This Christmas vacation I had a great time at home. Spent most of the time with my family talking and catching up on a lot of things. During one such chats, my mom told me something about her youngest brother’s family which made me admire them. Since I was born and bought up in Jharkhand, I was away from my extended family and there is very little I know about my cousins, uncles, aunts etc. I’ve been to this particular uncle’s place only once in my life and don’t think have met them more than four times and hence knew very little about them. They live in a very small village in north Kerala. They have an elder daughter and a younger son. When my aunt was carrying the boy in her womb, she fell sick. The doctor she consulted prescribed her medicines without considering the fact that she had a growing foetus within her. She was cured, but due to side effects of the medicine, the child inside suffered. It was found that the child would have serious physical deformation. This was a shock to the family which was surviving with limited means and was struggling to make their ends meet. Everyone suggested that the child be aborted. Considering the hardship that would follow, my uncle also was of the same opinion. But my aunt didn’t want to take the easy way out. She wanted to bring her son into this world and she did. Now he is in school, studying in standard tenth. Yes, he was born with many deformities. Yes, the family had to go through many difficulties, but the family is so much happier. And guess what, now he is the apple of his father’s eyes who can’t imagine living without his son. All this because his mother didn’t choose the more convenient option.
But that’s not always the case. On 25th Nov 2011, tragedy struck a family in Melbourne. A mother was carrying twin boys in her womb. Towards the later stage of pregnancy it was found that one of her baby boys had congenital heart defect that would require years of operation, if he survived at all. She took the decision of putting an end to the life of the sick foetus which was 32 weeks into his life, just six weeks before he could see the world. This decision in itself was unfortunate, and was made even worse when in a terrible mistake, instead of injecting the sick foetus, the healthy one was injected who died in the womb. The sick twin was also terminated in an emergency operation. In a span of three hours, the two lives which were growing silently and protected within their mother’s womb for 32 weeks came to an end. Her friend said, “She went to the hospital with two babies and now she has none.” The mother, who had already named her boys, lost both of them. Her womb which was thriving with life, now lay barren. A decision and a human error brought the dreams of the entire family crashing down.
For many, abortion is pro- choice, it’s a right for them to chose. But for me it is the most heinous crime possible, it’s killing a being who, leave aside defend, can’t even cry for help. It killing a child in the place he is most secure- the mother’s womb. It’s turning the cradle of life into a graveyard. It surprises me that for many, the foetus within the mother’s womb is just a lump of tissues which has no life, which feels nothing. Many are of the opinion that life begins only after the child is born. How wrong they are was proved by an incident and a photograph taken way back in 1999. Julie Armas, after suffering from two miscarriages, conceived for the third time and was desperate to bring forth a life into this world. During the 14th week, an ultrasound scan left the parents devastated. The baby boy inside was suffering from Spina Bifida – a condition which left the spinal cord exposed after the backbone failed to develop. His parents could have decided to abort him, but they didn’t. They decided to go for a surgery. The surgery took place when the child was 21 weeks old. At one point of time during the surgery, the child’s hand came out of the womb and when the doctor touched it, he squeezed the doctor’s finger as if thanking him for the help. This moment was captured by a photographer who was documenting the surgery.
Though there are different versions of what happened that day, but since then this photograph has been a sign showing the world that life exists inside mother’s womb, that life exists from the moment of conception, that inside a mother’s womb is not a lump of tissues but a life waiting to be born - a living being just like you and me. “You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb....When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb , when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there – you saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
The reason why one has to make this choice of whether to allow the child to be born or not can be many: from the fear of taking care of a deformed child all through their lives to a way to cover up a ‘mistake’; from the feeling that the family may not have the resources to raise the child to the thought that ‘we aren’t prepared for a child yet’; from the fact that the child might be a girl to the feeling that it would be a stumbling block to the parents’ career. Whatever be the reason, if ever we come across such crossroads in our lives, let’s not suggest/support/take the convenient decision, an easy option to choose to end an innocent life so as to make ours better. Let’s decide to stand for life. No matter how difficult it is, it would be overcome by the joy of bringing forth a life into this world, by the sight of seeing him smile, yawning when he is about to sleep, trying to fix his gaze on you; by the sound of hearing him cry, making noises which don’t mean anything, speaking his first words; by the feeling of hugging him when he cries, holding his tiny little fingers; by the chance of getting to know a completely new person; by the blessing of giving an opportunity for God’s creation to see His beautiful world.
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me.” – Jesus (Mark 9:37)
Stand for Life! God Bless!