In a place where new souls see the world for the first time, I expected a more positive attitude towards life.
I did not expect the first question upon admitting a laboring woman to be, “What kind of birth control do you want after you deliver?”
I did not expect the doctor to sweetly and gently suggest, “Well, the IUD lasts longer and you don’t have to keep coming back for a shot.”
I did not expect the nurse to condemn women for getting pregnant after a C-section.
I did not expect the mom who was about to lose the baby conceived with an IUD in place to request another IUD.
I did not expect to hear a labor nurse say disdainfully, “I don’t understand why these women with young kids get pregnant again.”
(I had similar musings last time I was working here.)
While I think many of these attitudes are common across the country, I can’t help but wonder if part of the attitudes are due to the fact that I’m working at a public hospital, largely serving low income populations. The notion that we can “solve poverty” by stopping the procreation of poor people is an old one – certainly dating to Margaret Sanger and the founding of Planned Parenthood, continuing through Nazi Germany, and now showing up in even the most respectable Melinda Gates*. I think the devil would like nothing more than for this horrible notion – killing people we perceive as problems – to become normal, sanitized, and out-of-sight. How can something be bad when our doctors or our cultural heroes recommend it to us as normal?
Walking through the US Holocaust Memorial Museum recently, I was stunned by how familiar so much of Hitler’s pre-war propaganda sounded. Like the evil Dr. Zola stated in Captain America: Winter Soldier, “HYDRA was founded on the belief that humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom. What we did not realize was that if you try to take that freedom, they resist. The war taught us much. Humanity needed to surrender its freedom willingly.” The things Hitler forced on people – sterilization, death to those who are disabled – we in America ask for now! “Please give me a vasectomy.” “You must give me free birth control.” “My fetus might have Down’s syndrome – kill it.”
Killing the disabled or the people of the wrong race is (rightly) abhorrent to us when they are adults; we all reject what was done in the Nazi concentration camps. However, when we kill them young or prevent their birth entirely, using “nice,” distancing words like terminate, or abort, or contracept, we don’t have to see what we’re doing. Their tiny bodies get whisked away by the doctor and we don’t have to stare at the piles of bodies we’ve accumulated. In the U.S., the babies killed since Roe v. Wade number over 57 million, and the number prevented from being born due to sterilization or birth control is uncountable. The people killed by Hitler number “just” 11 million. I think the devil fights for the holocaust of abortion to stay hidden, forgettable.
I recently watched this stellar speech by Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor. Her testimony – her life! – brings the ugliness and injustice of abortion into the light. Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service responded to this shocking tale by stating that there are now laws in place to prevent such a sad story, referring to the replacement of saline abortions with other abortion procedures that are more difficult to survive. She seems to be saying, “This was a terribly uncomfortable speech. Thankfully, we have laws now that will ensure we kill all people who could grow up and give similar speeches in the future.”
Today marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion in the US, and the 41st March for Life. Remember.
If you label yourself pro-choice, pro-woman, pro-sterilization, or pro-artificial birth control, please continue to read, research, listen, and learn. If you are a Christian, pray that God would open your heart to the truth, no matter how uncomfortable (I do the same).
As I sit here in Obstetrics, I’m reminded that the solution is not simply, “Love babies more” or “Make abortion illegal.” The solution to this problem, as with all problems, is Jesus. Everything is broken; He is the remedy. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
* To be clear, limiting family size due to health concerns, financial concerns, etc. is totally acceptable and sometimes good – but the God-honoring and spouse-honoring way to do so is to abstain from that-which-leads-to-children, not to kill the children. The recent much-taken-out-of-context comments by Pope Francis explain this.