As American society moves from a primarily Christian nation to an increasingly secular culture, the question is asked again and again, is abortion the murder of an innocent child, or is it a choice for a woman to make about her own body? As a woman, a mother, and most of all a Christian, I would like to share my own insights and feelings on this sensitive issue.

I think everyone agrees that once a child is born and takes that first breath and cries his first plea for comfort, food, and the arms of his mother, he is considered a child; but where do we draw the line? If a child is born severely premature at 23 weeks gestation and survives, which has been documented more than a handful of times, it is called a miracle. That same child could legally have been aborted in most States in the US, and it would have been called a "fetus". Why is the first a miracle baby and the second a cold lump of flesh that deserves no compassion? Was the second less of a person than the first, simply because of the sad circumstances under which it was conceived? As a person who believes in an all-powerful God who created Heaven and Earth out of nothing in a single day, am I to believe that He does not love and cherish both of these tiny beings who He formed in His own image?

As a woman, I have been in the position of considering that I may be unable to bear children, which led me to begin studying the process of adoption. It was heartbreaking to know that there are so many people out there willing to take a child into their home as their own, yet all over the country there are women throwing these precious jewels out of their wombs and into the garbage. Literally, when the abortion has been performed, the child is dismembered (if that did not already happen during the procedure) and placed in a receptacle for human waste. Does our society truly have that little respect for life that we can callously put a person in the trash, and it is somehow acceptable because that person has not yet finished forming and has never taken a breath? I understand that it would be terrifying to face the prospect of carrying a child at a young age, or after being assaulted, but I am of the opinion that a child is a blessing, and even if you have to endure 9 months of discomfort and emotional trauma, either you or someone who desperately wants a child will get to enjoy years of love and adoration from that small person. In addition, the abortion procedure is just as likely, if not more likely, to scar you both physically and emotionally. I have known several people who went through this personally before becoming a Christian, and their lives will never be the same because they have to live with the guilt of that decision every day of their lives. Adoption will always be the better option.

As a mother, I have endured the complications that can occur during pregnancy, including preterm labor. When I entered the hospital mere days from being 24 weeks gestation, I was told that the doctors refused to give me medications, and at this age if the pregnancy ended it would be considered a miscarriage, because at 23 weeks my baby was "not a viable fetus". I was not only devastated, I was enraged that anyone could speak about my precious baby in that way. We had already had an ultrasound, seen his beautiful and perfect little body, 10 fingers, 10 toes, and had already given him a name. How dare they decide that at 23 weeks he was not worth trying to save? Lying in the hospital bed, realizing that some doctors perform abortions on women exactly as far into their pregnancies as I was, brought on a flood of emotions that ranged from grief to immense sadness to anger and beyond. I was so thankful when I delivered a healthy baby boy 16 weeks later, but I will never forget the realization that there are people who believe that simply because my son wasn't able to survive on the outside YET that he was not a person.

As a Christian, I believe in the Sixth Commandment, which is Thou Shalt Not Murder. The opposing implication in this command is that we are to do everything we can to preserve life, as God considers it a precious gift. From the moment the egg and sperm are joined, they are capable of becoming a living, breathing human being. From week 6 or 7 the heart begins to beat. By week 8 the unborn baby can feel pain. Yes, pain. There have been documented cases of doctors prodding a fetus in the hand, and it pulls away from the source. There was a documentary produced years ago called "The Silent Scream" in which a doctor performed an abortion with an ultrasound machine watching the fetus as it was pulled apart with it's mouth opened wide in a silent scream until it's heart ceased to beat. Neither the doctor nor the attending nurses ever performed an abortion again after that day.

Ultimately, according to the laws in this country, it is still the woman's choice whether to keep her pregnancy or have an abortion, but I hope each woman faced with this decision will consider the medical repercussions, the emotional trauma, and most of all, the life that is at stake. Each unborn baby has a future; please don't cut it short.