A mother who has been taking medication finds that she is pregnant. She is told by her physician that the fetus has surely been irreversibly damaged. Her physician encourages her to have an abortion. Fortunately for college football fans, Pam Tebow lets her Christian faith guide her and refuses to have an abortion. Today, her son is alive and well—a college football player for the Florida Gators who was just awarded the Heisman Trophy.
Tim Tebow is the first sophomore to earn this honor, which is awarded to the person who receives the most votes for being the best college player. An articulate young man built for football at 6 feet 3 inches tall and 235 pounds, Tebow scored 22 touchdowns rushing and 29 touchdowns passing this season. While the teams that played against the Florida Gators may feel damaged, in Tebow, the “irreversible damage” is hard to spot. Had Pam Tebow followed her physician’s advice, college football fans would have missed out on watching one of the best college quarterbacks of all time.
As I pondered our potential loss of Tim Tebow to abortion, I realized that I was facing one of the hidden issues in debates about abortion. Who have we missed because they were aborted? Abortion is often presented as a very personal issue. However it is now apparent to me that we all lose with abortion. We all lose because we never get the benefits of the people who would have been born.
How many of us have fewer friends because those friends were never born? Are there children who will flounder in school because some inspiring teachers were aborted? Who will tell the inspiring stories of lives that were never lived?
It has been argued by some that abortion has reduced crime rates because the babies who are aborted would have been more likely to develop into criminals had they been born. This premise condemns people before they are born. But even if we hypothetically accept it, we ignore the benefits that society would have gained from those who would not have become criminals. These benefits are hidden because we cannot know all that we have missed.
Perhaps one of these aborted people would have developed programs that would have reduced crime and delinquency. Have we missed people who would have created well-paying jobs in the inner city? There is a shortage of nurses in this country. How many nurses might we have had? What incredible ideas have not been thought? We do not know, but we are all poorer, having missed out on what could have been.
You may not care whether a particular football star was born or not. The winner of the Heisman may make no difference in your life. But with millions of abortions since 1973, you have missed something you care about. That you do not know what you have lost does not reduce your poverty. Whether you lost a shoulder to cry on during a difficult time or the world lost a brilliant scientist, the unmentioned tragedy of abortion is that we are all poorer, and we do not know the extent of our loss.
Had the advice of a physician been followed, Tim Tebow would never have been born. His life is a window into an unseen world. Through it we obtain a glimpse of what could have been. We can imagine a world made better through the creative, loving power of those we have never met. We cannot know what those valuable people would have given us, but we can be sure we have missed greatness.