"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love and self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7
Reflections from January 2013: I just sat next to a married couple in their 50s on my flight home from Florida. The woman shared with me that her daughter-in-law (due with their first grandchild this month) worked for Planned. Parenthood. Eeek. I struggled to hide my horror. Based solely on the fact that she did not cut-off all conversation with me I believe my poker-face is improving. PP is the largest "provider" of abortions in the country and since their founding in 1921, when they went by the name the American Birth Control League, they have worked tirelessly to systematically eliminate those that they view as "unfit," that is unfit to live. Their eugenic roots are well documented and even their current executives exalt the work of their founder Margaret. Sanger. Sanger used the terms "human weeds,' 'reckless breeders,' 'spawning... human beings who never should have been born," in reference to the poor, to immigrants, to African Americans and to Catholics. She wrote in the Birth Control Review that the purpose of promoting birth control was "to create a race of thoroughbreds" (1921) and to achieve the ends of "more children from the fit, less from the unfit" (1919). (Learn more here: Planned Parenthood and Eugenics.)
As our conversation progressed, she shared that her daughter - not to be confused with aforementioned daughter-in-law- had been trying to conceive for over a year and that she had recently seen a reproductive endocrinologist. Per this woman's report, her daughter has PCOS and IVF was presented as the only solution. At this point, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to share a bit about my own situation. "My husband and I have been struggling with infertility as well," I told her. "I actually just had surgery to treat endometriosis and PCOS. I was visiting family in Florida to cap off 6 weeks of post-surgery healing."
Not surprisingly this woman responded with the predictable well-meaning, yet ignorant, "Why don't you just do IVF?" I gently stated that because we are Catholic, IVF is not an option for us. I try not to say "we don't believe in IVF" because I think that can come across as if we don't believe it ever works or we don't believe it's real or we don't believe in science. When I say it's not an option, I know I run the risk of sounding rule-obsessed, but my hope is to be clear. This isn't based on some magical/illogical/irrational "belief." Our decision not to pursue IVF is based on an accurate understanding of human dignity and worth. My entire life is grounded in my understanding of the inherent worth and dignity of every human life. A belief can be wrong. Facts are facts. Fact: Human life begins at conception. Fact: IVF leads to the destruction and disregard of newly created human lives. IVF is not an option because it is an assault on my way of being in the world. It is an assault on truth and beauty and human dignity. Just doing IVF would amount to just compromising intrinsic moral truths written on every human heart.
I don't have many- if any- readers so I am not afraid to be candid. I understand that someone who disagrees with me is likely to come across this post and to feel offended. I don't condemn anyone who has pursued IVF. I desire everyone to know the fullness of the truth and to experience the radiant light of God's love. I have made decisions inconsistent with the truth in the past. I will undoubtedly make mistakes again in the future. I do not claim to be "better" than anyone. I desire to walk in the light of truth and sometimes this means calling a lie a lie-even if it means others feelings will be hurt. It is my experience that most couples who choose IVF simply do not know there is another way. They don't know the reality of what takes place and they don't have an accurate understanding of what constitutes a human life.
But I digress... As my conversation with this woman continued I tried to steer the conversation away from a debate about IVF to a talk about the beauty of adoption. I told this perfect stranger that I felt very called to adoption and that my husband and I would be blessed to be able to grow our family this way. I could barely get the words out before she hit me with this doozy,"you and your husband are obviously very intelligent people. It would be a shame for you to not have your own."
Seriously?! Was I hearing this? This woman who considered herself "tolerant" was telling me that because I seemed intelligent it was all the more important to have biological children?! Not to mention the implication that adopted children would not be "mine." Do I judge this woman? Her heart? Her standing with God? No. I am not claiming to know the state of her soul so please don't condemn me for "judging." What I do know, however, is that each human life is as valuable as the next. Every child is unique and unrepeatable. God has a beautiful and brilliant plan for every soul. As far as I'm concerned genetic traits like skin color, athletic ability, and intelligence are trivial. They may contribute to your experience in the world but they have nothing to do with your worth. That's what this Planned Parenthood supporting, IVF-loving lady was missing, my husband and I may be intelligent but this doesn't point to the importance of having "our own," rather, our intellect gives us the capacity to know truth- the truth that all children are beautiful. All children are wanted. No children will ever be "ours," but all children belong to God.
Maybe you're wondering what my Planned Parenthood rant in the beginning has to do with all of this. Maybe you're not. Do you see the connection between PP's eugenic agenda and this woman's comments? I don't know that I can capture the link succinctly so I'll let you draw your own conclusions. For now, I pray for all children without loving homes. I pray for the unborn and for all women and couples facing difficult pregnancies. I pray for all birthmothers. I pray for our future child's birthmother. I pray that our country will one day uphold the value of all human life. I pray that the child destined to be "ours" through the blessing of adoption will not be aborted because someone at PP thinks her mother is not "intelligent" enough to have the right to procreate. Our Lady of Guadeloupe, Pray for us!