The Children Know the Lie of Abortion


I’ll never forget the day I had to tell my then-six-year-old daughter what the word “abortion” means. 

We are blessed in my parish with priests who preach on the topic regularly, so she’d heard the word many times.  It was October 2008, and her school was participating in an online program that allowed kids to vote in a mock presidential election.  As we rode to school (all of our most important conversations seem to happen in the car), she proudly told me she’d voted for Obama, but that a classmate had warned her that Obama favored abortion. 

So the sentence came:  “Mama, what’s abortion?”

I decided in that moment not to distract or hedge.  I said, “It’s when a doctor kills a baby inside its mama’s tummy, on purpose.” 

Silence, until I could hear quiet tears. And then her first verbal reaction, a frightened, almost panicked question:  “Oh Mama, they’re not going to do that to Mrs. T., are they?”  Mrs. T., a family friend, was expecting her third child. 

I immediately noted the implication in her question.  She assumed that abortion was something that was done to a baby without its mother’s consent.  As we continued a halting discussion, she absolutely could not fathom that a mother would choose to kill her own pre-born child.  She kept asking why, over and over again, because any answer one can give simply doesn’t compute in the mind of a six-year-old.  

Me:  “Because the mamas don’t feel they’re able to take care of their babies.”

Her:  “Why?”

Me:  “Because they might want to do something else with their lives instead.”

Her:  “Like what?”

Me:  “Like work.”

Her:  “Why?”

And so on.

I have to believe that most young children, even those of pro-choice parents, would react similarly to the concept of abortion even though it would likely be presented to them in a less than honest way.  I’m guessing many pro-choicers simply choose not to present the topic at all.  How could they when every excuse rings hollow to an innocent mind?

On this anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, please consider sharing below your child’s first reaction to learning the truth about abortion.

Copyright 2014 Sharon Rayner

photo credit: aarongilson via photopin cc


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  1. Just this past summer we and a few other families from our parish prayed the rosary in front of a PP facility. My 5yo son was picking blades of grass and playing with the other young children. At one point, he came to me and said, “Why are we praying here?”

    “Because people come here to hurt children.”

    He furrowed his brow and said, “Why do they do that?”

    Realizing I hadn’t paused long enough to answer his first question, I found myself in a bind. because what I answered must have sounded absolutely terrifying to a small child. let alone what they REALLY do there.

    “Sometimes mommies have a baby inside of them and they are too scared that they can not take care of it. So they come here to have them take the baby out. And it hurts the baby very much.”

    He was quiet for a moment. Then he took my hand and stayed with me for the rest of the rosary, praying as loudly as his little heart was able.

    I was careful never to say the word ‘doctor’, since he has many surgeries in his future. I did not want to frighten him. But dear Lord, what are we supposed to do?

    The fact that such evil is so ‘mainstream’ now forces us to walk that fine line between protecting our child’s innocence and protecting the unborn children in our country. Both are to be cherished.

    • Thank you for sharing your gentle, yet completely honest answer to your son. Great point about not using the word “doctor.” May God bless your family as you journey through his health issues.

  2. I was 7 months pregnant with #3, and after daily Mass on the day of the MFL, a fellow parishioner asked if we’d stay to pray the rosary for an end to abortion. Of course my then 6 y-o twins asked what it was, and I said it’s an operation a mommy can choose to have to take a baby out of her tummy. “What happens to the baby?” “The baby dies because of the operation.” Horrified faces, glances at my preggo gut. “Why would someone do that?” [I answered this thinking of all my friend’s who’ve had abortions and still think that was a good choice.] “Because they think it’s the best thing for everyone involved.” With tears in her eyes, the older twin said, “It’s NOT the best thing! It’s the WORST!” I just started crying right there. By that point we’d missed a lot of the rosary, but we stayed to join in as long as my bladder held out, if I remember correctly. I’ve promised them a trip to the MFL, some year when we can find a peanut-free bus and when I don’t have bronchitis!

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