The state of New York passed abortion legislation on January 22nd, 2019 legalizing abortion up to 9 months gestation. Ironically, this date also marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Social media is in full attack mode…
I have read many conversations, most of which would not pass for conversation but instead people on both sides of the issue yelling at each other through social media. This issue is deeply personal for some and deeply emotional for most, and one post I read on Facebook summed up what I think many probably feel: pro-choice individuals feel like pro-life individuals couldn’t care less about women who have been raped or face the choice of carrying a baby full term that will have little or no chance of any quality of life, and pro-life individuals believe that it is the agenda of pro-choice individuals to, simply put, murder babies.
I think that neither of these statements represent what most people think about this issue. While there are always extremes on either side pro-choice or pro-life, I believe people on one side struggle with deciding if it’s okay to end the life of a child, and people on the other side care about the mother who faces a difficult, devastating decision.
I am pro-life.
I believe that all life is precious.
However, if I care about the mom who faces a difficult choice or has perhaps made a choice that would not align with what I believe to be right, I think that’s where I and everyone else who feels strongly about the right for a child to see life, can ask the question “what can I do?” The next question should be “what can we do, if we believe that these little ones are precious and should be protected?” How do we we speak as scripture instructs for those “who cannot speak for themselves”?
Maybe we begin by showing compassion.
1 Corinthians 13 tells us that even if we speak with the language of men and angels or (my emphasis added) we are sure that we represent the right view, if we do not do it with love we are just making noise. I believe there are several areas where we have the opportunity to show compassion.
When we as Christians (followers of Christ) are the loudest voice in the room (or Facebook), announcing our convictions to whoever may be listening, is our conversation guided by compassion? When we speak through a variety of medias to let everyone know what we think, do we really know who our audience is?
Possibly, it’s someone who is pregnant due to a variety of circumstances, maybe by choice, maybe not…
Possibly, it’s someone who is in conflict over what to do…
Possibly, it’s someone who has received the news that their baby has medical conditions that will make a normal quality of life impossible .
Possibly, it is someone who has already had an abortion, devastated by the choices that they made, whatever the reason.
If it were you in any of these situations, who would you want to confide in and discuss your situation with? Is it the person who shouts the loudest that you are wrong and possibly bound for hell because of your choices? Is it the person who can back up their thoughts with chapter and verse, but offer little in the way of understanding and grace? (See John 8:1-11) Or is it the people who support your decision and are willing to go to the mat to defend it? Sadly as people who have received much grace and forgiveness we often find ourselves in the seat of the first two scenarios. And leave support to those are the other side.
I am not defending abortion.
As I stated earlier, I am pro-life. But in one of the biggest issues of our time really for the last 45 years I believe that this issue should be approached with the same grace and love that we have all been extended for our shortcomings.
What can we do?
Compassion is the most important but there are practical things as well.
1. Whether it be your daughter, a friend, or someone you don’t even know, be that person they can confide in. We live in a sexually-charged culture. Hooking up is a big part of our social scene regardless of age. Pregnancies are often not intended but they happen. We the followers of Christ need to be the ones that people feel comfortable talking to when that happens.
2. Get involved. Do you know where the local Pregnancy Care Centers are? People have been quick to picket Planned Parenthood, but are you just as willing to volunteer and support your local alternatives to Planned Parenthood? Are you willing to get involved in youth groups or young adult groups in any forum where you have the opportunity to listen and to help?
3. Adopt – if you are in a place where you can do it. If you can’t, become a foster parent. Many young women elect to carry their children to conception but find themselves unable to care for them once the baby is born. There are many groups that advocate and prepare you for adoption or foster care.
4. Pray. Pray for your pastors and church leaders that they would have the courage to speak up in a way that is welcoming and not condemning to those who may be considering abortion or who have already had one. There is no sin that is beyond forgiveness. Pray for leaders in our nation that would be willing to stand for the rights of the unborn and not be swayed by opinion or votes.
And finally, remember everyone is precious and loved even those you don’t agree with. We cannot cease to fight for the life of these little ones. But if want a voice to speak we have to do things differently.
Your opinion may be right, but does it make a difference?