by Caroline Slingerland

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. The expression came to mind as I broke down upon the news of a single death, or rather, a double death. I’ve been working in the fight against abortion for 9 years now, trying to wrap my mind around the idea that people kill babies. Even all these years later, it’s an unfathomable thought.

But in those years, we mostly deal with the abstract idea, the statistics. 300 babies every day in Canada, 100,000 every year. We look at the broken bodies or even the faces of those we have pictures of, those who remind us of what it is we are fighting against, what the horrifying result of being unsuccessful is.

Most of the time when we have conversations, we’re thinking about the future babies. Maybe if this girl gets pregnant someday, she won’t consider abortion as an option. Maybe if this guy knocks up a girl, he will fight for his baby.

And then, every once in awhile, it’s not just the thought of a “someday” baby, and it’s not just the picture of a baby for whom it’s already too late. Every once in awhile, it’s a real baby. Alive right now. Scheduled to die tomorrow.

Nothing makes it more real than that. A message on our group chat: “Please pray… abortion scheduled… 10am.” This week, the message was about a set of twins. Their mother was bent on an abortion. Her mother was pressuring her. Unfathomable. A grandmother, pressuring her own daughter to have her babies killed, to exterminate her grandbabies. What happened to love? My heart cries for them. For those babies, mostly, but for that young mother too.

And yet, my heart is also angry at her. That young mother knew what she was doing. She had someone reaching out to her, offering her help, giving her information. She knew that she was pregnant with two babies. She knew that abortion would change that. And yet, she carried through with it.

It’s too late. It’s too late for those two precious babies. They are now dead. Their brutalized bodies join the remains of other babies killed in that “clinic,” other babies who likely didn’t have anyone fighting for them but are no less precious. Abortion is so irreversible. When it’s too late, there’s no comeback from that.

And as I write this, and as you read this, there are another 300 babies on that same path today. And another 300 tomorrow. And the day after that. The corpses are just heaping up. But it’s not too late for those babies yet! Will you let the moment pass? Will it become too late for them too, without you having said a word?

Yes, you can be so helpless. Yes, despite everything you say or do, those babies may still be killed. But then it will be “despite your efforts” rather than “due to your silence”. Can you live with the alternative?

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