Mary is a scared teenage girl living in poverty. A few weeks earlier, she discovered she was pregnant - mysterious and perplexing news on a variety of levels. Panicked, she confides and consults with some friends and relatives. She decides that her best option is to go to the local Planned Parenthood clinic, a business that advertises prenatal care.
Once she’s in the clinic, a nurse evaluating her pregnancy recognizes that the teenage girl is unmarried and comes from a low socio-economic status. The nurse then casually mentions abortion, which is an option she says many women who aren’t ready to be mothers choose. The teenage girl still has opportunities and a future—a child could be a burden and a hindrance on her life, the nurse says. Abortion might be the best option to explore.
Of course, Planned Parenthood didn’t exist 2,000 years ago, but if they did and a young Mary had walked into a clinic, they would have presented abortion as a solution to her predicament.
Think about it. Mary was just a young, small-town girl. At the time, her pregnancy made her the target of stigma and shame within her community. An abortion could have made that all go away and seemingly make life easier for her.
By every arbitrary measure that Planned Parenthood uses to evaluate human life, Mary would’ve been better off aborting rather than keeping her baby. It’s a harsh statement, but it fits a philosophy that believes that circumstances define the value of human life, not potential or its intrinsic value.
This is a rationale that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, continues to espouse every day. They see only the outside situation, not the possibility that the child could be the next Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Mother Teresa or Steve Jobs.
What Planned Parenthood and other abortion activists don’t seem to understand is that humans have the capability to transcend circumstances and hardships. And regardless of whether they do or not, their lives are inherently and infinitely valuable.
Jesus might have been unplanned by Mary, but He was planned by God. There were no surprises where God was concerned, and the same could be said for any unplanned pregnancy today. He knows every child that will be born and mourns each child lost to abortion. The circumstances of conception do not diminish the value of the life within.
Every Christmas, believers celebrate a birth and a life that changed everything. Jesus’ arrival on a dark and cold Bethlehem night turned Mary’s and Joseph’s lives upside down and inside out. Unplanned, unexpected – maybe even inconvenient, it was the young couple’s faithfulness and acceptance that turned their greatest shock into the world’s most wondrous gift.
Planned Parenthood might not see the value and the beauty of a baby in the womb, but I pray someday they do. Because Mary’s baby – the unplanned one – gave us life. And each life, no matter how unexpected, matters.
Brittany Raymer is a research analyst specializing in life issues at Focus on the Family.