Author's note: A version of the following column first appeared in the Christian Coalition magazine. It also was posted on the Illinois Leader and, most recently, appeared on the Illinois Family Institute's web site.
To see a video of Dan and his wife Julie discussing the pain of their long past, but haunting decision to abort, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nuEU3YLlvg
Nearly thirty years ago, my wife and I aborted a child. That decision will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Since that time, I've developed deep feelings on the subject of abortion.
There are two primary reasons why I'm pro-life. Besides taking a human life, aborting a child robs society.
Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, some say over 50 million unborn babies have lost their lives. The city of Chicago and its surrounding area are home to approximately 5.1 million people. The number of babies aborted during the past thirty-four years would re-populate Chicagoland tenfold.
How many doctors, teachers, poets and engineers will the world miss because of abortion? Maybe one of these aborted children could have discovered a cure for cancer or AIDS. In fact, my very own son or daughter might have developed a cure for the blindness that afflicts me today.
How many handicapped children has our culture missed, teaching us compassion and patience? Are we a different society because of the one out of three children, perfect or not, who weren't given the chance to survive? Can it be said the world is a better place because of the Roe v. Wade decision?
I recently asked a friend who supports abortion rights, "If by some miracle, you knew a pregnant woman's child would one day find a cure for Alzheimer's, would you still believe that woman had the right to terminate that pregnancy, depriving mankind of this medical breakthrough?"
It's a rhetorical question that should be pondered before every abortion.
The pro-life contention is simple and straightforward. No one has the right to remove such potential from our society. What the human community has lost due to abortion is incalculable.
This alone should be enough to rethink Roe v. Wade. But there is yet another reason to oppose abortion.
Under Hitler's rule, enforcing death of the innocent was a national right. That madman claimed his nation would be better served through the removal of undesirables--first through harassment and deportation and, ultimately, via the "final solution"--which meant death for millions of human beings.
The question has been asked countless times of the German people who lived in that era: "What did you do while the Holocaust was happening? Did you try to stop it and, if not, why not?"
There will be a day when that question is asked of Americans about abortion. We will have to answer to future generations and, more importantly, to God for what we did or did not do to stop this sin against humanity.
While some say the Holocaust bears little resemblance to abortion in America, many believe that tragic episode in world history is comparable to the carnage which resulted from the passage of Roe v. Wade.
Women who terminate their babies' unborn lives are not monsters. If that were so, I'd be saying the same of my own wife. The point is, like water, humankind will seek its own moral level by standards set within the culture. Regarding the abortion my wife had nearly 30 years ago -- simply, if abortion were not legal, we would have a son or a daughter who could now be raising a family of his or her own. Unfortunately, at the time, a combination of youth and the moral approval implied by abortion's legality resulted in a decision my wife and I have regretted and will regret for the rest of our lives. Slavery was legal, but immoral. The same can be said of abortion.
For 184 years, abortion was considered a sin against God and man in America. Yet, one judicial decision in 1973 threw an entire value system into flux, creating moral confusion and societal tumult.
The lines dividing our nation over this issue seem to grow deeper every day and so do the emotions. There needs to be more dialogue and less posturing. There cannot be a compromise on the subject of abortion because the finality of the practice indeed leaves no room for compromise. When two women claimed to be mothers of the same child, King Solomon suggested the child be cut in half, knowing the true mother would give up her rights to the infant in order for her child to live. In the same sense, women cannot be given a partial right to abortion because the decision is final and irrevocable.
It's not about imposing one belief system over another. It's about personal and societal conscience. Though some disagree with the pro-life position, hopefully, there will come a day when our view can at least be considered noble because it truly stands up to the light of truth.
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