I was born on the 22nd of January, 1962. For the past 50 years I have spent that day surrounded by family and friends, celebrating with parties and presents, balloons and cake.
But there’s another side to my birthday: Jan. 22 is a day to remember and honor those who never celebrated a birthday.
Jan. 22 is the day that the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, striking down the abortion laws of all 50 states. According to the Centers for Disease Control, since 1973, about 50 million abortions have been performed in the United States.
When I gather with my family and friends to celebrate my special day, I also will be thinking about those many lives lost — those tiny martyrs whose lives were snuffed out even before they had the chance to breathe.
I believe that abortion — in every circumstance — is wrong. It’s not a “choice” or merely a medical procedure. It’s the destruction of a human being, created by God at his or her conception — a human being with unrealized potential.
Mother Teresa’s famous quote resonates with me: “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
No human being, no matter how small, deserves to be thrown out like a used tissue. To be forgotten as if he or she didn’t exist.
In many ways, I’m very lucky to be celebrating a birthday at all. I was born into a family that welcomed me, despite being the “third girl.”
I may have never been born if my family lived in India or China, where girls are routinely aborted after ultrasound testing during pregnancy. All of the many lives of girls lost in those countries are now creating serious gender imbalances.
I also believe that all of the millions of lives lost to abortion did not die in vain. These tiny humans were sent by God for a reason — to help lead us to a conversion in our beliefs and actions.
Yes, we can march on the Capitol on Jan. 22 or pray outside an abortion clinic. But not everyone is comfortable being so visible and speaking out against such social injustice. I applaud those who do become involved in efforts to change minds and laws to protect the unborn.
We can do more, quietly
But we all can do more in our everyday lives and in quiet ways to show that we respect life, and let our words and actions send a powerful message to others.
• We can pray for unborn children, and for their mothers considering abortion. Prayer is powerful.
• We can support health clinics that reach out to future mothers and provide them with support, counseling and resources.
• We can be supportive of mothers who have their children in less-than-ideal circumstances.
• We can forgive those who have had an abortion and be supportive in their efforts to seek forgiveness from God and to heal.
• We can support lawmakers who vote to protect life.
• We can support mothers who give up their children for adoption and we can be supportive of families who adopt children.
• We can raise our own children to understand that despite abortion being a legal procedure, it is wrong. We can teach our children that all human life was created by God for a purpose and each is unique and precious.
• Every day, not just on Jan. 22, we can thank God for the gift of life and let our lives be a testament to our faith.
Kathryn Bauer is a member of St. Joseph’s Church in West St. Paul.