About Abortion

I have questioned some of my attitudes about abortion.  As a result, some of my beliefs have been solidified, others modified, and others reversed.  Let me share an example of each.

I believed using abortion as a form of birth control was wrong.  A fundamental issue seems to be a woman’s right to do to her own body whatever she desires.  Some believe the fetus is part of the woman’s body; it is not a human body in and of itself.  From that view, an abortion is nothing more than cosmetic surgery.  In my reconsideration, I cannot escape the hypocrisy of a judge declaring the murder of a pregnant woman as a double homicide while another judge says that a mother who aborts her fetus is simply removing an unwanted tumor.  A human fetus is a human life, or it isn’t.  It cannot alternate back and forth at the whim of the court or even the mother.  And I see the line between fetus and human to be so fine that it is practically invisible.  I recall several examples that highlights Jesus’ defense of the defenseless, and an unborn human is as defenseless as I can imagine. Therefore, I still believe abortion, as a method of birth control, is wrong.

I believed that abortion, as a form of birth control, should be illegal.  My underlying belief was that if abortion was illegal then abortions would stop.  At the least, the number of abortions would dramatically decrease.  However, history does not prove this true.  Slavery is illegal yet there are more slaves now than at any other time in history – over twenty million worldwide according to one report.  The US State Department estimates that approximately 16,000 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States every year to serve, for all practical purposes, as slaves.  The FBI has rescued more children destined for a life of sex slavery from my home state, Ohio, than any other state in the nation.  Like antislavery laws, making abortion illegal will fall short of stopping abortions.  In fact, it will probably cause an increase in other forms of unsafe, unexpected, and criminal behaviors.  My belief is reversed.  I no longer see anti-abortion legislation as the solution to this moral and ethical issue.  Legislation isn’t enough.

I used to believe that picket lines, protests, boycotts, and other non-violent demonstrations yielded only negative results.  However, the negative results I witnessed were mainly due to ignorant and hateful methods.  I have no doubt that unified protests done in wisdom and love can turn an unwanted pregnancy into a loving mother-child relationship.  I am willing to modify my belief with condition.  If these exhibitions are done wisely as acts of love for all concerned, I believe they have great merit.  But such displays alone will not stop abortions.

Honestly, I think most of the anti-abortion efforts I consider, let alone do, fall short.  Actually they fall upon the wrong shoulders.  I throw blame or responsibility at government, special-interest groups, and even specific political parties.  I sure don’t take any personal responsibility, and that makes me question my personal conviction on this matter.  What could I do if I am willing to personally sacrifice?

  • More that 85% of insurance companies cover abortions.  Am I willing to investigate my insurance company’s policy?  Will I write a letter of dissent if they pay for abortions?  Would I drop my insurance in favor of another company who does not cover abortion costs even if the premiums are more costly?
  • Am I willing to volunteer at a shelter or clinic for unwed pregnant girls?  Would I support the shelter or clinic financially?
  • Will I listen to those who disagree and really try to understand before I speak my beliefs?  Will I speak my beliefs with love, reason, and grace to those who disagree? 
  • Would I promise a pregnant girl, who has little income, my personal financial support?  Can I promise emotional support when it is lacking?  Can I care about her as I would care for my own child?
  • Do I know how Jesus feels about this issue?  Do I seek his counsel as much as I listen to politicians, talk show voices, and media commentators?  Who will I follow?
  • Would I be eager to lead a support group for expectant mothers?  How ready am I to mentor soon-to-be fathers?
  • Will I refuse to push my personal convictions regarding birth control onto those with different beliefs, support, options, and responsibilities?
  • Will I promise, and keep my promise, to pray daily for God to intervene with grace, hope, courage, and wisdom in the lives of all those facing the choice of abortion?
  • Do I comfort those who have abortion in their past and desperately need grace for healing?
  • Can I love those who disagree with me?  Can I behave like Jesus toward them rather than acting like the Pharisees and Sadducees who Jesus so severely chided?

All these questions, and more, I must answer – not only to myself but to God.  It is time for my behavior to change.  Abortion is not a political issue but a moral one, and my foolish, hateful attitude, actions, and words make no positive difference.  I do too little of the wise and good.  I need to love a lot more.  And love is a verb.

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6 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Politics

6 responses to “About Abortion

  1. chuck

    My personal belief is life begins at conception and that abortion is morally wrong. So in my own life I would not consider it as an option. However,I also believe to attempt to legislate it as a crime in our society is not realistic or a pragmatic option. We will never be successful in forcing people to have babies they dont want,nor does society want to deal with the financial implications of supporting them. Therefore I believe our best approach when we know people in this position is to appeal to them out of love and support to have a change of heart.

  2. Phil

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts, and greatly appreciate your honesty in grappling with this issue. I’ve long been perplexed by my own lack of understanding on what actions are appropriate, and what actions I should take in response to this broadly accepted practice. I have just a couple additional thoughts that apply primarily to myself.

    First, I’m embarrassed when I catch myself rendering opinions and judgments regarding abortion, yet I show very little concern for my next-door neighbor. He has a soul just like the unborn baby. I believe God has commissioned me to share His glory, in some small way, with my neighbor in need. In some ways it’s much easier, and less threatening, to attack abortion through politics.

    Second, I’ve been horribly desensitized. Hearing about all the atrocities throughout the world seems to paralyze me. Because I’m unable to impact millions, does not release me from the responsibility I have to impact one or two. Knowing that abortion is a massive problem should not prevent me from helping one or two young women who may be contemplating abortion.

    I absolutely agree that abortion is a moral, not political, issue. I believe that when my friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others observe me making sacrifices in order to help a desperate unwed mother, it has great impact. In a small way, they see faith in action. However, if they see me carrying a sign protesting abortion, I doubt it will have much impact. I still vehemently oppose legalized abortion, but I don’t believe the legal system will change hearts or attitudes.

    Finally, I believe abortion is wrong, because I believe God’s Word. I am very convinced that we are known by God before we are born. The Bible is pretty clear, and I cannot fathom believing in the Holy Bible, yet condoning the practice of abortion. I do not like to refer to this belief as a “personal conviction,” or “personal choice.” Scripture is very clear that I must not judge others. But at the same time, I don’t want to fall into the relativistic cesspool where I can choose to believe whatever is convenient.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughtful perspective Phipps. It helps.

  3. Charlie Keller

    Indeed, you have put into words many of my thoughts on this subject. The main one being that of taking ACTION in relation to those directly involved. I have zero interest in pushing for legislation anymore.

  4. Julie

    I confess I have often felt guilty with regard to this issue. I felt that I had a responsibility to try to make a difference for the unborn but felt overwhelmed. Where to start and what to do?? It seemed that the standard approach was staged protests which seemed to me ineffective. However, I think I used this as an excuse for inaction. It is certainly easier than actually getting my hands dirty, so to speak, and actually getting involved at a shelter or clinic. How sad that it never even ocurred to me to at least commit to pray regularly about this issue. Another example of an opportunity to “put my money where my mouth is”.

  5. Arlan

    One point that we view from slightly different angles is that I believe abortion is a “both/and” rather than “either/or” issue. It is both a moral & ethical issue and a political one.

    Consider your example of slavery. If we were living during the time of slavery and we believed it to be wrong, would we stop at just doing what we could to relieve the slaves’ suffering by providing what direct aid and comfort we could, or would we also redress our governments to end its practice thus promoting aid, comfort, and freedom for all slaves, not just the ones we knew personally. I think the latter is preferable.

    Thanks for making me think. Iron sharpening iron.

  6. marilyn

    I agree. Abortion is wrong and we’ve lost the battle of legislating it away. Will this be what our generation is remembered for?

    When I hear of unloving protests, I cringe. What are we doing in the name of Jesus!

    When a friend told me her daughter had two abortions, I was heartbroken for those babies and for that young mom. But when my friend told me she had encouraged this, I was very angry (on the inside).

    Could we have come together to help this young mother make a different choice? Could these babies have been protected?

    I’m often overwhelmed on this issue. We’ve lost the battle in society. But when I have opportunity to show love to someone whose life has been touched by abortion, I have another chance. . .

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