By Dave Andrusko
I remember the first time (it was a long time ago) that I attended a workshop in which the presenter talked about the impact of abortion on the victim’s siblings. Like most of you, I had already made sure to include in my discussions the emotional and psychological jolt to men who had fought unsuccessfully to save their children. But siblings?!
I subsequently read a powerful piece written by Theresa Bonopartis who probed an aspect of that dimension I would otherwise never had considered: how surviving children who had learned about a lost sibling may seek to “protect” their parents who did not know that their children knew!
Surviving children feel a responsibility to keep the secret and support their parents for a variety of reasons. One may be to protect the parent from harm and hurt, another may be the fear of being rejected by someone you knew to protect you, but then found out participated in the death of another sibling. It is all very confusing, and they are often fearful to allow their feelings to be known.
That’s why when I read abortion leaders brag that it was “no big deal” when their children learn there are lost family members, I just shake my head.
Recently, all four of our grandkids came to the house to visit. (We fortunately see them all a great deal). As we settle into our roles as grandparent, I realize that the impact of abortion on grandparents rarely—rarely—gets discussed.
Imagine yourself in this unimaginably painful situation. Your grandchild is about to be obliterated by the very child you’d hoped and prayed you’d raised to honor life, even—especially—in the tough times. To be frank, I honestly cannot imagine the horror and the utter sense of helplessness.
I’ve written twice about an unnamed grandmother who told her story to Amanda Cable of the Daily Mail. We called her “Gladys.”
The loss of the unborn child’s life is the ultimate tragedy. What it did to the mother is not spelled out, although we learn “she was never the same.” However, what the death of a huge unborn baby—23 weeks– did to the grandmother is.
Gladys becomes persuaded that in spite of everything she has done and said (including the willingness of her husband and herself to raise the child), her daughter will have an abortion—by herself, at an abortion clinic, if necessary.
With a sad and heavy heart, she reluctantly accompanied her daughter. Young, very, very frightened girls huddled around Gladys like chicks around a mother hen. (She refused to leave her daughter.)
Afterwards, her daughter was never the same. The memory of that baby never left her or her parents. That awful day came crashing back when Gladys’ daughter- in- law went into premature labor at 26 weeks.
“I sat by Megan’s incubator alongside my son and family, and I happened to glance at the baby next to us. A tiny, red scrap lay fighting for life, her body a mass of tubes and wires.
“‘How old was that baby when she was born?’ I asked a passing nurse. ‘Just 24 weeks but she’s a real fighter,’ was the reply.
“I stared at the baby’s chest moving in and out and realised that it was the same age as Susie’s baby. I felt physically sick. Outside, in the corridor, I burst into tears.
“My family assumed that I was worried about my premature grandchild. Only my husband knew that I was crying for the baby who had not survived.”
After all this, Gladys concludes, “If my story persuades just one family to seek counselling – and to be prepared for the reality of abortion – than I feel I am right to have spoken out.” By “counselling” she means what the abortion clinic did not offer: some explanation of what was to come.
But counselling wouldn’t change “the reality of abortion.” It would still be brutal, unloving, and (in the case of this baby) inflicted on a baby capable of experiencing the excruciating pain of being torn limb from limb.
How horrible for everyone involved, but most of all, that defenseless baby.