Pro-Life, Pro-Choice and What Must Matter in the Debate about Abortion
Hello everyone and Happy Friday! I had to step back from the issues of abortion before writing this blog to collect my thoughts and listen to what God would say. I believe I will echo many of the same sentiments as pastors like Scott Sauls in his blog, New York, You Made My Heart Sink Last Week. I highly encourage you to read that blog, read it all the way through. I will hit on some of the same issues today. I rarely get political in my writings. However, I have seen too much in the pro-life movement that is going to derail any common ground to be found with anyone outside the movement itself – that’s not going to work for this present time nor this culture. I ask you in regards to my blog just as I asked you about Mr. Saul’s blog – read this blog all the way through – hear me out.
I am what you would call a pro-choice advocate, but not in the same sense as you think of when you think of abortion. Allow me to elaborate. I believe in the sanctity of life before birth, and I also believe in the sanctity of life after birth. As a former NICU and nursery nurse, the decision made by New York to allow abortion up through birth is very sad. I wish their politicians would visit a nursery or NICU and see for themselves. However, they have made their choice and the people of New York elected them to do so. I pray for them because I’m not sure they understand exactly what they did. I respect their right to make that choice, even if I believe it is a grave mistake.
I also believe in the sanctity of life of the mother. I am pro-choice in the sense that the mother or couple as can be the case, has all the information to make a sound decision about her pregnancy. Half information or false information is not providing the grounds for an adequate choice – it doesn’t matter who is trying to sway her. Pro-life and pro-choice movement readers, do you know what else I believe in? I believe in quality of life over quantity. I believe in the quality of life of the infant and the mother. I believe in the quality of life of the family. I believe, that as much as I might not personally like it, there will be women who choose abortion no matter what information they have and that is still their choice – a choice only they can be responsible for. I also believe such a decision is not necessarily as easy of a choice as it is portrayed by the pro-life movement. I know women who have had abortions. Not only was that not an easy choice, it was a scary choice. They also felt it was their only choice. Pro-life readers, where is our compassion? What about the grey areas that only God knows about? I ask you, would He find these women in contempt of His grace or His love because they had to make a tough decision? I think not. Why do we find them in such contempt? Is politics about love or about power? What am I driving at here? It’s very simple – more compassion and understanding and less screaming and judgement. The pro-life movement must learn to care about what drives the decision to choose abortion as much as it cares about the act of abortion itself. As pro-life readers, do you care as much about the poverty perhaps experienced by these mothers, or the rape, or the perceived helplessness and fear she may feel as you do about her getting an abortion? Are you willing to listen to her and try and empathize and provide additional education and revelation to her? If you don’t or aren’t willing to do these things, then are being what the apostle Paul called a loud gong. This must change! If the pro-life movement is to be taken seriously, it must learn to love the whole person and look at the big picture. Pro-life must be from before birth to death – not just before birth up through birth. We must also learn to respect people who make different decisions than we do for very different reasons. I know two women who were raped. One chose abortion, the other did not, for very different and very personal reasons – neither of which are up for me to decide upon their rightness or wrongness. God is the one who knows the hearts of people, it is He who will judge. It is also He who meets people where they are and loves them and gives them grace anyway. As the pro-life movement claims to center itself in the church, is that not our role as the church? To meet people where they are and love them – regardless of what choices they have made?
I want to say here and now if you have had an abortion, and regret it or don’t even know yet if you regret it, that is okay. God has grace for you! He loves you anyway! He knows your heart and he knows what you went through. He is not afraid of you and He will not condemn you! He sees the grey areas and He understands them better than any of us ever could!
Pro-lifers, stop screaming at these women. Stop acting like fools at abortion clinics, yes I said fools. That is in no way shape or form the love or character of God – no matter what you purport to believe. Meet them where they are and show compassion. Provide revelation and information if they have not decided about their pregnancy and respect their choice once they have. Respect their choice to not hear you either. God respects us when we choose not to hear Him. You are not called to fix nor judge the issues of anyone’s heart nor am I.
To the pro-choice readers I have, I understand where you are coming from with the issues that surround abortion such as poverty, hopelessness, crime and the list goes on. The church must also take these issues seriously if it is to be relevant in the culture – something that I admit has been lacking for many years. It is time for us to find common ground in this country on what we can agree on which is quality of life for all people. I do understand that Planned Parenthood, although the institution that provides the most abortion services, also does good things for the poor in communities across the country. If not for Planned Parenthood, a friend of mine would not have known she had cancer. If not for Planned Parenthood, there would be many more unwanted pregnancies (and probably more abortions) because they provide low-cost or no cost birth control. They also point women to WIC (Women, Infants and Children’s) services to ensure infants are getting the proper nutrition up through two years of age. If not for Planned Parenthood there would be no HIV testing in low- income communities and more mothers and babies would suffer with this terrible disease. Although Planned Parenthood advocates abortion, they also do many good things. I would ask my pro-choice readers and Planned Parenthood to consider not just pointing women to abortion but pointing them to adoption or at least giving them additional information. Let both the pro-choice and pro-life movements each respect the choices of one another. That is what we must do if we are to live truly free in this country.
Do you hear my heart today? I want both the sanctity of all life and the choices of others respected. I want to see the sanctity of life across the lifespan respected and upheld. I believe this can be done in America today. It will require us coming together, not screaming at one another. Church it will require prayer and laying down the religious-right banner we have carried so proudly. Pro-choice advocates, it will require you to listen and to see another point of view and perhaps get some revelation you don’t have. This is possible but we must make the decision to change – all of us.
I choose to change. What about you? Love, Elizabeth