My mom was almost forty, she and my dad already had four children, their income had taken a hit recently, and their oldest was getting ready for college. But they ignored the doctor recommending they abort me. I was one of the lucky ones in 1988.
– Margaret Sanger, founder of the American Birth Control League (now known as Planned Parenthood), in her 1922 book, Woman and the New Race.
My parents never considered it, not even for a second. But our family’s pediatrician recommended it: “You’re almost forty and already have four kids; maybe you should terminate this one.”
My mother, a devout protestant Christian from her childhood, was shocked and upset, but thankfully unfazed: “No. I plan on keeping him.” When she recounted the story back at home, my 13-year-old brother echoed my mother’s sentiment, “Don’t kill our baby.”
My mom was 39 soon to be 40, my dad was 44, they already had four children – one of which was starting her senior year of high school and wanting to go to college soon after that – and they hadn’t had a new baby for six years. In addition, it was 1987, the stock market had plummeted, and since my father was a financial adviser, my family’s income had plummeted with it. My mother also worked part-time as a nurse at our local hospital, and I’ve been told that, on our way out of the hospital after I had been born, my mother picked up her paycheck and deposited it in the bank on the drive home – and that it was all the money my parents had in their bank account at that time.
But I wasn’t an accident. Though my parents were Protestant and were never taught to have any reservations about contraception, my mother’s conscience had told her early on in her marriage that it wasn’t right. And though she tried the Pill for the first six months of her marriage to my dad (and stopped because of the way that it affected her emotionally), from then on she felt compelled to be open to as many children as God gave her. She’s since told me, “I felt it was wrong to waste the Millegan seed.”
The pediatrician had been a great doctor for our family, but my parents didn’t know if he could be my doctor since he had recommended that I be killed. My mother mentioned her concern to another doctor in his office, who relayed her concern to him. The pediatrician, who was an otherwise very nice man, met with my mother and apologized, and my parents decided to stay with him.
Many of my peers weren’t so lucky. The same year I was born (1988), 26% of pregnancies in the US ended in abortion: 1,371,285 of my future classmates were killed by their parents instead of lovingly accepted as I was (the fourth highest number of abortions in one year in US history, surpassed only in 1989, 1990, & 1991; 1990 had the highest number. And not only did my parents lovingly and generously accept me – they went on to give me a younger brother two and half years later!
Needless to say, the pediatrician didn’t bring up abortion this time (though one of our relatives reacted negatively – “Now that’s too many”). He continued to be our family doctor for the rest of my childhood and was a very caring, patient, and warm person (and helped me personally through some serious problems in middle and high school).
So I’d like to thank my parents. In our Culture of Death, where the most weak and vulnerable human life is disposable, in which children are seen as a liability and an inconvenience, and where a “quick fix” is safe, legal, but sadly very common, I thank my parents for their generosity, open arms, and ceaseless love to me and all of my siblings. I thank my parents for trusting God and always putting the needs of their children ahead of their own. I thank my parents for giving me the gift of life.