Bondage of Bereavement

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Before we begin, may I preface that this is in the category of Heidi’s pieces, a place where I am free to share my personal views because I am a person with views.

We are quickly nearing “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” – SOHLS day. And because I am Christian, and because I have a special love for president Ronald Reagan, I thought I’d share with you the origin of this day.  It comes from Proclamation 5147, filed with the Office of the Federal Register on January 16, 1984.  It reads:

The values and freedoms we cherish as Americans rest on our fundamental commitment to the sanctity of human life. The first of the “unalienable rights” affirmed by our Declaration of Independence is the right to life itself, a right the Declaration states has been endowed by our Creator on all human beings — whether young or old, weak or strong, healthy or handicapped. Since 1973, however, more than 15 million unborn children have died in legalized abortions — a tragedy of stunning dimensions that stands in sad contrast to our belief that each life is sacred. These children, over tenfold the number of Americans lost in all our Nation’s wars, will never laugh, never sing, never experience the joy of human love; nor will they strive to heal the sick, or feed the poor, or make peace among nations. Abortion has denied them the first and most basic of human rights, and we are infinitely poorer for their loss.

We are poorer not simply for lives not led and for contributions not made, but also for the erosion of our sense of the worth and dignity of every individual. To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all.

Slavery, which treated Blacks as something less than human, to be bought and sold if convenient, cheapened human life and mocked our dedication to the freedom and equality of all men and women. Can we say that abortion — which treats the unborn as something less than human, to be destroyed if convenient — will be less corrosive to the values we hold dear? We have been given the precious gift of human life, made more precious still by our births in or pilgrimages to a land of freedom. It is fitting, then, on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that struck down State anti-abortion laws, that we reflect anew on these blessings, and on our corresponding responsibility to guard with care the lives and freedoms of even the weakest of our fellow human beings.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 22, 1984, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 13th day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Ronald Reagan

Today’s SOHLs day is celebrated with non-violent picketing and rallying.  With praying to end elective abortion and for seeking ways to end elective abortion. The tragedy of elective abortion is included in the original cause, but we need to back up a little (or, a lot).

To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all…

Some things have changed since Reagan’s understanding of elective abortion.  We know now that it’s not something that only happens in back-alley clinics, but happens in state-of-the-art hospitals.  It is called induction in cases where the baby’s diagnosis means slim survival past birth at any gestational age.  It is explained in a way that seems emotionally and financially practical.  It is spoken of as a way to end suffering – of both the mother and baby. And with such a rigid, dogmatic, legalistic view of pro-life as actually nothing more than anti-abortion, mothers who felt alone, now on the bereavement side of elective abortion, are outcasted, abandoned, shamed.  Mothers who say their loss is miscarriage rather than elective abortion so that they can receive the hypocritical and conditional acceptance of their church family or even the rest of the bereaved community.

It is fitting, then, on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that struck down State anti-abortion laws, that we reflect anew on these blessings [the precious gift of human life, made more precious still by our births in or pilgrimages to a land of freedom], and on our corresponding responsibility to guard with care the lives and freedoms of even the weakest of our fellow human beings.

The blessing of human life, made more precious by our births in a land of freedom. Elective abortion is birth.  The element that ends life is an element that is added to the birth, but as a baby emerges from the womb of his or her mother, this emerging is birth. Mothers who have endured elective abortion have also given birth.  Might they discover how their own child, even after death, can be a blessing, one that leads them into eternal life?  Or are we really being called by God to exchange the physical life of her baby for the eternal life of the mother?  Can God not have both?  Are we really being called to limit His blessings?  Can we not find a way to stretch beyond anti-elective abortion and into the many previously untouched areas of pain that truly need healing?

I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.

While anti-abortion campaigns are rising to picket on SOHLs day, I recognize the reality of condemnation, and the catastrophic impact it has on bereaved mothers who did not give birth via elective abortion for convenience, but who feel strapped in bondage only made worse by reminders that their fellow citizens do not forgive them.

As a bereaved mother myself, and even as a pro-life Christian myself,

I bear witness that these annual protesting events scattered through our calendar often serve as a spiritual Asherman’s Syndrome, ripping the scab of the mothers soul,

causing a barren spirit to struggle with conceiving the Truth of redemption and ability to truly be born again.

I will gather on SOHLs day to give thanks for the gift of life, that every mother has a right to claim her motherhood honestly and unconditionally, and to reaffirm my commitment to the dignity of every human being including all bereaved mothers, including those strapped in the bondage of lying, fear, shame and shunning, and to reaffirm my commitment to the sanctity of each human life, including those babies who have already been born and who died via elective abortion, that their mothers will receive the gift of forgiveness, the gift of mercy, the gift of growth, and to reaffirm my commitment to the sanctity of each human life, including those babies whose mothers will be escorted into corner doctor’s offices, on cold chairs, told the impossible and asked to comply with the impossible, that hope enters the room, sits down next to the mother, whispers courage to seek a second opinion, and that those mothers who leave hospitals, clinics or homes with widowed wombs, that mercy walks with them, that they may courageously choose life for themselves, finding redemption, rather than suffocating from the mask forced upon her by a community of citizens still trapped in the social conform of legalism.

I will give thanks that so many in my Christian pro-life community are graduating from the elementary stay-in-the-lines coloring of anti-abortion and deepening their understanding of what it means to truly let their lights shine in places their own fears darkened their understanding of reaching.  I will praise the increasing numbers of the pro-life community who spread the message of saving lives while doing so with care and love for the mothers who have been torn by elective abortion.

I will remind mothers cut by elective abortion that such demonstrations do not undo your worth, your right to heal and your ability to grow, to love, to live, both here and eternally.

I will honor all mothers, all babies, unconditionally.  By the power of the Holy Spirit it truly is possible.

I invite you, on SOHLs day and every day, to help break the bondage of bereavement, by stretching beyond anti-abortion into pro-healing, which is to say, much more than pro-life, but pro-eternal life.

wounds

The release from bondage is bandage.  Might God be calling you to wrap a hurting mother in love?

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Comments

  1. I LOVE YOU HEIDI. You are truly a balm from Gilead. This is not a decision I have ever been faced with, but I know that we can never stand in another persons place when faced with a decision like this. I know that whatever circumstance lead to someone choosing elective abortion, because the baby will not live beyond birth, because the mother’s life is threatened or because the mother thinks that it is her only way out, that as a Christian I believe that there is no sin that Christ Atonement cannot heal. It is my prayer that all Mother’s may, without shame, claim their birth experience so that the can grieve and find solace in and as a part of the bereavement community. And that they can experience grace and peace no matter what the reason, or what trimester they give birth in.

  2. I think that most pregnancy resource centers offer a post abortion Bible study where I have heard TONS of healing has occurred{praise God!!} I know this is an international blog but feel free to contact this pregnancy center for help http://www.firstchoiceprc.org/#!__women/post-abortion I have worked with them so many times and they truly love women and want to help them heal! I think it is also important for it to become common knowledge that it is not the Mom and family’s only option in situations of fatal illness. Many doctors say it would somehow be more humane to end the child’s life through abortion and the only way(I feel it is never ok to abort). It is so hard to talk about and so hard to find strength to use the experience to help others but remember that there are others out there who can make life affirming decisions based on your life story.

    You many be interested in https://www.facebook.com/abbyjohnsonprolife This women went from pro choice and having 2 abortions of her own and working for planned parenthood to seeing the realities of what abortion is, healing, and working tirelessly to help women not make the mistake she did.

    The next link is a story of a family who chose to carry their baby against the doctor’s recommendation to abort. The story and book are really profound http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR2N8v78eT0

    I cannot comfort women who chose to abort by saying it was the best or right decision because I believe it absolutely was not. BUT I can tell them there is Hope and Healing in God who loves them and holds their precious baby in his arms. My sins are just as black as theirs and we all need Redemption.

  3. Heidi, I love your heart and the way that your insight and gift of words challenges and ripens mine! This post has brought me to tears in the best of ways … thank you. i have no words beyond, perhaps, AMEN — this is the prayer of my heart also, not just for every baby, but for every mother (and father) as well.

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