Imagine being under the age of 14, pregnant due to rape and/or incest, and not knowing where to turn. This topic is often brought up during discussions on abortion. It is during situations like this that many people feel abortion would be acceptable. What do you think?
As a teen I became familiar with a similar situation. A young girl with very little understanding about what was happening to her life, her body, and her family, became pregnant. The family decided the best course of action was to give the baby up for adoption. If the pregnancy had been discovered earlier they would have opted for an abortion. As the baby grew within her belly, I found myself grateful that an abortion had not been performed. You may think that is a cruel thing to say, but there was more going on than most people would assume.
Even as young as she was, she would place her hand on her belly to feel the movement. At times you could see a smile cross her face as she thought about that baby kicking around in there. She wasn't going to keep it, she was angry with the world, she hated everyone and everything, but that life inside of her could make her smile. It seemed to be a bright spot in a sea of darkness.
I often thought about how an abortion would have changed her even more. She already hated the world, would she have hated herself for ending that life? Would her family have tried to go back to life as usual and forget that it had ever happened? Would she have been left to deal with much of what was taking place in her mind and her body, alone?
She and I, along with twelve other girls were enrolled in a program for unwed teens. We received counseling; education, parenting classes, and everything we would need to begin our lives as new mothers or to prepare for giving our babies up for adoption. She was receiving the counseling she needed, not only for what had happened to her but to prepare her for the birth and what to expect afterward. She was treated with loving care, supported, and encouraged. She was told that life would go on, she had a future ahead of her, all was not lost. She was given hope.
When I first met her, she could not look me in the eyes. She was embarrassed, ashamed, afraid, and felt alone in a world that had been so cruel to her. During the months we got to know one another, I saw her change. What was the difference? I believe it was an acceptance of what had happened and an understanding that no one blamed her. It was a feeling of life growing inside of her, a feeling that is miraculous no matter how young you may be.
What if we stopped talking about sparing young girls from suffering through a pregnancy that has been brought about through terrible circumstances and began supporting them? What if we allowed them an opportunity to face the mirror and not be ashamed or embarrassed? What if we equipped them with the tools to face a terrible and traumatic event and to recognize that their life is not over? What if we allowed them the opportunity to appreciate the life within and accept that it too needs a chance? It too is only a victim of circumstance and cruelty.
I believe in doing so we could change two lives. We could give both the girl and her child a chance. Abortion is not an answer. All it does is hide the truth until it is buried so deep that she may never recover from the scars.
Terrible things happen. When they do we must do our best to love one another and care for one another, that includes the unborn child which may be the result of rape or incest.
In Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×, we learn that all thing work for good, if we love Him. What better way to honor Him than to honor life, and to help those who are the most helpless.
Maybe more women should be offered dignity, love, and support during a crisis such as this. Maybe if the shame and embarrassment were recognized and life given a chance, they too would place their hand on their bellies, and when all else seems lost, smile.