And how it makes abortion a solution.
Every time I pray outside an abortion facility, it seems there is a lesson to be learnt. And today was no exception. Today’s lesson was about misplaced compassion; specifically, three men showed me how misplaced compassion allows abortion to become a solution.
The abortion facility was very busy this morning - usually, by the time I arrive, most mothers have already entered: my friends are there long before me, praying and offering help, from around 7 am. We stand about 50 metres from the driveway entrance to the abortuary; usually one pray-er walks down as people arrive.
Today, however, a man walked up to us. He didn’t appear to be angry or distressed, despite the fact that his partner was in the process of having their baby killed. He said she had high blood pressure and they had been to three doctors who all advised abortion. They were also worried about her being able to care for this second child, when their first was so young. The man took the pamphlets from our sidewalk advocate, who encouraged him to go back inside, in case his partner changed her mind at the last minute.
I was standing a little to the side, but the young father sounded calm, and he appeared to be genuinely concerned about his wife. There may have been other factors involved in their decision, but health was a big issue. Apparently he was unaware there were other doctors who would definitely help him keep his baby. He sounded compassionate, but not to the point of caring for his unborn child.
The second man to make an impression today was much younger. He and his partner sat in their car for a while; perhaps they spoke about whether to not to engage with our sidewalk advocate. The man was in the passenger seat - we wondered if he was old enough for a license. The mother looked quite confident as they walked away for their abortion, and he put his arm around her. I noted that it was rare to see a man using a protective gesture in these circumstances; my friend said it was also to keep his girlfriend away from us.
Perhaps he felt too young to become a father, although he already was one. Perhaps he proved he was a man by taking his child to be terminated. Perhaps, perhaps. Perhaps he missed the only chance he’ll ever have to experience fatherhood without also experiencing the grief and shame of this abortion.
There was a third man who had a lot to say about abortion and about our presence outside the facility. He was one of the two police officers called by the Marie Stopes staff to speak to us about ‘intimidating and harassing.’ He was very concerned for the women who enter the facility, and who, he believed, after having made this ‘hard decision’ to abort, are then subjected to further anguish by the presence of pro-lifers. But he was more emotional about another issue, and this was a very hard one to address in the short time we had in which to dialogue.
This man has had to witness children who have been badly abused by their carers - by their mothers, fathers and step-parents. His concern is that pro-life people enable child abuse by not allowing unwanted babies to be killed. There is an obvious anomaly here - I know that, and you’ve seen it, too - there is no form of child abuse that’s worse than murder. But this poor guy is called in to homes where “two year olds have their heads smashed against brick walls,” as he told us. He was speaking from a place of trauma, and frustration. And he was speaking out of hopelessness.
The police officer was passionate about protecting children, but there’s something radically wrong when we accept killing as the best solution to child abuse. And a bad beginning doesn’t mean life isn’t worth living.
True compassion would have been to give the sick mother decent health-care which preserved her baby’s life, encouragement for the young couple, and hope to the police officer. But somehow, in this perverted world, abortion has come to be seen as the solution; it is seen to provide medical help and support and hope in desperate situations.
Perhaps with the recent revelations of Planned Parenthood’s role in baby body-part trafficking, the ‘solution’ will lose a little of its appeal.
(See babybodyparts.com. There is a video in this article, which was shot by undercover pro-lifers during their 3-year investigation. At the time this post was written, the video has had over 500,000 views. It was released less than 24 hours ago.)