Archive for April 15th, 2012

Laura was raped by her alcoholic father.  She remembers the shock when the doctor told her she was pregnant.  “He told me that my only choice in a situation like this was to have an abortion.  He was very kind.  He held my hand and comforted me.”  After the abortion, Laura cried nearly every night.  “I could find no peace.”

Encouraging a woman who has become pregnant through incest or rape to have an abortion may seem the compassionate thing to do.  But, is it?

Some have observed that abortion is the solution for the people we don’t want.  Or, in the case of rape or incest, the people we can’t bear to love.  You would think that God could not bear to love tainted and sinful people like me.  Or anyone else in the whole human race.  “I am a Holy God who cannot abide the unholy.  I will abort you all!”  That’s what God could have said.  But, He didn’t.  He chose, instead, to sacrifice more of Himself.  The Holy came to live among the unholy.  To love the unloveable.

Only God in Christ Jesus can look full in the face of ugliness and despair to bring healing and hope.  “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Jesus in Matthew 11:28-29).

Dr. Sandra Mahkorn, author of Pregnancy and Sexual Assault: The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, alerted me to the fact that abortion is an additional trauma for the girl or woman who has first been victimized and is then encouraged to victimize her unborn child.  Consider the symptoms of rape.  The woman feels dirty, guilty, sexually violated, of low self-esteem, angry, fearful or hateful of men.  Now consider the symptoms of abortion.  The woman feels dirty, guilty, sexually violated, of low self-esteem, angry, fearful or hateful of men.  Instead of curing the problem, all the same symptoms are intensified.  Martin Luther once said, “Even the heathen say it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong.”

In a 1979 study, Dr. Mahkorn identified 37 pregnant rape victims.  Of these, only five chose to have an abortion.  The other 32 victims gave several reasons for not aborting.  Some felt that abortion was another act of violence.  Some saw an intrinsic meaning or purpose for the life of the child.  Some even believed that if they could get through the pregnancy they would have conquered the rape.  For them the selfless act of giving birth helped them to reclaim their self-respect.

In studies of incest victims, the vast majority choose to carry the pregnancy to term.  Those in the minority who have an abortion appear to do so only under pressure from their parents to conceal the incestuous relationship.

For some incest victims, carrying their pregnancy to term is a way to break out of an incestuous relationship with their fathers, whom they may still love despite their confusion and resentment about the way they have been used as sexual objects.  Since they still love their fathers, having the child not only exposes the incestuous relationship, but also gives hope of beginning a truly loving relationship.

Reason holds that if God has a watchful eye on us and loves us, He will prevent all evil and let us suffer nothing.  Luther reminds us to look to the Word, not reason.  When a mother acts as though she is about to drop her child, the little one throws its arms about her neck and holds on all the tighter.  Similarly in times of trouble and desperation, God wants us to cling to Him and trust His Words and promises to us.

“I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.  The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:5-6).

The Lord is the song of salvation for all of us who have been wronged.  And for all of us who have wronged others.

His compassion is true.  It is new every morning.  Great is His faithfulness.

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