A Seventh Grader View of Abortion
I wrote my first anti-abortion paper in seventh grade. Well, it really wasn’t about abortion. It was about another controversial piece of news known as the “Karen Ann Quinlan Decision. Karen’s parents sought the court’s help to remove life support from their daughter who was in a vegetative state. Both of her parents are Catholic and have a deep respect for life.
“We never asked to have her die. We just asked to have her put back in a natural state so she could die in God’s time,” Julia Quinlan said.
Karen’s parents won the case and she was removed from life support. Karen lived another nine years and died in 1985.
Medical advancements and ethics collided. On a positive note, her case started important discussions that led to advanced directives and living wills. On a negative note, some used the case to promote assisted suicide.
My clincher paragraph brought up some of those discussions. Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion was only a year old. As a seventh-grader, I couldn’t help pointing out that an abortion procedure removes a perfectly healthy human from its life support system, the mother. And further concluded, our courts must protect those who have no voice.
College Days, A Lost Voice, and “Should Ofs”
Fast forward to my first year of college. In my speech class, I delivered a persuasive speech against abortion. My professor took notice of my speaking skills and chose me to represent the department in a campus-wide speech competition.
My professor called me into her office and instructed me on the rules of the competition. And then she lowered her voice to deliver her conditional request.
“And Beth,” she paused. “I would like you to do another persuasive speech and not the one about abortion.” She gave me information about a community “problem” that would affect the college. The problem? A new condo building project was about to begin next door to the college campus; and the college wanted the project to stop. Hardly a life changing issue in southern California back in the 80s.
I tried to convince my teacher that the issue of abortion was more important than any building project. I failed to convince, and I failed to refuse. In my professor’s office, I lost my voice.
Sadly, I won…..first place.
I walked off the stage with first place trophy in hand for convincing the panel that our community didn’t need more condos.
Second place went to a student who spoke out about detriments of TV violence and how it impacts our schools. Third place went to a student who beautifully demonstrated the case for creation versus evolution.
Both subjects trumped mine because the issues mattered.
No one spoke for the babies of abortion. I grieved.
In hindsight, I felt I should have given back the trophy or given it to the other contestants. In the last 30 years, I played out my list of, “should ofs” far too many times in my head.
My missed “should of” moment gnawed at me through life.
A Growing Passion
Despite my regret, I remained firm in my views on abortion. In fact, my convictions grew in strength with each child I carried in my womb and delivered or grieved in miscarriage. As an OB nurse, I cried at every birth. One doctor asked me, “Beth, must you cry at EVERY birth?” I replied, “Yes, and unless it affects my work, I will continue to do so.” The sound of life’s first breath is beautiful and is worthy of joyful tears.
Side note: Nathan’s Story, a 13 week old baby.
In My Town?
Recently, the undercover Planned Parenthood videos flooded the media. The film clearly showed Stem Express as a company that buys and sells parts of babies. I watched a recap of the breaking news on a local news station. I stopped in my tracks. I recognized the buildings in the film. The scenery behind the newscaster’s report was of my peaceful little rural town of Placerville, California. Stem Express is part of a row of quaint buildings between our town’s beloved Buttercup Pantry and Council of Arts building.
The pit of my stomach churned. “Not in my town!” I said.
I was not alone in my response.
Some of my neighbors had the same response.
We felt duped. We really had no idea what the UPS truck was delivering to our town.
Marcia Brim, homeschool mom, and creator of Brimwood Press sent an email to encourage the community to take a stand. She invited the community to the sidewalk in front of Stem Express. Her words were simple, “I hope you can join us on the sidewalk. There are things to learn here, and genuine good that can be done.”
Finding My Voice on the Sidewalk
I accepted Marcia’s invitation. On most Fridays from 12noon-1:00 pm, you can find me on the sidewalk with others, holding a sign in protest. I am listening and learning from those who are standing next to me. I learn from grandpas and grandmas. I learn from tender children who hold signs of protest (which they made with their own hands) right along side me. I learn from those who stop and ask great questions. I learn from those who cheer us on by honking their horns. I learn from those who have tirelessly protested before the debut of the offensive videos. I even learn from those who shout insults and give us unsightly gestures.
On the sidewalk, we raise our voice to right a wrong. Our presence says to our community, what is happening here is wrong! Marcia is correct; I have learned a great deal about others and myself. Life is too short to stay silent on what matters. Our sleepy rural town has awakened to what is happening just off of main street.
My Heart Aches with Compassion
I realize the pictures of aborted babies that have popped up in news feeds must be troubling to those who have had abortions. Equally, the testimony of abortion survivors perhaps set off “should of” feelings.
My heart aches for you, the mother who have chosen or felt pressured to abort. Please know you are loved, and there is help.
My heart aches for you, the father who encouraged the abortion or didn’t want the abortion. Please know you are loved, and there is help.
If you are thinking about having an abortion, please choose to let your baby live. There is help.
My heart aches for the owners and employees of Stem Express. I mean no harm to you personally. I ask you to seek another avenue for your business. Please don’t profit from an infant’s unnatural demise. Medical advancement at the expense of aborted babies can never be justified. Life, from start to finish commands respect.
My heart aches for my community. Abortion is a silent burden of guilt carried by many with few places to voice the pain. I pray for safe moments for all to heal.
The Long Chain of The Abortion Industry
The abortion industry forges black chain links with the red hot fires of blind passion. Sparks fly and black powder soot scatters with each smite of the pro-abortion campaign. The carbon-soaked air of abortion competes with the fresh oxygen of what we all know is the right choice; please, let the baby live.
If standing on a sidewalk can weaken one link on the chain and shackles of abortion, then stand I will. My neighbors (from all walks of life) and I meet on the sidewalk and chisel away at one link, that happens to “do business” in our town.
Marcia Deserves First Place
I’m so grateful Marcia invited me to the sidewalk in front of Stem Express. Her words and her weekly emails have helped me find a stronger voice. People, like Marcia, who invite people like me to take a stand are first place champions!
After 30 years, it was an honor to give Marcia my first-place speech trophy. God redeemed my “should of” moment from my college days and used it for a time such as this; a speech and cause worthy of first place.
What I Didn’t Know
Little did I know on the day I gave her the trophy, a different kind of birth was happening. It was the birth of a new story that God is writing on Marcia’s heart. She shared with me and her dear friend, Paige, a vision for healing a community and a nation; and it is compelling. Marcia, Paige, and I stood speechless on the sidewalk. It was a holy moment.
Look for her blog post here at Home to Home in the coming weeks.
For more information, feel free to contact Marcia:Marcia@brimwoodpress.com
Thank you for spending a few moments with me to share my story.
From Our Home to Yours,
News 10: Placerville Protest