Being pro-life, I am always interested in the state of our culture. Do we celebrate life? … or are we a culture of death through abortion? While statistically, it appears our culture is changing to embrace life, there seems to be that one person on every corner who says, “I don’t know how you can believe that,” and I ask myself, “how do you (I) respond?”
It’s a lot like defending one’s faith. I’m defending what I believe in – that life is precious, unique, and should never be taken for granted. Having lived on both sides of this railroad track, I understand the woman who is in crisis with her pregnancy, I understand the woman who is so angry with herself she defends her choice by remaining silent, I understand how a woman’s decision can affect your life (and everyone around you), and I know why it’s important to defend the most vulnerable among us – the ones who have no voice at all. Fear and ignorance drive many into silence – fear how our beliefs are perceived in a very politically correct world.
Every participant in the world’s great abortion debate come from a broad expanse of religious and personal worldviews. I scratch my head wondering how we can reach common ground. Dr. Jim Denison (Denison Forum, September 1, 2018) has given great thought to this question, suggesting these non-religious, constitutional strategies:
“First, we should build a consensus for permitting abortion to protect the life of the mother or in cases of rape and incest. These account for a small percentage of the 1.5 million abortions performed each year. Even though some (like me) question the morality of this position, most would concede the point in order to reduce the 93 percent of abortions which are elective in nature. Allowing for this exception removes the most obvious and emotional obstacle to the “pro-life” position.
Second, we should understand that the pre-born possess at least the potential for “life,” however it is defined. Many of us believe that a fetus is a human being by every definition of the term except independent viability, and note that the pre-born will attain this status unless harmed. But even those who disagree with this assertion will admit that every fetus is in the process of becoming a “person.”
Third, “pro-life” and “pro-choice” advocates should work together to fulfill President Clinton’s desire that abortion be “rare.” Even the most ardent “pro-choice” supporters surely would support an agenda intended to decrease the number of abortions performed each year.
One way to achieve this goal would be for both sides to promote adoption as the best answer to an unwanted pregnancy. Both sides could also support abstinence and birth control education. Many “pro-life” advocates view birth control measures as promoting sexual promiscuity, but we may have to choose between sexual activity or unintended pregnancy and a resulting abortion.
Both sides could join forces in educating the public about the actual characteristics of the fetus. It has been proven that women are far less likely to choose abortion when they see a sonogram of their unborn child or learn about its present capacities. Adoption would then become a more likely option for the mother to choose. Leaders from both sides could be asked to adopt a united agenda aimed at decreasing the number of abortions performed each year in our country. If this strategy is successful, it may change the public’s opinion regarding the morality of abortion.
Fourth, whatever the “pro-choice” position decides to do to help limit abortions, “pro-life” advocates must do all we can to care for both the unborn child and its mother. We must care for the mother and the father of the child, and do all we can to help those who have chosen abortion in the past. We must work hard to advocate adoption and to provide life necessities for at-risk families. We must be “pro-life,” not just “pro-birth.”
I am a great admirer of Dr. Denison and applaud him for his thought-provoking insights.
I think we can all agree that abortion is neither an easy topic to discuss nor an easy event to survive. Consider one person’s story:
“For 35 years I kept a secret so dark, so painful, so shameful, I lost all hope. I told myself there was no way I could be forgiven for what I’d done – no way that I could atone for my decision made so many years past. I would never be clean from my sin. But I was wrong. God found me in the depths of my despair. He was there beside me every minute. His grace and mercy comforted me. I don’t know how it’s possible … I can’t explain it … but I know that I am forgiven. I can breathe again. Thank you, Jesus!”
Friends, that’s what happened to me and the same can happen for you. How do you respond?