Sophomore year of college, I sat in my friend’s car and listened as she talked about getting an abortion. She was the type of person to laugh instead of cry, so she had this haunted chuckle with every word she spoke. I didn’t need to tell her abortion was murder. She knew. But her boyfriend was pushing for it. She didn’t want to face her parents. She was certain she would be kicked out of school and lose her scholarships if she went through with the pregnancy.
A few days later, I sat in her car again as she told me she went through with it. This time she could not suppress the tears. I know the decision was traumatic for her. I know she instantaneously regretted it. But the pressures of living the “perfect Christian life” at our Christian university made her so desperate that she was willing to secretly commit murder in order to keep up the facade.
A few months later, the same friend was pregnant again. I think she was almost relieved. I think, in a way, she had prayed for a second chance to make the right choice. This time she chose to keep the baby. All her original fears were realized. The boyfriend dumped her. Her parents pulled her out of school. She moved states away from all of her friends. I eventually lost touch with her and I do not know if she ever finished school.
Pro-lifers are often under the impression that women have abortions because of selfishness but it is much more complicated than that. Early abortions often occur because the mothers are scared and ashamed. Because, Christian nation, just as we stigmatize abortions, many of us judge and ridicule the unwed, young mother. We put them on the defensive. How do you defend yourself against a judgmental society? How do you ensure that you do not “ruin” your future? You make a preemptive strike. Quietly. Behind closed doors. Then you live with that choice.
Women are resilient. They are survivors and they are fighters. At some point, women got tired of hiding their shame. So the fight erupted onto the streets. Why should women stand alone and ashamed when they are “fixing” a problem that society (and the church) does not want to deal with? Roe v. Wade made abortion legal. Since then, countless laws have adjusted the parameters for a legal abortion, but the narrative and the dehumanizing syntax remains the same.
“You don’t want your fetus? That’s fine. It is only your body. We can take care of the clump of cells for you.”
Pro-lifers and pro-choicers take to the streets to ensure that their voices are heard. Pro-lifers chastise the pro-choicers as murderers. Speaking from personal experience, calling people horrible names does not evoke repentance. It, again, puts them on the defensive. How do you convince yourself that you are not a murderer? You get the law to justify the act and then focus on others’ shortcomings. Pro-choicers have the law that states they are doing no wrong. They cling to this fallacy. They accuse the pro-lifers of caring about fetuses more than the mothers or neglected children who are already here. I can see their argument. After all, the pro-life protests seem to get a lot more attention and support than the foster care system.
The cycle continues. In the end, no minds are changed. No individuals are helped. No extra seats are filled in churches on Sunday. Thousands of people are just hurting, and attacking each other because of the hurt.
Abortion is murder. But to our secular world, it is a necessary solution. If you want it to become unnecessary, be the light. Take care of the mother. Offer her options– prenatal care, an education, adoptive families if she wants one and parental support if she does not. Stop focusing on changing the law and focus on changing people’s hearts for Christ.
I have two daughters. I hope to instill in them the preciousness of keeping one’s purity until marriage. However, if either daughter ever comes to me and says she is pregnant, I will love that baby and I will love her. Unconditionally. I will not stow her away in shame. (Because, newsflash, I am a sinner, too.)
If you’ve had an abortion, there is mercy. King David himself committed murder to cover up an unexpected pregnancy (2 Samuel 11). Yet even after this, he was considered a man after God’s own heart. Jesus never ridiculed or rejected people who recognized their shortcomings. He applauded them for their humility and he enabled them to do wonderful things in his name.
If you are the Christian family member or friend of a woman who has found herself unexpectedly expecting, love her. Show her grace. Celebrate that life. Conception is not a sin. Walk with her through the journey of pregnancy. Help her find adoptive parents if she wants that, or support her as she transitions to motherhood, if she chooses that route. Both are good.
If you are a potential mother, who is trying to make an almost impossible decision, know that I understand what is being asked of you. You are being asked to sacrifice your time, your energy, and your body for a minimum of nine months. Giving birth to a baby that you don’t want is a completely selfless act. There is nothing easy about it. But please consider it. Pray. Even if you have never prayed in your life, I promise God will hear you and He will care. I promise you He will put people in your life to help you. Consider adoption. I have seen plenty of couples experience the joy of adopting, and it is beautiful.
One last thought: Jesus did not come to change the law, he came to save people’s souls and change their hearts. It is heartbreaking that the federal government supports abortion. But the government is a finite entity. It does not exist outside of this earth. It cannot overcome Christ’s love. It cannot suppress God’s voice.
In our fallen world, abortion has plenty of reasons to exist and mothers have plenty of reasons to choose it. Be the light, so that those reasons become obsolete.