How a tiny preemie taught me the truth about abortion
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Atlanta. June 24, 2022. The members of WORLD’s editorial council had gathered in an airport hotel conference room for a meeting with the board. We had an agenda that morning, but we also knew the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a ruling that could upend Roe v. Wade—was due out any minute. So, as our meeting proceeded, executive editors Lynde Langdon and Mickey McLean kept one eye on the internet.
I was standing behind Lynde when the news broke just after 10 a.m.: With a 5-4 majority, the justices had ruled that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe was reversed.
The conference room erupted in cheers—and tears. Everyone in that room, including me, had been working for decades to end the holocaust on America’s unborn.
But I did not begin my Christian walk on the side of life.
As a recovering liberal, I remained pro-abortion even after I became a believer in 1991. But God did not allow me to linger there long. Instead, He chose a tiny infant named Alicia and made her my teacher.
Ally was the cutest little peanut—her father of Nordic extraction, her mother a ballerina with skin the color of coffee beans and big, almond-shaped eyes like Princess Jasmine. Ally was born two months early, at 32 weeks’ gestation, so tiny she could lie fully cradled in her daddy’s two hands—if doctors had allowed that, which they didn’t. Instead, they rushed her to the neonatal intensive care unit, where she remained for weeks.
As it happened, Ally was born right around the same time as my first son, Christian. He was also a preemie, making his debut at 35 weeks and 4 days. I already knew Ally’s story because I worked with her dad, Allen. One morning I was dropping off Christian before Sunday service when I saw Allen pass Ally, in her infant carrier, to the church nursery worker. She was as perfect as she was little, with deep brown skin, a wee smudge of a nose, pink bow lips, and long eyelashes that brushed her cheeks. I was enchanted.
For several weeks running, God arranged it so that I saw Ally in the nursery every Sunday. And each week, He whispered to my recently converted heart, asking me to consider whether both babies—Ally and Christian—were equally human. I honestly thought it was a bit of a silly question. These babies shared all but 0.1 percent of their DNA, which is all that separates any of us. Of course they were equally human.
Then were they both equally valuable? God asked me next. Did Christian, being closer to full term, somehow have a more legitimate claim to life than Ally? The demarcation of trimesters was the only thing limiting abortion after 26 weeks. It was a premise I had until then accepted uncritically.
The next Sunday, I met Ally at the nursery again. She was crying heartily, with the sweet, lamblike bleat of a newborn. I recalled she’d been born at 32 weeks. Six weeks earlier, it would’ve been legal in my city to kill her. Gazing at this precious girl, I wondered for the first time why society thought that was OK. The 26-week line now seemed so arbitrary as to be ridiculous.
Did Ally undergo some kind of magical humanity injection at 26 weeks and 1 day? Did she become suddenly more worthy? And this next question is what changed my mind for all time: Had Ally been any less Ally at 26 weeks than 32? Or for that matter, at 20 weeks, 15, or 10? No matter how far I regressed the gestational timeline, the answer was no: All of Ally—her humanity, her body, her spirit, the potency of her possible futures—was present at conception.
From that instant, she was completely Ally, ready for her Maker to mold in His hands (Psalm 139:13-14). Which He did—into a tiny, perfect infant who grew up to become a ballerina like her mom. Meanwhile, I put away my foolish thinking and grew up to be pro-life.
A little child shall lead them.
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