How infertility gave me the gift of compassion about abortion

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I never thought I'd have any compassion or understanding for someone who has had an abortion.

The thought of killing a developing baby so offended everything in me, it was virtually impossible to imagine a scenario where I could ever get past it — especially the longer our battle with infertility dragged on. Wherever I go, I always seem to make friends with the atheists, the liberals and the outsiders, but I've never made room for those who fight on the side of abortion.

My wife Jennie and I have found a way to have joy and love despite the baby-shaped hole in our hearts, but we really do feel empty inside at times. And seeing that empty look in my loving wife's eyes was almost too much to bear. I've dealt with physical pain my whole life and I can handle a lot. What forced me to me knees day after day and night after night, however, was seeing my beautiful wife try to be strong for me.

Who doesn't love a good concert?Photo credit: Jon Boldt

I know we don't get everything we want in life, but the 14-year rollercoaster of infertility has been gut-wrenchingly painful, and not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Jennie is my best friend, and while I know the fires of life we have endured have forged a bond that will never be broken, it doesn't make it any easier — and man, do those fires get hot!

Some little boys dream of being an astronaut, some an athlete. Not me. All I ever wanted to be was a dad. Whether it was how to throw a baseball, how to cook the perfect steak or how to drive, I dreamt of the day I would be the one passing knowledge on to a little boy of my own.

I am the oldest of seven and I have three sisters, and the way they looked at my dad made me want to have a little girl of my own — I couldn't wait to be wrapped around her little finger. Just thinking of that now brings a tear to my eye and has me more determined than ever to not give up.

RELATED: The slippery slope of abortion just fell off a cliff

We just spent the last year consulting with more fertility specialists and trying different treatments, and ultimately, IVF. We found out a few weeks ago that our embryo that was created and transferred did not take, and the pregnancy never even got off the ground.

We had been so hopeful and thought for sure this was the time it would work. Needless to say, we were crushed. I tried to pick up the pieces as quickly as possible so I could be there for her, and I did, but it wasn't easy. Now we are facing what could be our final shot (unless we win the Powerball or something).

This is the moment we thought all our dreams came true.Photo credit: Jon Boldt

Throughout this process, I can't help but think of all the unwanted pregnancies versus how many people are struggling with infertility. It really started to upset me thinking about all the drug addicts and teenagers who were, as Barack Obama said, "punished with a baby." I found myself becoming angry, bitter and resentful.

Just a quick glance at the numbers is enough to make your head explode.

In 2017, there were about 880,000 abortions. At any given time, about 10 percent of women between the ages of 15-44 struggle to conceive — that is 6.1 million in total. Think about that. There are enough women who want to have a baby but can't to adopt the number of aborted babies nearly 7 times over. The cost of adoption is a whole other can of worms I won't get into, but if we could reform adoption, we could all but eliminate the need for any abortions.

Over the past couple of months, I've lost count of the number of shots I've administered to my wife. First, it was the hormones to aid in the egg retrieval process, and then it was to help the embryo to implant and continue to grow. Over that period of time, I was excited and hopeful, yet the nagging feelings of resentment wouldn't pass.

You don't want to know how much money is in this picture!Photo credit: Jon Boldt

I knew the only way to get over these feelings was through prayer and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, so I went to work. I didn't want to be angry anymore. I wanted to enjoy the process of getting pregnant, so I hit my knees. The thoughts came slowly at first, and one was something Glenn shared that might not seem like it correlates at first, but bear with me.

This is what he said:

Hate is not the opposite of love, apathy is.

Here's the meaning: hate and love operate based on the same emotions and engagement — but with different goals and outcomes. What kills love is not hate, it's apathy. And this inspired me to come up with a solution. I felt like I couldn't overcome this without putting together a path forward, and this quote hit me like a bolt of lightning.

We don't stand much of a chance on changing the minds of the militant left, and they don't stand much of a chance of changing the minds of pro-lifers. The battle lies in the mushy middle where apathy has a stranglehold. Apathy is the enemy to both pro-life and pro-choice advocates — whoever wins that battle wins the war.

So many people say they would never have an abortion, but they support someone else's right to choose. That's the group we need to connect with. The upcoming movie, Unplanned, is one way we can pierce their hearts and open their minds to see the evil abortion truly is. We must do this all without judgement in our hearts, and instead, act with love and compassion.

We need to separate the real people from the organizations: Planned Parenthood and the politicians who have pushed this agenda so far that we are now debating whether or not it's ok to kill a baby after it's born. I can't believe this is where we are. This agenda is pure evil and we must take a stand.

The deeper I've thought and prayed about this subject, the more I feel relieved of the burden to judge anyone for any reason.

It is beyond me to understand what's going through the mind of a teenage girl who thinks her life is over when she finds out she's pregnant. Likewise, the pain of a sexual assault is something I cannot begin to fathom, and compounding that with a pregnancy is a decision I have no room to judge. The deeper I've thought and prayed about this subject, the more I feel relieved of the burden to judge anyone for any reason. We will all be held to account for what we've made of the life granted to us by our Creator, but we are not meant be the judge.

It's time to throw winning and losing out the window along with all the tactics that have failed completely. We cannot change hearts and minds if all we are trying to do is change the scoreboard. This issue is about people, love and compassion — and loving someone doesn't include keeping score.

I believe there are four ways we can change our behavior in order to achieve different results. But the key is making these a part of us, not a tool to get what we want. Here are the four behaviors :

FORGIVE: We must forgive those who have chosen to abort. It's not only the compassionate thing to do, it's what is required of us by our Savior, Jesus Christ. Plus, forgiveness always edifies and uplifts all parties, allowing reconciliation to happen.

LOVE: Find ways to show love to those who have already made this choice as well as those who are now facing this decision.

STRENGTHEN: Strengthen those who are in this situation and educate them on all the options available to them. So many times the choice seems to be either "ruin your life" or "abort." There are so many other options, and education is key.

STAND: Take a stand, and don't let the forces of darkness win. Refuse to give in, and help people shake the apathy from their slumbering eyes.

Politically, the focus needs to be on waking the sleeping masses, because the left and the abortion racket do not have the polls in their favor. By and large, people tolerate abortion to a certain point, but very few actually embrace the choice, and, in fact, a lot of those who have had abortions deeply regret it.

The trial my wife and I are facing isn't entirely unlike that of a woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy. Both have options and choices, both involve the creation of another life and both have eternal consequences. Apathy would convince my wife and me to give up trying and enjoy a life of traveling, doing fun things and getting a good night's sleep. It also would convince the unintentionally pregnant woman that her choice doesn't really matter in the long run — it's just a clump of cells that she can get rid of and forget.

We must fight apathy with all we have in us, no matter the issue. Let's put down our cell phones and turn off Netflix once in a while, and live life.

We must fight apathy with all we have in us. Let's put down our cell phones and turn off Netflix once in a while, and live life. If we can combine being pro-life with pro-choices, meaning educate and give more options, I believe more will choose life.

This time around, we'll be transferring two frozen embryos and the doctor says the odds are good at least one will take — and it's 50/50 we'll end up with twins. Who knows? Maybe our dreams will come true this round. Or maybe we will continue to be our nieces' and nephews' favorite aunt and uncle while we explore other options.

No matter what happens, I know love and life are most important, and I will defend both with every ounce of strength God will grant me. I will gladly stand shoulder to shoulder with any and all who will join me.

Even if you've had an abortion.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.