Today is a tough day for many in the United States. It’s the anniversary of a “landmark” Supreme Court decision: Roe v. Wade, in tandem with Doe v. Bolton. This decision regarding abortion in 1973 has set our nation on a course from which we have yet to return.
If you’ve never looked into it, the SCOTUS decision appeals to the 14th Amendment as a basis for women’s right to privacy as it regards their own body and health. That sounds great on the surface, until you realize they’re not talking about women’s health in general; they’re talking about the specific issue of abortion. This is the true tragedy of the decision, because at that moment our government connected a woman’s choice to destroy the life of her unborn child with her “health.”
3 Kinds of Readers
Before I go further, let me just take a minute to address 3 kinds of readers that might be engaging this post, because I know after my last comment some of you might be tempted to get upset or write me off.
1. If you’ve had an abortion, please don’t hear condemnation and judgment. That’s not easy when it’s such a sensitive topic, but I’m asking you to believe me. Do I think your decision was wrong? Yes. But do I or the staff and volunteers at the Care Center condemn you? No. As a Christian organization, we believe Jesus came, not to condemn the world, but to reconcile it to our Creator. That has a big impact on how we deal with issues like abortion.
Christians believe that everyone is imperfect, and that everyone makes bad decisions everyday. But we also believe Jesus can cover those imperfections. When you’re willing to surrender your life and will to his, he begins transforming your heart, mind, and desires from the inside out. That shapes the way you deal with every situation in your life.
So if you’ve had an abortion, please know that we love you, and are here for you if you need help dealing with your decision. Our desire is to give you hope for your future, not reproach.
2. If you’re an avid abortion supporter, please try to react rationally and hear what I’m actually saying. Please read on, and if you feel the need to respond please extend some civility, rather than hypocrisy.
3. If you haven’t yet taken a stance on abortion, I want to persuade you in the following few paragraphs that you should. It’s a life or death topic. If you’re a Christian, I especially implore you to stop being apathetic, and start advocating against abortion. It’s much too important to say or do nothing about.
What Abortion Actually Is
I’m not going to go into the science of development here, but I would like to briefly mention this issue. Abortion takes and discards a human life, at any stage of development in the womb.
Is there a discussion among some in the medical community about when a human embryo becomes a human person? Yes. Is that absurd? Yes.1 It’s like asking when an acorn becomes an oak tree. Is the acorn ever not an oak tree? No, it’s always the same kind of plant (in this case an oak tree); it’s simply an oak tree in its earliest stage of development.2
It’s also like asking whether a teenager is really a human person or not. It’s not that a teenager is just a thing to itself. A teenager is one stage in the development of a mature human person. The zygote, embryo, fetus, infant, toddler—or whatever stage you define in human development—is still a stage in human development. When we ask whether a developing human is really a human or not, it’s an absurd statement, not grounded in rational thinking.
The Crux of the Issue
When asked, the overwhelming majority of people in the world will agree with my statement above.3 Pro-abortion activists have generally shifted from this kind of argumentation.4 Of course a human in its earliest stage of development is still a human person. It’s nonsense to think otherwise. The new issue is whether or not a woman has the right to kill her unborn child, because it’s her body in which the child resides.
Drawing from Greg Koukl here, “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.” How does the child’s dependency on its mother give her (the mother) the “right” to decide whether her baby lives or dies? This isn’t a women’s health issue; it’s a civil and human rights issue… for the unborn child.
The mother decided she would risk pregnancy by having sex. Pregnancy is a consequence of a choice the mother made. And by the way, the father is in this, too. This isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a people’s issue, and a family issue. The DNA of that child is from both the mother and the father; both have an equal stake in the game, so to speak.
What About Rape?
Of course, the immediate reaction by opposers is always: rape! What about rape? Shouldn’t we allow abortion in cases of rape, because it wasn’t the mother’s choice.
Let me first state that rape is never okay. Pregnancy due to rape can and does occur, and I’m deeply saddened that people have to live through this injustice.
I’m sure you can guess my stance, though. My question in response to one who advocates abortion in this adverse circumstance is: “Why would you destroy the one good thing that can come out of a terrible situation?” Besides, this is not an effective argument for abortion in the end, because the vast majority of abortions in America are not due to rape. The reasons given by women polled can be very chilling. Most center on convenience for the mother.5
The majority of women who abort a pregnancy value their own convenience more than the life of a child. That’s tragic. I would say it’s one of the greatest tragedies of our time.
The “It’s My Body” Argument
The new argument, that our government shouldn’t tell women what to do with their bodies and that we shouldn’t “push our morality on other people,” is bogus. Of course the government can tell us what to do with our bodies. Try to prostitute yourself out and see if our government looks favorably on that. Try to walk around naked in public and see if the authorities just look the other way.
Furthermore, I can’t tell you what I think is right for you to do? Then you need to stop trying to ram your morality down my throat. That’s such a hypocritical reaction to my view; you’re doing the very thing you’re telling me I can’t do. It doesn’t foster real discussion, only hatred.
Ultimately, this is an argument driven by emotion and self-deception, not reality and rationality.
If I try to give abortion advocates the benefit of the doubt, I think most fall into two camps (generally). They either (1) want to support women who’ve had an abortion, though they’ve never had one. They don’t want her to feel bad or ashamed of her decision; they don’t want her to feel judged for “taking care of herself” or putting herself first; they want her to feel supported. Or they (2) have had an abortion, and are trying to justify their decision. This is often an attempt to fight off personal guilt and shame.
My heart goes out to either camp because, on the one hand, the “supporters” are really hurting the woman. They’re telling her it’s okay to do something that is, in reality, not only destructive to her child’s life, but also destructive to her personal well-being. On the other hand, the woman who’s had an abortion will always come up empty in trying to justify her actions. She’ll argue and fight with anyone who opposes her, but she’ll always doubt, and always deal with what she’s done. So both become a perpetual cycle in futility. The “supporters” keep hurting those they want to help, and those who need help never get help that satisfies.
Refusing to Help
Others who refuse to take a hard stance on either side of the issue appeal to “freedom of choice.” They don’t want to presume to tell others what to do. But this is just a cop-out. It’s not caring or loving or respectful. If abortion really is a life-or-death issue, and it destroys lives, how calloused do you have to be to say nothing. When someone is headed for a cliff and they don’t realize it, do you just let them fall?
Most of the time, women and men in an unplanned pregnancy are so overwhelmed by what’s happening, they need an outside voice to help them make sense of things. If we refuse to be that voice, we’ve let them down in their time of need.
The only solution is God’s forgiveness. Yes, this is given that God exists, and that Jesus was really who he claimed to be. But if you’re not a believer, go with me for a second and just imagine it’s all true.
God designed and created us to live a certain way. He set out rules and guidelines to protect our well-being, and to ensure we live healthy, full, meaningful lives. But we rebel against God’s design for us everyday. The result isn’t life; we forsake that by refusing to live God’s way. The natural result is death. And even though we bring that consequence on ourselves, God is still interested in helping us. We broke our relationship with God, but he still seeks reconciliation. So, he entered into human history in order to make us right with him again. He did it through substitution: his life for ours; Jesus took our place. When we simply believe in his grace, and trust in his design for us (submitting our will to his), he enters back into an intimate relationship with us.
That’s the Christian hope. That’s what we want our clients at the Care Center to ultimately understand. We don’t force it on anyone, or use guilt and shame to get there… that’s completely hypocritical and inconsistent with the message we’re trying to communicate. But it is our desire for them, nonetheless.
Call to Action
If you’re still wrestling with whether or not to get an abortion, or still wrestling with whether or not you should take a stand against it in our country, I implore you to stop the fight. Abortion is one of the greatest tragedies—if not the greatest tragedy—in human history.
Take this anniversary of an infamous day to reflect on the SCOTUS decision, abortion, women’s rights, the unborn’s rights, and human rights. But please, don’t be silent. There are over 53 million voices that have already been silenced since 1973, as a result.
Carter Mundy is the Outreach Director at Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center. He enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and the family dog. He also loves his church family, Mercy Hill, where he serves as a community group leader and coach. You can follow Carter on Facebook, or on twitter @carter_pm.
- Here is a good reference for why life begins at fertilization: http://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html. ↩
- I got this from Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason, http://www.str.org/. ↩
- I know that’s a sweeping statement, but if we’re using the pro-abortion activists as a measure, it’s an accurate statement. ↩
- See Trevin Wax’s article: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2014/09/17/the-new-abortion-absolutists/. ↩
- Guttmacher Institute, http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf, 112–113. ↩