I don’t get into this conversation with many of my Christian friends…I wish more of them would be open to the discussion but I have to respect that this is an incredibly emotionally charged issue and friendships can be lost over such things. At the same time, I wish that more Christians could be open to the possibility that one can be Christian and pro choice.
The prompting for this post is learning on a friend’s blog that the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) has endorsed Barack Obama. I’m surprised by this because I thought for sure that their endorsement would go to Hillary. But they see the writing on the wall like I’m thinking Hillary already has.
I worked for Planned Parenthood for many years doing pregnancy testing and counseling. I have referred many women and girls for abortions and some for adoption. I have heard countless stories of how these women and girls ended up with an unplanned pregnancy — some stories I wish I could forget. Stories of incest (on more than one occasion stories of repeated pregnancies from incest), rape, domestic abuse, loneliness, heartache, self-hatred, and fear. Never in all of the years that I worked in an abortion clinic did I meet a woman who casually chose abortion on a whim, as if without thinking or because it was the “easy” thing to do. Never did I meet a woman who was not torn up over her decision. And there it is: her decision. Not mine. Not yours. Not a Senator’s sitting on Capitol Hill. Hers. There in that very small counseling room, looking at that positive pregnancy test, knowing that she was going to make the hardest and worst decision of her whole life. And knowing that she will never be the same again.
I do not advocate or encourage abortion, but I believe that our government must maintain the right to legal and safe abortion for women who want to end a pregnancy. Women must be allowed the right to make this decision between herself and her physician without the interference of any government entity. I believe that reproductive choice is a fundamental human right. Criminalizing abortion will not end abortion. Women will die just as they did before abortion was legalized. My own mother lost a high school friend to a botched back-alley abortion in the 1950’s. Even in the 1990’s I met women who came to our clinic after trying to perform their own abortion by their own crude means. All to save face and avoid having to come to our clinic.
We live in a tragically fallen, sinful world and abortion is part of it. Sex without commitment (ie, marriage) is part of it. Unplanned pregnancy is part of it. Criminalizing abortion will not change these facts. Only the return of Christ and His reign on Earth will change these facts. Until then I believe that we must educate our young women and men (in homes, schools, and churches) about healthy sexual activity and the consequences of sex outside of marriage. We must work diligently to improve the self esteem of teenage girls so they do not seek acceptance through sex. We must provide affordable birth control to women of all races and economic classes. We must provide single women with economic and social support to make parenthood a feasible option. And we must reach the world for Christ so that women will have a foundation and support system to help them choose not to have an abortion.
Please know that I do not take this issue lightly. My husband and I struggle with infertility and the knowledge that we will never have our own biological child. Some days I feel that I would give anything for my own pregnancy and I struggle knowing that there are women out there choosing to end theirs. But my pain does not give me the right to take away another woman’s choice. It is hard and it doesn’t make sense, but God is good and his forgiveness and mercy are unfathomable.