“The supreme adventure is being born. There we do walk suddenly into a splendid and startling trap. There we do see something of which we have not dreamed before. Our father and mother do lie in wait for us and leap out on us, like brigands from a bush. Our uncle is a surprise. Our aunt is, in the beautiful common expression, a bolt from the blue. When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world that we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.”—G.K. Chesterton, from his essay “On Certain Modern Writers and the Institution of the Family”.
Today as I was driving through Washington, D.C., caught up in the crazy noon traffic, I caught sight of smiling happy people, some with signs, marching onto the National Mall to protest the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade in the March for Life rally. They were very peacefully walking and chanting. As I drove on, I thought how precious life is and how easily I could have been aborted.
My mother was one of the first female law graduates in South Korea. She was single when she became pregnant with me and refused to marry my father. This was in the late 1960’s when South Korea was a strictly feudal and very disciplined culture. It was especially taboo and shameful to be an unmarried pregnant woman, especially if you were from a wealthy classed family as my mother was. My grandparents were appalled and appealed to my mother to either marry my father or abort me. So although abortion was ruled illegal in 1953 (exceptions being rape, incest, or severe genetic disorder), my mother could easily have found a doctor who would have performed an abortion; it costs approximately $200 today, much less in the 60’s. Most non-married college graduate women at the time secretly got abortions but my mother was fiercely independent. Her choice not to abort was based halfway on her Christian beliefs that abortion was murder; the other half was based on her young activism, believing that no once should be able to force her to do anything against her wishes–so she kept her baby. Because she had severe morning sickness throughout her pregnancy to the point that she could barely gain any weight, I was born at 5 pounds.
When I asked my mother why she had refused to marry my father, she told me he was “too childish and irresponsible” and because she was independently wealthy classed, my mother believed she could take better care of me on her own.
I do have to credit my father. Throughout her pregnancy, he stuck by my mother taking care of all her needs and begging her to marry him every day. She still refused, although they lived together off and on, fighting constantly. As the “alpha Korean male” and common practice among the rich elite landowner’s sons, my father continued to go off playing and drinking constantly.
A few years later, my mother once again shamed my grandmother, becoming pregnant for the second time. Unfortunately during the 8th month of pregnancy, my father decided to go on one of his outings with his friends and left my mother for a week. While he was gone, my grandmother drugged my mother and had a doctor abort my sister or brother.
When my father returned and found out about this, he (justifiably) went into a wild rage and pretty much broke everything in our house. He took me away for several weeks, leaving me with his family in Pusan and ignoring the fact that my mother was in a desperate depression herself. For several weeks my father basically drowned himself in drinking.
My father told me this story when I was about 12 years old and my mother confirmed it. This made me understand why she had always been so protective of me and to this day she continues to be affected by the trauma. I do believe in my heart that my grandmother regretted what she did for the rest of her life. Out of six children, my mother was the only daughter, as I am to my mother. Perhaps that is why she raised me to be firm in my convictions and to always pray and try to walk the right roads. And yet, when I imagine how horrific it must have been for her at the time—betrayed by her own mother in such a monstrous way, and then being abandoned yet again by my father– I cry for my mother.
However there is a happy ending. My mother and father did briefly find each other again and they finally got married. During the next pregnancy, my father stood vigilantly by my mother’s side until my brother was born, holding onto both of us protectively and making sure my grandmother would never do such a thing again.
I often think of how precious my parents felt for their baby. My mother told me that from the moment she knew she started counting the days as soon as she found out she was pregnant. According to Korean custom—and most Confucian countries–as soon as you are born, you are a year old, meaning you are alive from the moment you are conceived. They count the years with the lunar calendar, thus I was one year old when I was born. I find that very interesting—that a country would revere conception as the first day of birth, yet although abortion is illegal, it takes place so often that people do not blink an eye.
In China, where many continue to follow the birth at conception lunar calendar, they continue to have the highest abortion statistics in the whole world:
More than 13 million abortions are performed annually here, according to a recent survey by the Research Institute of the National Population and Family Planning Commission — about 25 a minute. (That compares to about 6.5 million abortions in India, according to The Times of India, or about 1.2 million in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute.)
For a long time, the high number of abortions in China was largely ascribed to its one-child policy, with women coerced into aborting children by the threat of heavy fines or the loss of a job — or, in some cases, physically forced to abort, often late in the pregnancy. That’s still common, said Liu Yi, a rights activist in Chengdu, one of a growing number of ordinary Chinese who are monitoring the situation and speaking out about it.”–Didi Kirsten Tatlow, The International Tribune, October 2012.
This past summer, I read an article in which Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute testified that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had shown that the UN was complicit in many of the aforementioned forced abortions and that U.S. taxpayers were contributing this in effect when President Obama restored U.S. government funding for the UN population body in 2009:
“The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is under heavy fire after an investigation by the Population Research Institute (PRI) showed yet again that the UN is working with the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China to enforce its barbaric “one-child” policy — complete with forced abortions, involuntary sterilization, kidnapping of “illegal” children, and other brutal tactics. The evidence of UN complicity in the atrocious human rights violations is undeniable, according to PRI President Steven Mosher, who said U.S. taxpayers should permanently halt funding to the global anti-population agency.
Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Programs this week, Mosher and several other witnesses described the mass abuses being perpetrated by the UNFPA and its communist partners in Beijing. Also offering testimony was a victim of the Chinese regime’s “population control” who was kidnapped by the “family planning” officials before having her baby murdered in cold blood.
American law prohibits spending taxpayer money on initiatives or organizations that support or participate in forced abortions. But because President Obama restored U.S. government funding for the UN population body in 2009, American taxpayers are again helping to finance the mass slaughter. For the 2012 budget, the administration sought almost $50 million for the UN agency.
Under President George W. Bush, whose administration prevented tax dollars from flowing to the UN’s population programs to comply with U.S. law, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell highlighted the problem. “UNFPA’s support of, and involvement in, China’s population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion,” he explained. “Therefore, it is not permissible to continue funding UNFPA at this time.” —Alex Newman, The New American “UN Slammed for Its Forced Abortions in China Using U.S. Funds”, July 12, 2012.
So what happened? It’s been 40 years and more then ever, the United States is condoning abortions and basically helping fund forced abortions. I don’t believe Roe vs. Wade has anything to do with this policy but I definitely do believe it may have started this inclination to so easily accept what is wrong.
It is murder if we kill another person, isn’t it? Thus, as taxpayers, are we not complicit in the murder of those forced aborted children whose parents did want them? I realize this might seem harsh, but is it somehow “okay” to use our tax dollars to support forced abortions because they’re taking place in another country and not here in America? If so, what kind of country are we turning into?
At the end of the evening as the snow fell on Independence Avenue, I was happy to be driving home to my own children. I thought of my 5-year-old son the night before, how he wandered into my bedroom asking if he could sleep with me and how wonderful it was to hold him in my arms. I was sick, so his unconditional, sweetness and love for me made me feel so much better then the bitter medicine I had recently taken. There is no way I would have ever given up that moment.
Driving past the National Mall, I saw that the March for Life rally was over and some of the people were smiling but looking tired. I found myself smiling, too, and felt thankful. I was grateful that these people were singing loudly for all the souls who never got the chance to have a voice. I pray that change will come someday, and I thank my parents that I can use my own voice and sing for them now, too.