In August, I asked four women to write guest posts here about why they were pro-life. I could not have been more impressed with the articles.
A college student connected the issue to the gospel. An adoptive mother spoke from her perspective. A single woman shared her story of surviving a sexual assault. And my wife wrote about our journey, including our miscarriage.
I want to share about that season in our lives and why working through it made me even more pro-life.
My pro-life history
I’ve never not been opposed to abortion. As a kid, I remember my grandmother being arrested for praying and protesting outside of an abortion clinic.
As a student of philosophy, I found the pro-life arguments to be much more sound, coherent and persuasive. The arguments in favor of abortion always seemed too reliant on unfounded assumptions.
As a Christian, the Bible spoke clearly and frequently about the value of life and the need for those in power to speak for the voiceless. Biblical justice seemed to demand a pro-life stance.
As a father, I could not imagine choosing to end the life of one of my children before they were born. I loved them from the moment I knew they were growing inside of my wife.
But my pro-life stance deepened more than I thought possible when I became the father of a child who never made it out of the womb.
At this point, abortion advocates likely would point to two differences they believe to be relevant. I’ve encountered both of these arguments in discussions about abortion, so I want to address each.
Argument 1: Your level of grief with a miscarriage is probably less, therefore the life inside you is less.
One individual asserted that because I did not grieve as long or as intensely for our miscarried child as I presumably would if one of our other children died that demonstrated the life in question was quantitatively different.
Think about this for a moment. The intensity of my mourning is supposed to be the determining factor to the humanity or value of another. How selfish. Why should my feelings and their intensity have any bearing on someone else’s worth?
Obviously, I mourn differently for the person I’ve only just met than the person I’ve known much longer. Rarely do I mourn the death of a person I’ve never met, but they are no less a valuable human person.
How arrogant of me would it be to assume my level of grief somehow determines the value of someone else? But it is also dangerous, which leads to the next argument.
Argument 2: A miscarriage is different from an abortion because the child is only wanted in the first situation.
In most arguments for abortion, the advocate is attempting to downplay the life in the womb. They use phrases like “clump of cells” to assuage any guilt or reservations people may have about the procedure.
But to make such an argument undermines miscarriages and the pain they bring. If you took out my appendix, I would lose a large clump of cells, but I would have no reason to mourn that loss.
Even more to the point, if you took out my wife’s appendix, what would I have lost? Obviously nothing. Yet I absolutely lost something when my wife miscarried. She and I had lost a child.
Pro-choice individuals rightly understand something has been lost with a miscarriage, so they often use completely different language. What is lost is spoken of as a baby or a child due to only one difference—the personal desires of the mother and/or father.
Just to be clear, let’s make sure we note there is no scientific difference between a six week old life that is ended through forced abortion or involuntary miscarriage.
For those that frequently speak of valuing science, nothing is added or detracted from the life in the womb, scientifically speaking, if the parents have different feelings toward that life.
Think through what the distinction being drawn between an abortion and miscarriage actually means. My desires or the desires of my wife are the determining factor in the value of a life.
We mourned our miscarriage, but that mourning did not grant special status to the life that ended. It couldn’t. That child, like all human life, had intrinsic value whether I recognized it or not.
Voiceless are not worthless
That lesson was seared even deeper into my mind and heart when we lost what at that time would have been our fourth child.
Countless times throughout human history, people in power have tried to say those without a voice are also without worth. But they are always wrong. The voiceless are not worthless. The voiceless are invaluable no matter what anyone else says.
Simply because the culturally powerful refuse to acknowledge the humanity of the seemingly powerless does not mean they are correct. Your value does not come from my opinion of you, your opinion or anyone else’s.