Woman looking at baby scan

An Unexpected (and Largely Unnoticed) Testimony to the Sanctity of Life

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
February 20, 2019

The pro-abortion movement bases its arguments on its fundamental claim of  “a woman’s right to choose.” Laws, according to this ideology, should guarantee the woman’s freedom of choice and autonomy over her own body. If a woman decides for any reason, at any time, that she does not want to keep the baby, she should have the right to abort. The pro-abortion lobby aims to create as many channels as possible to ensure a woman’s right to choose and to even have tax-payers pay for abortions.

Then came a story printed in Sunday’s edition of The New York Times. The headline read, “Doctors rethink advice for women unsure about pregnancy.” As the article unfolds, it turns out that women are often not so definitive in seeing their own pregnancy as either desired or undesired. The essential argument of the pro-abortion movement hinges upon a woman’s definite choice to either keep or abort a pregnancy—but this story makes clear that women are not as certain as we might think. In fact, the research presented in this article shows that as pregnancy progresses, many women who might not desire a baby in early weeks of pregnancy become happier about their pregnancy.

Margot Sanger-Katz and Claire Cain Miller report for The New York Times, writing that “for decades, researchers and physicians tended to think about pregnancies as either planned or unplanned. But new data reveals that for a significant group of women, their feelings don’t neatly fit into one category or another. As many as one-fifth of women who become pregnant aren’t sure whether they want a baby. This fact may reshape how doctors and policy makers think about family planning. For women who are unsure, it doesn’t seem enough for physicians to counsel them on pregnancy prevention or prenatal care.”

The Times acknowledges that for many women, the question of pregnancy is at first an ambivalent one. Uncertainty and doubt flood the minds of women who contemplate the nature of pregnancy and the reality of children. The article cites research from the Guttmacher Institute, which states that up to 19% of pregnant women are unsure even when they contemplated an abortion—they had mixed feelings and even avoided making a definitive decision about their pregnancy.

The article goes on to make a blockbuster statement when it cites research that “confirms that many unplanned pregnancies can nevertheless become wanted as women’s feelings about pregnancy evolve.”

This stunning admission has deep worldview significance. Indeed, Maria Isabel Rodriguez, an obstetrician/gynecologist, says in the article, “In the past we thought of [family planning] as binary, you want to be pregnant or not, so you need contraception or a prenatal vitamin… But it’s more of a continuum.”  The sole, moral issue for the pro-abortion agenda centered around what a woman wanted. Now, however, The New York Times reveals the rising tides of doubt among pregnant women—one moment they wanted an abortion but, as the pregnancy progressed, they became happy about being pregnant and their desire for the child increased. A binary choice, we are told, has evolved into a continuum.

From a biblical worldview, Christians fully understand why a woman becomes happier as pregnancy progresses. As the baby grows in her womb, the mother becomes more conscious of her pregnancy and a relationship develops between the mother and the unborn child. As she feels the baby inside of her, she experiences in a very real way the life that lives in her. She begins to imagine her holding the child in her arms for the first time. She begins to dream about the little life residing in her womb. The longer the pregnancy progresses, the less likely a woman wants to abort because her happiness has increased as she envisions life with her child—even if it is a child she did not intend to have.

The article presents a first-person story of this experience: “When Carly Tuggle, 19, found out she was pregnant, ‘I was really surprised, and I didn’t quite know how to feel about it.’” Carly no longer had a relationship with the baby’s father and lived on friends’ couches. Carly said, “I didn’t not want to have her. I just didn’t want to not be able to give her everything she needed.” The article then states, “Finding out the baby’s sex made it seem more imaginable… So did finding a program, Mountain Home Montana, in her town, Missoula, Mont., that gives her housing, health care, baby items and other services. She has a job at Goodwill and is about to get her high school diploma.”

Then, Carly told the newspaper, “I’m very grateful now. I love my daughter and I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.” She spoke of her six-month-old daughter Emerson as a pillar of her present life—what began as uncertainty morphed into gratefulness as Carly experienced the glory of motherhood and the incalculable joy of parenthood.

This article for The New York Times never intended to present an opinion or an editorial. The article is an analysis of news and research. Even still, Carly’s story offers a beautiful narrative and pro-life testimony.

Christians should be grateful when stories like Carly’s end up in the headlines. This young mom’s story reveals hope and joy. What began as mystery turned into unquenchable happiness as a mother chose to keep her baby rather than abort. We must be thankful every time there is a crack in the pro-abortion mentality of this age. This article reveals narratives of a significant portion of women who did not plan on being pregnant and who did not at first even want a child, but did not abort because, as the pregnancy progressed, they grew happier. They became happy as they considered the life within them.

I doubt many people will notice this story embedded in the thick Sunday edition of The New York Times. This article, however, should grip our attention as a story of hope. It casts a light into the dark and tragic reality of abortion and the culture of death promoted by the secular ideology. The research presented in this article, and Carly’s personal story reveal the God-given joy of children—even when those children are unexpected. Life, every single life, is a precious gift of God meant to be celebrated, cherished, and protected at all costs.  Don’t keep this truth to yourself.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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