A Show of Hands

This is a difficult post to write.

Although I began this blog page a while back, I’ve only written a little about an event that is critical to who we are as a family: the premature birth of our daughters at 23 weeks. But then the Planned Parenthood videos came out. Yes, these videos are graphic, disturbing, jarring–no matter what your view of abortion. They obliterate the cultural idea that abortion is about removing blobs of tissue. These are babies that are being removed. Out of all of the images in all of the videos, some of which are extraordinarily graphic, the one that affects me most deeply is this one:


That’s a picture of the hand of a baby aborted around 18 weeks, being lifted from a bin full of parts from this baby’s body. (If you haven’t seen the video, the hand is attached only to the arm, not to the rest of the baby it belongs with.) The reason it affects me so deeply is that it immediately reminds me of this picture:Hand

That’s a picture of my daughter’s hand at 23.4 weeks. There’s not much difference, is there? So you know a little more of the story, here’s a picture and an x-ray of that same of my daughter’s today at age 12:


You’ll notice some shortening and clubbing (deformity) of a few of her fingertips, due to poor circulation after her birth. They’re not perfect, but they write and type and tickle and wipe her nose. And one day, I hope they drive a car, work with diligence and purpose, hold her husband’s hand, and cradle my grandbabies. What might have come from the hand in the other picture in 12 years, 25 years, 75 years?

I’m not a politician with an agenda to advance or a constituency to placate. I’m not looking to stir up controversy. And I’m not here to deny that a huge number of those who choose abortion do so out of desperation, with deep sorrow and regret. I’ve talked to too many who have made that choice for me to say otherwise. I’m also not interested in discussing whether Planned Parenthood has broken any laws. We can all agree that an action’s legality is not a determinant of its morality or ethicality. I just want to know, are we going to keep telling ourselves that the age and size of these babies makes everything OK? Are we ready to finally acknowledge that every abortion is, in fact, a baby?

Can I see a show of hands?