I tried to watch the third video revealing the horrors of Planned Parenthood’s fetal organ trafficking business, but I could not finish it for two reasons: one, I’m the father of three beautiful children; and, two, if a scared young woman had made a different choice in 1971, I would not be a father, or writing this.
In 1971, a sailor from Maine was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Beeville, Texas. He met a young Mexican woman, and they hit it off. Thankfully, I am unaware of the details, but at some point in their relationship I entered the world. I was conceived out of wedlock, and my mother had a choice.
A few years ago, my mom handed me an envelope on which she’d written, “Pray before you read this, in a quiet moment.” In that letter, these words stood out: “Still in school, offered a full scholarship to anywhere in the U.S., barely knew your father. So for a moment, abortion crossed my mind. I know family members who had done that, so I knew no better. But, I did not.”
My mother grew up poor and did not speak English until she entered public school, where she excelled. Her intelligence and academic success provided her the opportunity to study at universities without cost. A woman who grew up in poverty was given a path to escape.
At that moment, the only thing standing between my mother and the plans she had for her life was what pro-abortion advocates would describe as a “small clump of cells” growing inside her, the result of a mistake and an inconvenience easily remedied. When I entered the world, my existence was a cause for fear and shame instead of celebration, and I literally owe my life to a decision made by a woman who was barely out of her teens, a decision she would summarize later in four words: “But I did not.”
Human Lives Are Not Slogans
Some will read this and wonder why they should care about the life story of a random writer from Maine, a story that I don’t even like to think about. The best answer I can give is that it’s not about me. It’s about “Baby 11.6” and the millions of other stories that will remain untold.
Since January 22, 1973, discussions of abortion tend to be focused on it as an “issue.” Society has debated the legality of the Supreme Court’s decision, and the morality of abortion. Far too often, the abortion debate descends into a morass of anger, euphemism, defensiveness, and derivative issues. We argue about terms and definitions, spout slogans, and wave signs in an attempt to persuade one another and change laws. The legality and morality of abortion are important questions, but focusing on the arguments has allowed society to look away from the reality of abortion, a reality that has been brought into brutal focus with the release of the Planned Parenthood videos.
The reality of abortion is that it ends lives. Not just the life of the child who has been aborted, but the lives of the children they might have had. This is not a theoretical question for me. I can definitively say that if my mother had made the decision to abort me, my children would not exist. Period. Full stop. This is not an opinion that comes out of my political or religious beliefs—it’s a statement of simple logic. My two daughters, ages 9 and 7, and their little brother, age 4, are alive because of a choice my mother made long before they were born.
Murder Is Not a Solution, But Courage Is
Some would say her choice should have been easy—the clump of cells in her womb was the result of a mistake and there was no reason to keep it, and every reason to do what her peers had done. Go to the clinic. Endure some pain. End the pregnancy and go on with her life. I can’t imagine the fear she felt, but I am grateful for the courage she showed in the face of it.
When Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood, she built support for her cause by fomenting fear. She was an evangelical eugenicist who created an empire by exploiting the fear that Americans had of immigrants, minorities, and the mentally ill.
The organization she founded carries on her legacy and continues her message. The modern Planned Parenthood hides behind euphemism while it tells women who find themselves in the situation my mother faced that a baby will complicate their lives, end their dreams, and ruin their futures. They offer a convenient “solution” to the problem. Then, as we’ve learned from the videos, they profit from the corpses that result. It’s disgusting, heartbreaking, and infuriating, but evidently, that’s their business model.
My Mother’s Choice Gave Me a Future
My parents married in February of 1972, and are still together. Like most children, I assumed that I was born because my parents wanted me and had planned for my arrival. Nothing they ever said or did made me think otherwise. I grew up knowing I was loved, and that was enough. As I got older, I realized there was something off about the timing of my birth. My parents were married in February, and I was born in August. I was almost 11 pounds at birth (sorry, mom!), so either I was the largest premature baby in history, or my parents jumped the gun.
Fast-forward almost 40 years. My mom hands me an envelope as I’m picking up our three kids from their house. I’m tired from work and shopping. I’m hungry, frazzled, and all I want to do is get the kids to bed and spend some quality time with a good book. Eventually, I got the girls to sleep and held my then one-year-old son, awake, in my arms. I picked up the envelope, opened it, and read the letter quoted earlier. I knew I was conceived before my parents were married, but learning that my entire life was the result of a single decision made by my mother before I was born? That took some time and more than a few prayers to process.
My mother never graduated from college. She gave up her academic dreams to marry my father and raise me and my siblings. Although my existence was unplanned, my parents never made me feel it was unappreciated. They are the bravest people I know, and they made it clear that I was, and still am, loved. In 1971, my mother’s choice gave me a future.
In 1973, months after I was born, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote a decision that ultimately enabled the horrors of Kermit Gosnell and now Planned Parenthood. In 40 years, pro-choice activists have gone from “safe, legal, and rare” to “I don’t think it would be as war-torn.” I mourn the fact that the children in those videos will never get to experience the lives they were supposed to live, especially since I know now that I was only a decision away from sharing their fate.