LETTER: Unwanted newborns need protection as much as unborn children

Thursday, March 3, 2011 | 1:11 p.m. CST; updated 1:32 p.m. CST, Thursday, March 3, 2011

COLUMBIA — Recently I've been hearing of renewed efforts by lawmakers to find additional ways to make abortions more difficult, if not impossible. Consequently, I am moved once again to call attention to my understanding of what being pro-life means to me.

Clearly, I do not suggest that I possess a complete, infallible understanding of the mind of God. I do not believe anyone else does. To do so would seem to me to be unforgivable blasphemy. I simply want to share my perspectives on the subject.

Being pro-life means that, as a Christian, I must be concerned for all life. I must do my best to extend limitless love and compassion to everyone. Thus, I have to go well beyond my concern for the unborn and include unwanted newborns as well as the women who bear them among my concerns.

In previous letters, I have suggested that unwanted pregnancies often result in permanently unwanted children who are then faced with an unhappy life of abuse – a life that can produce angry, warped personalities.

I believe that when lawmakers pass laws that deny women easy access to abortions they unwittingly become accessories to the suffering that unwanted children are subject to.

That being the case, from the moment of birth, at the mother's request, lawmakers should find ways to provide these unfortunate children with loving, nurturing homes. It is unconscionable to wait until the children are abused to punish their abusers and then place the damaged children in foster homes.

The early years of a child's life are formative. Damage done to them is rarely reversible. It might be possible to require a woman to carry to term, but it is not possible to make her want or to love that child. Child abuse is a heinous crime and our immediate goal should be to keep it from happening rather than to focus on punishing abusers after the fact.

Furthermore, women who must deal with unwanted pregnancies need my love and compassion as well (whether they are victims of rape or incest or must give up the child because they lack the mental, physical or material resources to care for it). Those who have not or cannot ever become pregnant or give birth cannot fully understand the dreadful life-changing experience such a woman faces. To ignore her needs is unconscionable as well.

Geraldean McMillin lives in Jefferson City.

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