A Time to Speak

In a small town in another state, a 19-year-old woman finds out she’s pregnant. She lives with her widowed mother and has little money. Her baby’s father has abandoned her. The shame of her community presses down on her.

The year is 1970. Unwed motherhood isn’t worn as a status symbol by celebrities. Single parenting isn’t the norm. There are no support groups or pregnancy centers. No 3-D ultrasounds. Abortion is illegal.

If her pregnancy had happened three years later in 1973 when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, I wonder if that young woman would have chosen to abort her baby. If so, you wouldn’t be reading this.

That woman was my mother and I was the baby she carried.

Had abortion been legal in 1970, my mother would have been a prime candidate. Poor, unmarried, young, alone, afraid. Strong voices might have coached her choice. She wasn’t ready to parent. She couldn’t support a child. Why not just take care of this matter now?

Fast forward 25 years. My mother was in the fight of her life against cancer. Had euthanasia been legal in America, she would have been a prime candidate for physician-assisted suicide. There was no treatment for her disease. Strong voices might have coached her choice. Why burden her family and the system? Why prolong the inevitable?

My mother was my best friend, compassionate and kind. She died before I, as an adult, could ask her what it was like for her when I was born or what it was like for her to knowingly approach death at age 45.

She died before she could tell her story. I don’t want to do the same.

If Guttmacher’s statistics are anywhere near accurate, someone reading this is a mother or father whose child was aborted. I have no interest in condemning you. You made a legal choice in a heartbreaking, maybe even desperate situation. You may have felt coerced or kept in the dark about what was truly happening. You may harbor regret, sadness, anger, grief, or you may be numb to the experience. There is healing and forgiveness in Christ for you just as there is for me.

Look around. A lot of people are missing who are supposed to be here. It’s estimated more than 54,000,000 Americans have been legally killed by abortion since Roe v. Wade. We cannot comprehend all that was lost with those lives.

My heart aches for what my mother went through and what others face. But killing people is not a life-affirming answer. Not for the child, the parents, the disabled, the elderly, the terminal patient, our families, or our society.

What if we as a nation find ways to care for parents in crisis pregnancies and protect their babies’ lives? Can we resist the deception that euthanasia and abortion give us control without consequences? Will we hold fast to God’s timing in life and death? What does it say about the value of our own lives if we don’t?

I never asked my mother if she was glad she had me; I didn’t have to. Her love, courage, and sacrifices for me told me she was. My husband and son are also glad, and if my dog could speak, she’d tell you the same. And me? Am I glad abortion was illegal when my mother was pregnant with me?

Yes. Unapologetically, yes. I am thankful for life. Are you?

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice. Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT

This is Your Life by Switchfoot.

Who are you missing? What’s your story?
Who will you tell?

Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States. Later this week, I’ll participate for the first time in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. I’d appreciate your prayers.

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Filed under America, family & friends, life, women's studies

40 Responses to A Time to Speak

  1. Ging

    Aimee, I am so happy to see that you’ve woven the mercy and love of Christ into this post. And am so incredibly thankful that you have chosen to write about this difficult topic. My grade school class was one of the smallest classes within the grades that were higher and lower than mine. Being born in 1973 I’ve often wondered as an adult if there were classmates that were missing from among us as a result of the legalization of abortion.

    • Thank you, Ging. I’ve been doing some reading. I get the impression from one book called “Wrath of Angels,” which is a secular book about abortion despite the name, that there was this pent-up demand for abortion in 1973. Women flocked to clinics the day the decision in Roe was announced. There were more than 700,000 legal abortions that year and the number leveled off in 1975 at about 1.4 million a year. Now it’s declined to about 1.2 million. There’s no doubt we’re missing a lot of people…

      • Ging, I’m now learning the leveling off did not happen until later than 1975… Still as high as 1.4+ in 1979… according to Guttmacher.

  2. Mom of Two

    I am a Christian, fairly conservative, and I admit that I have mixed feelings on this subject. My mother as well, was 19, unmarried, and considered abortion. Fortunately for me, they refused her due to a slight fever. She decided not to attempt again. I am very thankful. Fast-forward to my last pregnancy, the little boy inside me nearly took my life, as it seems my body was just not cut out to handle this round of hormones. If the doctors would have given me any indication that I would not be able to treat my condition with medication, I would have definitely decided to end the pregnancy… my primary concern was to continue to be a mother to the little girl I already had. Fortunately, I did not have to make that decision, but I feel that other women need to have that option under similar situations.

    I don’t think any one is PRO-Abortion, and it turns my stomach to hear all of the political rhetoric. This will continue to be a tough issue.

    • Yes, it will continue to be a tough issue and it should be. Thanks for reading and sharing your story. I’m glad you didn’t have to make that decision.

  3. Powerful testimony Aimee. Absolutely powerful. Thank you for sharing your story and in a most delicate and graceful manner, sharing your truth. God bless you!!!

  4. Betsy

    Excellent post on this subject, Aimee. I pray that if brave people continue to reveal the truth about abortion, that God will continue to touch hearts and change minds on this issue. I believe our society will never reach its’ potential while we continue to extinguish the lives of those considered “inconvenient.”

    • Thank you, Betsy. It’s mind-boggling to think of what cures may have been discovered, what music may have been played, what books may have been written, the leaders we might have had, how different our country may look… if these people had been allowed to live.

  5. Christel Oliphant

    I am so glad you were born….because if your mother had chose abortion. ..I would not have you as my LLF ! Life Long Friend! -♥

  6. roy

    I am thinking of three lovely ladies.

    One had an abortion when she was quite young, and has regretted it more deeply than I can convey. She now has four ( I think four ) wonderful children – pretty much the same ages as mine. She doesn’t stand on the street corners and preach, but she WORKS in places that make a difference.

    Second lady was a young victim or rape, and was treated horribly by her own family. But she stood by what she believed was right, before she knew our Savior as well as she has come to, and had the child. Raised her in truly difficult circumstances – and she is one of the most beautiful young ladies it has been my pleasure to meet. Has a wonderful tan 365 days a year too.

    Third lovely lady would be married to me, and she very nearly died bringing our firstborn into this world – nearly lost them both.

    Everybody has a story, but God is good. Jesus said he had come into this world that we might have life, and have it abundantly. You can take that to the bank.

    • Yes, you can! Thank you for sharing your story, Roy. I’m so glad didn’t lose your wife and firstborn child. And my courage is strengthened by the courage of the women you mentioned.

  7. Dana Huffman

    I have spent my life being selfishly thankful that in 1971it was illegal. My birth mother was 15 when she got pregnant, and I have always been glad it wasn’t a real option at the time. I am extremely grateful that adoption WAS a choice and still is! Hope you are well, Aimee, and God bless your travels to DC.

    • Thank you, Dana. I don’t think it’s selfish to be thankful abortion was illegal when you and I were born. The harsh truth is, you and I may not have been born at all if it had been legal. Talk about a scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life!” Sadly, many children haven’t been born because it is legal. I’m thankful your sweet family adopted you, and as you said, adoption was and still is a choice!

      • Dana Huffman

        I meant selfish in terms of I always am thankful for me first, when I should be more concerned about the ones never born. I’m glad your mom made the great choice she did too!

  8. This is such a great story. It really makes you think. I shared a similar story on my own blog.

  9. mickey Atkinson

    Wow! I don’t think I had known this before. Maybe I did and just forgot (which is a growing issue with my aging mind!). Your mom was truly blessed by her intelligent, sensitive daughter, and others of us continue to be blessed. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Thanks, Coach. It doesn’t surprise me that you didn’t know. The illegitimate circumstances surrounding one’s birth aren’t something you normally discuss publicly (unless you blog perhaps). By the time we moved to NC, my mom had married and her new husband had legally adopted me.

  10. Italiana

    I was adopted and disagree. I’m happy for you, but life in my adoptive family was sheer hell. Parents who adopted to “save” their infertility, who rarely had a nice thing to say to each other. Treated as hired help and when molested by my grandfather, told it wasn’t incest because I wasn’t blood. I firmly believe that if aborted, I would have had the chance to be born to another circumstance. After all, if God wanted me here, God would make sure it happened.

    • Italiana, child sexual abuse angers me to no end. What happened to you was wrong and it’s too much to carry on your own. If you haven’t already, I urge you to find a trusted counselor who can help you work through this. If you have a church family, ask a pastor in confidence to help you find someone. If you don’t know where to go, email me at aimee (at) everyday epistle (dot) com and I’ll see if I can help you locate a counselor in your area. God does want you here and your life has purpose!

  11. Libby

    Aimee, this post just took my breath away. So beautiful and I too am not sure I knew this whole story before. I may have shared with you that my younger sister, born in 1974, is mentally disabled (born with severe brain damage, which the doctors never were able to explain). Still, she is one of the brightest spots in the lives of those who have had the opportunity to get to know her. I will never forget my mom telling me once that at the time she was pregnant (back then she was a hard-core feminist) that she would give birth to a child who would never be able to talk, have a measurable IQ less than that of a household pet, wouldn’t walk till age seven and would require lifelong caregiving, she would have had an abortion. I can’t imagine life without my sister, and I can’t imagine life without YOU–praise God for the gift of life that so many take for granted!

    • Thank you, Libby. A friend and I were discussing children with special needs and their purpose. She made an excellent point that she’s seen how God profoundly blesses and changes those who care for them. Not only do they have purpose in their lives, they give others’ lives purpose, too. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Does that make sense to you in your experience with your sister?

      • Libby

        I think that’s absolutely true–at least it has been, in my experience with Sarah and others with special needs. My sister’s disability played a large part in my father’s testimony, and I like to think that even our ongoing relationships with her caregivers are an opportunity to show our love for Jesus. I can’t wait to meet up with Sarah in heaven one day and hear all the things she has to say! :)

  12. Sandra

    Aimee, this is beautiful. I never knew this about your mom. She was such a wonderful sweet woman. I know she loved you very much and I am sure she would be so proud of the wonderful writer you are today (and always were, really). You do such a good job of tackling controversial topics from a personal standpoint.

  13. Harold Brecht

    Aimee, Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing this beautiful story of your mother’s decision. What an awesome story of God’s mercy. I have often thought how things in our lives could have changed just on the basis of one decision that we or others might have made. Your story is a powerful demonstration of the impact of people’s choices. Thank you once again for sharing. It is a powerful story and I have often thought of the impact that Roe vs Wade has had on our society with the loss of so many lives. I will be praying for you as you participate in the March for Life. I appreciate your writings.

  14. Tiffany O

    Wow, I had never thought about this before, but I too am very thankful abortion wasn’t legal in 1970. My mom got pregnant at 18 & while my parents did marry, I wonder if a different choice may have been made if there was another choice available. Thanks for sharing and blessings on your trip to DC!

    • Yes, it’s chilling to think about how many people ARE here because abortion was illegal when they were born. I know there were underground illegal abortions taking place, but the fact that it was illegal had to be a deterrent for many people. When something’s illegal, it reflects the values of a society. Some pro-choicers say no one wants abortion; to that I say, okay, then let’s work through all channels, including the law, to discourage it rather than to encourage it.

  15. John

    I don’t think Roe v. Wade was this societal watershed moment in America’s way of thinking about abortion and that you being born just prior to it means you’re a lucky one. Abortion was a personal decision prior to the ruling and it still is. It’s seems like a guess your making with the lack of information on your mother’s thinking at the time, who was influencing her life, and her religious values. Roe v. Wade didn’t change society’s values at that moment, it just legalized something that was already going on. Christians efforts would be better spent solving why women, especially urban african american women, are continuing to have abortions than to think that if Roe v. Wade is overturned they’ll stop happening because that will somehow have changed society with religion.

    • John, thanks for your comment. Even if Roe was overturned today, it wouldn’t change much because the majority of states don’t ban abortion. Women could still get them. However, I think it makes a statement about what our society is willing to tolerate. Roe symbolically (and legally to some degree) says we are willing to as Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote in Salon yesterday “sacrifice” the life of the child over the mother. That’s just wrong no matter how you slice it.

      I agree with you that Christians (and all members of society who say they’re not for abortion) need to be about caring for the parents who continue to turn to abortion. But I still think it’s important to stand up for what you believe even if the entire world disagrees. Don’t you?

  16. Eric

    Making a Pro Life argument using personal historical revisionism isn’t going to get Roe v. Wade overturned; it’s just going to scare yourself and others. Stick to why it should be overturned in line with the nonestablishment norm and you’ll get the decision you want from SCOTUS.

    • Okay, Eric. You’re going to have to educate me (and I’m sure a few of my readers). Help us understand what you mean by the “nonestablishment norm.”

  17. I love this blog, thank you for sharing. And than you for speaking for those with no voice. Please watch this video my son made, it is pro life and tells how I chose life for him when doctors offered to abort due to an abnormality. I think it is very moving. Again, thank you, and keep it up!

    • Doomuh 13, thank you for sharing this beautiful video. Your son’s words are so true: “Now I am able to use my voice for the unborn who don’t have one.” God bless him and you.

  18. I’m grateful, that even with the availbility of legal abortion, my son’s birthmother chose life for him, and chose us to be his parents.