by Timothy Sheehan
One day I was late for church. I had to park at the upper level, and walk down two flights of stairs. As I walked down the stairs, I came across three young women, walking up the stairs. The first lady did not return my greeting, for she was deep in thought. The second lady was visibly crying, and so was the third. This experience left me a bit puzzled. When I entered the sanctuary, the pastor was in the middle of his sermon. It was about abortion. I perceived that my experience with the three women, and their behavior on the stairs, was perhaps due to their regret of a past abortion.
My journey to write this article started in a study in a Biblical Doctrine class at Church. The subject of study was personhood: When does personhood begin? I found the subject particularly interesting when I came across a statement: Fingerprints exist at two months after conception. This statement made me ponder what criteria makes a fetus a person – a criteria in which society at large can accept!
Conservatively speaking, at least one million babies are aborted in the USA every year, and less than 1 percent are put up for adoption. Happily, most babies are welcomed even though unplanned.
At first, I wanted to write a small pamphlet on the subject in hope to increase the number of adoptions for the unplanned pregnancy, but then I settled on a newspaper article.
As I was compiling information, a friend suggested I contact my local pregnancy clinic for information, so armed with the statements of statistics from the personhood study, I set out to explore and validate when an unplanned life should be spared by adoption?
I was introduced to a Medical Doctor who was on call at my local pregnancy clinic, Dr. Chee Tan to whom I asked my questions. His responses are as followed:
When typically does a woman suspect that she is pregnant?
When she missed a period. Home urine pregnancy test
Are usually positive by then, although there are many reasons for skipping a cycle. For women with irregular cycles, it is combination of missed cycle and pregnancy symptoms, (fatigue, food aversion, nausea, breast tenderness).
How soon can “morning sickness” occur to women who get morning sickness?
Symptoms usually starts at 5-weeks, peeks at 9-weeks and resolve by 2nd trimester, (14 weeks). A woman is already at 4-weeks when she missed her cycle.
Are most babies welcomed even though unplanned?
Absolutely and by far.
Is there help offered to women who are considering having an abortion, or keeping the baby so that she does not have to feel alone in the process?
Regardless of what choice a woman makes, the WCPC – my local pregnancy clinic – is here for that woman. We talk with her any of the options that she wants to talk about. Our conversations are client led. We are not afraid to talk about the emotional risks involved should she choose abortion, but we understand ultimately it is her choice. We educate her to the degree she is comfortable with, keeping everything factual and medically accurate. We also let her know that if she chooses abortion, we have support groups for her. Arms of Love is our local one. The clinic is here if, or when she may feel that she needs support.
How often does the pregnancy spontaneously abort?
It is hard to say, but probably 30% although most of them Are not clinically recognized as such.Would you agree that a majority of women choose to keep their baby after having an ultrasound?
In the past, Heartbeat and Carenet have stated that around 86% choose life after seeing an ultrasound – that is a National statistic, but I don’t know that would be true locally. Our clinic has ranged anywhere from 82% – 94% depending on the year.
Is it true that having an abortion can leave a woman infertile?
Most studies have found no such association.
There were some questions that Doctor Tan did not answer. For example, when does a fetus feel pain? He was kind enough to send me an article that was very lengthy and technical. He was also unable to validate when fingerprints form, which was the catalyst of my curiosity to begin this article, but what Doctor Tan sent me did state that brainwave occur at 4 -6 weeks, and he was able to verify most other information I got from my class textbook on personhood, concerning fetus development. I will quote that book here: “Between days twelve and twenty-eight, a heart begins to beat. Blood cells form at day seventeen, and eyes begin to form at day nineteen. Between weeks four and six, brainwaves can be measured. At one month, the embryo looks like a distinct human person. Fingerprints exist at two months. The skeleton, circulatory system, and muscular system are complete by the eighth weeks” (Biblical Doctrine, by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue – Crossway, 2017 p.433). Relating, to the above book quote, Doctor Tan stated: “Feto-placental circulation established by 6 weeks and completed by 10 weeks.
I called my local adoption agency, to find out about the ease or difficulty it was to adopt. The first thing I learned was that adoption was free to the birthmother. She may choose the adoptive parent (my local adoption agency works with 40 families at a time). The birth mom may choose to have an open or closed adoption. An open adoption is an adoption where the adoptive parents know the contact information of the birth mom for the child. A closed adoption is where the birth mom contact information is sealed.
The cost associated with adopting a child runs between $20,000 to $50,000 Dollars. Currently, the USA offers a $14,000 tax credit for an adoption. I was curious to learn whether it was easier to adopt overseas, than the USA; but to my surprise, I learned the answer was no! Many foreign Countries have strict child trafficking laws, and rules on adoption fluctuate with the availability of children. Whereas laws in the USA remain constant. However, what the birth mom should always keep in mind is that there are more than enough families that want to adopt.
Here is a list of services that your local pregnancy clinic may provide:
Limited diagnostic ultrasound.
Parenting classes and classes for multiple children
Classes of financing, budgeting, etc.
Childbirth classes, they may even have coaches.
They may not even charge for these services.
They also may offer lesbian couples parenting classes
Optional Bible study.
Let me end with a couple of testimonials of stories from personal friends: One family has a member who has Down Syndrome. She is 15 years of age and is a joy to her family, she enjoys doing nursing activities such as taking blood pressure. I see her as becoming a nursing assistant someday, (a licensed NA).
Finally, there was a family who had issues being infertile, so they went to the fertility clinic and became pregnant with quadruples. My friend was baby A, his sister was baby B. The doctor told this newly Christian couple, “if you want to have a chance for two babies surviving, you will HAVE TO ABORT two of the babies. Baby A and B were slated for an abortion. The family chose not to abort but to put it in God’s hands. Now, I am not saying that it was without difficulties, all four babies were born premature, and there was a lengthy hospital stay, for the birth mom and babies. However today, all four people are heathy and productive, one even runs marathons and the original family are now grandparents. What my pastor friend wants to tell you is, “God’s power is greater than the Doctor’s perceptions.”
The choice to keep or abort your child is ultimately up to you, but that does not mean that you will have to be facing that decision alone. Get information at your local pregnancy clinic and if you decide that you simple can’t keep your baby, please look into adoption. There are many families just waiting to take care of your child to be a part of their “forever” family.
Timothy Sheehan has contributed to Edmonton Journal in Canada, Lynden Tribune and Bill O’Reilly’s The Factor.