As reported by multiple news outlets, the Portland, Oregon, city council has recently enacted a “groundbreaking” policy that provides bereavement leave for employees who undergo an abortion.”
According to CNBC, Pittsburgh, PA was the first US city to pass legislation allowing for employees’ bereavement leave for causes like miscarriage, in vitro failure, or an abortion. Both cities extend a three-day bereavement leave.
Apparently, other cities including Boston and Waterloo, Iowa are considering similar enactments.
These policies pose an intriguing question: What are these employees bereaving?
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines bereavement as “the state of being sad because a friend or family member has died.”
Dictionary.com offers this definition: “1. a period of mourning after a loss, especially after the death of a loved one: 2. state of intense grief, as after the loss of a loved one.”
Both Pittsburgh and Portland (known as a “staunchly pro-choice” city) are acknowledging a death has occurred.
If abortion is just a medical procedure like any other procedure, like having your tonsils or appendix removed, why a “bereavement leave”?
Gabriel Vance, director of external affairs for the pro-life group Created Equal, offered this explanation in a facebook live video.
“What they are acknowledging is that abortion is a tragic loss – that somebody dies in an abortion. So if you’re getting bereavement leave for an abortion, they are acknowledging that there is a loss of someone – that someone died.”
“And who is that? That’s the baby, who is a human being, who is a person.”
Ironically, in their attempt to further normalize and remove the stigma of an abortion it is a “tacit admission that a life was lost” Vance observed.
Twenty-six times the Bible speaks of pregnant women as being “with child.” Luke, the physician, records that Elisabeth, the mother of John, the Immerser, conceived a son (1:35). In verse 41 the doctor wrote, “the baby leaped in her womb.” It is the same Greek word that Luke uses to describe Jesus after he was born (2:12,16). God views the unborn baby and the newborn baby in the same way. Both are living human beings.
The Psalmist David proclaimed that God knew him as a human being in his mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13-16).
Both the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah spoke of God knowing them by name while still unborn in the womb (Isa. 49:1; Jer. 1:5).
In the midst of his suffering Job cried out, “Or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child. Like infants who never saw light?” (Job 3:16).
In all of these passages, the unborn is referred to as a baby. An infant. A child. A person.
In a January 2020 Christianity Today article by Maria Baer, “Abortion Regret Isn’t a Myth,” those involved in post-abortion ministry report the women they’ve counseled deal with sadness, sorrow, and shame for years following their abortion. Indeed, there is bereavement over their loss.
The Silent No More Campaign, a project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life, has hosted 6,469 women and men sharing their abortion testimonies. “I Regret My Abortion” is a slogan on its campaign protest signs.
Bereavement over the death of a child is natural. As well as distressing, painful, and agonizing. So, it’s reasonable that terminating the life of a child through abortion would produce similar, if not more excruciating emotions.
As a country, we ought to declare a national period of bereavement over the loss of more than 62 million children since the Roe v Wade decision in 1973.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman