Twenty-seven years ago, an infamous New Orleans abortionist told a woman she should let her baby girl die on the delivery table. The baby, born at 26.5 weeks, wasn’t breathing. To the doctor, the child’s life was meaningless and wouldn’t amount to anything. He was so certain of her worthlessness that he told the mother her child would be a “mental vegetable, incapable of having a normal life.”
I am so thankful she didn’t listen. It’s the reason I’m here today to tell you my story.
My Hispanic mother was a vulnerable woman, the perfect candidate for abortion. She already had seven children, lived in dire poverty, and wrestled with mental illness. Her pregnancy with me was the result of an affair, a fact I didn’t know until I was a young teenager. My birth father wasn’t interested in helping, because he was married and had a successful medical career. My mom was utterly alone.
So she sought the advice of a friend, who referred her to a “cheap doctor.” I’ve since learned the key fact here is cheap. For poor women, this is important to understand. Instead of offering real assistance, the abortionist convinced my mom to deliver me prematurely and then initially refused to give me medical care when I was born alive. He wasn’t concerned about my welfare, or my mom’s.
Miraculously, when my mother saw me, she couldn’t leave me to die. She made a pro-life choice and demanded I receive immediate medical care. I lived because of my mother’s choice—but she’s not the only reason I’m pro-life today.
In fact, if I stayed in her home I might be pro-abortion. Hear me out.
My mother’s mental illness caused my siblings and me to suffer starvation, abuse, and neglect in unimaginable ways. We ate insects off the ground, fought until we bled over food, and tore clothes off one another so we could go to school. Our environment enabled abusers and robbed us of innocence. The situation was so severe that I contracted tuberculosis from my stepfather and required expensive medical care.
Around that time, I was placed in foster care with a Christian family. And after nearly eight years in the Louisiana Foster Care System, they adopted me. Without them, I wouldn’t have survived, and I certainly wouldn’t be pro-life. I might have accepted the lie the abortionist spoke over me at my birth, and joined the hundreds of thousands of Americans who believe abortion is the answer to the social crisis around us.
Thankfully, foster care taught me what it truly means to be pro-life. My foster family, and later adoptive parents, faithfully lived out James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
My adoptive parents participated in government by supporting pro-life candidates with their vote, and when they could, with their finances. They stayed educated on platforms regarding the sanctity of life and got involved with local pro-life groups dedicated to ending abortion.
To this day, my adoptive mother participates in peaceful pro-life activities. She prays outside of abortion facilities and holds a sign that says, “I had an abortion; please come talk to me.” She courageously tells her story of aborting her only biological child at the age of 27, and she’s now the regional coordinator for Silent No More Awareness in Louisiana, an organization that helps women who’ve been devastated by abortion.
My adoptive family also assisted poor families in practical ways. On a regular basis they brought my biological family food, clothing, and basic necessities, even though they had no guarantee they’d get to adopt me or remain in my family’s life. They decided it was their responsibility to care for us—regardless of the outcome. When I had to leave foster care and go back to my biological mother, they offered to drive me to preschool and brought me clean clothes and a pack of wipes to use each day before kindergarten. They got involved in the messy details of being pro-life. They refused to stay on the sidelines.
The troubling truth is that my biological family is just one of millions who’ve experienced the despair I’ve described. Just like abortion, this situation should be of utmost concern to every pro-life Christian. In the United States, there are currently 15 million children living in poverty, and 1 in 5 experience physical abuse from family members. These numbers only increase in minority families and single-parent homes.
My parents’ actions saved my life. Unlike many who experience poverty and abuse in early childhood, I moved past my nightmarish beginnings to finish high school, graduate from college, and become a stable adult. More importantly, I met Jesus in foster care.
Not all Christians are called to take in a foster child or adopt, but we are mandated to do something about abortion, poverty, and suffering families. Whenever I wonder what I can do to help, I look at my parents’ example.