“If abortion had been legal, I would have aborted you.”
My mother said those words to me on more than one occasion. I’m grateful to have been born in 1968—just five short years before Roe v. Wade decriminalized abortion—because there’s never been a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be here now.
My parents were devastated by the loss of a son due to premature birth, but they knew they wanted to be parents. Two years after his death, my oldest sister was born, followed a year later by my other sister in 1966. My mom only wanted two children, and even though she wanted to give my father a son, she was happy enough with her two daughters.
So she wasn’t excited to discover she was pregnant with me in 1967. I imagine there was a period of depression, but we never talked much about it. It was just a cold, hard fact that she simply didn’t want another child. Maybe if I’d been a boy, it would have lessened her unhappiness. But I wasn’t. And since she didn’t want to run the risk of getting arrested, she wasn’t willing to go the back-alley route to get rid of me.
Growing up knowing I wasn’t wanted made life difficult. I don’t blame my mother for her feelings. She certainly had a right to them. Whether or not she should have revealed them to me is a moot point. I only knew that birth wasn’t my mother’s first choice for me, and that knowledge stayed with me through my entire childhood.
I tried to make her proud of me and even glad that she had me. I don’t know if I ever did. She died in 2007, and I always felt that there was something unresolved between us.
I do know that five years stood between me and certain death, and sometimes I still get chills when I think about it. I’m in my fifties now and have a wonderful life, but I’ve never forgotten her hurtful words: “If abortion had been legal, I would have aborted you.”
Sometimes it makes me feel guilty that I was fortunate enough to have been conceived before a law that would have given my mother permission to end my life, and I often think about the children who weren’t.
According to American Life League, over 61 million babies have been aborted since 1973.* I think about those millions of babies and what they could have offered the world. Each had immense value. And whether they were mothers, fathers, teachers, good neighbors, doctors, lawyers, or astronauts, each would have had his special place in this world. Each was deeply loved and wanted by God. And each is incredibly missed.
I haven’t changed the world—except for maybe my corner of it—but I have lived a life filled with success, friendship, and love. And I remain eternally grateful that the year of my birth made it illegal to kill me. It is one of the many reasons I am, and always will be, pro-life.
* “Abortion Statistics,” American Life League, accessed December 9, 2020, all.org/learn/abortion/abortion-statistics.