Picture this: A mother of two, struggling to make ends meet, finds herself pregnant again. The man who got her pregnant is already gone and she is left to face raising a third child alone with no job, no childcare and dependent on welfare and subsidized housing. Her future is bleak. Her children’s future is not much better.
She knows the hope of them breaking the cycle of poverty is slight and she feels the weight of guilt that she has failed them. She doesn’t want to let her third child down. She can’t bear it. She waits and wonders what to do. Weeks go buy as she is paralyzed with fear and dread. She finally decides to undergo an abortion.
The woman is 21 weeks along when she enters the clinic and her abortion is scheduled for the following week, when she will be 22 weeks. She goes home for another week of dread and guilt.
When she arrives at the abortion facility, the first stage of the procedure begins. Dried seaweed stems called laminaria are inserted inside of her to forcibly dilate the cervix so that the staff can remove her baby. She goes home and waits for the laminaria to expand. That night she tries to sleep but she is anxious, questioning her decision, wondering if it’s right, thinking about her other kids and their futures. She finally falls asleep.
A few hours later she is awakened by pain. Her body is cramping, contracting. She’s in labor. She hurries and calls the abortion facility as instructed and they tell her to get to them as quickly as possible, and not to go the ER. She follows their instructions and calls a friend to drive her. She is rushed into the operating room upon arrival, but the baby is coming fast. The staff preps for the procedure as quickly as they can, but the baby keeps coming. Before they can perform the abortion, the baby is born.
Now there is panic, crying. The mother is not sure what is going on, why is her baby crying? The staff doesn’t know what to do, the baby was not supposed to be born alive. The abortionist is caught in a dilemma. He was supposed to perform the abortion, take the child’s life while it was still in the womb, where no one could see it. But now the baby is staring him in the face, crying out for help.
If this were a hospital, they might be required to treat the child who is born. Babies at 22 weeks gestation have a good chance at survival when given medical treatment. But they are not in a hospital, because she was told not to go to the hospital. This abortion facility has the equipment and staff trained to kill babies, not to rescue them.
The staff gives the mother a mild sedative to help her to calm down and maybe even fall asleep. The baby is taken to another room where no care is provided. After a few hours of the staff being very uncomfortable, feeling conflicted, the baby stops breathing. The mother wakes up. They tell her it’s all over and prepare her to go home. No one speaks of the baby.
The mother goes home, always wondering what exactly happened to her baby. The staff tries not to think about it and convince themselves they did the right thing. No one talks about the clashing of worldviews that they are experiencing. Everyone innately understands that the child that was laying there, outside the womb, had a right to life.
Not seeing the child allowed them to dismiss the child’s humanity. But seeing the child changes everything. In reality, the child doesn’t change on its journey from the womb to the outside world; all that actually changes is the perception of those around the child. Ignorance, they say, is bliss. But willful ignorance about the humanity of preborn children is deadly and often fills those involved with guilt.
Stories like the one I shared above occur. We know from multiple sources, including verified abortion survivors, former clinic workers, government investigations (like the Grand Jury Report in the Gosnell case) and abortionists caught on undercover camera stating that viable babies survive abortions.
We know that the abortion industry regularly leaves these babies to die (“we would not help it”) or actively kills them (“It’s not gonna be moving around in the jar … that’s the whole purpose of the solution.”
This barbaric practice of infanticide is what Democrats in Congress and a growing number of state governors — including Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina — have fought to protect. They have supported laws to codify infanticide and rejected laws to protect these children and require them to be treated as any other child who was born alive prematurely.
This practice is what they euphemistically refer to as a “choice” — something that should be up to doctors. But the truth is that this is evil. Plain and simple.
I will not pretend to understand the stress the mother in this situation is going through. I will not sit by and call her evil and say she is cold-hearted. Any rational person can see that she is in a position that is incredibly difficult, and I wish she could turn to a church in her neighborhood and know she and her children would be cared for and loved. Maybe she can. Maybe she just feels like she can’t.
You and I should ask ourselves whether we as the church are providing the care women like her need. The church should be the solution to this dilemma — we should be standing in the gap for women and families, because if we don’t, we know the abortion industry is all too ready to profit off their desperation.
These are the types of situations that drive most women through the doors of an abortion clinic. It’s not a feeling of empowerment, as the abortion industry would have you think, but a feeling of total powerlessness and lack of options. And abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood are absolutely dependent on women’s desperation to keep their abortion sales up.
If pregnant women felt empowered and had ubiquitous access to a rescue system to address their needs, Planned Parenthood would go out of business in very short order.
Human Coalition is building a rescue system to extend compassion and care to those who otherwise feel abortion is their only choice. I pray for a day in America when life is seen as a clear, viable choice for all women and families. We can do so much better.
Before joining Human Coalition in 2012, Sean Martin served as a church pastor for 12 years, leading churches in Sharon, Pennsylvania; Kansas City, Missouri; and most recently in Simsbury, Connecticut. Since 2014, Sean has been the Senior Director of Church Outreach, overseeing Human Coalition’s efforts to engage and equip the American Church to rise up and lead the charge to end the atrocity of abortion.
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