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Life is precious at every season. For three Oklahoma mamas, the tiny lives inside them were precious too. How could these women know that the little kicks and dances inside their wombs would come to a halt in this way? On April 19, 1995, 23 years ago today, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building was bombed in Downtown Oklahoma City.

The bombing was marked in our memories by the 168 lives lost. There are three precious lives, however, that are never counted in the death toll, but had heartbeats nonetheless. The mamas of the three unborn babies, Carrie Ann Lenz, Robbin Ann Huff, and Sheila R. Gigger, lost their lives in the bombing, in turn their babies lost their lives too.

All three women have a seat on the lawn at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Their babies, however, do not have a seat of their own but rather have their name featured on their mothers’ seats.

I’m not writing this to utilize a tragedy to further an agenda. I am writing this with an honest and desperate question…

When do babies’ lives count?

There are three things society has told me in response to this question. Sometimes the response comes through outspoken pro-choice advocates, but often times, the response comes through a silent generation of Christians…

  1. Only when the mama wants it to count. I know in a world of rape and unconsented sex, there can be so much pain and unpreparedness when it comes to a forced or unexpected pregnancy. But life is still life. There are so many options for pregnant women that do not involve abortion. Mother Teresa once said something that nearly every church, crisis pregnancy center and adoption agency live for, “Abortion is murder in the womb… A child is a gift of God. If you do not want them, give the babies to me.”
  2. Only after they are born. This is the age-old debate. Does life begin at a certain age within the womb or the moment they are born? Psalm 139:13 proclaims the breath of God gently filling the tiny lungs of the smallest baby in the womb. He forms their jelly bean-size palm and draws fingers for them as they grow into what we recognize as hands. He kisses the little bald noggin and slowly etches out this unique child’s features. Yes! He knits us together, like a tender mother knitting and creating a masterpiece for their loved ones to see. From conception is when these little ones count.
  3. I don’t know. This point is most sad to me. I have heard this response to my question, “When do babies’ lives count?” You don’t know? My goodness! Like you don’t know if the Thunder will win this season? Like you don’t know what you’ll have for supper tonight? Like you don’t know why you ever took algebra? Is this such a trivial matter that a simple “I don’t know” will suffice? There are so many resources in the world today that will help you know. As believers, our greatest resource is Scripture! If you don’t know, then find out. This is a matter of life or death.

The three unborn babies in the 1995 bombing are a horrific and overwhelmingly sad example of lives lost by attack, forcefully taken. In 2016 alone, 3,942 Oklahoma babies were deemed to not count and were aborted. Three thousand, nine hundred, and forty-two.

When do babies’ lives matter?

How will you answer this question?