Lisa Wheeler: The abortion debate makes me wonder – Have we forgotten how to love?

I have always cared about the vulnerable. When I was a teenager, it was animals. I would drive my mother crazy because I was always bringing home a stray dog or a cat. When I got to college, I volunteered in a state-funded daycare, where many of the children were in foster care  I saw first-hand the effects of poverty, a lack of access to job education and career skills, and the growing drug epidemic. My heart was torn open. I became a court-appointed special advocate, known simply as CASA in many states, and began to advocate for children and their families. In my 20s, I spent time working in foreign missions, traveling to third world countries to work with profoundly disabled children who had been abandoned by their parents to orphanages.

With all this recent debate on abortion, I was reminded that these poor children could all have been spared this pain and suffering had they just been aborted.

I remembered the one little girl who disclosed to me that her grandfather was sexually molesting her. She was in relative foster care because her incarcerated mother was a drug addict. Had her mom chosen abortion, that sweet child would never have been sexually assaulted by a family member.

LIVES OF THE UNBORN ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR – NO MATTER HOW THEY WERE CONCEIVED

Lisa Wheeler and her kids.

Lisa Wheeler and her kids. (Courtesy of the author)

I think about the children of Mustard Seed Communities in Jamaica who have profound disabilities. Many of them are non-verbal, can’t walk and will spend their whole lives confined to wheelchairs, beds and medical equipment that in some cases keep them alive. If Jamaica decriminalized abortion, those children would never have been born and they would never have to suffer with a quality of life that most people could never imagine.

I think about a little girl whose mother was raped when she was in her 40s, well past the age when most women stop having children, and now compounded by a conception that was a result of an assault. If her mom had just lived in a state where abortion was legal in the third trimester, she would never have had to be born and her mother could have completely healed from her trauma.

I am one of the lucky ones. I was raised in a family that taught me empathy and action for the vulnerable. I was taught that the most vulnerable, the ones who need to be respected and loved first before we can love and care for any others, are the unborn. Science AND faith have proved that life is single, unique and unrepeatable. 

Lisa and her daughter Elizabeth.

Lisa and her daughter Elizabeth. (Courtesy of the author)

So when I listen to the arguments of my brothers and sisters who advocate so passionately for a woman’s right to choose, and use excuses like foster care, the challenges of caring for children with profound disabilities and their quality of life, and the trauma women who have been raped suffer by giving birth to a child conceived through an assault, I am left with only one thought.

We have forgotten how to love.

We choose abortion in this country not because it’s a right we are owed as women. We choose abortion because we have forgotten how to love. We don’t know how to love with the same kind of love that our Creator used when he formed us, in the womb, single, unique and unrepeatable.

When we know how to love, we enter into the foster care system and we work with parents and children to provide safe and loving homes for children and families in crisis. That little girl who suffered abuse by her grandfather was adopted into a loving home and today is the first person in her biological family to graduate from college. She is healthy and thriving and uses her broken road to teach others that true love can come from suffering.

When I listen to the arguments of my brothers and sisters who advocate so passionately for a woman’s right to choose, and use excuses like foster care, the challenges of caring for children with profound disabilities and their quality of life, and the trauma women who have been raped suffer by giving birth to a child conceived through an assault, I am left with only one thought: We have forgotten how to love.

When we know how to love, we don’t abort children with disabilities because of how we think they will suffer. We give of our time and resources to help those who care for them so they can show us what true happiness looks like. The children of the Mustard Seed Communities in Jamaica and now around the world could teach all of us how to love. On one visit to one of their orphanages, you will experience joy, and peace and a radical will to live like no other. One visit and you will truly understand what it means to be “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139).

And that little girl who was conceived in rape? She is my daughter. When we know how to love, we journey with women who have been raped and present them with hope and healing and don’t convince them that erasing their baby will make them whole again. We show them that radically loving their baby in the womb and choosing either adoption or raising the child, their child, will be the true path to healing and wholeness.

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As these discussions over abortion legislation continue, we must all take a minute to be intellectually honest about what we are supporting and not use excuses like the number of children in foster care, the condition of our babies in the womb, or the circumstances which led to our pregnancies to justify abortion. These are all situations that can be solved with love.

Abortion is acceptable because we have forgotten how to love one another. It’s time right or left, pro-life or pro-choice, that we evaluate the level of our willingness to stand in the gap to help the most vulnerable among us. Come what may. If we remember how to love, we may all just consider abortion unthinkable.