A very common scenario that is mentioned when I discuss abortion is the issue of rape. I hear questions like, “How could you expect a woman to bear the child that was conceived in rape?” I have found myself in the last few days in a unique position to address this issue. And I will begin by saying, I hate rape. I hate how it perverts the beauty of sex as God intended it. I hate how it destroys the lives of women and their loved ones. And I hate that a man would ever sin so boldly against God and against another human being.
The uncommon scenario that I found myself in recently began months ago as my wife and I began the adoption process for the second time. The months of paperwork, phone calls, and plans led me to Ethiopia to attend court for the adoption of two children. I write this from my hotel in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. In a completely unexpected turn of events, I found myself sitting in front of the mother of one of the children I was just given custody to in an Ethiopian court. She was young, pretty, kind. I was already in tears just talking to the mother of my baby. She gave him the name Spain because he was born on the day that Spain won the World Cup. This unexpected conversation took my tears to sobs as I asked about his father. I was told she did not know the father as she had been raped.
Why was I sobbing? You may think because I was not expecting to have a child who had been born of the result of such a terrible thing. Maybe you think it makes him somehow less worthy to be adopted. You would be wrong. It was actually quite the opposite. Here is a section of my journal that I penned mere minutes after our meeting:
“I asked her about the father and the interpreter told me she did not know who he was, she had been raped. It was quite a blow. A few moments before I knew nothing of my son’s birth. Now I was sitting in front of his mother, a young rape victim…I am so glad we have the opportunity to raise a boy who is one of the neediest. I am so proud of her for doing what was right. I am so sad for her pain. But when she left she seemed happy. Her concern was for her child and now he was being taken care of.”
You see I hate rape, but I do not hate children. And abortion is not killing rape. It does not change what has happened nor bring justice for the woman wronged. Abortion is murder and murder is hatred, hatred against a baby who was innocent in the matter. Spain is not dirty because his mother was raped. He is not less of a human nor created less in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). He is my son. And I love him. And I want to raise him, no matter how he was conceived.
Allow our story to challenge you. Spain’s mother had a lot of options. I do not know if a ‘legal, safe abortion’ was one of them. But my other son was abandoned by his mother the day after he was born, a similar death sentence. Instead, she chose to bring this child to term, to take him to an orphanage, and then to walk through the steps to allow us to adopt him. Then she met with me, she did not have to do that, she chose to. And amidst all of the hardship, she was concerned for the life of her child. And she left happy.
Consider what Paul wrote to the Philippians:
Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
God calls all of us to be like Christ. And Christ ‘made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.’ So, yes. I do ask a woman who has been raped to bear the child. Not because I long to force my opinion on others. But instead because killing the child is wrong. It is disobedience to God and it is self-seeking. But oddly enough, this self-seeking action will not bring joy. Joy comes in obedience, humility, and sacrifice. I have witnessed this first-person in the life of this young mother. And it is this joy I wish for all women.
Let us stop assuming that we know what is best for these women and start listening to God. Let us stop thinking that the death of a child could ever correct the evils of another sin. Let us stop saying that nine months is too much to ask. Let us fix our eyes on Christ who gave for us his life. Let us support women and call them to do what is right. And let us raise these children as our own.