What If?

Eds note: This blog post addresses an ethical issue in a unique and insightful way, but it is not meant to be a comprehensive ethical argument.  It raises counterfactuals that are impossible to answer, not to try to make a determinative point, but to address a current problem as it actually exists. It's also not meant to suggest that the tragedy of abortion is mostly that it stops potentially influential, important people from being born.  The immorality of abortion has nothing to do with the life that would have been led -- this is important to note, because it's what makes the argument that "abortion has lowered the crime rate" so monstrous.  Janelle does not mean to suggest otherwise.  We hope this essay is read in the spirit in which it was written -- analyzing one small part of the problem of abortion.  The lives lost were lost by us all, and we'll never know what would have been different had they lived.


He was a young man when he was first given the name “Honest Abe.” As a store clerk, if he ever realized he had accidently short-changed a customer, he would close the shop and find them and give them their money back, no matter how small the fee. His own wife said of him, “"Mr. Lincoln . . . is almost monomaniac on the subject of honesty." His honesty was one of the reasons people trusted him, and one of the reasons he was an extremely popular politician. His mark on America history is undisputed. Abraham Lincoln is arguably the most influential President this nation has ever seen. Now imagine this: Lincoln’s mom decided that her unborn baby was too much of a burden for her at that time, so she goes to a midwife and gets an abortion. Abraham’s life is snuffed out before he even gets the chance to make his mark on the world. Before he gets a chance to fight slavery. Before he gets a chance to fight to keep an unstable country together during a tumultuous Civil War. Gone…because he was unwanted.

Born in France, Louis Pasteur was known for being an “average” student. Through sheer determination and hard work, he eventually became Dean of the science department at the University of Lille. He has his own process named after him, called “pasteurization”, which is the process of heating something to kill bacteria, and then letting it cool down. He developed a vaccine for rabies when a nine-year-old boy was bitten by a rabid dog. He saved the young lad’s life. He also developed vaccines for diseases like anthrax, cholera, TB and smallpox. Now imagine this: Pasteur’s mom was married to a man in the military, so they moved often. Adding another child to their busy life just wasn’t in their plans, so she decides to have an abortion. His life is snuffed out before he can develop a vaccine in time to save the little boy’s life. Countless more die from TB because he wasn’t around to work on his germ theory. Gone…because he was an inconvenience.

Florence Nightingale, or “the Lady with the Lamp”, was an Italian born in the 1820’s. Her family was very prominent in society, wealthy and part of the elite. Yet she didn’t find it below herself to devote her life to helping others, and was single-handedly responsible for establishing what is now known as the nursing profession. During the Crimean War, she and her team of “Nightingales” reduced the unsanitary conditions in the local hospital and reduced the death count by two-thirds. After the war was over, she wrote an 830 page proposal for improving military hospital conditions. Because of her lifetime of work, she was awarded a monetary prize from the government, which she used to establish a nursing school. She transformed the way the upper class viewed the lowly position of a nurse. It became something honorable and noteworthy. Now imagine this: Nightingale’s mom decided that one child was enough, and didn’t want the troublesome bother of having to turn down social engagements, so she decides to get an abortion. Florence doesn’t even have the opportunity to challenge her peers. She doesn’t transform the nursing profession, doesn’t improve hospital sanitation, and countless men die from infections that she could have prevented. Gone…because of wealth and prestige.

What if Martin Luther King had been killed? William Wilberforce? Barack Obama? Your own parents? You? Never given the chance to succeed, to fail, to make mistakes, to learn from those mistakes, to influence those around you, to work a job, to fall in love, to have children…there are millions of such stories that were never given the chance to be told. How many of the 55 million that have been legally killed as a result of abortion-on-demand would been another Lincoln, another Pasteur, another Obama -- or another evangelist, another servant at a local church, another neighbor quietly loving and picking up trash, another grandparent telling their granchildren about Jesus? How many of these were killed for convenience, for pleasure, to save social embarrassment, or killed because of ignorance, because a young girl was lied to, because she was forced to by her parents, her boyfriend, or her husband.  The tragedy of death is not only tragic for the ones who die.  Every time a butterfly flaps its wings and all that.

The only truly innocent. The most helpless of us all. The silenced voices can most understand the sacrifice of Christ, because they can relate to him in their innocence. But unlike them, he went to the cross willingly. Being given the choice, he chose the path of pain, and hardship, and being forsaken by His Father. He chose that path so that the millions of slaughtered children can be accepted into an everlasting kingdom that will never be shaken, and so that those who choose to kill the lives of their babies can repent and be accepted into that same kingdom. There is perfect joy and harmony in that place. The laughter of those children will echo throughout heaven, not because of anything they had ever done, but because of the Savior who stands at the hand of God and intercedes for their parents. And just maybe, he leaves that throne and goes to play with them. And maybe he gathers them into his arms and smothers them with the kisses they were never given by their mothers and fathers.

The evil of abortion can never be undone for those who are already the victims of its wickedness. But it will be undone one day when the Maker of the universe returns to either extend mercy to those who participated because they plead his blood, or to exact just judgment because they stubbornly refuse to repent.

However, now…today, we can choose to fight it in the ways we can. Some of us will go to the clinics and offer help to the mothers who are arriving to murder their children. Some of us will donate money to support those workers. Some of us will write our congressmen and beg for them to enact laws to overturn Roe v. Wade. Some of us will use social media to raise awareness and give our family and friends no excuse for ignoring the issue. Some of us will write articles and blogs to force people to think about what abortion actually does.

All of us should pray that if not now, one day soon God will make everything right, will make everything crooked straight again, will defeat the enemies of his kingdom, will rescue the children, and will have mercy on a nation that kills its defenseless children. There is no difference between the pagan nations that sacrificed their children to Molech or Baal, and our “great” nation that sacrifices our children for the ability of “choice.” May God have mercy on us.

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