We do not have the right to determine the value of a life yet to be lived.
A young couple is told their baby has a condition that is not compatible with life. They are informed the baby will most likely die in utero or shortly after birth. They are understandably heartbroken. They are told that ending the pregnancy is the best decision for all involved because there is “no need to suffer” through the pregnancy.
There is “no need for the baby to suffer.”
It is the “compassionate” decision.
The couple chooses life and beautiful Ella arrives. She breathes and she cries and fills three beautiful months of summer sunshine with love, smiles, adventures and heartbreak.
A few years later, another young couple is given a similar diagnosis for their baby. They too are heartbroken. They too choose life and chubby, sweet, perfect Jacob arrives.
His parents are overwhelmed by this beautiful gift of life they are given. He fills seven glorious hours surrounded by his family, and he is loved.
February 2, 1996, Christian eagerly and fearlessly enters the world. He is also born with a devastating, genetic abnormality. He is larger than life and full of love. He fills the world with joy. He lives an incredible, awe-inspiring twenty years. His last year is filled with unfathomable suffering and unbelievable grief.
Would his parents have chosen life if they had known the pain and anguish that was to be?
Yes, we would have still chosen life with the knowledge that we would lose Christian and would forever live with profound grief.
Just as Ella’s and Jacob’s parents, we will grieve for the rest of our lives. We are forever grateful we were given the gifts of our children.
There are lawmakers in Virginia, including Governor Ralph Northam, who believe it is my right to decide, at any point in my pregnancy, the value of the child I am carrying.
An impossible task.
Sadly, many people would reject the gift of life because suffering and pain are hard. Sadly, life is hard but these three perfect human beings made life beautiful.
Three months, seven hours, or twenty years, each life was equally, magnificently valuable. No, we do not have the right to determine the value of a life yet to be lived.