Discussing abortion: With rally looming, one pro-life mother’s thoughts on family advocacy, loving those who disagree

The city of Lubbock is considering the possibility of becoming a Sanctuary City for the Unborn and a prayer rally is planned for 4 p.m. this Tuesday, Sept. 22, outside Citizens Tower, 1208 14th St. in Lubbock.  

This issue raises many questions for the community, and it has raised many questions in my own heart and home.
I put those questions to Traci Baxa, a fellow Christian mother and longtime pro-life advocate. Traci is first and foremost a Christian. She is a devoted wife and a homeschooling mom of five kids. She is actively serving at her church, First Baptist of Roosevelt and has served on the board of West Texas for Life for the past seven years. Here are the answers she gave … I hope they will bless you as they did me. 

How do you explain abortion to your children? 

First of all, let me just clarify that I am not an expert. I’m not a child expert. I’m not a pro-life expert. I am simply a mom who’s been active in pro-life events and activism for the past 15 years. I have been a mom for 13 of those years.  This whole article was brought about because a sweet friend had called me because she wishes to join the prayer rally on Tuesday, Sept. 22. This rally is for people to pray the City Council would pass the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance. This friend was wondering how to talk to her children about what they were going to do and why they were going to do it. I guess the conversation struck a chord with her and, next thing you know, I am getting a phone call asking me to discuss this. This is my perspective, and a model that works for our family.

I’ve been asked, “At what age do I discuss abortion with my children?” My children are active in the pro-life circles because my husband and I are. It is something that we’ve been up front with them about since the time they were born. A younger age seems to be becoming more and more necessary in our culture as children are introduced to abortion and other difficult topics in many schools. 

In our family, our kids know about abortion, but we also emphasize the conversation stays within its boundaries of when it is appropriate to talk about it, which is in the context of our family or a pro-life event/interaction.

How do we handle this? We choose how much we reveal to them depending on their maturity and their age. It starts off with something as simple as, “this hurts babies.” As they mature and age, we explain in more detail what goes on. Maybe, when they get closer to the mid-elementary school, they learn abortion stops a beating heart. It really depends on the child. 

There are several ways to approach the conversation. We are a Christian family, and as such we believe that God created man in His image. So, our children grew up with this being taught to them. This is the base we use with our children. 

It goes something like this, 

“Why do we value human life?” 

“We value human life because every single human being is an image bearer. They are precious because they reflect God.” 

“No other creature in all of creation has that.”  

Our goal is to give our children more information as they grow, so that by the time they reach high school they have a firm grasp of what abortion is, and the arguments from both sides for them to articulate on what abortion is and isn’t.  A child doesn’t need to know all the details overnight! Starting off with something simple as “this hurts babies” is sufficient for a young child.

How do you know how much a child is ready to hear?

This is a question that only a parent can really answer. Every child is at a different maturity level, and has different ways of expressing that. I have one child who is very scientific and this child looked at it from a factual standpoint. I have another child who’s more sensitive, and with this child I had to tread lightly to make sure they could handle this reality in our society. There really isn’t a way to answer this question other than watch your child for their individual markers. You know your child, and each child is so different. Watch your child for signs that what you have said is enough. Sometimes a child wants to ask questions, and you as a parent have to use your judgment to decide how far you want to answer those questions. Some children really don’t want to know … keeping it short and simple for that child might be the way to go. You know your child best. Observe them in your conversation, and go with your best judgment as a parent. 

Should you take your kids with you to a rally?

Absolutely! The prayer rally outside Citizens Tower is designed for families! We will be there to pray and to hold signs to encourage our city council to pass this ordinance. We will have some balloons to pass out for kids to hold. These pink and blue balloons are a representation of the children who couldn’t be there to speak for themselves due to losing their lives to abortion. This rally is meant to be family friendly and peaceful. Many pro-life rallies are designed to be this way. I think of my husband, and how he got started in the pro-life movement. His mom was a single mother. She was told to have an abortion when she was pregnant with him. I thank God that she didn’t! Because she didn’t, I have my husband and my children have their father! 

She is a strong woman. She put my husband in his stroller and they would go hold signs at pro-life rallies. His sign would say, “If you kill all the babies … who will be my friend?” He grew up with this. 

He and his mom met a wonderful man shortly after. This man married my mother-in-law, adopted my husband, and became a father to six more children. My mother-in-law became busy with her seven children, but she never did stop helping the pro-life cause.

How do you approach this debate with love? 

 This is a hard question to answer. To love someone is to not lie to them. So to love someone you have to be willing to tell them the truth even if it is hard. A friend who lies is no friend. The wounds of a faithful and truthful friend are precious. Abortion is a hard discussion to have with others as emotions run high. 

I think it is important to remember no one is perfect. I am not perfect. They are not perfect. Everyone needs Christ!  I need to be Christ’s hands and feet. I need to remember that speaking with love and truth is to also be compassionate. 

To approach this with love, is to also set an example to my children of how to love people when they disagree. They see this in simple ways. I love Brussels sprouts, my husband is convinced they are secretly poisonous … or so he jokes. But the kids see how we treat each other in those moments, and in the more serious moments.

What do you say to someone who disagrees with you about abortion?

There are two ways to look at the disagreements. 

There is so much in scripture to show that life starts at conception. There is also the science behind it too. The fact that there are several characteristics of life in biology. At that moment of conception, a baby has them all. 

For example, DNA … from the moment of conception a baby has its own DNA. From the moment of conception, the cells are multiplying. This is also a sign of life. You have tests that show brain waves in utero. You have a heartbeat that is measurable at 5-6 weeks.

You also have people who will say the emotional argument “my body, my choice,” but you also have evidence to show there’s two bodies involved. One is visible, and one is not without medical equipment. A pregnant woman does not automatically have two heads, four lungs, 20 fingers, two sets of DNA, etc. It is scientifically impossible.

What are you doing when someone disagrees? You can have these conversations. You need to remember that, with human nature, comes a difference of opinions. If they’re willing to discuss facts calmly, and have that discussion, then do! Go through what is truth, what is fact, and what is the interpretation of those facts. Facts, not emotions. Part of the scientific method is to question, research, analyze and come to a conclusion.

How do you explain your activism to someone who doesn’t agree?

I think of the verse in scripture that talks about how the church has different functions within its body. You have things in a body that are not as visible to the naked eye. You can not function well if your lungs are not working well. You cannot function well if your kidneys are not functioning well. Pro-life is not limited to only political activism. There are many different ways of trying to end abortion in our society. 

I do believe the church has to speak up for the life of those unborn … for those who cannot speak for themselves as Scripture commands. We are all called to speak the truth in love. This means wanting the good of the one you are speaking to. 

What does that look like? That is different for every person. You could be on a helpline to a clinic to talk to women who face unexpected motherhood. You could donate time by bringing in a single mom and spending one evening with her a week to discuss parenting and day-to-day life with her. You could donate diapers to your local pregnancy center or a parent support center. You could donate clothing or blankets. You could e-mail lawmakers to encourage them to protect life! There’s so much you can do!

Modeling this for your kids is important as well! We have opened our home to single mothers. I have babysat, when I’m able, for single parents. Not only do you have to have this conversation in love, but you are to set an example to your children showing love. Sometimes showing this is sacrificial. Will you drop what you’re doing and go and help? We show our children this love in our day-to-day life of parenting, and you also show them this love when we serve our community.

Life is precious. God created each life to be unique and to reflect Him. Shame on us if we do not protect those who bear His image.