EDITORS’ NOTE: Since the publication of this editorial in the Western Recorder, Drew Nichter and his wife have discovered, via a doctor’s use of ultrasound, that their unborn child does not appear to have Down syndrome. Baptist Press is reprinting the column here because of its strong pro-life message.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–As you may know, churches across the Southern Baptist Convention are urged to recognize “Sanctity of Human Life” on a specific Sunday each January.
On Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in the case of Roe vs. Wade. The case led to the overturning of all state and federal laws prohibiting abortions.
Since that time, it is estimated that nearly 50 million abortions have been performed in the U.S., according to statistics from National Right to Life.
In 1976, I nearly became an abortion statistic.
Now, I know a great deal of people reading this know and love my mother. She serves the Lord faithfully at Crestwood Baptist Church in Oldham County, Ky., as assistant children’s minister, pre-school teacher and Sunday School instructor. She simply loves children and desires to see them come to know and love Jesus Christ.
In 1976, my mother was 21 and trying to keep a struggling marriage from falling apart. During that time, she became pregnant. The decision was made, she recalled, to terminate the pregnancy.
My father — with whom I have a somewhat distant relationship — drove my mother to a clinic. My mother said she could not stop crying during the entire trip. She knew that having a baby would not save the marriage, but her desire to have a child was too strong.
Sitting in the parking lot of the clinic, my parents decided not to go through with the abortion.
In March of 1977, I was born. Just a few days later, my parents were divorced.
For the better part of my first six years, she did her best as a struggling single mother to raise me. When I was 4 years old, she again had to choose between having a second child or terminating the pregnancy.
She chose abortion.
Her circumstances forced her to make a decision that she said only recently has she come to terms with. Growing up in a Baptist church-going home, she knew that abortion was wrong. But she said she made the only decision that seemed right at the time.
In the years that followed, my mother recalled becoming very sad and depressed around the date she had the abortion.
When I was 6, God blessed my mother with a new husband, and me with siblings and a stepfather who took an interest in me and loved me as his own. My mother even had another child, my younger sister, Jamie.
The Lord also moved in my mother’s life a few years later and brought her back to a closer relationship with God, with me in tow. Since then, she has dedicated her life to sharing Christ’s love with everyone, especially children.
Despite her faith, she said she still struggled with the guilt of her abortion more than 27 years ago. She noted that most women who are “post-abortion” do not feel that they can be forgiven for that act. They often feel that a mother’s highest calling is to protect her child, and when she chooses to end its life, that is unforgivable.
My mother’s response profoundly struck me: “To say that God cannot forgive an abortion is to tell Him that His blood is not enough.”
This is the message that my mother now delivers through Crestwood Baptist’s GRACE Ministry for post-abortion women. And statistics show, those women are out there. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women age 45 or younger have had at least one abortion; 70 percent of those women claim some sort of Christian affiliation.
The confidential ministry encourages women to Grieve the past; Receive forgiveness; Allow healing to begin; Choose to forgive; and End the silence.
And end her silence is just what my mother did on “Sanctity of Human Life” Sunday in January. She said she wants to encourage other women who have chosen abortions in the past to give that burden over to Christ and receive His forgiveness.
I’m thankful for my mother and her love of Christ. I see it in her every time I’m around her — it’s unavoidable. I also thank God that He allowed her to choose to have me. I’m not so vain to believe that this editorial space would be empty if I weren’t here — but it’s humbling to have the opportunity to write this.
Knowing what I know about how I arrived in this world, sanctity-of-life issues have taken on a whole new meaning for me.
My wife, Sarah, is pregnant with our second child. We recently found out that he or she may have Down syndrome. A recent blood test revealed an increased risk for the chromosomal disorder in our baby.
As I write this, the ultrasound to possibly find this out still is days away. For nearly a week, I have been stewing in my own worry over the health and future of my child and our family.
Unfortunately, parents who discover their unborn child may be affected by a birth defect often consider abortion as an alternative to a lifetime of caring for a handicapped child.
But, while I may question my ability to adequately love and care for a special-needs child — doubts only God can help me overcome — there is no questioning the sacredness of our child’s life. As God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose.”
Drew Nichter is news director for the Western Recorder, online at WesternRecorder.org. For more information about GRACE Ministry, e-mail [email protected].