The Tragedy and Poverty of Abortion

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

If only this message had gotten through to the readers of the New York Times.

There has been an unbearably sad series of articles in the Times recently — an online discussion (in, of all places, the parenting blog) of a woman who is in the process of deciding to have an abortion because her masters degree program was too inflexible to accommodate her pregnancy.

Leave aside for a moment that discrimination against a student on grounds of pregnancy is illegal under federal and state civil rights laws. What’s so troubling about these articles is that a person is missing from the discussion – the unborn child.

The mother writes eloquently about her life, her dreams, her desires for the graduate program of her dreams, the good she can do if she can complete her degree. But precious little eloquence for what the child might be able to do, or the love that they will bring to others, if she is just allowed to live. She does acknowledges that she’s carrying a child — although she calls her a “zygote” and nicknames her “Ziggy”. But she’s planning on the abortion anyway.

Two lines in particular jumped off the screen to me and drove right into my heart:

The people I thought I could rely on are absent and it’s heartbreaking.

How sad that an expectant mother is brought to a point where she can say this. I sometimes think that every abortion is an indictment of our failure to support the pregnant mother. What did we fail to do that led this woman to this conclusion?

Her other tragic comment:

I firmly believe that there’s nothing to regret here and we didn’t do anything wrong. Birth control fails. People get scared. They underestimate themselves and each other. Everything will be okay.

Well, perhaps she thinks so now. But someday, it won’t seem that way, and she’ll have to face the reality of what she did. Fortunately, for those who have experienced abortion there is always hope, at the Sisters of Life, Abortion Changes You or Lumina. We should pray that she avails herself of the hope and healing they offer.

Let me close by getting personal for a second. I have two graduate degrees, one of which is about as fancy as you can get — a law degree from Harvard. That’s very nice, and my life has definitely been enriched by it. But Peggy and I lost three babies before birth. And I have to tell you — I would trade any of my degrees, and anything else I have ever owned or will ever own, for even one of those babies to have survived just long enough for me to hold them in my arms.

How sad it is that someone can judge that a college degree is worth ending someone’s life. And even sadder is that people encourage that way of thinking.

That is poverty, and it is tragedy, and it is all too common in our world today.

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