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Thursday, 27 May 2010

What To Say To Someone Who Has Had An Abortion?

One of my oldest friends defriended me on Facebook.


Because I support the Paper Baby Campaign.

First she sent me a message saying:
"Have you actually spoke to women who have had to make the devastating decision to interrupt a pregnancy to save a terminally ill baby for further suffering. Well I guess not? This campaign is absolutely shocking. I hope you are enjoying being at home with your healthy child, judging other women who have had to make a heartbreaking decision."
Obviously it takes time to give a proper response to something like that but I replied with the following:

Dear Xxx,

I will write a longer reply later but I wanted to write a brief reply so that you know I am not ignoring you. From what you wrote I can only assume that the scenario you described is your own. If that is the case, I feel sadness that you were placed in a position where you felt that this was your only option and I pray that God will heal the scars of the associated trauma you must have endured.

I do not judge anyone - I leave that to God and I know that abortion frequently harms the mothers physically and or mentally too. Only 1% of abortions in the UK are performed because of a risk that the child would be handicapped - the remaining almost 200 000 are for social reasons.

I will write you a more detailed reply within the next week.


Unfortunately it seems I know absolutely nothing and what I said would have made no difference at all. I received a reply and was defriended and blocked. Since I have been given no opportunity to reply I am going to post the final message here along with my own responses. (NB Obviously if I had been able to reply directly to my friend I would have taken more time to word things nicely than I have here and have avoided being antagonistic at all.)

I am not going to go on anymore. You have no understanding of the depth of this issue or any idea of the range of outcomes of prognosis of such babies.

Oh. So I haven't spent countless hours reading about abortion, the methods used and the reasons for abortions. I haven't read the Bible where God the creator tells us that human life is sacred and should not be destroyed. I haven't read the stories of people who chose not to abort even when their child would not survive. I haven't read about children who were born with nothing wrong with them even though they weren't even supposed to reach full term.

I am not talking about babies with a "risk of handicap" I am talking about conditions such as Tripolody or anacephely [sic] (no brain) (there are many others) where the chance of your baby being born alive are zero.

When I spoke of the "risk" of "handicap" I was referring to ground E of the Abortion Act 1967 which allows for abortion on grounds of the baby having "such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped".

I didn't know what "Tripolody" is and Google brings up very few results. I did find this though:
So the name of what the defect was Tripolody .. Very rare they say every woman has a one percent chance of that happing in every pregnancy.. They said how it happened is 2 sperm got into one egg and it didn't split properly.. Which now kinda makes since considering now that I know my progesterone has been so low.. Progesterone is what helps with the development of that process.. Anyways They gave me three choices...1) have an abortion 2) get induced and have him early or 0 I can Die.... So needless to say I was beside myself.. I chose to get induced because I don't believe in abortion for my self, and I knew he would never even take a breath and I didn't want to die eiether... He was born (stillborn) on March 20th, 2003 61/2 inch.. long and 3 ounces.... To me he was perfect, he didn't seem to have anything wrong with him.... He was Beautiful.... Anyways let me change the subject for a moment cause I could gom on and on about my Jacob...
Anencephaly on the other hand I have heard of. Last year I followed the blog of a mother of a baby with anencephaly. Baby Faith lived outside of the womb for three months.
"I named her Faith Hope. I cherished every moment of the pregnancy and even had a baby shower! I savoured every kick and turn she made inside my growing belly. For five months we hoped and prayed. Then to everyone's surprise, I was blessed with 3 months and 4 days with Faith before she went to Heaven. She was the sweetest little girl... so beautiful and so full of life. I feel so privileged to be her mother.

I created this blog 10 weeks before my daughter was born. The posts are very personal, emotional, brutally honest, and at times ungraceful... but it is my hope that by sharing our story, God will be glorified for all He has done for us. I also hope that this blog will reach other moms out there who are facing the same prenatal diagnosis that I did.

The doctors said that Faith's condition (anencephaly) was "incompatible with life," that she would likely not survive for more than a few seconds or minutes after birth, and that she would never achieve consciousness. They didn't understand how she was thriving for all those weeks... how she was smiling, cooing, crying, eating, breathing on her own, avoiding infection, and responding to her surroundings.

"For man this is impossible; with God all things are possible.
The Story of Baby Faith Hope is one I recommend everyone read.

Certainly a child with anencephaly isn't going to live a long life outside the womb even if they make it that far but to say they have zero chance of being born alive is inaccurate. Whilst I appreciate that Doctors have to be careful of raising false hopes in desperate parents, it sounds like there is some amount of misinformation regarding prognosis which then has an influence on the decision to abort. Whilst I believe abortion is wrong anyway, it makes it even worse when people are choosing to do it on the basis of false information.

Choosing to abort on the basis that the baby will die anyway is essentially euthanasia of the unborn. I believe all human life both born and unborn should be protected and therefore cannot support the euthanasia of anyone regardless of whether they are already born.

The first message mentioned abortion as a means to "save a terminally ill baby from further suffering". I recently read "Human Sentience Before Birth" (A Report by the Commission of Inquiry into Fetal Sentience). The general consensus seems to be that around 12-25 weeks gestation the unborn baby can start to feel pain to some degree. However this is with regard to an outside stimulus being introduced. Can a disability cause pain and suffering to an unborn child? Clearly once they are born this is likely but before birth it is not something I would wish to make a judgement on. However, just as those who have already been born can be given palliative care, so the same care should be extended to the unborn rather than euthanizing them.

The trauma to the mother is immense. And the trauma is not through the interuption of pregnancy but through the loss of a child. With such grave sitations there is no good outcome and there is no right answer. Carrying a child that will die at any point in the womb is absoultely traumatic for the mother also. I know women who have done both -some who have waited for the baby to die and some who have interrupted pregnancy. All have the same outcome -terrible grief and loss for the families.

Yes it is traumatic and the loss of a child is never easy. Abortion does not make that loss any easier. But there are right answers. They are in God's word. (But just because I believe myself to be right on this issue does not mean I think I am better than anyone else - I am still a sinner. A forgiven sinner but still a sinner.) I literally cannot begin to imagine how it must feel to be in such a situation. I have to fight back tears just trying to imagine being in that place and I would never presume to know how it feels. However, just because it such an emotionally traumatic event does not and cannot justify deliberate ending of human life.

The outcome is never a good one. Carrying a baby who will die with everyone asking when you are due and asking how you are preparing for the birth is devastating. Also carrying such a baby can cause harm to the mother as the baby is not well.

If a "good outcome" is a healthy child then yes, the outcome is never good. Here I will again quote Myah (Baby Faith's Mother) as she has more right to comment and does so far more ably than I can:
I miss my baby so much... It's hard to believe that it's been less than six months since the Lord called Faithy home. It seems like it's been so, so long since I last held her. It is hard, but I am so thankful for the 53 weeks that she spent here on earth. That's right, 53 weeks: 40 weeks in my belly and 13 in my arms. One year and seven days. What a blessing! It went by so fast --too fast. God knows I would do it all over again if I could.
With regard to carrying the baby to term I refer to Myah's post "Carrying to Term".

And your comment about abortions harming the mother with regards to terminations for medical reasons is compeltely inaccurate. The process is the same as the normal risks of delivery.

The comment I made was "I do not judge anyone - I leave that to God and I know that abortion frequently harms the mothers physically and or mentally too." I did not refer specifically to abortions for "medical reasons" but to abortions in general. I was also unaware that having a disabled baby provides protection against the mental and physical harm from abortion that those mothers who abort healthy babies frequently endure. The following is the result of an abortion - I don't think a delivery would have had the same effect:
Another moment brought to you by abortion...

Today at around 3:08 PM in Florida, you would have found me pulled over on the side of the road with my face buried in my hands as I gasped for oxygen and very audibly sobbed, because my very challenging son, who was diagnosed with autism at 8 and who had just had yet another public episode, innocently asked me if I wished I would have aborted him.

I was not prepared for this question. It felt like the whole of my viscera had been pulled through my navel in one neat tug, and I started weeping inconsolably. Not because there was any truth to his statement, but because I killed his brother or sister, my first child, in a second trimester abortion.

I was crying, my startled four-year-old was crying, my son was confused...

This is where we are 12 years later.

Abortion is forever.
This was taken from The S.I.C.L.E. Cell.

Contrast this with the birth story of Gabriel - I know which experience I'd rather have if forced to choose one of them.

I couldn't give a detailed list of facts and figures with regard to the risks but offhand I know that abortion increases risk of breast cancer. A quick google of "post abortion syndrome" should suffice to show that many women suffer psychologically after having one.

I do not want any more replies. I will not be contacting you again.

Yes. Defriending and blocking me on Facebook has made that pretty clear. I could write a letter to you but would there be any point?

As a women this is one of the worst things to be faced with and these kind of campaignes are cruel and insensitve.

I agree that it is probably one of the worst things one can be faced with. As I say, I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like knowing that your unborn child will not survive very long after birth if they even survive that far in the first place. I appreciate that unlike the other 99% of mothers who have abortions the women in this situation are aborting a wanted baby and that they genuinely think they are doing what is best. This does not however remove the fact that abortion is wrong. My conscience does not allow me to sit back and say, "Okay I'll ignore the fact that 200 000 unborn babies are killed every year - the feelings of 2000 mothers per year are far more important than the lives of those babies." I do try to be sensitive to those who may have had abortions but ultimately destruction of human life is more important than hurting somebody's feelings. It is not cruel to oppose abortion or to voice that opposition. It would be cruel and insensitive to show you (or indeed anybody who hasn't consented) pictures of aborted babies or to describe to you some of the methods used in abortions but I do not do that.

And until people are faced with such a situation they never know what they would do.

You are right - I do not know what I would do in that situation. However right and wrong are not defined by what I do. I hope I am never faced with such a situation but even if I were in that situation and chose abortion, that would not make it right. It would illustrate how much of a sinner I am and how much I need God's grace and mercy. But abortion would still be wrong.

My actions do not define right and wrong.

God does.

So the question still remains: What to say to someone who has had an abortion?


Just Me said...

I can only think that this woman is hurting and filled with guilt for the choice she made.....that's why she is so angry with you for what you support. I would say to a woman that has had an abortion there is healing & peace in Christ.

Buffy said...

It's a shame she felt it was necessary to defriend you over this issue. If we stop talking to each other how will we ever understand different viewpoints?

Clare@ BattlementsOfRubies said...

Until we allow our sins to condemn us we will never know peace.
God's judgement is mercy, but there is no judgement without accusation.
We can't know the freedom of being forgiven until we have fully grasped our wrongdoing.

This is the truth of our human condition, not just for a friend who has had an abortion, but for all of us.
I have experienced greater happiness and liberty when I was able to be broken hearted over my sin, than when I thought God was pretty lucky to have me on his team.
I would encourage someone who has had an abortion to not be afraid to let her sin condemn her. Because Gods judgement is mercy.

Saved Sinner said...

Thank you Clare - your comment is so helpful.

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