Abortion is one of those subjects that polarizes people. I struggle with my views about it. However, in my heart, I would like to see it end.
We can argue about when life begins, or the right of women to choose, but the bottom line is abortion, in a loving world, shouldn’t have to happen. It shouldn’t be used as one more excuse for the church to fight with non-believers or within its own walls. It shouldn’t be used as a manipulative tool by cynical politicans aiming for a certain demographic.
There are many good homes for most children who are legally clear for adoption. With all of the negative that comes from abortion, it seems that there is, logically, no reason for it to exist.
Yet, exist it does. Why does it exist? Why is it such a thriving industry in this country and others?
The singer Keith Green advocated something radical when it came to abortion and other issues. It made him somewhat unpopular in some church circles. He insisted that Christians walk their talk. Not just have good intentions and do nothing.
An ardent opponent of abortion, he and his wife, Melody, offered real time assistance. They advocated volunteering in pregnancy centers who offered other alternatives to abortion. Taking unwed mothers into homes if income and space allowed it. They supported life by giving practical help to those who were considering abortion.
I remember the story of a girl I knew in high school. Raised in a strict home, she didn’t know what to do with the freedom of college life. She came home pregnant. The father of the child didn’t want to take responsibility. The whole thing was hushed, and when I asked the girl’s mother if there would be a baby shower, she looked at me sadly and said “No, it wouldn’t be appropriate.”
I have never forgot that remark. Even today, I want to challenge it. Did legitimacy or its lack thereof make the needs of a baby any less? What was more important? The girl and her unborn child, or the family’s pride and their standing in the community?
The young woman was shipped off to a sister in a distant state, where she had her child, kept it, and went to school. She later became a successful professional and married. None of this was in the order that her parents or church would have approved, but it did ultimately happen. And, except for her mothers’ funeral, I am not aware that she ever came back to her hometown or the church who turned its’ back on her in time of greatest need.
This could have been another abortion statistic, but because of her older sister’s support, it was not. It is still a common story, although less so today where single, unwed mothers are increasingly glamorized. However, there are still stories of women being kicked out of their homes by their families.
Such women often find themselves judged by the the frozen chosen in our society who zealously guard their pocketbooks almost as closely as they guard their hearts. And often, these are the ones who are the first to slap the “I vote pro life’ sticker on their vehicle. Somehow this is seen as moral behavior, and not outright selfishness and sin.
While I am glad to be part of an America where someone’s vote can cancel out mine, I am not not proud of fellow evangelical Christians who place impossible burdens on the shoulders of people caught in the consequences of poor choices. I am not proud of fellow Christians, Protestant and Catholic, who cry out in moral outrage, then do little or nothing to support desperate women in desperate situations.
Years ago, an Alabama newspaper carried a series of editorial letters from readers who self-righteously condemned people who were considering or who had had abortions to hell. A letter writer responded calmly and respectfully by asking what the self-appointed judges were doing to stop the hated abortions. Were they considering adoption? If not, were they donating diapers or volunteering at a pregnancy crisis center? Were they offering their guest room to an homeless, unwed mother?
Were they willing to sponsor a baby shower for an unwed mother at their church? Or would they be willing to provide phone support and give emotional support to such women in crisis? Rather than selling gently used baby items at a yard sale, had they considered giving them to a pregnancy center to distribute to such women?
What were they willing to do, as a moral ‘majority’ to practically end the scourge of abortion?
To my knowledge, no one responded to this challenge. I am confident the paper would have printed any such letter, but it didn’t happen. It was easier for abortion opponents to sit in smug judgment about perceived injustice rather than see the very real injustice that their hypocritical attitudes was allowing to continue.
And, maybe you can’t turn your home into a shelter for unwed mothers. Maybe you’re doing good to buy a gallon of milk for your own family. Maybe you have to depend on your family for hand me down baby clothing or the local thrift store for your nursery items. Maybe you yourself never had a shower because your friends never thought to give you one. But this problem, and our response to it, finally is not about us. If we are not part of the solution, then we become, by default, part of the problem.
When I stand before the Lord, I don’t want to be reminded of a time I saw a need and looked the other way. I have failed to respond to needs in front of me, and regret it, but as I get older, I hope I do it less. Ultimately it does me good to remember that I own nothing–not even my next breath. God owns it all, and just entrusts me with what I consider myself to be in possession of while on this earth. If it is in my power to do good for someone, then I need to move past what is easy for me, and just do it.
Today, I want to challenge my readers to reach beyond their comfort zone. Way beyond. If you want abortion to end, be part of how it ends. Not just by political posturing. Instead, by determined and sustained practical action. Action that comes from the heart of Jesus and finds its way to ours.
If enough of the church will rise up and stand together, abortion will end. After all, it is a business. If there are no customers because the body of Christ has lovingly and practically given women other options, the doors will forever close. And isn’t that what all of those who believe in the right to life really want?
If you can’t give money or supplies, give your time. If you can’t give your time, pray for the hearts of frightened people struggling with such a choice. Pray for the hearts who live with the consequences of having abortions. Live your lives as a sustained act of love to those who society and sadly, many in the body of Christ would judge and turn away from.
Choose today more than life. Choose to be part of making that life possible. Choose to be part of a community of believers who have stared death in the face and loudly shouted ‘NO’ with their works, their hearts, their lives and their politics. Stop being part of the problem.
Reach out in whatever way you can. You, the church can end abortion. You can end it without ever electing another politician, voting another vote. You can do it by reaching out to the stranger, seeking out that opportunity, or even the person in your church that it would be easier to avert your eyes from. Reach out.
Be part of the solution.