All lives matter

Today is recognized in many churches as “Sanctity of Life Sunday.”  A few days from now will mark the forty-second anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which played a large role in legalizing abortion in the United States.

Todd and I have been involved for several months in an ongoing project to start a pro-life pregnancy center in our area.  God has truly blessed this effort through the people who have been brought together to meet different needs and fill various roles.  We are making progress toward our goal to open a center that will help meet the physical and spiritual needs of women and families in our community.  We hope to offer pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, parenting classes, and counseling.  The purpose of the center is obviously to meet needs, but most importantly to glorify God by sharing the gospel (when welcome) while ministering to our community.

As the mother of a child who has special needs, especially one with a genetic condition, the subject of abortion is very dear to me.  When confronted with a diagnosis that their child will lead a life with some type of disability, many women (and men) choose to end that life in the womb.  Some would say they made the choice because they did not want the child to suffer.  Some would say because they have other children and their needs to think about.  Some would honestly say that they don’t want the added burden of raising a child with special needs.  Some, I’m sure, are encouraged by their doctors or by family members.  The reasons given do not matter, a child with special needs is every bit as much of a person as you are.  They are the person that God created them to be.

A single life ended is a tragedy.  One abortion is too many.  All lives matter.

(This is not intended to make anyone feel guilty.  If you have made the choice to have an abortion in your past, I pray that you will seek forgiveness and that God will grant you peace.  If you are pregnant and contemplating an abortion, I pray that you would choose life for your child.)

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Choosing our words carefully

Warning: The following is a bit of a rant.

I saw a headline today that really irked me. It said that a particular celebrity couple had been told that their premature child might “be special needs.” (I had never heard of them, and only skimmed the article, so this is not really about them or about anything that may have been said in the article.) That one phrase in the headline is what bothered me.)

“BE special needs,” “IS special needs,” “IS autistic,” “Down Syndrome child” –I hear or see these phrases on an almost daily basis. My son HAS Fragile X Syndrome. (He does not HAVE autism.) He HAS special needs. He IS NOT special needs. Mark IS a gift from God. He IS and eight-year-old boy. He IS precious to us. He IS a child who HAS special needs.

I know that most of the people who use these labels (and that’s what they are) do not mean to disparage children and adults who have differences and disabilities. (And having a husband who is a journalist, I can certainly appreciate the need to make a headline fit.) But I think what concerns me the most is how many parents of children (and adults) with special needs use this terminology to refer to their children. And I can’t help but wonder how much this leads them to subconsciously identify their children with the special needs that they have, instead of identifying them as a person, a child, who has difficulties to overcome and compensate for, and simply to accept for who they ARE.

We need to choose our words carefully not just for the sake of those who hear them, but also for our own sake.

Alright, the rant is over.