January 22 marked the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in this country. Since that time, there have been an estimated 55 million abortions performed in the United States.
We weep, and rightly so, for those children killed in the recent Newtown shooting, but how about those 55 million lives lost from abortions? I have to wonder if our society's loss of respect for life has been part of the cause of the violence in the country. We have become, in the words of Mother Teresa, a ''culture of death.''
''He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.'' (Micah 6:8).
As a Christian, I believe that part of acting justly compels me to speak for the unborn - to try to convince women that this is the wrong thing for them to do, to work toward reducing abortions and making them illegal, to help enable women to keep their babies, and to promote adoption as a loving option.
What about those who've already aborted their children? Do I stand in judgment of them? That's where loving mercy comes in.
While I believe that a woman who has an abortion is culpable and must ultimately answer to God, I also believe in a loving merciful God who forgives sins. Also, without minimizing the fact that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own actions, I do think that our culture has perpetuated the lie that abortion is not murder. It has told women that this is an easy out. Many women feel that they have no other choice. Women believe these lies only to realize years later that they were deceived. They eventually face what they have done and regret it.
An estimated 43 percent of all women of childbearing age have had an abortion. Whether we know it or not, each of us probably has at least one woman in our lives who has had an abortion.
I have a couple. One is my friend, Misty Gotham. When Misty was a senior in high school, she became pregnant. She was scared of disappointing her mother. She made an appointment with Planned Parenthood and had an abortion. She has shared with me that 10 years after the abortion, God woke her up from her emotional numbness and made her face what she had done.
She was able to find mercy and forgiveness from Him. She prayed that God would use her to help other post abortive women find forgiveness and healing.
He has done just that. Through a local pro-life ministry, Misty leads a Bible study called ''Surrendering the Secret'' for post-abortive women. Surrendering the Secret is an eight-week study that is offered four times per year. Local women are finding forgiveness and healing thanks to Misty's courage in sharing her experience.
Furthermore, these women are sharing the truth that abortion isn't the easy thing that it has been portrayed to be in popular culture, that it is not just another medical procedure. Perhaps, by surrendering their secrets, these women are saving lives right here in our community.
Misty and the pro-life ministries in our county are part of those glimpses of hope and a future that I've talked about before. All who act justly and love mercy should be thankful for them.
(If you are interested in more information about Surrendering the Secret, contact Misty Gotham at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Yoder is a West Farmington resident. Email her at email@example.com.