THE TAKE AWAY
Is having a baby punishment from God?
By Kersley Fitzgerald
I think about everyone and their cat has heard then-Sen. Obama refer to unwanted pregnancies as "punishment." It was aired on a CNN show giving synopses of the candidates' sound bites. Obama was in Johnstown, PA, campaigning for the Democratic ticket. His quote was part of a response to a question posed by a voter on how he would protect young girls from HIV, AIDS, and STDs.
He talked about prevention education, including abstinence, the serious nature of sex, and contraception. He also said it was his responsibility to teach his daughters values and morals. The quote under consideration came next:
But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at the age of 16. You know, so it doesn't make sense to not give them information. You still want to teach them the morals and values to make good decisions. That will be important, number one...He then went on to talk about providing treatment for HIV/AIDS sufferers.
When I first heard the truncated quote, I was livid. The truth is, JT's birth-mother went to a clinic to abort him. Thankfully, she was too far along. And I know she didn't really want to abort him or she wouldn't have waited so long. She knew he was a blessing, even though she couldn't care for him. I challenged Obama in my mind to tell my son he was a punishment and should have been aborted.
Now, reading the full transcript, I'm still not sure that's what Obama meant. He was talking about birth control, not abortion. It sounds like he was saying if his daughters made a mistake by being careless and having sex in a casual and immoral way, he wanted them to be educated about birth control so they wouldn't get pregnant in the first place. Most of the conversation was about prevention; the only bit about "treatment" after the fact was in regards to HIV/AIDS.
So, let's give him the benefit of the doubt (and I just lost 80% of you). Let's say he was trying to say he wanted his daughters to be educated about birth control and he was not saying a baby at an inopportune time should be aborted.
But fast-forward six years. A scared, confused, 19-year old girl is pregnant. She is a very young Christian and has a great Christian mentor, but her life has been so filled with abuse and neglect, she doesn't know which end is up. Her boyfriend grew up in a Christian home, and has a slightly better handle on his faith.
But she's pregnant, 19, unemployed. She knows sex outside of marriage is wrong. She knows she's made a lot of wrong choices. And she goes, in tears, to her mentor, convinced that the baby is punishment for her sins.
Where did she get that idea?
About two years ago, another woman, 39, found out she was pregnant. She'd had plenty of partners and was living with her boyfriend, but all evidence pointed to her being completely infertile. Suddenly, a stick said otherwise.
Thirty-nine, unmarried, pregnant. Grew up in a Christian home; most of her family and most of her boyfriend's family are Christian (although not her boyfriend). And the reaction was universal.
A baby! The first born to my birth-family in 35 years. An Isaac for our infertile Sara. Yes she's a pickle-head for her chosen lifestyle, and she knows it. But a baby! Such excitement had not been seen in our family since the last unplanned pregnancy.
The young woman, now 20, is beginning to understand. Through the guidance of her mentor, she's beginning to see her baby as a blessing and not a punishment.
But, man, does it show how we need to be careful with our words. One quick quip about birth control and a generation grows up hearing that children are a punishment. How damaging. Bear this in mind the next time you hear of unwise choices resulting in a pregnancy. It is not a sin to be pregnant. It is not a sin to have a baby. The more we ignore that fact, the more we abandon the people who need our help.
See also: "How should Christian parents handle a teen daughter who has become pregnant?"
Image: Cousins, unplanned, and I dare you to tell their grandmother they are "punishments"!
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | Family-Life | Personal-Life | Political-Issues | Sin-Evil
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