For many people, January 2017 will be marked by the inauguration of a president and a march on Washington the following day. For us, every January is marked by two phone calls we received in January 2015 — and by a very different march.
The “Women’s March on Washington” has already been all-consuming on social media. It was billed as an “inclusive” movement with the vision:
We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.
Sounds so caring — until you learn that “inclusive” and “diverse” mean that if you are pro-life, you are not welcome, and if you don’t attend or join in this supposed solidarity, you are “anti-woman.” Doesn’t seem as inclusive, does it?
Indeed, it is wholly exclusive. In their zeal to shock and to trumpet a convoluted notion of freedom to have their bodies “left alone,” these marchers exclude the bodies of the unborn. What about the rights of an unborn child? What about the safety of an unborn child? What about the health of an unborn child?
Two years ago this month, this became very real to us.
We received a call from one of our dearest friends. Then 32 and already mother to two healthy, wonderful boys, our friend said, with an air of urgency, “[My husband] and I wanted to wait a little longer to ask, but something’s come up and we have to ask now. I am pregnant — and we want you to be the baby’s godfather.” We were thrilled, but the excitement was tempered by the strange introduction. Here’s what she explained to me.
She and her husband, having two boys already, couldn’t wait to find out whether they would add another boy to the crew or instead start buying things that were pink. They excitedly drove to the appointment for the baby’s 20-week ultrasound to find out. A few minutes into the sonogram, the ultrasound tech excused herself from the room. Immediately, their hearts sank. Something was wrong. It was a long wait. Finally, the radiologist came back into the room and moved the wand around with a blank look on her face. Then, she told our friend to get dressed and come into her office. She explained that the baby might be missing a part of his brain, the part that connects the left and right hemispheres.
She was terrified but couldn’t ask questions fast enough. Would the baby survive the pregnancy? Live outside the womb? Were these minor developmental delays or major issues? She and her husband were sent home without answers and told to come back so they could perform an MRI of the baby’s brain. The technician thought that the baby might be lying in a position that didn’t allow the doctor to get a good view and that the MRI could clear it up.
Forty-eight excruciating hours later, the MRI was performed. It was inconclusive.
They did learn that the condition could range from minor developmental delays to severe cognitive and life-threatening issues, but they wouldn’t know the specifics for their child until the baby was born. They were told to come back again in two weeks for another ultrasound.
None of us stopped praying those two weeks. For our friend it was a constant conversation with God. She was scared, but she said that she knew it would be okay. She knew the baby would be okay. She “just knew.” She felt scared of the unknown but also at peace, saying, “God gave me this baby for a reason.” If the baby needed help, she would do everything she could and God “would help” them. And she would love that baby just like she loves her two boys.
She had a monthly check up with her ob-gyn the following week. Her husband had to work, but she took their two boys with her. They liked going to hear the baby’s heartbeat and the checkups were usually routine and quick. She went in to the appointment expecting that her doctor would reassure her and answer more questions than the radiologist had. The doctor — a woman — silently reviewed the file. Then the doctor looked our friend straight in the eye and asked her if she wanted to terminate the pregnancy.
She called us right after that appointment, understandably angry and terrified. Terminate? What?
She explained that the doctor had asked her the question in the same tone she might have used when ordering coffee at Starbucks. She didn’t blink an eye. She asked it in front of her two little boys. She asked without her husband there. She offered no explanation or comfort. It was cold. The doctor told her she had to decide quickly because she was approaching 22 weeks (which is as long as you can legally wait to have an abortion in Virginia).
Our friend’s response was such a source of pride for us. She told us “she almost laughed and then politely responded that ‘termination’ was not an option.” She walked out of that doctor’s office and never returned.
Yes, there may be some issues. She didn’t have a perfect ultrasound. But it was her baby who, she told us, “was growing inside of her, kicking, loving music, moving when the boys spoke toward her belly, doing somersaults when she ate ice cream.”
We all realized that God put our friend in this position for a reason. She has a strong faith. She knew she could handle it, because God was with her. She told us that the baby “would know love, would feel love.” Facing her fear of the unknown with faith and love strengthened her as a mother and a woman. But what if it hadn’t been our friend? What if another woman had listened to that doctor, who made it feel so easy and acceptable to just “terminate” and try again for a “better” outcome.
We use politically correct words . . . The pregnancy is ‘terminated.’ Because no one wants to say that she killed her baby.
In a world where everything and everyone seems to be so sensitive, we have completely desensitized abortion. We use politically correct words. One is “pro-choice.” The pregnancy is “terminated.” Because no one wants to say that she killed her baby. But if you are ending an innocent life on purpose, we’re not sure what other way to put it.
But sadly, even today, more than 3,000 abortions are performed every day in the United States. That is more than 1 million per year. Since Roe v. Wade inserted unelected judges into the question of the beginning of life, more than 56 million babies have died at the hands of abortionists — 56 million. Just let that sink in.
So how did it all turn out? Her ultrasound was completely normal at 24 weeks. They just couldn’t get a good read at her 20-week appointment. Her baby was born in May of 2015 and is completely healthy. It was a boy, by the way. None of us — but particularly his loving and courageous mother — can imagine life without him.
This week, there will be another march on Washington: the one that truly matters. This one is to celebrate life, and all are welcome, including the unborn and those who love them.
Choose Life. Life is not perfect, but each life is perfect.