Today I would like to tell you the story of one woman, one family, and one decision that made a difference between life and death.
When my grandmother discovered she was pregnant with my mother, sometime in 1948, she didn't want another child. There were already two children in the family, a boy and a girl, and times were tough. We're speaking post-war USSR. She didn't want to have the child, but here my grandfather put his foot down. Abortions were illegal and unsafe, and he would rather have another child and be a little strained financially than risk becoming a widower with two orphans on his hands.
The family grew. In due course, my mother came into the world. But the full impact of this one life wasn't discovered until many years later. This child - the unplanned one - was the only one my grandmother didn't outlive. My mother was the one who took care of Grandma when she was no longer able to take care of herself; thanks to her last child, she was not alone, and was able to spend her last years at home, rather than in an institution.
Also, though my grandmother had four grandchildren, I - the only child of her youngest child - was the only one she had seen married, and my children were (and so far, still are) her only great-grandchildren. Of my three cousins, one had sadly passed away at a relatively young age, and the remaining two are completely detached from their Judaism. So it seems that the family, as a Jewish family, only continues through my mother and me.
Now fast forward to today, when abortion does not come with the same risk for the woman as some decades ago and some continents away. Yes, abortions can still be very dangerous - and their risk is often downplayed in the name of "free choice" - but overall, the woman's chance to live through one and remain healthy is much higher. I do not speak of the emotional scars, of course, and of the lifelong regret of having taken one's own child's life for reasons that (statistically) most often have to do with money, timing and convenience. Today, the husband of a poor family is far less likely to stop his wife from having an abortion because he is genuinely afraid to lose her.
Today, abortions are legal, accessible, and (at least physically) much safer than they used to be. And our lives and our society are a train wreck.
I wonder if a woman considering abortion could glimpse into the future, and know that this child - the one she is now carrying - is the only one she will ever have, or the only one she will have left, would she still have an abortion? Somehow, I think 99% would have the baby.
Of course this isn't the only, or even the main, reason not to have an abortion. It is simply wrong to take the life of a defenseless and innocent human being. But many abortion advocates would like to show how there's a clash between the woman's good and her baby's right to live. There is not.
You never know. This baby could make the difference between all the joy, or no joy at all, in your life. The difference between having a family, or dying a lonely woman. The difference between getting to go to your granddaughter's wedding, or knowing your family line is at an end. The difference between satisfaction and regret. The difference of knowing you did the right thing, no matter how hard it was.
The Efrat organization helps Jewish women who are considering abortion because of financial difficulties or societal pressure. You won't believe how many there are. You won't believe how many precious children are lost because of temporary difficulties. Circumstances change, money comes and goes, but the value of a child's life is eternal.