by Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh, MSCL
One of the most topical issues in the mainstream media is abortion. It’s not surprising with the State of New York formally legalizing third trimester abortions and infanticide. All of this coinciding with the release of the movie “Unplanned,” which is an awesome depiction of the true story of Abby Johnson, a former abortion advocate and employee of Planned Parenthood turned Pro-life advocate and mother of eight children.
Many, I think, fail to grasp the reality of abortion. Well, this reality has hit home for me on a very personal level as I have just recently come to know the full truth about the story of my conception, a story I want to share with you. This story is not really mine to share but that of my parents, and they have given me permission to share it.
My parents had three children, my two older brothers and myself. My eldest brother, Peter, is 11 years older than me, and Malcolm is eight years older than me. When I was conceived in 1984, after an 8-year gap, the doctor who examined my mother told her that the baby would be born with serious birth defects; actually, he said that I would be missing an eye or both eyes and some limbs. This was before the advancement of technology including ultra sounds and sonograms. The doctor gave my mother a white slip of paper, which stated clearly at the top “Recommendation – Termination of Pregnancy”.
The doctor advised my mother to abort me. My father, being the typical Lebanese man who doesn’t go into exam rooms, was outside in the waiting room. My mother emerged visibly distressed and crying and she told my father what the doctor had said. She showed him the white slip of paper from the doctor which would have ended my life. Now, bear in mind, English is not my parents’ first language, so my father went straight in to see the doctor to ascertain exactly what was going on, while my mother was drying her tears in the waiting room.
He asked the doctor, “Did you give this slip of paper to my wife? What’s going on?” The doctor told my father the same thing he had told my mother about my being born with serious birth defects. What my father said in response to the doctor is to this day, the most moving thing I have ever heard my father say. He said, “Are you going to take care of this baby or are we? Who are you to say that we have to end our baby’s life just because that baby may be born with some defects? We’re happy to keep this baby no matter what, I don’t care if the baby is missing both eyes and all four limbs, we will look after the baby because it’s ours.” The doctor then said the buzz word of the century to my father, “well, Mr. Salameh, it’s your choice.” “Choice!” My father again responded beautifully, “The choice was made by God when he gave us this baby as a gift.”
My parents left the doctor’s office and went to another doctor, who again examined my mother. It turns out that this doctor said that I would be born with both eyes and with all my limbs, with no defects whatsoever, and so it was. My mother carried me to term; actually, I was born after my due date.
Now let’s rewind the tape for a second. Had my parents taken that white slip of paper and gone ahead with the abortion, the reality is that I would not be here. This is the reality of abortion which we cannot escape and cannot hide, that it destroys human life in the womb. Had my parents gone through with the abortion, the Maronite Church would not have this sister serving it. Now think about this, how many nuns, priests, monks, bishops, popes, servants of God and His Church have been lost because of abortion? I exist because my parents chose life that day.
For all expectant mothers out there, please cherish the gift of life in your womb. And for all the women who have had abortions, please know that you are so loved by God, and He wants to offer you healing. God wants you to know that He comes with mercy and forgiveness, not with judgment or condemnation.