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.