Kevin Burke, MSS, is the co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard and a pastoral associate with Priests for Life and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. He is a graduate of The Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work. Kevin’s presentations address the effects of abortion on men, couples and families and effective post abortion ministry for Clergy and Counselors. He is also the co-author of Redeeming A Father’s Heart-Men Share Powerful Stories of Abortion Loss and Recovery and Sharing The Heart of Christ: Safe and Effective Post Abortion Ministry for Clergy and Counselors.
Let’s imagine that abortion was legal in March 1945 in the United Kingdom. A 16-year-old girl named Patricia takes the bus to her local Planned Parenthood center for a pregnancy test and discovers she is pregnant. Patricia explains to the counselor that she was impregnated from a torrid affair with Edward, a married soldier who will be ending his time of service in the next few months. Edward will be returning to his wife in Canada prior to the expected due date of the baby. Patricia is afraid, embarrassed, and does not want to parent this child.
If you are in favor of abortion rights, you would likely agree with the Planned Parenthood counselor that the only rational and compassionate solution to this young woman’s pregnancy would be termination of the fetus.
You just aborted blues/rock guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton.
Let’s imagine another scenario: It’s wartime Britain in 1940 and German bombs are raining terror on the civilian population. A young woman named Julia is pregnant by Alfred, a merchant seaman who by nature of his profession will have little time to father his son and support his wife. The pregnant mother is a creative and free-spirited woman, unprepared for the responsibilities of motherhood with a partner away at sea. Julia’s sister would very soon have to assume the parenting of any child she birthed as the county social services would consider Julia unfit to provide sufficient care and protection of children.
Now, if this mother were to enter a Planned Parenthood or other abortion provider today, what course of action would the counselor most likely advise? Based on the thousands of testimonies of women after abortion, she would have been strongly counseled to abort.
Julia’s son was born and soon raised by his Aunt Mimi after Julia relinquished the child. As a teenager, her son would form a band that would launch a seismic revolution in culture and music in the 1960s. This boy later wrote a very moving and beautiful song for his mother, Julia:
Julia, ocean child, calls me
Julia, seashell eyes, windy smile, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Julia
Her hair of floating sky is shimmering, glimmering
In the sun
Julia, sleeping sand, silent cloud, touch me
So I sing a song of love, Julia
If abortion were a common, socially validated and readily available choice for women in 1940, the world would have never heard the innovative and beautiful music of John Lennon and the Beatles. John would have likely perished in his mother’s womb.
The Paradox of Abortion Support in the Creative Arts
Each child lost to abortion reflects the great diversity and endless possibilities of every life that comes into this world. Many of their stories would have featured the combination of triumph and tragedy, joy and sorrow that marks many of our lives; simple lives of love, life, routine and family. Some, like John Lennon and Eric Clapton, would impact an entire generation and change the course of culture and music. Many of these men and women would have shared their own creative gifts as writers, artists, musicians, actors and poets.
As we learn more and more about the complex and dynamic creative process that begins with the conception of each person, we see that God is the consummate creative artists. What amazing diversity, wonder and beauty are reflected in all of nature from the farthest reaches of the cosmos to the genetic complexity of the fertilized zygote.
This creative power is also shared in a special way with those who are born with and develop those gifts we find in the creative arts. The musical artist has the capacity to take the normal experiences of desire and love and touch us deeply with the power of song and lyrics.
Consider Eric Clapton’s aching love song for the lovely Pattie Boyd, “Bell Bottom Blues”:
Bell bottom blues, you made me cry.
I don’t want to lose this feeling.
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms.
The music of the Beatles and Clapton, the thrill of a theatrical production, and the power of story in song, books and movies brings such richness and joy to life. It holds the power to deeply move and even change us and the world we live in.
Across the Universe
There have been nearly 60 million abortions in the U.S. alone since 1973. Consider for a moment how many amazing artists were lost.
Yet most women and men in entertainment, music, art, and theater embrace what they see as the progressive and compassionate position of supporting and promoting abortion rights.
It is time for the artistic community to rethink the promotion of abortion as a human right and social good.
This world and the entire universe are the great majestic canvas of our Creator. Let’s return the providence over life and death to the One who from nothing, unleashed the multitude of galaxies and stars, the diversity of life on this planet, and his crowning achievement, the human family. While God loves all of his creation, he shared his Divine life with human beings alone; offering us the great gift of sharing in His eternal nature.
This is what draws us to an artist like John Lennon. With all of his success and fame, faults and failings, Lennon had that very special God-given talent to touch our hearts and souls with his words and music:
Across the Universe (by John Lennon)
Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me…
Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe…
Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my open ears
Inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on, across the universe