I've had many opportunities over the past several years to grapple with issues of life and death. There were the decisions to be made about my father's care when he was dying of cancer. There were issues to talk through with my mother as my grandfather' health failed and she tried to decide what kind of care would help him live out his days with the most comfort, both mental and physical. When Terry Schiavo was all over the news my children and I had many conversations about life, what it is, and who is and should be in control of its beginning and end.
Issues at the end of life are often gray. Not isues encompassing active euthanasia or even the overmedicating that is often seen with hospice patients, but questions about how certain medications may prolong or shorten life, what kind of feeding and hydration are the best choices and many other details.
Issues at the beginning of life, however, aren't gray. A woman is pregnant or she is not. The child in her womb is alive and growing or it is not. It is as black and white as can be.
A friend on one of the many email lists that I am on informed us today that her daughter had an abortion last week. This 23 year old woman had decided that the "relationship" that she was in wasn't working, so a baby wouldn't either. The baby hadn't yet begun moving so she "didn't have any sense that there was a baby yet." She felt that it was the best decision for her.
I read this email and sat in my chair and cried. How can someone so lightly throw away the gift of life? This mother was "proud" of the decision that her daughter had made. It somehow showed "strength." What?! Where is the strength in killing our children?