“Amy” looks like a typical 22 year-old college student. She is smart, focused, energetic and enthusiastic. She acts and talks with an eye towards a bright future, even thinking about law school after finishing her bachelor’s degree.
She is also not ashamed to be happy, though just over three years ago, she was told her life would be ruined unless she did the very thing she least wanted to do. Many of her friends may have disagreed with her choice, called her crazy and assured her that regret would follow all the days of her life.
Instead, she dismissed and resisted the warnings, believing them to be lies, which they were.
Life is a long journey and depending on the circumstance, it often takes years to be able to look back on our decisions and determine whether we made the right choice. In Amy’s case, it didn’t take long to conclude that she had, in fact, done the right thing.
When Amy discovered she was pregnant nearly four years ago, a representative from Planned Parenthood encouraged her to abort the child. She was told it would be the easy and convenient option. She was told it would allow her to hold onto the future, party and have fun, pursue dreams and not get burdened by a baby.
I met Amy and her son this past Saturday night out in Northern California, where I was invited to speak as a guest at an annual banquet for a local pregnancy resource center. She was one of three testimonials offered that night, all shining examples of the great work pregnancy resource centers are doing around the country.
All three of the women who spoke had crossed paths with center personnel at critical stages of their respective pregnancies. All three were encouraged to carry their babies to term – in direct conflict to the advice Planned Parenthood dolled out to Amy.
Amy and another woman chose to raise their children as single moms. Another chose to place her baby for adoption, entrusting the newborn with a married couple who were eager but previously unable to be parents. That couple maintain a good relationship with the birthmother.
You can only imagine the happy tears that flowed during and after each presentation! In fact, I was a given a most impossible task when I tried to follow a smiling and waving 3-year old boy whose abortion-minded mom had ultimately chosen life.
This critical and crucial effort to preserve the sanctity of life has been ongoing and escalating for nearly two generations. Yet, when you spend an evening like I did with such big-hearted people, you really wonder how and why anyone could object to pro-life efforts to educate and inform scared and confused women. Life has not been all sweetness and light for these mothers, but whose life is perfect? There are tough consequences to tough decisions, but to see three children smiling who otherwise would have been aborted is, well, a remarkable and miraculous thing.
Tragically, I think, we have become nearly numb to the numbers. Let me ask you: When you hear that more than 40 million babies have been aborted since 1973, to whom or what does your mind turn?
For me, there is a personal and very intimate connection to this topic. My thoughts wander back nearly a half-century, to a scared 42 year-old woman who was really not in a good position, personally, emotionally or financially to bring a fifth child into the world. But she did, and I was born. Today, when I look into the eyes of the precious babies saved by God’s grace and the efforts of thousands of volunteers at pregnancy medical clinics and resource centers, I am reminded again of one of the things that drive me as president of Focus on the Family.
I am driven to defend the defenseless by encouraging and supporting the outstanding work of pregnancy centers and clinics. In doing so, I am moved and motivated by the words of the Psalmist (139:13-16) who so beautifully wrote:
You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you. When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions, in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.
May we never grow weary of the ongoing efforts to protect and preserve the dignity of every human life.