With the Planned Parenthood controversy that recently came to light by way of the Center for Medical Progress, I thought I would kick the series off talking abortion. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, it’s estimated that there have been over 57 million abortions in the United States (National Right to Life), and that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime (1 in 3 Campaign).
If we’ve seen more than 57 million abortions since 1973, and 1 in 3 women will have an abortion, this means you and I have friends, sisters, aunts, cousins who have had and will have abortions, even women who regularly attend church and profess to know Christ.
Why? Why would my friend/sister/aunt/cousin have an abortion, especially one who professes to know Christ?
As a society, we’ve made abortion an issue of empowerment. For centuries, men have been able to sleep around, and have not borne the consequences in their bodies the way women have. This is about us being able to do what they do. Pregnancy no longer means that we will be judged for our sexual activity – nobody has to know. This is about us not wanting to acknowledge that what we are doing is not what we’re supposed to be doing. Pregnancy no longer means we have to publicly admit we’re not ready for motherhood when we give our babies to those who are prepared. This is about us not wanting to admit we actually can’t do it all. Pregnancy no longer means a nine month interruption and invasion of our bodies. This is about us doing what we want to do when we want to do it.
I’m not making this up. According to studies, these are the main reasons women have abortions: “On average, women give at least 3 reasons for choosing abortion: 3/4 say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities; about 3/4 say they cannot afford a child; and 1/2 say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner (AGI)” (Abort 73). Occasionally (12%), “women included a physical problem with their health among reasons for having an abortion (NAF)”
Of course, there are instances when deciding whether or not to have an abortion is vastly more complex: the NAF says 1% of women studied report rape as the reason. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what would be going through my head if I was raped and conceived. I don’t know how I’d feel about carrying something inside of me that was forced into me for nine months, even if it is a little human being, even if there were wonderful, loving people who would take care of it once it got here. I don’t know. Women in this truly unwanted situation have my greatest compassion for the difficult decision they face.
But if it’s really about empowerment, how is it that 421 women have died in legal abortions since 1973 (Abort 73), not to mention the women who have died in operations like Kermit Gosnell’s? How is it that we don’t empower women to carry their pregnancies through to term, to give birth, to raise children, or if it would be best, to give their babies up for adoption? How is it that we agree it will be too hard with school and work? How is it that what is easily considered the most reputable women’s reproductive health organizations in the United States, Planned Parenthood, has been altering procedures to get what they need from the fetus? How is it that scientific research takes precedence over the lives of the unborn and their mothers? How is it that the laws about trafficking human beings are clear, but the laws about trafficking of fetal organs are “up to interpretation”?
No. Abortion is not about empowerment. Abortion is an industry that promotes and profits off of death under the guise of empowerment, and has left 57 million babies and their parents dead and dying in its wake. The tragedy is that many mothers (and fathers) don’t know what they’ve bought into until it’s already done, and by that point they think they are lost causes – some still don’t know. If you think about it, Abortion’s PR guy is brilliant.
I wonder how many mothers of aborted babies feel empowered, proud to have taken control of their lives. I wonder how long they’ll feel that way. For the rest of their lives? For only a little while until shame sets in and binds them, and they try to fend it off for the rest of their lives, alone? Do they blame the shame on cultural stigma, insisting they are fine and their decision was the right one?
Abortion is not okay. It’s the termination of a life that has no ability to speak up for its own rights. It tells women that there is nothing quite so important as an education and a career and being able to make her own decisions, whatever the cost for her or anyone else. It tells fathers that they have no say – they’re just the jerks who impregnated the woman, and now they have to live with her decisions. It leaves mothers, fathers, and their unborn vulnerable to industries that have their own best interests in mind – which are usually the furthest thing from the well-being of those in their care.
BUT, if you’ve had an abortion, and you’re feeling ashamed and isolated because of that decision, you can be okay. Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Of course, abortion (and any sin) grieves God, and that’s why it burdens us, but He never intended for us to be saddled with guilt about it for the rest of our lives. Satan, the Deceiver, is the one who tells us it can never be right, or worse still, that nothing is wrong.
And Jesus. He wants to hear from and heal you too.
You don’t have to stay in the Field