and through God’s grace I began to acknowledge the truth of abortion. In a few years, that grace would lead me to full repentance and full forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
“ I began to realize that my felt distance from God at the time, was actually being blocked by unresolved conflict regarding my abortion. ”
Another similar story is that of Abby Johnson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlQhXgBA7Qw). Finally, abortion survivors are also sharing their stories. Melissa Ohden survived a saline enforced abortion and was rescued by a nurse when the nurse realized that the aborted baby lying alone in a hospital room was not actually dead. Here’s what Melissa has to say about herself and many others like her: https://melissaohden.com/.
In my 11-year experience as a pregnancy center director, I’ve listened to dozens of women who have had abortions tell their stories. I never met one who didn’t deeply regret her decision. Sometimes the abortions they endured were not their own decisions. I’ve witnessed a woman being bullied by her boyfriend and his father to have an abortion. Another woman’s father stopped speaking to her because she refused to have an abortion. Legalized abortion took away those women’s rights to choose.
I know a married woman who secretly chose to have an abortion because she didn’t want any more children, though thankfully she changed her mind. Some women who find themselves pregnant are unhappy with the relationship they are in but choose to stay in it and abort, only to become pregnant again soon afterward. Many relationships don’t survive an abortion.
“ Yet our culture insists on teaching us to justify our abortion decisions. ”
Research rather late in coming (https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/amp-64-9-863.pdf), is showing that abortion can affect women’s lives for many years after. They often impact bonding with babies of later births. Depression, addiction, and post traumatic effects can and often do result to some degree. Let’s not forget guilt which can be easily overlooked and dismissed, but lingers all the same. The residue of the procedure goes on.
Yet our culture insists on teaching us to justify our abortion decisions. I surely did. I told myself that I had made it quite clear to my boyfriend on the night I got pregnant that I did not want to have sex. But that wasn’t even true. I may have said what I said and he promised to comply, but my behavior belied my words. Later, he was devastated that I had an abortion without even so much as telling him I was pregnant. It was my choice alone. He would have supported me. He loved children and wanted his own. My decision impacted him so negatively, I am not sure of its lasting effects on him, but I am certain there were some.
What did my sin do to his already negative view of God? I was the professing Christian. Our relationship ended even before my abortion. In fact, the night I got pregnant was the last time we were together. There is every reason to believe we could have co-parented effectively. I know that now—I knew that then. But I wanted things my way. I was embarrassed and prideful. Years later I ran into him on the street with the oldest of my children from my marriage. He was so overtaken with anger and emotion at seeing my son, after I had killed his, that he did not speak, but turned and fled. What about the rights of fathers who want their children from non-abusive and consenting relationships? Do pro-abortion advocates ever consider what they are entitled to? Obviously they are very much affected by whatever women choose.
“ It’s time we recognized that freedom is not the same thing as getting our own way. ”
We balk at legislating morality or personal responsibility, saying we should have choices. Yet we have legislated against stealing or murdering (anyone but unborn children). A baby’s life is deemed worth something only if wanted by the mother. Go figure the sense of that law. We have made laws against drunkenness and hard drugs and look down on such things as smoking. But we tend not to make so much of sexual sins.
The sex slave trade is alive and well in this country, and their pimps make deals with the abortionists to abort any babies that interfere with the business of their women. They do that because abortion is legal and the abortionists are not fussy about who their patients are. Pornography is another huge and growing concern with the same restraint put on women who are “working” in it. Legalizing abortion has opened the door for abused women to have forced abortions against their choice, while make it easy for their abusers. Abortionists are more than happy not to report the crimes perpetrated on their patients as long as they get paid.
Our nation’s morality has failed on so many levels, yet we fail to see the underlying cause and continue to push for what we want—what we think will make us happy. We need to be aware that in the end, truth always prevails. Augustine realized this so many centuries ago when he wrote: “Man has undoubtedly the will to be happy in a way which makes it impossible of attainment….And hence the falsehood; we commit sin to promote our welfare, and it results instead in our misfortune….What is the reason for this, except that well being can only come to man from God, not from himself? And he forsakes God by sinning, and he sins by living by his own standard.”
It’s time we recognized that freedom is not the same thing as getting our own way. That our behavior comes with consequences. That we assume responsibility for our actions. That we obey the truth of what God has commanded us. That we recognize our need of Jesus. He is the only source of perfection. In Him only is true peace, well-being, and joy. Only by His grace can we experience forgiveness from our sin, sin not limited to, but very much including, the sin of abortion.
“ I discovered His love and forgiveness was the only real place to find true recovery. ”
For decades after my abortion, I carried the guilt, stubbornly trying to justify my choice. Memories of it haunted me, especially my memories of the recovery room. The hopelessness and despair of the women hung thickly in that darkened room. What I remember most is the sobbing, the awful sound of sobbing coming from nearly every one of us. Why? Because we had just sacrificed the lives of our children for own happiness. And at that awful moment we knew and understood the foolishness.
I thought I could recover by myself. That I could keep that abortion, that dead child, a secret and go on. I thought I could run from that part of my life and that God would understand. I thought I could say I was sorry while I hid my sin away. I practiced saying my decision was the only good choice. But eventually it became impossible. Ann Voskamp writes: “Run away from your past…go running and looking for self-comfort in all the wrong places because you think you can write a better story than God.” But I couldn’t. Thank God, He rescues His children, and there came the day when He ran for me and pulled me to Himself and I recognized what I had done and was undone. I discovered His love and forgiveness was the only real place to find true recovery.
Now, I know the sweet love of “The LORD [my] God in [my] midst, a mighty one who save[s]; he rejoice[s] over [me] with gladness; he quiet[s] [me] by his love; he exult[s] over [me] with loud singing,” (Zephaniah 3:17). And there is that musical theme, a song sung not by me, but my Abba Father over me.
He asks that I proclaim His truth that wins in the end. That I speak of knowing a living God Who saves His children. That I share His Word. Proclaim it especially to the children and their children that He has gifted me. Children, you see, according to Psalm 127:3, “are a heritage from the LORD,/ the fruit of the womb a reward.”