I remember very clearly the moment I became pro-life. I was in my 10th grade biology class and we were learning about fetal development. My teacher was one of my favorites. She was beautiful – tall and elegant, smart and she cared very much about her students. Her husband had been my science teacher in Jr High – he was also a coach. They seemed like such a wonderful couple, and it was no secret that they wanted a child – but had never been blessed with one of their own and they had been trying to adopt for at least a couple years. And so with that knowledge I sat in a darkened room with pictures of the tiniest of babies on the overhead while Mrs Watts explained the changes that each week wrought and as she finished the last frame of the 8 week embryos she quietly said, “this is when most abortions occur”. She said it so sadly and so quietly that I doubt most the class heard, I was sitting right beside her so I caught it. I had never really thought about abortion, I’m not even completely sure I knew what it really meant before that moment. But looking at my teacher I knew completely what it meant. Little tiny developing babies, little ones with toes and hearts, with DNA and a life and future all their own were being destroyed and sweet, intelligent women who longed to be mothers were sitting on long lists to adopt babies who were never born. From that moment on I would be unshakably pro-life — in fact I could hardly imagine how anyone could not be.
The next year I attended Governor’s School. It was a state sponsored summer camp for students of high academic ability. One of the “classes” was on ethics and morality – I am not sure that is what it was called, but that is unquestionably what it was. The topic of abortion was presented. “What if you were grabbed off the street taken to a hospital and strapped down with tubes sticking out of you. You are connected to a person who is the greatest violinist in the world while they are ill, the treatment will take nine months, if you decide to leave they will die.” The question was posed – would it be ethical to refuse – to get up, walk away and let the musician die.
This is of course was a sly way of introducing the abortion debate. I argued heartily with the teacher about the minutiae of his set-up. Pregnancy isn’t they same as being strapped to a table for nine months. Very, very few woman find themselves grabbed off the street and impregnated against their will. Consenting to sexual relations means you engaging in activity that may and can by its nature pro-actively places you in the position of being responsible for another beings well-being and safety. I don’t think the instructor was moved, but I don’t think the class went as he had planned either. I have no doubt that the “plan” was to convince as many of us as possible that the “pro-choice” stance was the more ethical side of the debate. If I had not already been convinced with absolute moral certitude of the pro-life position I might have been swayed.
When I had my own children one of the things I wanted to be sure to pass onto them was a respect for all life from conception to the grave. My desire was to raise children who understand the precious gift that life is. Sons and daughters who are willing to accept the challenge and responsibility of living in a world where this precious gift is assaulted from all sides. I wanted to launch adults who know will protect the innocent in the face of of the strong, who are willing to stand up and even to fight for what they believe, but ones who remember every moment that life is beautiful and good — children seeped to the soul, dyed in the wool in the culture of life.