Saturday, April 30, 2005

No abortion for you!

I normally try to stay away from politically charged issues, since that isn't the purpose of my blog. But this makes me ANGRY. And when I get angry I get cranky. And I don't want to be cranky on a Saturday.

Apparently, a judge in Florida has blocked a 13 year old girl from having an abortion because she isn't mature enough to make the decision herself.

So, let me get this straight. A 13 year old girl isn't mature enough to decide to have an abortion, even though Florida law says that minors can make that decision for themselves. But she is mature enough to carry the baby to term and raise the child herself?

To me this is like saying that an 18 year old isn't mature enough to claim to be a conscientious objector but is mature enough to be sent off to die in foreign wars. Except it's even worse, because it adds yet another unwanted life to this planet while endangering the health of the 13 year old, since 13 year olds are not generally finished with their development and aren't in the ripe and ready state to become breeding vessels.

Interestingly enough, the American news media hasn't really picked up on this story, and although it has been reported in several places, including the Washington Post, it hasn't captured the heart of our nation the way Terri Schiavo's case did. The story is even sadder as reported by the Washington Post - the girl is living in a state shelter and has run away numerous times. Does this sound like a 13 year old who is ready to be a mother? Do you really think she will regret her decision to have an abortion when she's 19 and has a 6-year-old and probably at least one other kid?

If she's living in state facilities, clearly she isn't going to have a whole lot of parental support to help her care for the kid. How is she supposed to take care of it? Get a job? At 13? Oh wait. She's too young to work. I guess welfare is the only real option. That's great. A welfare mom at 14 who gets held up as an example of all that is wrong with our social benefits by the right-wingers, and whose condition would be due to these same people's meddling in personal affairs.

Even the Bulgarian news agencies seem to have taken an interest in this. Doesn't the judge see how irrational this decision seems to most people? Don't people realize that a 13 year old is not mature enough to make most decisions, should probably not have been having sex in the first place, but is most definitely not mature enough to carry the baby to term?

This makes me angry and disappointed at the same time. I cannot fathom a rational thought process that would lead to the conclusion that since this girl is too immature to have an abortion she isn't too immature to carry it to term. Of course this decision will be appealed, and the ACLU has already become involved. But let's remember that she's already 3 months pregnant. Any decision must be made fast or else she really won't be legally able to have an abortion.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny with abortion...eveyone always forgets that adoption is also an option.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was adopted nearly from birth and I’m often asked how old I was when I first found out I was adopted. I explain that I was so young, that I really didn’t understand the concept. My parents told me I was “chosen,” so I sort of thought it was like the whole notion of the stork -- my parents called up God and placed and order for me! Then there was a room full of babies and they picked me up. I thought I was adopted instead of being born and that you were as old as you were adopted. My brother’s a year and a half older than me and he used to beat me up all the time. So I would cry to my parents, “Why didn’t you adopt me first?”

Again, from a young age, I didn’t really relate to the concept that I’d actually been in a mother’s womb, but pregnant women were always special women to me because that was really different. Then when I was about 10 years old, my parents took me to see the musical Annie (Little Orphan Annie) and they got me the album which I’d listen to over and over again. In it there was a song called “Maybe” in which she’d romanticize about this birth family she had out there. And I began to do the same.

I always knew I was adopted through a lawyer, so I guess I sort of associated that with my beginnings. My dad went to law school a few times and dropped out (he hates when I tell that part of the story.) But he’d always talk to me about what the law meant and I found it very fascinating. Then he recognized (let’s just say) certain “gifts” that God gave me. For example, whenever he would try to punish me or make me do chores, I would talk him through it. And he’d say, “Oh you’re good, you’re good – you should be a lawyer!” So I’d wanted to be a lawyer since I was about 11 years old.

When I was in middle school., I insisted that my parents tell me who the lawyer was who handled my adoption. And I called him: “Hi, this is Rebecca Wasser. You handled my adoption and I would like to meet my birthmother now, so you can just give me her name and number and I can call her!” He explained that I had to be 18. Well, being the determined young woman that I’ve always been on my 18th birthday, I called him: “Hi, this is Rebecca Wasser – remember me?! I’m 18 now and I would like my information now, so you can just go ahead and give it to me!“ To which, he replied, “You have to call the Oakland County Probate Court.” So I called the court – and was absolutely shocked to have been told that the door to my birth family was closed. All these years I’d just had this expectation. After all, it was my information – who are these people who are keeping this from me?! I felt like the bottom had dropped out – that my roots were indiscernable and therefore, my identity was merely floating with no basis to my life. Like many adoptees, I struggled with the issues of value, identity and purpose. Consequently, I wrote a couple of poems during my first semester of college which sum up my experience. The first is the “Option of Adoption”:

Pregnant -- unable to support,
not wanting to abort,
you chose the option
of adoption.
Do you long to see
your little baby?
She is mature and grown,
you wonder has she known
about you – the other
Father and Mother?
All that you went through,
she still has never sent you
a card on Mother’s Day.
But that is okay.
she was not being mean --
she only just turned eighteen.
Now will she try to find you?
Does she know it would not mind you?
You ask, “What does she look like?”
She was just a little tyke
the last time you saw her
crying in the arms of the lawyer.
You wonder, “What is her name?”
Oh, you feel such shame,
though you let her live too,
but does she forgive you?
You hope she understood
it was for her own good –
in her highest interest
to give her only the best.
Unable to ever recover,
you only wish to tell her you love her.

My response would be “I Am Living and Forgiving”:

Of course I want to meet you --
give hugs and kisses when I greet you!
I have waited eighteen years
and shed a thousand tears
growing up without you,
wondering about you.
Often I would tremble
with no one I resemble.
Do you have blonde hair, blue eyes?
If you saw me, would you recognize
that I was the tiny infant
with whom nine months you spent?
Do you really care for me?
Or would you just ignore me
because you are someone’s new wife
trying to forget a past life?
Is Daddy still around?
Or does he also need to be found?
I was told I’ve got a sister –
gosh, I’ve really missed her.
And what about my brother?
Does he know about the other
little sister he had?
Or ‘tis a secret for Mom and Dad.
A family from a storybook,
I imagine how you each may look.
I am welcomed with open arms.
You very kindly pour on the charms.
I accept you as you are –
you are the twinkle in my star!
But, my star, again, will not shine tonight.
And still, to my dismay, you are not in sight.

I hope that from these poems you can understand just how significant this was to me.

The family I grew up in looked nothing alike – my brother is 6’6”, my dad’s 5’7” and my mom’s 5 feet. My brother and I are both blond and my parents have dark hair and glasses. People would take one look at our family and ask, “Were you adopted?!” I felt I was so different from everyone else and that it was so obvious. I was never in on conversations such as:

“Oh, so what’s your nationality?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“Well, I was adopted.”

Or in a doctor’s office:

“So what’s your family history on this?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“Well, I was adopted.”

That family was also Jewish. I attended five years of Hebrew school three days a week – I was Bat Mitzvah’d and everything! I recall studying the 12 tribes of Israel, then being sent home to do a family tree. When we returned, it was explained to us that, theoretically, that blood line could be traced all the way back and just how significant it was to be one of God’s “chosen.” My classmates would remind me (as I well knew) that I wasn’t really one of them, and I was called names. “Bastard”was surely one of the most frequent. I figured I must be outside of God’s grace and if I could only meet my birth family, then I could find out where I fit into this world and into God’s plan, if at all. Frankly, God was irrelevant in our household, so I didn’t even know about this whole God thing.

That brother who used to beat me up all the time went on to get into quite a bit of trouble. The first time the police knocked on our door was when he was in third grade. Eric was in and out of jail and prison from the age of 16. He spent most of his adult life in prison. When we were both in high school, my parents couldn’t understand it -- how could they have a daughter who’s heading off to law school some day and a son who’s in all of this trouble? I like to joke that my parents are quite proud of both their children. We’re both involved in the law – the lawyer and the outlaw! So my dad picked up a book “On the Criminal Mind” (and there are a lot of other books out there like it) which explained that “socially deviant behavior is genetic. Well, great! We all felt quiet comfortable with that explanation, so my parents didn’t have to look at all the poor choices they made with their very liberal parenting style. Looking back, my dad says it was sort of a Dr. Spock philosophy, laissez-faire attitude. Hands off, let them be and they’ll turn out “O.K..” That certainly backfired! While they had their hands off, my brother had his hands on a whole lot of trouble.

But I was very pleased with that explanation as well. So when I would go to school and classmates would ask me, “Eric Wasser?! Isn’t that your brother?”, I’d be able to say, “Yeah, but we were both adopted, so we’re not really related.” That became my genetic disclaimer!

The genetic disclaimer applied to my adoptive mother as well. She’s bi-polar. That’s manic-depressive – highs and lows in mood swings. If you’d met her back then, you could have readily described her as being a maniac. Nobody wanted to come over my house. We have a more peaceful relationship with her now since she got on medication after we had to have her committed a few years ago. (She backed into my vehicle with me in it because she was upset I was leaving after one of her tantrums.)

Given the serious dysfunction in our home, as a teenager I figured, “I must come from something better. And if I could just meet this birth family, then I could find out just what that looks like.”

Finally, at 18, I was able to petition for what’s called my “non-identifying information.” When it arrived, it had everything you can imagine about my birth mother (except for her name of course.) It had her eye color, hair color, height, weight, age, the age of my half-brother and half-sister who were 11 and 13 when I was born, her ethnicity, religious background, occupation, educational level, and detailed medical history. I just hung on to every word.

Then for my father, it said that he was “caucasian and of large build.” And that was it. I thought, “That sounds like a police description.” I mean, come on! She couldn’t even say his eye color? Hair color? Nothing?!! I thought it over for about a week -- what could the possible explanation be?! Then I called my case worker and I asked her, “Was my mom raped?” And she said, “Yeah, I didn’t want to tell you.” I was just devastated. I remember feeling so ugly and so unwanted and thinking, “Who would ever love me? Who’s ever going to want to marry me and have a family with me?”, because after all, socially deviant behavior is genetic? Right??? That’s what we had believed. And now I had to realize that part of my genes include that of a serial rapist, and I had to reconcile this with my own life. What does this mean about who I am? Do I have some of this ugliness lurking inside of me? If I would give birth to a son someday, would he become a rapist? I really believed that a nice guy wouldn’t want to get involved with someone like me.

I had already experienced discrimination in dating with several different guys just because I was adopted. In going to meet their family or friends, I was told: “Just don’t mention that adoption thing, okay?” As if that was something I should be ashamed of. As if being adopted made me a second-class citizen. And so I thought, “Now how was I going to deal with this?”

Of course, at the same time I thought about abortion, because that’s what you always hear about, right? Growing up, abortion wasn’t talked about a whole lot in my family. When I was 12, my 16 year old cousin had one and I recall the discussion being that this was not a good thing. Then at 15, a year after my grandfather died, it was if the flood gates had opened and for years my grandma would share that when she was pregnant with my aunt, who’s the younger of her two children, that my grandfather told her to “Go, get an abortion!” She’d mourn, “I never loved him again after that. How could they do that? How could they kill the babies?!! And so I learned from her that this is definitely a bad thing. But I figured, I just won’t have one. Abortion didn’t apply to my life, so I didn’t give it much more thought.

In high school we studied this issue and I remember seeing photos of aborted babies and being horrified, but I didn’t identify with this issue. I didn’t think, “Oh, that could have been me!” No, as you heard in my poems, it was just some sad story where she couldn’t afford to keep me, but abortion doesn’t apply to my life! -- I thought.

Then I turned 18, got this information, and all of a sudden, not only does it apply to my life, but it has to do with my very existence. It was as if I could hear the echoes of all those people who would rather sympathetically say, “Well, except in cases of rape. . . .” Or fervently exclaim: “Especially is cases of rape!!!” There are all these people who don’t even know me are standing in judgment of my life, so quick to dismiss it just because of how I was conceived. I felt like I was now going to have to justify my own existence, that I would have to prove to the world that I shouldn’t have been aborted and that I was worthy of living.

After a while, I had it all figured out: if I could just meet a certain societal standard that’s out there that dictates what one’s value is, if I could just make myself attractive and successful, and if I could just find that relationship where someone would love me, then I'd have value and I could feel good about myself. I figured people could then look at me and and say, “What a nice, attractive, intelligent young woman! Clearly Rebecca shouldn’t have been aborted.” And everyone would then “see the light” and I could bring an end to abortion in the world. Thank God, I am not the Savior of this world, and I couldn’t even save my self.

But isn’t that the message that is out there throughout our society? That your value is based upon perhaps how you were conceived, who your parents are, who likes you, what you look like, how you dress, how smart you are, how much money you have, what you do with your life . . . . Many motivation speakers go around telling people that “If you could just make something of yourself then you too could be somebody!” Not everyone has those capabilities or opportunites, and people mess up in life. So what then? Does that mean that they are not somebody? Or that they are nobody? Or some people will tell you that your value is based upon the sum total of your successes versus your failures, and if your successes in life outweigh your failures – “Well then! You’re a person of value and you have something to offer this world!” But if your failures outweigh your successes, or if your burdens outweigh your benefits, then in the ledger sheet of life you’re a liability and you’re either not worth as much as everyone else or you’re disposable.

I guess I had really bought into that notion. I wanted to have all of my assets lined up so that people would look at me and see me as being a person of value at a time in my life when I felt like I was being devalued every day. I settled in relationships as though I should be thankful that someone would want to be involved with someone like me. I jumped into relationships so that if after a short amount of time and a few intense conversations a guy was telling me that I was “the most amazing girl that he’d ever met” – I’d take him at his word! . . . because I wanted to believe that someone could see me that way, I wanted to know that I was someone who was lovable, and I had this huge whole in my heart that I desperately wanted filled.

As time went on, I got into more controlling relationships. Again, if a guy called me and pleaded me to cancel plans with my family or friends, telling me “I miss you. . . . I just want to spend time with you. . . . Please come over. . . .” – I’d do it thinking he must really love me, and not realizing that I was allowing myself to be isolated and controlled more and more.

So I ended up in abusive relationships and ultimately, I was beat up by a boyfriend from law school. He broke my jaw. My front tooth was hanging. I had to have all kinds of surgery to have it put back in, root canal, six months later and epicoectomy where the oral surgeon pulled back the gums, fished out the bone chips and sealed it from the inside hoping to save my tooth. I had to get a restraining order against the guy. That was well over a decade ago and it now looks as though I’m going to end up losing the tooth. I still have pain, scar tissue and consequences that I will experience for the rest of my life.

I had really hit rock bottom. It was time to assess: “How did I get to that point?” From all outward appearances I had so much going for me – I excelled in school and sports, I was in great shape and in an academically strong law school, yet I was detoriating from the inside over a lack of true value, identity and purpose. That is when the Lord called me back to Him.

The first time I’d ever heard the message of the gospel, I was 15. Up to that point, I’d had many friends invite me to church over the years, but my take-away was that I never understood why I couldn’t go up and have crackers and juice with everyone else – no one had every shared their faith with me! They just thought it was cool to invite their little Jewish friend to church with them. Then, at 15, a friend from school invited me to hear a special youth speaker, and he laid out the message of the gospel. I had never heard this before. Trust me, Jesus is not a popular subject in a Jewish household! And I was amazed. I knew this was Truth and I believed that night. But after about 8 months, I no longer had a ride to church – and my Jewish parents were not about to drive me. So I ended up spending some of the toughest years of my life away from church, away from God, without strong foundations and the fellowship of other Christians, on my own doing things my way and the world’s way. I knew what I needed to know for my salvation and all those years away I knew better, but I only had a limited one-way relationship with God in which I would plead for Him to get me out of whatever mess I’d gotten myself into . . . . until the Lord called me back to Him. Then He sent one person after another at crossroads in my life to guide me, “Right this way Rebecca – here’s the narrow path.” It’s been amazing what He’s done in my life since and I’ll share a little more of that further on.

But let me take you back to when I was 18 and first learned of how I was conceived. Of course I thought of my birth mother, and I thought, “She must hate me. This has got to be absolutely the worst thing that’s ever happened to her in her life. She’s never going to want to meet me. She probably wanted to abort me.” Then after a while, I once again had it all worked out in my head: If I could just meet her and hear that maybe there was some mistake, that this was not how I was conceived and that she didn’t want to abort me, then again, I could feel good about myself and I could feel safe. And I wouldn’t have to still feel like I was a target. I didn’t want to be part of that classification: “conceived in rape.” Who would???

I ended up becoming one of the first people in Michigan to have a judge allow my caseworker to try to contact my birth mother and see if she wanted to meet me – and it worked! I was attending college out of state at time when I finally received a letter with my birth name which was “Judy Ann Miracle” – so I was a miracle baby! I thought that was kind of cool. Then it had my birth mother’s name, Joann, and her phone number. Trembling, I called her and she said, “I’ve been expecting your call.” She related that she was sad to hear I already knew I was conceived in rape, but then she proceeded to fill me in on some horrific details which I was totally unequipped to hear: she was really petite – 4’10”, 90 lbs -- a single mom heading to the grocery store at night, just down the street from her home. He jumped out of the bushes with a knife, abducted her, dragged to a field, slit open her clothes with the knife, told her that if she were quiet she wouldn’t get hurt, and basically, she described to me how he brutally raped her every way possible – and that’s how I was conceived.

This was so hard for me to hear for several reasons. First of all, to think that I was conceived out of a truly worst-case scenario, I just felt totally worthless – like garbage. Then I had to realize that my biological father is a really bad man. My birthmother said the police knew this was a serial rapist. At the time, multiple women had been raped in the immediate vicinity with the same “signature” of the crime. She said she went to several police line-ups but stopped going because she said she wouldn’t recognize his face. Finally, as you can see from my poems, all these years I had really dreamed so much of meeting her, and so to hear that she’d been violated like this really pained me.

We arranged for me to fly home and meet her on her 51st birthday. In the mean time, she sent me photos and a letter. Here are excerpts from that letter just to give you a picture of where she was emotionally during this pivotal moment in both of our lives. She wrote:

My Dearest Rebecca,

Hoping by now that the shock of finding out all the details of your birth is forgotten. For that was not reason enough of having to give something up as beautiful as you were. Nothing as precious as a baby. Mostly when you carry one nine months and you go through the birth feeling no one loves you, but you were so perfect and pretty. All these years I had nothing of you, no picture, nothing even saying you were part of me. Just the memory of carrying a baby that I hoped one day would try to find her real mother as I wanted to know my baby. I always loved you in my heart. You were always with me in my thoughts, mostly in July.
. . . .
It seems like a lifetime I know. When I was sick two years ago I thought I would never get to know my little girl.. . . . Would you please see if you could get me a copy of the letter you sent to the Oakland County Judge? It made me cry. Also I would like copies of your poems. These are things I would like to read.
. . . .Its been a long three weeks. Looking forward to our meeting. I didn't know how to express my inner feelings. IT'S SO GREAT -- BIG BEAUTIFUL -- ITS ALWAYS BEEN MY DREAM. I AM SO HAPPY I AM CRYING.
A love that ate at me
for nineteen years,
my daughter at last.

With love,
your Mom,
Joann

This was just all my dreams come true. I felt so affirmed and I felt like, “Yes! I was wanted!” As she said, it was a long three weeks, but I finally flew home on her birthday. Getting off the airplane I felt like there she have been great fanfare – balloons, a band, fireworks and what-not, and of course, there was none. When I greeted my birthmother for the first time, it really was just like meeting a stranger. We were a little awkward at first as we tried to keep conversation going through the airport. I enjoyed a wonderful dinner that evening with her and her husband Joe.

The next day she had a HUGE family reunion for me. I got to meet my half-brother Mark, which was really weird to think we could have grown up together. He had gone to the state championships for gymnastics and I had gone to the regional championships, so I thought “Ooo, maybe that means something!” Years later I met my half-sister Cindy when I went down to Florida with my birth family for a five generation photo. It was the fourth time in a row that they’d had five generations of women alive. I got to room with my grandmother at the time, which was really cool.

But the morning of that initial family reunion, my birthmother drove me around to meet my aunt and my grandmother who each still lived right down the street from where I was conceived. As we were driving around, she was filling me in on the past 19/20 years – who died, who got married, who had a baby. I was totally afraid that she was going to quiz me that night as everyone arrived! Then all of a sudden, she turns and she points, “And that’s the spot where I was abducted and . . . .” And it hit me so hard: this thing is real! Like, “This is your life Rebecca!” Again, I had tremendous difficulty handling it all.

After the reunion, I flew back to college and went to a few meetings of Collegians for Life. I didn’t get involved at that point because, again, I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. But it gave me the courage to call my birthmother and ask her about abortion . . . because I still needed to know. I was shocked to hear her tell me that if abortion had been legal, that she would have aborted me. I asked her, “You don’t mean if you had to do it all over again, right???” And she said, “No.” I found myself pleading, “But what about everything you said in that letter – ‘not reason enough to give something up as beautiful as you were?’ What about when you were sick two years ago and you told me that the only thing that kept you going was the hope that someday you’d be able to meet me? What about that? You wouldn’t have had that.” To which, she firmly replied, “You don’t know what it was like.” I know that what she said is true . . . but I also know that today, she’s “okay.” In fact, she’s doing great! She’s got a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, lots of grandchildren, and despite the utter horror of her saying that to me, I still chose to nurture a relationship with her, to honor her roll that she did play in my life, and frankly, I just thought that if I was good enough, then she’d change her mind.

By the time she did change her mind six or seven years later, I was at a really good place in my life where I didn’t need to hear that for my own well-being, but it was still great to hear! I was with my birthmother when she was making baby clothes for that niece of mine down in Florida who was in a crisis pregnancy with my birthmother’s first great-grandchild. She said to me, “You know, I’m really glad she decided to have this baby. And by the way, I’ve changed my mind about all that.”

Two days later, Norma McCorvey, who is “Jane Roe” from Roe v Wade, announced the very same thing to our nation – that she’d changed her mind about abortion. Up to that point, I’d always wondered what it was like when she had her reunion with her daughter, which was right around the same time we’d had ours. You see, Jane Roe’s daughter is right around age. The trial date in Roe v Wade down in Texas is in a footnote of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion. I recall reading the actual opinion of the court myself for the first time and gasping when I saw the trial date: it was on my first birthday. I was born July 22, 1969, the trial date down in Texas was on July 22, 1970, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion was issued exactly three and a half years to my birthdate, January 22, 1973. So I just barely made it! But so did her daughter. Of course, by the time the Supreme Court had overturned the Texas courts, her daughter was born and she’d placed her for adoption. I figured that when they’d met, reality could have been that Jane Roe could have stood before her daughter and declaring, “Yes, I’m the one! I’m the one who wanted to abort you so badly that I took it all the way up to the United States Supreme Court! That’s pretty intense, but that is reality. And I imagine that it must have been pretty overwhelming for that teenage girl to learn that her mom was Jane Roe and the she was the intended target of that landmark litigation. From what I understand, her daughter has always been a very outspoken pro-life advocate and you would be too if that’d been you! I mean, talk about “changing your paradigm!”

I went to Wayne State Law School in Detroit – very liberal. As you can imagine, this issue would come up quite a bit. In a classroom of a couple hundred students, I’d share a little of how I was conceived and explain to my classmates the truth: “Look, whenever you identify yourself as “pro-choice”, or whenever you make that exception for rape, what that really translates into is you being able to stand before me, look me in the eye, and say to me, ‘I think that your mother should have been able to abort you.’” That’s a pretty powerful statement. I would never say anything like that to someone. I would never to someone, “If I had my way, you’d be dead right now.” But that is the reality with which I live. I challenge anyone to describe for me how it’s not! It’s not like people say, “Oh well, I’m pro-choice except for that little window of opportunity in 1968/69, so that you, Rebecca, could have been born.” No! This is the reality of that position, and I can tell you that it hurts and it’s mean. But I know that people don’t put a face to this issue! It’s just a concept – a quick cliché, and you can sweep it under the rug and forget about it! I do hope that I can help to put a face to this issue.

Many of my classmates – future lawyers of America! – would sit there and hsss at me, as if to say, “You be quiet. We don’t want to hear from you. You shouldn’t even be here right now.” Out in the halls they’d confront me and try to dismiss me with things like, “Oh well, you were lucky!” I’d explain how this has nothing to do with luck. That fact that I’m alive today has to do with choices that were, people who fought to ensure that abortion was illegal in Michigan at the time – even in cases of rape, people who argued to protect my life, and people who voted pro-life. I wasn’t lucky! And don’t tell me that our brothers and sisters who are being aborted every day are somehow unlucky?!!

My birthmother actually went to two back-alley abortionists and I was almost aborted. After the rape, the police had referred her to a counselor who basically told her that abortion was the thing to do. There were no crisis pregnancy centers back then, but my birthmother assured me that if there had been, she would have gone if at least for a little more guidance. The rape counselor is the one who set her up with the back-alley abortionists. For the first, she said it was the typical back-alley conditions that you hear about as to why she should have been able to “safely and legally” abort me -- blood and dirt all over the floor and all over the table. Those back-alley conditions and the fact that it was illegal caused her to back out, as it did with most women.

Then she got hooked up with a more expensive abortionist. This time she was to meet someone at night by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Someone would approach her, say her name, blindfold her, put her in the backseat of a car, take her and then abort me . . . , then blindfold her again and drop her back off. And do you know what I think is so pathetic? It’s that I know there are an awful lot of people out there who would hear me describe those conditions and their response would just be a pitiful shake of the head and: “It’s just so awful that your birthmother should have had to have gone through that in order to have been able to abort you!” Like that’s compassionate?!! Because, remember, they think that they are being compassionate!!! But that’s pretty cold-hearted from where I stand, don’t you think? Because that is my life that they are talking about and there is nothing compassionate about that position! She’s okay – her life went on, but I would have been killed, my life would have been ended. I may not look the same as I did when I was four years old or four days old yet unborn in my mother’s womb, but that was still undeniably me and I would have been killed!

We also know that it’s not even compassionate for the woman. With legalized abortion, roughly 72% of women who become pregnant as the result of rape choose life for their baby. Whether they place for adoption or choose to parent that child, those women do very well. But the ones who abort the baby do terribly. They are four times more likely to die within the next year do to murder, suicide, drug overdose, etc.. These women have a much higher rate of divorce, alcoholism, abusive relationships, and on and on. So it’s not even compassionate for the rape victim.

However, the night that my birthmother was to have me aborted, my aunt was to drive her and she was prepared to go through with it. That’s when the worst snow storm of the century in the Detroit metropolitan area began. She said it snowed for days and days and the roads were blocked for weeks – and that was it, she just couldn’t go through with it. My birthmother was then into her second trimester – far more dangerous, far more expensive to have me aborted.

I’m so thankful my life was spared, but a lot of well-meaning Christians would say things to me like, “Well you see, God really meant for you to be here!” But I know that God intends for every unborn child to be given the same opportunity to be born, and I can’t sit contentedly saying, “Well, at least my life was spared.” Or, “I deserved it! Look what I’ve done with my life.” – and millions of others didn’t? I can’t do that. Can you??? Can you just sit there and say, “At least I was wanted . . . at least I’m alive . . . ”, or just, “Whatever”??? Is that really the kind of person who you want to be?

When pro-abortion candidate Geoffrey Feiger was running for Governor of Michigan, his wife was up on the floor of the my office telling me that she was thanking me for her support. I chuckled, not exactly! She inquired, and I shared why I’m pro-life, why I don’t appreciate his position, and why I’b be dead under his standards. Her on-the-spot patronizing reply was “Well, I’m glad you’re here.” Really??? As far as I’m concerned, it is impossible for anyone to truly value me as a person if they wouldn’t even support my right to be born.

In law school, I’d also have classmates say things to me like, “Oh well! If you’d been aborted, you wouldn’t be here today, and you wouldn’t know the difference anyway, so what does it matter?” Believe it or not, some of the top pro-abortion philosophers use that same kind of argument: “The fetus never knows what hits him, so there’s not such fetus to miss his life.” So I guess if you stab someone in the back while he’s sleeping, then it’s okay, because he doesn’t know what hits him?! I’d explain to my classmates how their same logic would justify “me killing you today, because you wouldn’t be here tomorrow, and you wouldn’t know the difference anyway, so what does it matter?!! And they’d just stand their with their jaws dropped! It’s amazing what a little logic can do, when you really think this thing through – like we’re supposed to be doing in law school – and consider what we’re really talking about: there are lives that are not here today because they were aborted. It’s like the old saying: “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear, does it make a noise?” Well, yeah! And if a baby is aborted, and no one else is around to know about it, does it matter? The answer is, “YES! Their lives matter. My life matters. Your life matters and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

The world is a different place because it was illegal for my birthmother to abort me back then. Your life is different because she could not legally abort me because you are sitting here reading my words today! But you don’t have to have an impact on audiences for it to matter. There is something we are all missing here today because of the generations now that have been aborted and it matters.

In law school, I was always so frustrated with people who would say things like, “I don’t believe in the God and I don’t believe in the Bible, so like, I’m pro-choice” – as if there is no otherwise rational justification for the pro-life position. So I wrote an essay, “The right of the unborn child not to be unjustly killed – a philosophy of rights approach” in which I took the arguments of the top pro-abortion philophers and followed them through, demonstrating the errors in their reasoning. I could have very well called my thesis, “The right of Rebecca not to have been unjustly killed.”

***

God used my experience with domestic violence to give me a heart for families in crisis so that I became a family law attorney, just as I’d said I would never do! It also caused me to reevaluate how I got to where I was, and to assess what is the true basis of my value, identity and purpose. Handling divorce, custody, child support, paternity and domestic violence cases, I saw the same cycle of dysfunction in others. Despite the horrible mistakes of the past, I got to a point where I decided I'd only kiss one more man in my life. I knew that abstinence is more than just a biblical value, but in God’s incredible design, it is a character-building exercise and a very practical means of being able to avoid or escape bad relationships. If I wanted a love that would last a lifetime, I needed to make the decision to marry for all of the right reasons. God sent me a man of character who loved Him with all his heart. Bob honored me throughout our courtship and we "waited till our wedding night."

When my husband and I married, my birth mother was included in the wedding invitation as one of the parents and she was walked down the aisle in our wedding as one of the mothers. If you ask her today, she will say that I am a blessing to her. Psalm 127: 3 says that children “are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb a reward.” I think about how different our society would be if everyone understood that truth. Then, when they hear a situation like mine, instead of saying “Oh how awful. You mean to tell me that woman was raped and she was actually forced to carry that child?” -- people could say “Wow, how good is God! You mean to tell me that He rewarded that woman with the gift of this child’s life for the suffering she endured? How faithful is God!”

Bob and I talked about adopting before we got engaged, and both agreed that this was not a last resort, second-best, but truly a picture of God’s love and something we felt called to do. So we continued the legacy of adoption by adopting our 4 children: Kayla, Caleb, Kyler, and Cassie. I closed my law practice to stay at home and take care of our children, which is absolutely the most important thing I’ve done in my life. Our daughter Cassie was born with a very serious genetic disorder, and I practically had a little medical clinic in her room for her – tubes to breath and tubes to feed, lots of meds, and she’d need some surgeries. Sadly, most babies who have what she had are aborted and I think it’s just so awful that there are people who would look at her and say that she wasn’t as good. They don’t know her value, they don’t know my value, and they definitely don’t know their own value. Cassie died in our arms at 33 days old on September 14, 2000, with her 35 year old birthmother present with us. It was absolutely the most difficult thing we’d been through in our lives, but we all said we’d do it all over again. It was an honor to take care of her.

Our other three adopted children were all born to teenage birthmothers, and as in my case, Caleb and Kayla will never have the opportunity to know who their biological fathers are and rape may have been a factor in each. Both Kayla and Kyler were foster children when we got them – Kayla had been abandoned for her 14 year old birthmother when she was a year old and then by her grandmother at three. Kyler had been severely abused at 9 weeks old. Kyler is Caleb’s younger biological half-brother (same birth mother.) Once we got Kyler and then Kayla two weeks later, we learned that I was pregnant with our fifth, but first biological, child Carina who was born August 7, 2003. I began homeschooling Kayla in the fall of 2003.

I know it’s was God’s divine plan that these children be placed with us. I’ll be able to teach them some of the greatest things I’ve learned – the rapist is NOT my creator, as some people would have me believe. I’m not a “product of rape,” but a child of God. Psalm 68:5,6 declares: “A father to the fatherless . . . is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.” And Psalm 27:10 tells us “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” I know that there is no stigma in being adopted. We are told in the New Testament that it is in the spirit of adoption that we are called to be God’s children through Christ our Lord. So He must have thought pretty highly of adoption to use that as a picture of His love for us!

Most importantly, I’ve learned, I’ll be able to teach my children, and I teach others across North America that your value is not based on the circumstances of your conception, your parents, your siblings, your mate, your house, your clothes, your looks, your IQ, your grades, your scores, your money, your occupation, your successes or failures, or your abilities or disabilities – these are the lies that are perpetuated in our society. In fact, most motivational speakers tell their audiences that if they could just make something of themselves and meet this certain standard, then they too could “be somebody.” But the fact is that no one could every meet all of these ridiculous standards, and many people will fall incredibly short and so, does that mean that they’re not “somebody” or that they’re “nobody?” The truth is that if you really want to know what your value is, all you have to do is look to the Cross – because that’s the price that was paid for you life! That’s the infinite value that God placed on your life!

In closing, I believe that if I could have had one prayer from my mother’s womb as an unborn child, it would be something like Psalm 59: 1-4:

Deliver me from my enemies , O God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from bloodthirsty men.

See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, O LORD.
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!

2:58 PM  
Anonymous brittany said...

if she isnt ready to raise a baby then she isnt ready to have sex and she shouldnt have spread her legs there are resboniblitys that come along with haveing sex and if they cant face them then they shoundnt be haveing sex its not the babys falt that their mom dosent want them because she's not mature enough!

12:27 PM  

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