Are pro-lifers overlooking the gray areas of abortion in their protests? One mom thinks so. Hadleigh Tweedall recently shared her concern with the pro-life movement after her own experience made things personal. She, her husband, and two-year-old son were happy to grow their family earlier this year. The excitement stopped seventeen weeks into her pregnancy when they learned their unborn daughter was “fatally sick.” “Multiple specialists” confirmed that their daughter would not live more than a few more weeks. She was also told that continuing the pregnancy “increased [her] risk of infection, hemorrhaging and other medical complications, including death.”
Tweedall decided to have an abortion, for reasons she chronicled in her post. The laws of her state limited abortions to fifteen weeks gestation, but she was two weeks past that. She blames pro-lifers for “the laws you fought to pass” that meant she had to travel out of state to terminate her pregnancy. She writes: “ the pro-life… laws put in place failed me, leaving me feeling alone, scared, and quite frankly, angry.”
She claims that her situation was a “gray area” that pro-lifers overlook, but is there really such a blurred line when it comes to the decision to end a pregnancy? Should those who draw their pro-life convictions from the Word of God add a caveat for situations like Hadleigh Tweedall’s?
Here’s why pro-life Christians see abortion as a black and white issue:
We can trust God with the life of our unborn child.
Tweedall writes: “I am a Christian and I believe in miracles, but I also trust modern medicine.” Does a trust in medical science trump a trust in God? Is God unable to work when an unborn baby is involved? The Psalmist David did not think so. He wrote, God “formed my inward parts… [knit] me together in my mother’s womb… My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made… intricately woven…” These words point us to the care and compassion of our Creator, the God who spent time forming and intricately weaving us together. If He cares this much for the unborn, should we not trust Him with the outcome of each pregnancy?
God does not make mistakes; no birth defect slips past Him.
David went on to say “in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” God had a plan for every single day of our lives—while we were still in our mothers’ wombs. No adverse diagnosis or fatal disease is an oversight. Even when the doctor delivers life-altering news, that is not Plan-B for our lives. Nothing slips past God’s watchful and loving eyes, not even fatal birth defects.
God’s plan for us is bigger than our personal tragedies.
Romans 8:28-29 tells us that God causes all things to work together for good. My sister-in-law is living proof of this fact. When she delivered her second child, doctors immediately knew something was wrong with my nephew, Malachi. He was later diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome and he only lived for seven months. Next month marks the sixth anniversary of his death. While his parents would not choose to walk through that heartache again, the things God taught them and the lives God impacted because of their son are lessons they would never trade. God used the most painful experience of their lives to bring about good. They would tell you today that the pain was worth it. God, indeed, proved Romans 8 true in their lives.
God is good, even in the worst circumstances.
The Bible has no shortage of people who endured intense struggles. Job was an extremely wealthy and very successful businessman. All ten of Job’s children were killed in a tragic accident and his entire income source was killed or stolen—all in one day. Soon after that, Job’s entire body was struck with “loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” God Himself answers the complaints of Job as He spends five chapters of the Bible putting Job in his place for daring to question God’s goodness in his life. God’s goodness is not to be doubted, even when facing the death of a child.
Sometimes the doctors are wrong.
The unfortunate truth of medical science is that multiple experts do no always get it right. My friend Dana was faced with a doctor’s counsel to abort. At her twenty week ultrasound they discovered a mass on her daughter Hannah’s neck. They would later learn that Hannah had what is now called a lymphatic malformation. Their doctor’s immediate counsel was to terminate the pregnancy. She told Dana that her baby was not “compatible with life” and challenged her to think about the risks of a Cesarean section when they were not even sure their baby would live. That same doctor tried to convince Dana and her husband to end their pregnancy at two other appointments. They never even considered that advice. Abortion was not an option, even if Hannah did not survive the C-section and Dana’s life ended in the processes.
Today Hannah is 13 years old. She has endured numerous surgeries and more doctor visits than her family can count. She was given a tracheotomy the day she was born and she lived with that until she was six years old. I remember her as a toddler, moving that trach out of the way so she could talk to everyone at church. She will have more surgeries ahead of her, but Hannah lives a normal life today. She is an excellent student who loves spending time with her friends. She loves to read and plays the piano beautifully and desires to honor the Lord with her life. All of this from a little girl a doctor said was “incompatible with life.”
So, what should pro-life activists do? Should we stop fighting for the rights of the unborn? Should we silence our cries for those who cannot speak for themselves, or stop fighting for legislation to protect them?
No. We keep fighting for our righteous cause. We lovingly support the mothers facing these devastating diagnoses. We provide shoulders to cry on and hands to hold. We grieve with the families facing such tragic losses, and we point them to the hope we have in God. We compassionately show them that God can work good from even this, and that we can trust Him with the lives of our unborn children. To believers, the issue of abortion is that black and white.