After a recent presentation I delivered on abortion, an audience member approached me. She told me she worked in a daycare where many of her charges come from profoundly broken homes. She told me nightmare stories, horrifying cases of abuse these children had endured—and were enduring (which she then reported, the authorities would step in, and in some cases after removing children for a time, the little ones would be returned to the dangerous environment with the mistaken belief the kids would be safe, only to find abuse happen again).
I was sickened by what she shared, that such precious, innocent, and vulnerable children could be so horrifically mistreated and that they would be failed by a system that was supposed to help them.
Here was the woman’s point to me: Her first-hand experience convicted her that abortion would be better than what these kids go through, and the trauma they will carry with them for life.
There is no denying that the brutal realities she observed would impact her feelings. There is no denying that anyone with a functioning conscience would want to spare children suffering. There is no denying that when someone is aware of their victimization there is an additional element of horror than when someone is unaware (e.g., being killed in your sleep versus tortured to death while awake). Here is a question: Is it possible to agree with all that and still not see abortion as a solution to what undoubtedly is a grave problem?
Consider the children this woman cares for: Would we ever say it would be acceptable to kill them now because of their abuse? To kill them now in order to spare them further abuse? To kill them now in order to prevent a future filled with memories of past abuse? Obviously the answer is no—it would not be acceptable to use homicide as a solution to abuse. In fact, isn’t homicide just another form of abuse? Killing the victim would not be justice for the victim. It would only further the evil mentality of the abuser that an individual’s life should be mistreated.
Moreover, what if a born child had not yet been abused but we somehow could see into the future that the individual would be abused in, say, 5 years. Would it be acceptable to kill that child in order to avoid that which had not yet happened?
Again, the obvious answer is no.
Correspondingly, since the pre-born child is a living, human being, it would be unethical to kill that individual because of abuse she may experience down the road. Instead we ought to work to ensure children are born into, or placed in, environments in which they and their parents or guardians thrive in a relationship of love.
Critics may respond that that sounds great in theory but it is not the reality for some, like the children in the woman’s daycare. Correct. So we need to respond. We just don’t have to respond with abortion. What can a non-abortion response look like?
· It can look like my friends who fostered children.
· It can look like my friends who adopted 3 little girls from China who had severe cleft palates which required multiple surgeries.
· It can look like my friends who adopted a set of siblings from the foster care system in their own country.
· It can look like a couple I met in my travels who adopted two children when their first biological child was only one. They since adopted two more children, both of whom have Down syndrome and serious heart conditions, all the while giving birth to 4 more children.
· It can look like an unmarried 28-year-old I met on a recent trip to the US: In the last 4 years she has fostered over 21 children and adopted 2 of them.
· It can look like a retired couple I met who moved from their farm into a home for pregnant women in order to mentor them in motherhood.
· It can look like a pastor I recently met who is in his mid-50s. He and his wife have raised their own biological children and are now fostering—which is leading to adoption—3 young children.
· It can look like foster father Mohamed Bzeek who takes in terminally ill children.
· It can look like a mega Church in Texas whose pastor told me he is implementing a program where his church members make it their mission to foster and/or adopt local orphans.
· It can look like Love Life Charlotte, a beautiful pro-life ministry I learned about in January that is also on a mission to embolden its church members to care for orphans through what they term “Orphan Care Hospitality.” Whether through fostering or adoption, learn more about what they are doing here and watch this short video about the Malone’s who have welcomed two children into their forever home through this amazing program.
· It can look like the Lott family who adopted 4 of their 6 children.
· It can look like my friend Ryan Bomberger’s adopted family. His mom, once an orphan herself, made a promise to God when she was a young girl that she would be a mommy to those without one. She grew up, got married, and adopted 10 of their 13 children (Ryan, one of the adopted children, was conceived in rape. Having now grown up, he has since adopted two children.
Is the abuse of children—pre-born or born—an unspeakable evil? Yes. Does it demand a response? Without a shadow of a doubt. Can children be rescued and aided without abortion? The lived experiences of the examples above are living proof of that.
**The photo in this blog is of police officer Ryan Holets and some of his family. While on duty, Holets encountered an 8-month pregnant heroin addict. That woman is the very type of individual many would say should have an abortion rather than bring her child into a dangerous environment. Officer Holets and his wife adopted that little baby, who they named Hope. Read the incredible story here. And, as described in this article, it says “Holets has been quietly helping Champ [the birth mother] and her partner find the right rehabilitation center and gave them a tablet computer so they can receive photos of Hope over email. To Holets’s knowledge, the pair, who have not responded to a Post interview request made through Holets, are not clean. It was always his goal from the beginning to help them through rehab.”