It was almost a decade ago but I still remember her words: “we’ll never end abortion until we treat the miscarried babies like they’re human, too.” We were there, two Christian women who had both suffered loss, watching our living little ones playing at the park. I didn’t really understand what she meant at the time but since that spring morning at the playground I’ve often found myself replaying and mulling those words in my head.
This week marks the 43rd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. This week (again) tens of thousands of people of every race, class, and creed will march in Washington in defense of the right of the unborn to live. Again we will wonder and pray about and discuss in comboxes how it is that this tragedy occurs legally in our country thousands of times a day. We’ll talk about what we can better do to end it and how each person is obligated to do something to build a culture that respects every life. And perhaps…perhaps in that discussion there is a place for the role of the miscarried baby.
What if the grief we carry for the little ones so desperately wanted can be redeemed into something beautiful? Something that will help other babies’ lives to be more valued? Perhaps even saved?
What if by sharing our stories, their names, and our grief we can help another realize the humanity of the unborn?
What if by being unafraid to mention our little ones that have died before birth we can better help another to see the reality of that life?
What if the loss of these lives helps us better embrace and be grateful for the gift of health and fertility?
What if the burials, the blog posts, the flowers or notes of sympathy sent to the grieving mother all can be part of changing a culture?
What if these little ones we grieve still can work good upon this earth?
I think they can.
Those actions are all primarily a good in their own right, recognizing the unique and unrepeatable little person who has died. But they can also serve a secondary purpose of helping a culture to recognize the reality of the unborn person and the tragedy it is when that life is ended. It is a bold and beautiful thing that women (and men) are freer than ever before to share their stories of loss and grief, stories that before were considered shameful or private. The more we share the lives of our unborn children, the more their worth can be seen. If the children we grieve are worth something, then they must ALL be worth something — even those dubbed unwanted.
While I would never suggest that grieving parents are obligated to talk about the loss of their unborn child, I do believe that in doing so they can not only honor the very real existence of that baby but maybe they can also do a little heart changing, too. Maybe these little ones lost have a role to play in building a culture that respects every unborn life, changing hearts one at a time. While their physical presence in it was painfully brief, maybe, just maybe, they can still change the world.