By Jane M. Orient, M.D.
When I was young, popular music was mostly about love, in stark contrast to today’s rap. “All you need is love,” sang the Beatles. Or “you need somebody to love,” is in a Jefferson Airplane number still popular 55 years later.
No one needs love more than an expectant mother. But a frightened woman heading to an abortion clinic has likely learned that the father of her child doesn’t love her and will abandon their child—and probably her too even if she aborts. Her parents, rather than being doting grandparents, might disown her—or so she fears. Her friends may be supportive, but only of the decision to abort. She fears interruption of her education or her career. If she cherishes hope of finding a husband who will love her for life, the prospects are probably less if she is a single mother.
But she may not have considered that she is carrying the very person who will probably love her more than anyone else, for her whole life.
Babies love their mommy. Her baby is already learning her heartbeat, her voice, and her smell, and will recognize and cling to her immediately upon arrival. Most mothers immediately fall in love with their baby and are ready to die for it.
A 95-year-old mother told me a story I can never forget—one she might have never told anybody else. I usually made home visits, but her son prevailed upon her to come to my office for an electrocardiogram. She didn’t want the EKG, but she wanted her son out of the room.
The story started out to be about living as an immigrant in New York City in the 1920s. Life was hard, and she and her husband already had a baby when she found herself pregnant again. She was walking with a supportive girlfriend to an illegal abortion clinic.
“I stopped. I asked myself what I was doing. I decided: I am not going to kill my baby. So, I went home and had my baby.”
“Him!” she pointed toward the waiting room.
Without him, her life would have been immeasurably impoverished—and the world too, as he was brilliant and made many valuable contributions. He helped her write a couple of books. Though he lived in another city, he visited her often in her old age and saw to her every need. He cooked the meals she liked and filled the freezer with them. Her first-born, a daughter, just wasn’t very interested in her. Apparently, the thought that she might have aborted her only son had haunted her for more than 70 years.
Expectant mothers normally start to bond with their babies even before birth, and post-abortive women report feeling “empty.” There is no joy—only sobbing—in abortion recovery rooms. Some women may wear a “Shout Your Abortion” T-shirt. One has posted a video about building an altar, complete with a jar of fetal remains, to her sacred abortion. But countless women grieve their loss in silence, perhaps for the rest of their lives.
Daddies love their babies too and have laid down their lives for them. To protect an unborn one from an abortionist, however, might be a crime. Babies love their daddy, and countless children have pressed their noses against the glass, watching for Daddy to come home.
If, like the Black-Eyed Peas, you are asking “Where is the love?”, don’t look for it at a pro-choice rally. You will see rage and hatred and even violence. The militant, extremist group, Jane’s Revenge, encourages and claims responsibility for acts of firebombing, vandalism, and arson, targeting crisis pregnancy centers, a church, and a congressional office, in protest that the U.S. Supreme Court no longer recognizes abortion as a constitutionally protected right.
The babies whose remains are in jars, landfills, or sewers might have loved and been loved by many: adoptive parents, brothers or sisters, grandparents, aunts or uncles, a potential spouse—and their own offspring. Those strangers who loved enough to pray for their mother, bring her a red rose, or counsel her about alternatives might be in jail.
What have we become? If we have no love, we are a sounding brass, a tinkling cymbal. Without love, we are nothing.