Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Choose Life

I was a Senior in High School when Roe v. Wade became  the legal framework for abortion in the United States.  It was not until my Senior year of college - while at a seminar on the decline of Western Civilization led by Francis Schaeffer - that I first heard a compelling analysis of the culture of death that Roe v. Wade reflected.

I have spent most of the 35 years since then as a pastor in a local church setting.  I have sat, listened and counseled with a number of women who were considering abortion, and a much larger number of women who, at some point in their lives, had decided to have an abortion.

One thing stands out as I listened to all those stories.  All of the women who decided to get an abortion did so because they felt they had no other choice.

There were a variety of reasons that brought them to this mournful conclusion.  One was a human male (Real men don't abandon their children or the women they impregnate.) that they had had sex with who then abandoned or pressured them.  Sometimes a family wanted to save the embarrassment and future uncertainty of a daughter's pregnancy.  Women have told me they couldn't keep the baby and continue the pursuit of their career.  Some said that they wouldn't know how to be a single parent.  Whatever the reason, the women I listened to decided to abort because they felt they had no better choice.  

For these women, their abortion was not an expression of their freedom, strength or the right to make their own choice.  It was the only escape available as they felt the ship of their life start to sink.  As Frederica Mathewes-Green wrote, "No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche.  She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.  Abortion is a tragic attempt to escape a desperate situation by an act of violence and self-loss."  (Real Choices, p. 19)

It is a screaming irony to me that the so-called "pro-choice" position on abortion seems to demand that women have no other choice. 

The Gospel of Graces gives people hope, security and freedom.  Hope because of the Father's grace even when a situation is desperately beyond my resources.  Security to face my shortcomings and sin even when their consequences are painful.  Real freedom can be the chance to choose life when all the pressures point to death.

By my mind, a church that lives on and lives out the Gospel of Grace will be one that offers to others the grace which we have received.  In real and meaningful ways, that community will offer freedom because we offer the freedom to choose life.  That offer will need to take hundreds of different expressions - forgiving hugs, an open room in our house to relocate a mother and children, educational support, finances, food, laughs and so much more - because there are hundreds of different pressures that push down the slippery slope of choice-less self-loss.

I want to recommend and get you started on a blog posting by a great Gospel blogger Jared Wilson called "A Gospel-Shaped Pro-Life Passion."
If you put overturning Roe v. Wade to a popular vote, I’m in line early as ready to vote in favor of protecting the approximately one million unborn babies killed each year, and if you’re a politician, the best way to lose my vote is to align with the pro-choice agenda.

Nevertheless, I don’t believe laws — or the protests and petitions and politicking that seek to achieve them — are the primary way we are going to eradicate abortion. Overturning Roe v. Wade is a win — and it’s a win we should work for, hard — but in my way of thinking, it is not the win.

The emancipation of the slaves and ensuing civil rights legislation was necessary. But none of it ended racism.

I am not proposing an either/or. What I’m proposing is that evangelicals take the harder route, adopt the harder cause, that we pray for and aim for Spiritual change of hearts more than we aim for legal stay of hands.
Click Here to read the rest of the blog.
Click Here for another relevant article from this weekend's Wall Street Journal entitled "The Mounting Tragedy of the Missing Baby Girls" by Matt Ridley.  

Click Here for a review of the book "Unnatural Selection" by journalist Maria Hvistendahl that looks at the same problem of "the missing baby girls" from a perspective different than mine.  I ask myself, "how could the 'feminist position' lead to the death of 163 million girls."

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