“America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts – a child – as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.” –Mother Theresa
When you think of the word “mother,” what images come to mind? Those of us who’ve experienced the warmth of a nurturing mom may meditate on the word with fond recollections. Those who’ve known distant, overwhelmed, or abusive moms may cringe at the hearing of the word. Regardless of our individual experiences, most of us have positive characteristics we believe should be associated with the title. The Webster’s dictionary explanation of the word includes these definitions: “maternal tenderness or affection” and “to care for or protect.”
I’m continually amazed by the way little girls play with dolls. Watching a small child hold a doll barely bigger than herself always causes me to smile. I’ve often wondered, “How do they know to show such love?” Even if they are merely mimicking what they’ve seen at home, the way they care for their dolls reveals an important part of their nature. From a young age, many children desire to extend compassion to those smaller than them.
The animal kingdom also gives us a glance into the beauty of motherhood. We see examples of motherly love in female alligators, who protect their young by carrying them in their mouths, to mama orangutans, who can spend up to six to seven years nursing their children. A mother bear’s ferocious love will cause her to attack anyone who dares harm her little one. While it’s true that not all animal moms are kind to their offspring, there are many species that express beautiful, protective motherly love.
Mother Theresa declared abortion as the greatest destroyer of love and peace in America. She believed that it causes mothers to be pitted against their very own children. How often in society do we hear children described as burdens, unwanted intruders, or even enemies seeking to disrupt their mothers’ happy lives?
One of the most frightening justifications I’ve heard for abortion is the belief that a fetus is a mere parasite living off the host of a woman. Because the fetus depends on the woman for nutrients and life, some argue the fetus should be completely subject to the whims of the woman. If the mother (host) decides she doesn’t want a baby (parasite) living in her womb, she can abort (remove) it without a pang of conscience. This thought process is utterly void of compassion or sympathy for the unborn child.
When a woman realizes she’s pregnant, she automatically becomes aware of a new life developing inside her. If she values that life, it will be celebrated and treasured by her and others. If she rejects the life, it then becomes necessary to dehumanize the child for the sake of her conscience. A “wanted” baby will be welcomed with blessings and baby showers. An “unwanted” child may never be called a baby, but rather be referred to as a blob of cells or a parasite. It simply depends on the way the mother views the life growing inside of her.
My time in Africa and Nepal taught me a lesson or two about parasites. They are unpleasant invaders who can you make you very ill. When a parasite is removed from your body, it’s never missed. How very different from a child. While millions of mothers and fathers still mourn the loss of their children from abortion, I’d be hard-pressed to find someone weeping over a dead parasite. Let alone any young woman dreaming of having a few one day. What a foolish comparison. Parasites destroy life, while children are part of life’s greatest joys.
The truth is this: abortion goes against the very nature of motherhood. Mothers and fathers alike are called to care for their children with respect and compassion. A baby is an individual being, nestled in his mother’s womb, dependent on her for sustenance. The privileged right we have as women is to care for and protect the ones entrusted to us. Mother vs. child is a tragic war with no real winners.