In addition to being the Executive Director of Passion Life, my family also operates a small farm in North Carolina. It is a farm that has a lot of visitors with a lot of kids. We have a summer camp associated with it. A lot of tour groups come to the farm. There is a particular young lady who works for us this summer. I believe she is 17 years old. She pulled in late in the afternoon yesterday and said, “Hey, I texted your wife to let her know that I was going to bring my friend by to see the farm. Her baby really wants to see the farm animals.” And out of the car came another girl who was probably 16 or 17 years old and then strapped in the back of the car was a two year old baby boy. He was a beautiful baby boy.
I welcomed them to the farm. And we were pleased to see them. I went over and said hi to the young baby that they had pulled out of the car seat and just told the girl what a beautiful guy he was and how happy he was going to be to see these farm animals. I went on to show them where the baby cows and baby chickens were, and told them that they could go see whatever they wanted to see.
I wanted to make that young lady feel welcomed and like we were excited to have her there. I wanted her to know that her baby was valuable to me and valuable here on this farm and in our community. I wanted to make them feel very, very welcome because when you have a 16 or 17 year old girl who shows up on your farm with a two year old baby, it is a pretty safe bet to assume that at some point along the way, she faced some sort of pressure to not give birth to that young boy.
And as I complimented her son and told her what a beautiful young man he was, she just beamed with joy. She beamed with pride, and you could tell that she is a loving, attached mother who is happy to have this young man in her life. I did not ask her anything about her circumstances. Of course, it is not my business, but we come across this in various places around the world.
We come in contact with young ladies who have chosen, despite difficult circumstances, to bring their children into the world. And what we find, without exception, is that these young women or these young couples, despite their difficult circumstances, are so happy to have children in their lives and they would not trade them for anything in the world. You may hear people say, “I regret my abortion. I wish I hadn’t done that.” But you just do not hear people say, “I regret giving birth to this baby of mine, and I wish that this son or this daughter were not in my life.”
We met a young girl in Cuba who was 15 years old and deaf. She was born deaf. She has never been able to hear. She went to a party with some of her school mates one night. At this party she was raped by three young men that evening. They raped her successively, so she has no idea which one of these three rapists is the father of her baby. Absolutely terrible circumstances, but this is a young lady who, despite how terrible her circumstances, has taken ownership and said, “These are my circumstances. They are not favorable circumstances, but they are the circumstances that I’m in. They are not my baby’s circumstances. My baby is not responsible for what happened to me.” She has not passed on the sentence of punishment to her child. But she decided, despite the difficulty of her circumstance, to give birth to her baby. This beautiful baby girl is the joy of her mother’s life. The girl was born with perfectly good hearing, so she will be able to help and serve her mom as she grows up as the beloved cherished daughter who is, yes, the product of a terrible circumstance.
Jessie is a young lady from Honduras. When she was being brought into the United States, by Mexican coyotes, she was raped multiple times on her trip from Honduras, up through Latin America, through Mexico, and into the United States. When she arrived in the United States, she was pregnant. She went immediately to a pregnancy help center to see if she could get advice or help with her baby. The first person that she met was my friend, Martha Avila. Martha not only helped her with the circumstances and helped her through the difficult choices that she faced, but eventually Martha adopted Jessie as her own legal daughter and adopted this grandbaby as her grandchild. Jessie loves her baby. She is proud and happy that she chose to give life to this baby.
It may surprise you to find that upwards of 70% of people who conceive as a byproduct of rape, decide to keep their baby and give life to that child. You might think that abortion would be the norm for rape victims. And we hear that being used as a bargaining chip for pro-choice advocates all the time. “Well, what about the circumstances of rape? Of course, you would never want to give birth to a baby that was conceived in rape. That baby will remind the mother of the terrible thing that happened to her. I assure you that nobody who is the victim of rape needs a baby in order to remember and be reminded of the terrible thing that happened to her. She will remember what happened to her no matter what happens with the baby.”
But to give life to the baby, many women find it exonerating. It is the one victory in a series of horrible circumstances. It is the one silver lining to a very rainy day in her life, and it’s the one thing that she can be proud of. I do not advocate for thinking that all these things are easy. Is it easy for any of these young women to have their babies? No, it’s not. But that is part of the glory of giving God an opportunity to show his unlimited power and his unparalleled kindness, and providing even when circumstances are most dire, that is the God that we know. That is the God that we serve. That is the God who has allowed the baby to be conceived in the womb. “And if God can make a baby,” as my friend John Ensor always says, “he can feed a baby.” He can help us figure out how to care for a baby even in difficult circumstances.
Passion, Life is committed, not just to these babies, but also to these women. We are committed to these young girls and these young families who are so brave. The women who, in my opinion, are the real heroes of the pro-life movement. I go around and I speak to pastors and churches and people about what being pro-life means. I help women when I am able to, but these women are the people who are making a difference in our world because they have not just talked pro-life, they have lived it. They have made difficult choices that they are now happily living with.
Please pray for these girls. Pray for us as we go around and we help people understand the difficult circumstances around unintentional pregnancies. Pray for us and follow us on our social media. Follow us on our newsletter, which you find by going to passionlife.org and signing up.