ImageIn recent days we have been reminded frequently that January 22 marks the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This was the landmark Supreme Court decision that struck down all state abortion laws and made abortion-on-demand a "constitutional" right. In his recent article, “Something Lost” [1], Alan Sears, notes the enormous cost to America and the world represented by the 48 million children who never got to live, grow, mature and contribute to the human experience – all because a court decision enabled their “termination”.

Was it Lenin or Stalin who said, “One death is a tragedy; 20 million deaths are a statistic”? Whoever said it, it’s a cynical view and it’s a lie. 20 million unnecessary deaths are not just a statistic; they are 20 million tragedies, an incalculable loss. Each represents a life not fully lived. In the case of abortions, each also represents a woman who carries the memory of a life she ended for her own convenience. Millions of women across two generations carry this memory. Some deal with it. Others cannot.

Men carry these memories, too. I don’t know any men, personally, who were fathers of an aborted child – which is to say I don’t know that I know them. They must be all around me. I did know a man who fathered a child when he was a teen. The child had to be given up for adoption because he and the mother could not marry and care for it. When I knew the father, he was in his 30s – a big, hearty fellow who seemed to care little for the finer conventions of life. Yet his sister once mentioned that every year, on the birthday of that child, this rough fellow would sit alone all day, drinking and weeping. Somewhere, he knew, there was a child – walking, talking and living – who carried his blood. The thought was unbearable to him.

Contrast this with knowing that one's child had been murdered in the womb and never even got a chance to live. Millions of Americans are walking around with such memories. Only a heart of stone can seal them off.

Providentially, however, not every child inconveniently conceived was butchered in the killing mills of the abortionists. One who was spared was born to a couple I happen to know. The child’s father is the son of old and dear friends. He and his fiancé were attending a college that enforced high standards of personal conduct – including strict rules governing sexual behavior. A student found in violation of those rules could be expelled. Across the history of the institution, this had sometimes happened.

Naturally, not every sexual violation could be detected, but pregnancy was a sure indicator. By the 1980s, however, even that indicator could be hard to detect. Any young woman who found herself unexpectedly with child could hire an abortionist to eliminate the "evidence". School officials either did not know this, or pretended not to know.

When the young couple of which I speak found that the young woman was expecting, they chose to marry openly and have the child. The mother left school, and the father – being close to graduation – stayed on. Of course, school officials soon discovered the situation. They indicated an intention to expel the father – thereby upholding the school’s standards. This would have been disastrous to his education and vocational future, for various reasons.

But my old friend – the young man’s father – had no intention of letting this happen, or of letting the school off the hook so easily. In a long conversation with the dean of students, he pointed out that the school bore some culpability for the couple’s misconduct – having countenanced off-campus housing in which male and female students occupied neighboring apartments. There was no real supervision of who was in which apartment at what time of the day or night. My friend also mentioned the known use of abortion to end some students’ inconvenient pregnancies. Word of this (he suggested) might reach the national media, with unfortunate fallout for the school’s reputation. He strongly advised the dean to reconsider the expulsion of his son, and asked for immediate notification if the decision went against him.

Happily, cooler heads prevailed. The son was allowed to finish his degree and commence his chosen vocation. In the fullness of time, their new son was born. Both families of the new parents rejoiced, and life moved onward.

Today, my friend’s grandson has grown into a strong, talented and creative young man who is embarked on his education and life’s work. He enriches the lives of his family. He spreads joy all around him. Eventually, he will marry and have his own family. My old friend and his wife bless the Lord for his life. Their tears on his birthday, each year, are tears of joy, not regret.

During the Nazi occupation of Holland, Christians rescued some Jewish children from the gas. Years later, a young man who had helped in that effort – now middle-aged – took ill during a visit to Israel. The doctor who treated him recognized the patient’s name and asked if he had, by chance, been involved with saving some Jewish children in Holland. When the patient replied that he had, the doctor said, “I was one of those children.

The Holocaust was a time of great evil. Millions were killed for no good reason. Finally, the killing was stopped. Now we are in another such time. Millions of unborn children have been destroyed by legal fiat, but we are all complicit. Dr. Sears believes the nation will never quite recover from the loss of those lives. He mourns for what they might have been. So do I.

In my friend’s family, the horror was averted. A life was spared, and a child has grown into a splendid man. Praise God! In time, perhaps America will again protect its unborn children. Pray that it will be so.

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[1] Dr. Sears served in the Reagan Administration and is now CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund. Find his article at http://washingtontimes.com/article/20080120/COMMENTARY/431708109