Here for your kind consideration, is the sad story of loss.. a lovely young woman, only 16, who died of a bad choice, at the hands of an illegal abortionist, never again to hear her favorite hymn, ‘I Come to the Garden Alone.’ What remains can only hint at the lingering pain and loss a mother feels at her forever-absent child. Consider for a moment all the conflicted feelings and pain of a younger sister, now strangely an only child. If you can bear to, imagine yourself in the place of that younger sister, coming home to that awful discovery… your life forever changed. A series of unfortunate choices, and desperation, led to the loss of one young promising life and the devastation of lives of others around her. At the time, abortions were so taboo that no ministers would speak of it, let alone attempt any healing for the family that suffered such a loss. Below this discussion are the actual newspaper article and sympathy cards, saved in loving remembrance.
What a hot issue abortion is, in the United States and the world as a whole. The good news is that, according to Sojourners magazine, the left and right in America seem to be finding a new middle ground both sides can embrace: reduction. This includes looking earlier in the lives of young women – and men – to work towards pregnancy reduction.
During the time of the ancient Greeks, physicians performed abortions, and the laying out of babies in the snow was considered acceptable. Later, early Christians would rescue babies who’d been left out, and raise them with their own families. This was much more in tune with Jesus’ own teachings of loving our neighbors as ourselves, forgiving the sins of others, and not judging one another. With the rise of punitive laws against women who had few options and fewer resources, agonizing deaths became sadly all too common.1 Then, as now, the laws were written primarily by men who can apply a double standard, and who do not have the burden or the privilege of bearing children themselves.
Jesus teaches us to remove the log from our own eyes. So, what are we not seeing clearly? Are we doing our best, working towards mitigation, fostering an environment of encouragement, forgiveness, healing, wise choices, and good paths? Or are we, too, a part of the problem, for not insisting on adequate jobs and opportunities, training, and encouragement for our youth, and not helping them to recognize their own worth, as God’s beloved children? If so, how can we do better, as a nation and as a people? And finally, how can we, as ministers, do a better job in our ministry to help those whose lives have been touched by abortion or by loss, so that we can use the terms, imagery and language that will be of the most comfort?
1) it’s been estimated there were one million such deaths per year [source: livestrong.com]