My mom was 17 when she found out she was pregnant. Unmarried, dating a guy she loved but wasn't totally sure she should marry (a guy not at all committed to God), she had a lot of choices to make. Should she tell her parents now or wait until the evidence became undeniable? Should she drop out of school? Should she still apply to college? Should she marry her boyfriend?
Fortunately, she never considered aborting the baby a choice. Fortunate for me, anyway. I've always been immeasurably thankful she valued my life (and her commitment to Christ) enough to keep me.
Not every young girl has that gift, the gift my mother had...
the unwavering foundation of faith that takes abortion off the table.
the unrelenting hope that says raising a baby is possible, that everything, anything is possible with God.
Not every girl has a community of people surrounding her, people tied to her by the blood of Christ, eager to help bear the weight of hard (beautifully redeemable) consequences.
Not every girl has the wisdom that comes from the Spirit of God.
Not every girl knows her Father.
And so, for some, abortion is a choice. A feasible option.
I suppose some women who get abortions are calloused. Some are selfish.
But some women who get abortions are just scared. Some think death would be better than a lifetime of poverty, hunger, and pain. Some walk into a clinic with a wad of money stuffed into their hands by an angry pimp. Others come because their boyfriend or father demanded they come, and so they did and got beat up anyway.
Abortion is a systemic problem. It's a "natural" consequence of a world drowning in darkness. When teenagers (and adults) have sex before they're married, abortion becomes a choice. When men oppress women with violence and mental abuse, abortion becomes a choice. When injustice leads to dramatic discrepancies in wealth and available education, abortion becomes a choice. When fear becomes a way of life, abortion becomes a choice.
When men, women, and children don't love and serve Jesus, abortion becomes a choice.
Abortion is a choice in a world commanded by the Prince of Darkness.
I don't serve that commander. I serve the Prince of Light, and for me abortion is not a choice. Should I ever find myself in the position of carrying an unwanted baby, I can know my God will see me through. He'll walk with me and bless me through that baby. He'll redeem my pain and be glorified in the life of my child.
But. I don't make the mistake of expecting that kind of perspective from those in the dark. For them, an unwanted pregnancy doesn't come with a promise of redemption. It isn't lifted by faith-rooted hope.
It follows then that the way to stop abortions isn't to convince people to follow our rules or adopt our perspective, yelling across a wide gulf at the people "over there." The way to stop abortions is to carry light to dark places, to strap it on our backs and cradle it in our arms, crossing gulfs, making sacrifices, to help those who're hurt, lost, blind...
We'll change the way people behave when we change the systems originating and promoting that behavior and we'll change systems when we show up as friends, mentors, and helpers, allowing God to change individual lives through us.
The ultimate goal isn't to pass laws that keep people from having abortions (no matter how worthy a cause that may be). The ultimate goal is a world where nobody chooses an abortion.
I know it sounds pie in the sky. But I also know it's possible, especially on a micro-level. God's people are entirely capable of (and currently are) preventing abortions.
God's people volunteer at pregnancy counseling centers, offering hope and encouragement to the hopeless and afraid.
God's people befriend aimless and unloved high school students, offering up homes and resources and love, providing stability and belonging.
God's people mentor at-risk elementary students, helping them imagine a better, different future than the script they've been handed by society.
God's people adopt children who might otherwise have been aborted, including children with mental and physical disabilities.
Because 61% of abortions involve women with at least one child at home, God's people build relationships with single, struggling mothers.
Because women living below the poverty line are four times more likely to get an abortion than women in a better financial position, God's people give the undereducated and homeless a chance. They provide resources and skills-training to low income communities.
Because 73% of women who terminate their pregnancies report a religious affiliation, God's people build churches characterized by grace, truth, and hope, places where God's plan for sex is clearly and lovingly communicated AND places where anyone can start over.
God's people, God's emissaries to this dark and hurting world, can stop abortions. Maybe not all abortions. But some. A lot.
To do that, we have to DO something, something more than talking to people who aren't listening and sharing blog posts among friends with whom we already agree.