This is the generation that will abolish abortion

When my son died two years ago I was told, “It was just a miscarriage.” No, he was my son.

On the morning of February 23, 2011 I awoke to the scream of my wife coming from the bathroom down the hall. I jumped out of bed and ran to her, finding her standing next to the toilet bleeding. In tears she pointed to the toilet where the body of my son (approximately 12 weeks into his development) was floating.

I stood in shock for a moment as we did not even know we were pregnant; the test we took weeks earlier came up negative. Then I noticed my wife was not steady and she was bleeding badly. I wrapped a towel around her to stop the bleeding and scooped my son’s body out of the toilet. I then loaded my wife into the van, as I knew driving her to the hospital would be faster than waiting for an ambulance.

When we arrived in the emergency room the attending doctor immediately called for a specialist, as he could not stop the bleeding; there was blood literally on the walls and floor. As the specialist came into the room he looked up and said, “Oh my God; is that her blood pressure?”  My heart stopped.  I have to say that was the scariest moment of my entire life as I thought for a moment I might lose my wife.

The doctor was able to stop the bleeding and my wife was stabilized. The doctor pointed to the container holding our son and said her would “take care of that.”  I told him, “No, we are going to have a funeral.” The hospital actually treated us extremely well.  They were very sensitive to our loss; I was surprised.

I called the pastor of the church we were attending at the time to tell him what happened and ask about a funeral service for our son. He did not know what to do as he had never had a funeral for a child who was miscarried.  I ended up doing all of the legwork and making the arrangements myself

That Sunday as the pastor was announcing the funeral, I was shocked when he stopped mid-announcement to make a disclaimer. He mentioned that many women in the church had gone through a miscarriage but had not chosen to have a funeral and that it was “no big deal.”  “This is just something the Kempers chose to do.” I was appalled; I could not believe that this was being said as I sat there days after the death of my child, hearing how it was “no big deal.”

That Tuesday at the funeral, other than the Pastor, his wife, intern and one another couple, no one else from our church showed up to the funeral. I remember standing near the graveside wondering why no one was there; none of the elders and most of the deacons did not come.

Later when I called the pastor and asked him why no one else showed up, he said that people did not really knew my son. I replied, “But they know my family.” I then asked him if this had been his son or any other grown kid in our church, would they have been there?  He replied, “Yes, but this was not any other funeral; it was just a miscarriage.”

“Just a miscarriage.”

I really could not believe my ears; did he really just say that about my son? Mind you, this is a very pro-life church. This is a church which supported the work I do and even financially gave to this pro-life work. How could a pastor who was so pro-life say something like this?

The answer is simple. Even those who call themselves Christian or pro-life sometimes cannot 100% understand the full humanity, the full personhood of the child inside the womb. If we did, abortion would be over.

We still see some kind of difference between the children in the womb and the children running around the streets today. We still are more emotionally distraught over the shootings in a school then the dismemberments in abortion clinics. We have not actually seen abortion for what it truly is.

I will concede two differences between the children in the womb and the children running around today. First difference is their age, what stage of life development they are in. Zygote, Embryo, Fetus, Infant, Toddler, Teen, Adult…. These are all stages of the life of a human person.

The second difference is why I am writing this story, the reason I have given more than 20 years of my life to fighting for the abolishment of abortion. It is their voice. The children in the womb have no voice; they are in need of someone to do as Proverbs 24:11 commands us to do: Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.

When those who call themselves followers of Christ, Christians, begin to recognize that abortion is actually an act of homicide, the abolition of abortion will take place. When we show the same rage and intolerance that we have for things like child molestation, rape, school shootings or any other crime against humanity, we will end this holocaust that is now over 40 years running in America.

My wife and I sat down with our other children and looked at our son’s body and asked them to name him. We chose Benjamin Davis Kemper. Benjamin Davis Kemper is as much my child as any of our living children. Benjamin Davis is buried in a cemetery in Troy, OH where he was given the dignity he deserved with a funeral and burial.

This Saturday, February 23rd we will visit that gravesite and mourn the loss of our son. We will look to heaven and know that he is with Christ, waiting for our family reunion one day.

While I stand at his gravesite that day I know I will also be reminded of the 55 million gravesites that don’t exist for all those whose lives have been stolen by surgical abortion. I will shed a tear for my nation, a nation which has turned her back on the most innocent and venerable of her citizens. I will also renew my commitment to shining the light of Christ and truth on the evil of our age, the abortion holocaust.

Will you join me in this commitment? Will you Stand True?

Bryan Kemper

14 Comments

  1. Posted February 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully written Bryan. And YES, I will stand with you on these commitments.

  2. Posted February 21, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Bryan, I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much it hurts because I went through a similar ordeal. When I miscarried, the ER doctor told me that the “conception” had come out. I was so disgusted and upset with him. We requested to take the body with us for burial but they cremated him/her without our permission. It has been over two years since this happened and I still haven’t fully gotten over it. I describe my experience in more detail here: http://jsbaileywrites.blogspot.com/2012/06/conception-came-out-story-of-me-story.html

  3. Lydia Mead
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Bryan, that was heartbreaking to read but thank you for writing about your loss. I find it hard to believe that your own pastor could be so callous in his way of treating you and your family. Yet, I know that as you say, amongst even christians, miscarriage is not seen as the death of a child. Instead of grieving in solitude with your family, you made a point of having a proper funeral for Benjamin, and that was light and salt to your church, even if they didn’t recognise it as such.

  4. amanda roach
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I understand what you went thru. I went thru the same when my first was born 14 weeks too soon and passed at 2 days old. people still told me it was just a miscarriage. May our angels play together in heaven.

  5. Judy
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully done, and a much needed article! One of our daughters had four children, no problems, then three miscarriages, then little Charlotte, then four more…. they do NOT know what happened, but those seven little souls are my grandchildren, and they play in heaven with our two little saints, and all nine of them have been named.

    We are with you 400 % <3 THank you!

  6. Posted February 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your beautiful testimony about your precious son, Benjamin! I had one miscarriage in my “time”, my husband and I in our late 40′s then, and similar “place” in which “it” occurred, but not as far along. In fact, my doctor told me, though my tests were positive for pregnancy, there was no “baby” per se, just a mass of tissue that never formed…no heartbeat at all….probably due to the fact that we unknowingly conceived while I was on prescription medication for depression, and the meds interferred with the “baby’s” development…hench so heartbeat! Thus, saying to us, most likely a “baby” never really exsisted! But, I believe differently because of a “day” that my husband and I experienced where, at the end of the day, when he came home from work, he described a “thought” he had early that morning about our “baby”, and proceded to tell me. I stood in amazement afterward, and with a smile on my face, proclaimed to him that I had had the exact same thought earlier that morning, and couldn’t wait to tell him what I had thought and “felt in my heart” when he came home from work that evening! We both said we “felt” we were going to have a little girl and that we should name her, Mary Kathryn, but call her “MaryKate”. Named after the Blessed Mother and myself!
    To me…that was confirmation that a “child” did exsist in my womb, and now exsists in Heaven with God! The only regret I have was not thinking , no matter what “she looked like” at the stage of miscarriage, bc all I saw was a large, dark mass of blood (in the toilet), that this is a “person” God had called into being with HIM, and that maybe we should have tried to “capture” her….after reading your passage I wish now I had been more attuned to what was happening to me at the time. But, I know she is with HIM and that one day we will see her in her beatiful fullness and goodness of God. Thank You for sharing and keep up the great Pro-Life work. I support you and LIFE 100%~

  7. Kim McGrothers
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    So very sorry for your loss Bryan. I will be praying for you and your family tomorrow. We miscarried our third child, Bailey, at 12 weeks. The first place I went after our appointment where we found out our baby’s heart had stopped was to my church. The pastor gave me information for Back In His Arms Again ministry. It is run by Shawn and Kambra Malone out of Westerville, Ohio. They help families plan a funeral and make arrangments for the baby’s remains to be picked up. They started this ministry after they had miscarried their child Gabriel and were given his remains in a bio-hazard bag. Go to http://www.backinhisarmsagain.com to find out more about their ministry. Going to their benefit dinner on March 9, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.

    When I was in the hospital for the D&C, the staff brought me a paper to sign consenting to the disposal of any “tissue” from the procedure. I told them I would not sign it, that we were having a funeral and ALL of our baby’s remains were being picked up by the funeral director (arranged by BIHAA). They all looked surprised that we were having a funeral and asked “How far along were you”. My response was “Does it matter? It’s our child”. The nurse asked if she could stay in the room when the pathologist came in the room to hear what I was about to tell them. She had never experienced a woman wanting her baby’s remains. I was so sad to read the discharge papers when I got home too. It said “spontaneous abortion”. Now I know that is the medical term that they use but they so need to change that. Made me sick to even see that word on papers with my name on it.

    Praying that people will wake up and realize that it’s precious life no matter the size, no matter how far along in the pregnancy you are at and that that life should be honored.

  8. Rachel
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Bryan, first of all, my condolences to you and your family. My family and I have suffered a similar loss, at a similar point in a pregnancy (Ava Maria was born/died on 9/4/08). People just don’t know what to say or do. We have no family nearby, nor many friends at the point where we suffered our loss (we had just moved to the area less than 6mos before), and the only recognition of our loss came from friends living in our old home state, half way across the continent. They sent flowers in memoriam, and had a mass said for our child and our family…

    It truly is strange, you know, to have those who are so pro-life, completely ignore a miscarriage. If a woman wants a abortion, we show her ultrasounds, pictures and physical representations of her baby at a given stage of development. We send her to crisis pregnancy clinics. We try to arrange for help and support in any way we can, just so that that mother sees that she has other options.

    But a mother (and father! they feel the loss as much, in their own way) who loses a child she wanted, who would never have entertained the very thought of an abortion, is ignored. Her grief is regarded as embarrassing, too much, and something that ought, by all means, be kept behind closed doors and not brought up in public. People say they are sorry, maybe, and then leave you alone. They don’t call and ask how you are doing, when anniversaries (of the loss or of due dates) roll around. Church families don’t have any liturgical way of dealing with it, in many cases, so it is regarded as a family thing, that the church needn’t be overly involved with (as you found with your pastor’s statement of ‘its no big deal’…). In my Church, there are ways and means established, although they are not always something that the general congregation is conversant with (unfortunately)…a life is a life, no matter how short, no matter how long.

    I think that if we want those on the outside to see we truly live our beliefs, it is not simply a matter of crisis pregnancy centers, and abortion center vigils, and March for Life once a year. Its how we deal with the wanted pregnancies too. Do we mourn, as a church body, as a church family, when we lose a member? We should. We should celebrate each life, support the family left behind, and help them in whatever way possible. This may be one ‘failing’ of the pro-life movement in general. If pro-life congregations want to do more, they should support their pregnant members, and if a loss is experienced, have a way of dealing with it. A memorial service, a committee similar to those that help the rest of the bereaved (meals, simply coming to help in whatever way possible–most who are experiencing this sort of loss, have other small children, and cannot take the time to grieve or recover properly as a result), that would have a sense of what to say, and do (probably best to not just leave that open to everyone. Foot in mouth disease runs rampant about a woman who has miscarried, it seems).

    Perhaps that is what we who have lost children can do for our fellow Christians, through our churches. We have a special window on the pregnancy/loss experience that one who has not btdt, can really understand. And yet, grief is grief. We don’t want to hear things like “Oh, I am glad it was so early”, “You can try again”, “It was just God’s will…or even worse, “Better for it to have died now than to have had some disability” (as if I would love my child less…).

    I’ve gone on long enough, but seriously, I think that this is a big side effect of our contraceptive cultural mentality. Until we see that for what it is, and look at the repercussions (short and long term, cultural/societal and personal), we won’t really be able to comprehend the great evil that is done.

    God bless you and your family, Bryan. Please hug your wife for me (even though I don’t know her), and tell her she is not alone. I will be praying for you, your family, and baby Benjamin tomorrow, as you remember his brief life and honor his memory.

  9. Angela
    Posted February 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I cried reading your story i had the samething happen to me on 1/11/07 i “miscarried” my son at just over 4months into my pregnancy. They however induced my labor. The next day friday 1/12/07 at 5:30pm my local hospital labor and delivery floor said i would have to fill out a death certificate before i go home the next day i asked about it before leaving they said oh NO YOU DON’T YOU MISCARRIED we don’t need that. I was distraughted no clue what to do or who to turn to and left it alone i cry every holiday that comes around every 1/12 i got a tattoo with angel wings with his name in it Michael wishing i had a gravesite to go to. Wishing i knew what they did with my son’s body that was no bigger then my palm of my hand. I wish i would of took action and asked questions why i didnt have to. I did have him baptised in the lords name. That’s the only thing i have of his life his baptism certificate hugs to ur wife and happy to hear she had you by her side like i had my boyfriend by mine.HAPPY BIRTHDAY BENJAMIN

  10. Alicia A. Carlson
    Posted February 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    My husband and I have four living children who joined our family through adoption or birth, and also 3 pre born children who were miscarried at 6 wks, 8 wks, and 5 wks gestation. Our miscarriages all occurred within a 13 month time period. We named each of our pre born children, and had funerals for them with our pastor, children, and parents. I am so thankful to have publicly recognized my children, and to have given them grave markers. They are my children, and I loved them from the very moment I knew they were growing inside of me.

  11. Elise Ambrose
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    I will pray for your family and will always fight for those that do not have a voice! Each and every life is a blessing from God.

  12. PS
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Bryan -while I agree with the humanity of every life, there are more than 55 million to mourn because here you talk of miscarriages where 10-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. that’s A LOT. alot more

    “The answer is simple. Even those who call themselves Christian or pro-life sometimes cannot 100% understand the full humanity, the full personhood of the child inside the womb. If we did, abortion would be over.”

    The answer is not so simple.. Physiologically & emotionally (we had a miscarriage too) humanity IS understood by many.
    That church as you said does understand personhood as many Christians DO !

    You or I would end it tomorrow. but of the “others”( “who are the others? “) that do not end ‘choice’

    Is it political powerLESSness ( -all branches & no unified grand voice to cease them)
    Is it apathy because of above
    Is it a culture that loves pleasure and then convenience
    Is it a church that educates their children in ‘Egypt’ and expect them to act like ‘Isrealies’
    Or is it the demonic forces of blood sacrifices that fuel ‘choice’.

    The pilar & support of the Truth can do all things through Christ!

    Pray practice & preform our obedience to Christ alone ….and pass it on !

  13. Mary
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    It is sad to say, but I almost envy you. I lost a child just slightly younger than your son but could never retrieve his/her body in the pool of blood. It has been heartbreaking, never to have actually seen the baby, never to have been able to give him/her a funeral. Even though it would have been impossible to save the baby’s life, I felt I was failing him/her.
    It is sad that so few people understood you. Just wish to say I do. I also hope you will have the joy of a little brother or a little sister for your son. It does not replace the deceased one, but gives you new hopes and a new life to cherish. Wil pray for you and your wife (as for your child, he is in good hands).

  14. Gretchen Sheridan
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Kemper,

    I thank you for this piece from the bottom of my heart. I feel that words can not accurately express what this piece means to me. Your message resonates something that I have felt and said for some time. While those precious lives lost to abortion are certainly important, I feel that we are too often forgetting the little souls lost to miscarriage. Even some of the most pro-life people seem to give little thought to the tiny souls that left to soon. It’s like the children’s lives who are aborted trump the lives of those children who were wanted but were called by God from the womb.

    We lost a child by miscarriage in 2010. It was (is) the hardest thing that I have ever been through in my life. We were shocked to learn that we would have to plead with our health care team and hospital for the right to bury our child in a cemetery. This is so unjust! We made the arrangements, we were taking responsibility for any financial costs, yet were told repeatedly that it was not an option. We were treated at a Catholic hospital and I asked what would happen to my child’s remains if our funeral director was not permitted to pick up the remains for burial. I was told, to my horror, that that since the hospital was Catholic, they could not incinerate the remains themselves (that would be desecration to a corpse), so they made arrangements with another non-religious hospital to incinerate the remains as “hazardous waste!” It still angers and saddens me to this day.

    By the grace of God and my husband’s persistence, we were ultimately granted the opportunity to bury our preborn child. No one other than our priest and one family member attended our service, either, but I take much comfort in knowing that my child’s body was treated with dignity and placed where we may visit and celebrate a life, albeit a short one.

    Families experiencing miscarriage should be given this as an option. Some may not want to pursue burial, but as grieving families who recognize life inside the womb, we should be afforded this opportunity without begging, without awkward glaces, and without shame. A child, whether grown to full term or his life cut short in the womb is a work of our God and should be honored as such.

    Thank you for sharing your story, for demanding that we remember all life, and for allowing me to share my grief as well.

    My God bless you, your family, and little Benjamin.

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