Why We Must Defend Life, Even in the Hard Cases
I have no doubt that the horrific Planned Parenthood videos released by the Center for Medical Progress caused the abortion issue to be front and center in last week’s GOP presidential debates. Most of the media don’t want to talk about the latest atrocities of Planned Parenthood; however, they are now trying to make pro-life politicians squirm by confronting them with hard cases such as rape. The day after the debate, CNN’s Chris Cuomo tried, unsuccessfully, to trip up Marco Rubio on the question. Thankfully, Senator Rubio argued that since every human life begins at conception, we ought not to disregard even a human life that begins through an act of violence.
That’s exactly right. For me, however, this question isn’t just scientific or political. It’s personal.
Several years ago, I interviewed a guest on LIFE Today who had become pregnant as the result of rape. At first, she was so horrified by what had happened to her that abortion seemed her only option. She felt as if having the baby would be an ongoing reminder of her experience. Later, when she heard a song titled A Baby’s Prayer by Kathy Troccoli, she felt the need to pray. And as she prayed, she realized that the “little mass of tissue” in her womb was really a person with purpose and potential. She decided to keep the baby and named her Alexis Kathleen in honor of Kathy Troccoli, whose song had touched her heart and caused her to reconsider her options.
As this young woman told her story on our show, I began to weep because I also am the product of rape. My mother was an unmarried, 40-year-old practical nurse who was sexually assaulted by the alcoholic son of the man for whom she was caring. Think of it: she had no husband, an inadequate income to care for a child, and had been raped. So she went to the doctor to have me aborted. But the doctor told her, “Ma’am, I simply do not believe this is best. I believe it is wrong.”
My mother later told me she went home, sat down alone, and prayed. She told me that she felt God say to her, “Have this little baby, and it will bring joy to the world.” My mother chose to carry me to term, and I was born in the charity ward of the Saint Joseph Hospital in Houston, Texas.
Two weeks later, through an ad in the newspaper, my mother released me to a foster family, who raised me for the first five years of my life. My conception was the result of a crime, and my childhood and adolescence weren’t easy, but God had a plan for this unexpected child born in difficult circumstances. I have been blessed more than once because a mother in a desperate situation chose life. I owe my life to such a choice, as does my adopted son, Randy. Randy is now married with four beautiful children of his own.
My wife, Betty, and I have been married 52 years. We’re the parents of three children and grandparents of 11 — six boys and five girls, two of whom are now married. We are overjoyed to now be the great-grandparents of a little boy. These children and families would not have been here, as they are, had I been aborted.
Through our ministry of LIFE Outreach and LIFE Today television, millions of people have come to Christ and professed Him as their Lord and Savior. Millions of children and family members have been saved through our mission-feeding programs, water drilling, child care through LIFE Centers, and many set free from sexual trafficking.
With any pregnancy, there are at least two lives for which to care: the mother and the child. I think the real issue facing us today is an understanding of the preciousness of every life and the promise each one offers.
In standing against abortion, of course, we should not minimize the trauma of an unexpected pregnancy — especially by rape or incest. If you have had an abortion or participated in one, you need to know that there is forgiveness, and there is a source of healing. That healing balm is the love of Jesus Christ, who died to set you free from sin and shame. He grieves with you over the loss of innocent life, and He can heal your broken heart.
Still, if we affirm the value of every life even in the tough cases, God will honor the intent of our hearts and use that choice in a way that we can’t imagine beforehand.