Well, I hope we've each learned some helpful lessons, especially about how misleading reliance on the media can be, and how little we actually know about what motivates people (especially people who are different from us). I can only hope that we will continue to learn with humility and with an open mind from our differences, for this year has provided an unparalleled opportunity by exposing so many biases in all of us. All of us.
Things can change drastically overnight. This, too, is clear, and I feel like I've been changed dramatically.
One way I've been changed through this election cycle is by gaining a new understanding of the level of misinformation and the lack of education "out there" about so many issues. I've also learned that many people look down on the uneducated, not recognizing that their own education is a blessing and privilege, and one that brings with it the responsibility to improve the world, not bring people down through judgment and a sense of superiority.
In the aftermath of the election, I was privileged to have several enlightening conversations with a few young women who are proudly "pro-choice" (as I was while in college so long ago before delivering hundreds of babies and educating myself about the truth about abortion, all of which changed my perspective and heart). While speaking to them, I was saddened to realize just how little they actually knew about the reality of abortion, Planned Parenthood, and the critical difference between what is legal and what is moral, and right, and desirable for women, children, and families.
Sadly, the "educated" can be quite uneducated, too, and I realized that I share some responsibility in that. I have a responsibility to share what I've learned as I've become educated, even if the subject is uncomfortable, unpopular, or extremely controversial. I have a responsibility to speak what I know and let truth do its work in its time and in its way. Today's post is only one of the outcomes of the changes that began in me this week.
Truth is, abortion has become extremely common. It is, in fact, a form of birth control for many women, especially now that you can obtain a chemical abortion and expel the growing baby quietly in the eery, surreal privacy of your home by taking a few little pills. I know because I see these conflicted and scared women as patients after their abortions, especially because Planned Parenthood often directs them back to their doctors when these women experience post-abortion complications such as continued bleeding and pain. I also see them for their emotional pain, which can last years and sometimes, a lifetime.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 21% (one in five!) of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) in 2011 ended in abortion. And from 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions occurred. At Planned Parenthood alone, there were 323,999 abortions just last year in this country.
What ever happened to "abortion should be rare?"
It became swallowed in our culture of death, slowly and steadily, while championed by mothers and grandmothers in politics now calling for abortion-on-demand at every stage of pregnancy right up to birth. Really? Is there even a need or a demand for that??!!
How does this happen to a nation and its people? Through blindness to the truth of what's happening. Through clever, legal language ("fetus" rather than developing baby, "reproductive rights" and "women's healthcare" rather than ending a pregnancy, destroying a developing embryo/a life). It happens through half-truths, lies, and one campaign of misinformation and lack of education at a time.
It also happens when people who know better stay silent, seeking to avoid controversial subjects so as not to be uncomfortable or deemed old-fashioned, anti-woman (of all things!), or worse. Much worse!
As I continue to ponder the state of our country, I am aware that abortion is a decision that takes place in private after conversations with one or a few people. What if more of these conversations were based on an understanding of the sanctity of life, and genuine concern not only for the life of the unborn child but also for the soul of the woman choosing life or death for the child growing in her womb?
What if a national movement began to #MakeAbortionRareAgain, #OneWomanAtATime? This is what I'm pondering.
The answer, it seems, lies not with the law but with hearts and minds. Beyond what legislators may seek to accomplish with Planned Parenthood and others, I'm talking about an effective movement of truth and dignity to change hearts and minds, one person at a time. A movement consisting of education, encouragement, and equipping of women so that they make life-affirming choices while also being supported as mothers. A movement that sheds light into the blessings of motherhood and parenting, one that reminds young girls and women that motherhood is good, a tremendous blessing, and within the very design of their bodies!
This is what I'm pondering. For it is time for women to become educated. To understand that a child in the womb is a life. A human being. Not a choice. To grasp that abortion robs women (and men, and society at large) rather than empower them.
You all know that my blog has never been political. It has always been an expression of what's in my heart, my faith, and what flows from my relationship with God. And defending life is one of those things that should never be controversial!
So, as a physician and mother and, yes, as a Christian, I stand up courageously for the most defenseless in a culture that's lost its way in the area of life. Mock me. Belittle me. Shun me. I don't care.
I will defend life in the mother's womb and life near and up to its natural end (and in every stage in between).
I stand against both euthanasia and abortion (and the blindness and resultant ignorance and superiority that surrounds both and continues to launch them forward).
Ponder with me: How is defending life at every stage not the standard for the United States of America?
Who are we, really?
How did our society come to accept and embrace a culture of death that it now champions with such pride?
Again, what ever happened to "abortion should be rare?" Now "mercy killing," too, will start sweeping through our states? I, for one, will never forget that to "first do no harm" is a central tenet of our Hippocratic Oath.
The human womb should be the safest place on earth. What does it say about us that the mothers of our nation are not fighting for the child within their womb? And what about the fathers? And their grandmas and grandpas? Enough!
One thing is clear. I will not be silent. I will proclaim life as our greatest gift and defend it. And I hope you'll have the courage to do the same.
I have set before you and death, blessings and curses. Now , so that you and your children may live.