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Archive for January 18th, 2012

Jackie Burkle gave birth to twins at home.  But, on January 11, she was charged with the killing of her daughters.

Jackie is a 2008 graduate of a high school twenty miles from my home.  She was a music major at my local community college.  As of this writing, she is incarcerated thirty miles from my home.  She is facing two counts of first degree murder and being held on a million dollars bond — half a million dollars for each child.  The Judge told her that she will face “a mandatory life sentence in prison if convicted.”

Police found Jackie’s twin daughters in the trunk of her car.  She confessed to the crime.  The DCI special agent handling the case said, “She acted to terminate the lives of both of her newborn infants.  She also stated that she intended to end their lives and was not at any time intending that these children would live.”  Police were called to check on the 22-year-old mom after someone noticed that she wasn’t pregnant anymore.

How do we make this kind of behavior unthinkable?

Believers in the Creator of life need to ask ourselves some important questions.  Why?  Because we are all part of Jackie’s human family.

  1. Did Jackie know about Iowa’s Safe Haven Law?  If a parent takes an “unwanted” baby to a hospital or health care facility and leaves the infant there with staff, no questions will be asked.  Fourteen Iowa newborns since 2001 have been dropped off at a safe place. 
  2. Did anyone tell Jackie about the Lighthouse Center of Hope (a caring pregnancy center close to her) or any one of the many life centers in Iowa?  Did anyone discuss making an adoption plan?
  3. Did Jackie have anyone who cared enough to ask her questions about her pregnancy?  How she was doing?  If she was in need of emotional, financial, or spiritual help?
  4. Did anyone invite Jackie to a support group, Bible study, or even out for lunch?
  5. Did anyone explain to Jackie that she and her babies are “fearfully and wonderfully made?”  That each is a treasure for whom Jesus gave His life?
  6. Was Jackie schooled by years of sex education, made comfortable with her “sexuality,” and taken captive by a sensualized culture?  Had Jackie been convinced by Planned Parenthood-style education that she could separate the act of sex from procreation?
  7. Did a man use words of love to lead Jackie into intimacy and then abandon her?
  8. Was Jackie influenced by billboards that read: Children are loud, smelly, and burdensome… unless you want one…?
  9. Did Jackie rationalize that if it’s o.k. to take a baby’s life days before birth then what can be so wrong with a few days after?
  10. Will anyone help Jackie confront the evil of her action and tenderly lead her to the mercy and healing forgiveness of Christ?

Maybe Jackie will be found “mentally incompetent” or traumatized.  Maybe she will be spared one kind of prison.  But, there is another.  It is the guilt of our sin.  Of doing something that goes against creation itself.

Jackie is my neighbor.  Your neighbor.  Jackie did not have to choose death for her daughters or suffer the consequences of aborting them after birth.  She had other choices.  There are many.  But, we are part of those choices.

For the sake of all the other Jackies — confused, frightened, lonely — and their babies, we need to be watchful.  Willing to lead away from danger.  Offer a better way.  A hand.  A shoulder.  A safe place.  A new beginning.

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