Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
The leftist website Jezebel isn't exactly where you look for a sane, logical approach to issues, but every once in a while they set their click baiters on stun and I just have to look.
The story I read today was titled “Later Abortion: A Love Story.” Yeah, it's just as horrifying as you might think but I'm bringing it to you for a reason. It eschews the typical arguments about abortion and says what the writer actually believes. The piece is written by a woman who openly refers to herself as a mother of a child whose life she ended. Not only does the writer accept the humanity of her child (she names him) but she argues that it’s her right to end her child’s life precisely because she is the child’s mother.
I think that’s why my mind goes back to the question: When does parenthood begin? We accept that a parent decides what’s best for his or her child, but we assume that parenthood begins when a child is born, leaving pregnant women and their partners vulnerable to everyone else’s judgment.
You see, no more “it's not a child” or “it's a blob of tissue until I say it isn’t” rhetoric. Nope. This takes the pro-life argument “it's not a choice, it's a child” and just says, “All of the above.” Now the argument is that it's a choice because it’s her child. That’s a pretty stunning argument.
I, of course, have to ask, what then changes when that child is born? It’s still a child and you’re still the parent, so when does the right of execution terminate? Three days after birth? Pre-K? I'm serious. What line of demarcation exists if it’s not conception?
On top of all that the writer argues that “ending my pregnancy was the most selfless act of love I have ever committed.” This argument too, is stunning. Typically we see abortion portrayed as a necessary thing. But here it's portrayed as an act of selflessness. Abortion as a virtue.
And what was the diagnosis? Well, it was pretty unclear:
After the ultrasound, the next few days were a whirlwind of genetic tests, blood tests, MRIs, amniocentesis punctuated by excruciating waiting periods to gather as much information as possible, only to be told that the data we sought did not exist. We spoke to the best specialists in the state and no one seemed to have any answers. Our case was unprecedented, they said, so rare that there was no telling just how much damage this particular combination of anomalies would cause our son at birth, or throughout his life. If we were lucky, he could have a learning impairment.
If we were not, he could have uncontrollable seizures, chronic pain, physical and mental incapacitation. He could lack the ability to talk, move, grow, and interact with other people. He could be denied the feeling of joy. Modern science suggested the risks were high but not exactly how high. It told us the outcomes could be bad but not exactly how bad. It revealed just enough to raise the question of what constitutes a livable life without providing answers. The answer would have to come from us.
It may have been simply a learning disability but the chances were too much for them that they wouldn’t have a suitable child? In the end, this is a heartbreaking piece for all invovled.
As quickly as I had gotten used to the idea of becoming a mother, I had to come to terms with not becoming one. But the tricky thing about motherhood is it’s a transformation that can’t be undone. I’m a parent without a child now; a parent who misses her son and will for a long time. Maybe always.
We live in horrifying and upside-down age where people are convinced that killing one’s child is an act of selfless love. And that mothers have a right to kill their children precisely because they are mothers. Pray. Pray for the mothers, the fathers, and the children, especially those children who could be considered imperfect. We are all imperfect and that is exactly why we require God’s grace, love, and forgiveness.