Settle in, because this might get a little long.
During my last semester in college, I took a graduate-level Econometrics class. It was hard. During one class my professor had started to ask a question. I was apparently feeling excited that day because before he could finish his question, I had blurted out the answer.
Except it was wrong. So I blurted another one.
That was also wrong.
And then another one.
Everybody in the class just stared at me, including the professor. The professor (an Area Authority Seventy, at the time) said something like, “I think we need to have a prayer”.
That’s right, my professor was so unnerved by my idiocy that he actually needed to pray in class.
But the point is, I didn’t let him finish his question. This led me to give him three answers in a row that were wrong. Why were they wrong?
Because I didn’t even know what question I was answering.
The reason I’m bringing this up is an opinion piece I read today in Canada’s National Post. It’s titled “Why I Am An Abortion Doctor”.
I would normally expect a piece like this to get me angry. But today, I was sad. Sad because I could, in a small way, see his point of view.
Take the tagline of the article: “I can take a woman, in the biggest trouble she has ever experienced in her life, and by performing a five-minute operation, in comfort and dignity, I can give her back her life”. The trouble he outlines in the article is that one woman’s family will disown her and another woman’s family said they will disown her and kill her boyfriend.
That’s why, as the woman the doctor has just performed an abortion for leaves the clinic, the doctor says this: “Look at that. We saved two lives today.” Now the family will not have to kill the boyfriend or disown the daughter.
So, I can see his point. Families (parents, especially) can behave terribly when a girl becomes pregnant. Or, a woman who becomes pregnant and has no husband can have her life seriously derailed when she has a baby. The situation almost guarantees that she will live in poverty and lose her chance for education and a successful career without an unimaginable workload.
But the baby isn’t the problem. It’s a symptom of a bigger problem.
First, and most importantly, we must teach our children that the act of love is a sacred thing. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the Twelve Apostles, has called it a sacrament. You’ll have to read the entire talk because it’s simply the best discourse I’ve read on the subject, but the gist of it is that procreational powers are a time when we mortals get to take the hand of God in becoming one and/or creating a life. But without the commitment and the covenant that go with marriage, between couples and God, those powers are profaned.
Second, we must learn to love one another, even when we make mistakes. This is just as hard for me, if not harder, as it is for anybody else. When daughters or friends or other family members make mistakes or decisions we don’t agree with, it’s our place and opportunity to reach out to them in love and support and to provide, where it is our role, the instruction they need to see the error of their ways and make corrections.
That a person’s actions should result in a human life that isn’t given every advantage a family can provide is tragic. That it should result in the murder of that life is unthinkable. While I believe God will not hold guiltless somebody who participates in an abortion, be it the mother or the doctor, I also believe that those who drove them to it will be held accountable.
I hope I can engender the kind of relationship with my children that they feel comfortable sharing their problems with me. I hope they know I will act as I’ve described above. I don’t know if I would right now, so it’s something I’ll need to work on. It seems to me the consequences of my not doing so can be severe indeed.