I have noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. — Ronald Reagan
Juliet Cuthbert Flynn’s Wikipedia bio reads in part, “Juliet Cuthbert, born 9 April 1964, in Saint Thomas, Jamaica, is a Jamaican athlete who competed mainly in the sprints (100 and 200 metres).” It follows with a rather engaging and distinguished picture, along with personal information about her schooling as well as athletic and political achievements. I must acknowledge that I like Juliet, and on my interactions with her I would consider her my friend. But if one of Juliet’s parent’s, particularly her mother, held the abortion belief that she now holds, her Wikipedia bio could instead have probably read, “Juliet Cuthbert, aborted in September 1963 in Saint Thomas, Jamaica, never got a chance to compete mainly in the sprints…” I would have missed our friendship; the constituents she now serves would have missed out too.
As I posited in Part 1, published November 11, 2018, choices have consequences.
Has the issue of the “unlimited potential destroyed” entered the abortion debate as yet? Or do we take the approach that “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”? Or more so, babies’ lives and adults’ lives are not the same life. Interestingly, in the USA — a country which has legalised abortion — while it is okay to abort, if you accidentally or deliberately kill a pregnant woman, in some states, you can be charged for double manslaughter or double murder. Dem is confused!
If you woke up one morning with a suitcase on your verandah, inconveniently placed in an an area that interferes with your decor, but with a message from a trusted individual that it could possibly contain $100,000,000, very few of us would throw it in the trash without opening it. Yet every day, each month, hundreds, possibly thousands of women throw away a human life potentially worth much more than $100,000,000, with no thought of the potential they are wasting or destroying.
There is an age-old writing from about 2,500 years ago which reads, “Children are a gift from God, they are His reward.” (Psalm 127:3) That word reward literally means posterity or future. So the saying could read: Children are a gift from God, they are the additions He has given us for continuity to make sure we fulfil purpose and secure the future.
So, every time we kill a child in his or her mother’s womb, we are killing our potential for a better future than the past and present we are now living. No matter your position on abortion, perhaps it’s time we had a real dialogue about this issue of potential destroyed.
Some women who had an abortion will tell you that they sometimes sit and wonder what the child would have been like had they allowed him or her to live — potential unrealised. Neither am I unmindful of the many children on the streets not cared for. But that is an indictment on a poor societal construct, not a fault of the child. All potential should be developed.
There are many anti-abortionists who seem oblivious to the toll an abortion takes on the psyche of the mother. I make that judgement based on their unloving utterances from the pulpit as preachers. Pastor, remember you can preach strongly against the sin to show you hate the sin, while preaching lovingly about the sinner to show that you love the sinner.
I make that assessment based on their unloving actions as fathers and boyfriends. Dad, remember you can be anti-abortion without being anti-daughter, who did the abortion! Remember, she’s hurting badly inside, physically and emotionally.
Don’t believe me? Then consider this research first published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University claims that her research among various cohorts of women discovered the following:
“Women who have had an abortion have an 81 per cent higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion.
“Women who aborted have a 138 per cent higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who have given birth.
“Women who aborted have a 55 per cent higher risk of mental health problems compared to women with an ‘unplanned’ pregnancy who gave birth.
“Women with a history of abortion have higher rates of anxiety, depression, alcohol use/misuse, marijuana use, and suicidal behaviour compared to those who have not had an abortion.”
Dr James C Coyne, in the popular USA journal Psychology Today, summarised the implications of Coleman’s claims as follows:
“Health care professionals have a duty to advise patients of the benefits and risks of a procedure ‘in a manner that reflects the current scientific literature’, Coleman writes, so patients can make an informed choice. As former abortion clinic staff attest, and as journalists in the US and UK have discovered, counsellors at abortion clinics conceal mental and physical health risks, as well as the fact that the procedure will violently end a child’s life in order to sell abortions.”
Hmmm… But notice how clinical his summary is? He focuses on the responsibility of the “health care professionals” than the remorse and regret of the woman who did the abortion; for that is really what Coleman’s study highlights.
So then it seems that many of us are oblivious to the damage that an abortion can do to a woman’s psyche. But many of us really didn’t need Coleman’s study. Any pastor, counsellor or psychiatrist reading this who has walked with a woman through her post-abortion period will attest to this. If you’re presently considering an abortion and reading this article, don’t be afraid to call one of the many organisations which are here to help you and let’s talk about it before you make a final decision.
Life and faith
The basic Christian position is that life begins at conception. Life is sacred. The right to life should be protected and respected. People are free moral agents who must take and bear responsibility for their actions. Here is where it gets a little troublesome: People of strong faith hold the view that God is sovereign and we should trust His love for us that no matter the situation in which we find ourselves we should bear the difficulties and trust God to work them out. Such people of faith hold to scripture that says, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28)
The challenge, however, is that not all people are at the same level of faith, and so what one can endure, another would break under it. Justice and love and the solution to a problem must consider both levels of faith in their circumstances.
Let me posit a thought for consideration, especially for strong Christian anti-abortionists whose basic position may be correct but must take a comprehensive look at all biblical factors to settle on best wisdom. Consider, however, that from a Christian standpoint, a distinction must be made between spiritual life (spirit and soul) and physical human life (flesh and body). Spiritual life is eternal and cannot be destroyed or killed by man, that is divine prerogative. Man can only kill the body. If there is a distinction between spiritual life and physical life, which life happens at conception? Consider this illustration from plant life: The seed is not the plant, but the life of the plant is in the seed.
I suggest that the life at conception is spiritual life that in the fertile environment of a womb will develop into a physical body. Once a body is formed it is now identifiable physical human life. A human life can be murdered or killed. The medical and scientific evidence suggests that weeks one and two of a pregnancy it is cells formulating; week three fertilisation takes place. By week four the cells have become an embryo. A body is now being formed so that by week 10 a human body is absolutely present with full heartbeat — the central indicator of spiritual presence and human life with identifiable members.
As I indicated earlier, man cannot kill spiritual life, only physical human life. It may be interesting and instructive to note that most natural abortions, otherwise termed miscarriages, happen nearly always early in the first trimester. This is while what is forming in the womb is in the realm of spiritual life. Interestingly, after the first trimester, a miscarriage is only generally triggered by some disturbance. We could, therefore, conclude that nature or God (for those of faith) seems to primarily abort what can only be considered as spiritual life, not physical life.
Conceived by rape
Another example that shows the wisdom of the Christian faith position to trust God, even when faced with terrible difficulties, is the example of women who are raped and conceive as a result, yet deliberately refuse to abort. These pro-life heroes of the faith believe God will give grace to endure. As a result, some incredible lives have been born who have gone on to greatly impact humanity.
These women took the higher road of life, refusing to give in to the pressure to abort and as a result were greatly rewarded. Some examples of the famous progeny birthed by women who resisted the abortion route are:
● Rev Jesse Jackson — social advocate and presidential candidate of the USA
● Ethel Waters — actress and singer
● Eartha Kitt — fantastic singer and entertainer
● Layne Beachley — seven-time world surfing champion
● Valerie Gatto — Miss Pennsylvania 2014, when she was in third grade her mother told her, “Something bad happened to me, a very bad man hurt me, but God gave me you.” Today Gatto is an advocate for sexual assault awareness.
● Faith Daniels — who was adopted, said to herself, “It really doesn’t matter how you were conceived, only what you become.”
We can enact laws that follow the folly of non-thinking nations with no commitment to any standards; nations driven by self-interest and self-serving lobby groups. Their positions have proven injurious to their societies. These nations continue to experience ever-worsening social dilemma.
We are a nation called by our founding fathers to lead in advancing the best welfare of the whole human race. When we shape legislation, it must be well-thought through, rooted in justice, righteousness and truth. Legislation must protect, build up, and guide for the good of all. Our legislation must uphold the right fundamental values of our people. It defines who we are and maintains God’s blessing on our nation.
We will repeat the point of fact that if our legislators, who we have elected to protect our interest, insist on acting to the contrary, we will mobilise and remove them on the ‘D’ day. We will responsibly protect the heritage of our children and the environment in which they grow.
Bishop Howard Gregory, writing on abortion in this newspaper, Sunday, November 4, said: “As we look to the Government to address the law as it relates to abortion, it must be borne in mind that the law, while having legitimate status, is not always an expression of justice and cannot be definitive of that which is compassionate towards those impacted by its enforcement.”
I wholeheartedly concur!
Deep empathy has to be carried for the many women who become victims of the action of evil men, causing grave injustice and pain in various expressions; for example, rape, incest, violence, abuse, and molestation of minors. These are what I call extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances should be known and revealed within 30 days of any sexual encounter by any responsible person so that appropriate counselled action can be taken if that is a consideration. I know some circumstances can be so traumatic that the victim may be unable physically or emotionally to engage. However, that’s where you and I must play a supportive role.
The need for compassion and care naturally has to be part of any solution. It should be noted, however, that compassion was never intended to override principles in decision-making, as some would suggest. It must inform it; hence, biblically justice is always tempered with mercy.
I offer these considerations for our legislators to consider as they consider new legislation:
● It should be compassionate to victims in extenuating circumstances, considering different faith levels, impact and resulting implications.
● It should not approve irresponsible sexual activity and selfishness (see my column of last week Sunday).
● It should preserve sanctity of human physical life, which becomes evident after middle stages of the first trimester.
● It should protect from greed-driven practitioners with no standards and moral convictions.
● It should ensure the provision of psychosocial, spiritual and every type of counsel to victims to protect from abuse so that informed choices can be made.
I close with the words of Pope Francis. “Let us say ‘yes’ to life and not death… In a word, let us say ‘yes’ to the God who is love, life and freedom, and who never disappoints.”
Wherever your level of faith is at this time, may it be strong enough to help you make the right decision, a life decision, if ever you are faced with having to confront the abortion issue head-on.
Copyright © 2018 by Rev Dr. Al Miller.