Many people consider the pro-life position to be based on a faith or religious system. Some suppose that people would be pro-choice if their religious teachers or tradition would allow them. That may be true in a few cases but this has absolutely nothing to do with my experience. I actually came to a pro-life position during my time as an atheist. I figured if this life is the only chance we have at existence, we should give every person that chance to live. However, my reason for being pro-life at this stage is not based in either atheistic or religious presuppositions.
I sometimes hear pro-choice people offering abortion as a compassionate response to certain situations. The truth is that not every pregnancy is planned, not every relationship is ideal and some circumstances are very unfortunate. What about women who become pregnant and yet are totally not able to raise a child? What about cases when there has been substance abuse and there is a risk of harm to the child? For our family, these are not just “what if” questions.
My wife and I had two children. Because both were diagnosed with autism, we decided to not have any more children as there was a good chance that a third child would also have autism. After a few years, we began to wish that we could have another child, perhaps a child without autism. We approached the Children’s Aid Society and began looking into adoption. Do not let anyone tell you that mothers that give up their children are abandoning them to a lonely existence in an orphanage. We were told that there were far few children than there were parents looking for children. We were told that we might be waiting close to a decade and even then it was not guaranteed that we would get a child. It was discouraging but we decided to go through with the adoption classes anyway.
During this time, there was a girl that we knew that was pregnant. Because she was doing drugs during the pregnancy, Children’s Aid became involved and they planned to apprehend the baby at birth. Instead, my wife and I decided to put together a plan of care and take the baby into our home. It was an interesting situation for us as we attended our last adoption class and while all the other parents were dreading their long wait, we already had a baby at home.
During that first year, we discovered that the mother was pregnant again and that drugs were still involved. While I was hesitant to bring another baby home, since we already had two children with autism and we did not know what effects the drugs would have, we decided to bring this baby home (the decision was literally made the day she was born). After getting our son out of the baby stage, we suddenly had a baby girl. Our house was now very full. However, we soon discovered that the mother was pregnant again. We decided that we wanted to keep the children together and so brought another little girl into our home.
People could easily condemn the mother of our children for taking drugs during her pregnancy. It definitely was not a good choice. However, I respect her for not taking the “easy” way out by getting an abortion. I am sure she was very uncomfortable during the pregnancy and I can’t imagine the emotional toll of knowing she would not keep the babies and having to part with them. And yet she did go through this hardship and allowed those babies to find a home and to be healthy and happy.
But what about the drugs? Is it fair to have babies go through withdrawal at birth, to possibly develop delays or other health issues? Would it not be more compassionate to end it all quickly in abortion? It was hard to watch them go through withdrawal and there are a few areas in which we see the effects of the drugs. But over all, these are beautiful, happy, loving, fun, intelligent, healthy children that we love very much. I do not see how anyone could look at our children and wish that their biological mother had chosen abortion instead. Experiencing these fantastic kids is a huge part of why I am pro-life.