I Am a Survivor

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I am a survivor. No, I wasn’t on board the U.S. Airways jet that splashed down in the Hudson River. No, I wasn’t robbed, beaten, and left for dead in some alley.  No, I’m not old enough to have lived through the Holocaust in Europe.

I am a survivor because I was born March 19, 1975, a little over 2 years after abortion on demand was established as the new, default reality in our country by the Supreme Court.  I am a survivor because I could have just as easily been aborted as born alive, and I would have had nothing to say about it.  (Of course, there is no doubt that, knowing my parents, I was going to be born; but the truth is that my life could have been ended before it officially started, and there would be nothing more said about it.)  I would not have grown up, I would not have met my wife (who is also a survivor), I would not have gotten a job, I would not pay taxes, I would not have brought my own children into the world.

According to the Survivors Web site, more than 53 million Americans have been killed since January 22, 1973–far more than have died in the other atrocities that have happened since then, like Vietnam and the wars in Iraq.  Even the Guttmacher Institute, an organization whose mission it is to further “reproductive health,” gives the grisly, hard facts on abortion in the United States.  Interestingly, they show that a disproportionately high number of abortions are performed on African-American women (37% of all abortions, even though they make up only 13% of the population), spawning what some leaders in the Black community have called “black genocide.”

No, I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind.  That’s not necessarily my goal.  But I do know that my mind has changed.  I used to be ambivalent about abortion, claiming that it’s not my job to say what others should and should not do.  I’m just a man, I reasoned to myself, and unable to identify with women and their choices.  And really, I still don’t think illegalizing abortion is the right approach for ending this atrocity (a whole generation of pro-lifers has been barking up the wrong tree).  But at some point my eyes were opened to the horrors of ending a pre-born baby’s life.

And I am alive today and able to make a difference by saying publicly that a significant swath of my generation has been obliterated, quietly and legally, by a broken and confused culture that worships calloused individualism, personal irresponsibility, and satisfying its collective libido at all costs.

It doesn’t really matter if we consider ourselves “pro-choice,” “pro-life,” or “undecided” in the matter.  Because abortion affects us all.  Collectively, as a society, we need to cast off our tepid indifference and take a hard look at abortion as the scourge that it is.  And I’m not just some conservative hack sounding off; and I’m not advocating for change at the Supreme Court level.  The point is that such ubiquitous death pollutes our land and brutalizes our culture.  In fact, I believe we need to look at the full range of life issues today as a whole piece–abortion, murder, capital punishment, war, and euthanasia–rather than a discreet set of ideologies that can be neatly sorted into “conservative” and “liberal” values.

Especially to you fellow survivors, I encourage you–even challenge you–to do the difficult thing: don’t turn a blind eye to the problem; and yet don’t ignorantly support the death of the unborn.  But let’s together find ways to end the plague of abortion.

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