Abortion. It is a word that polarizes people and politics. It makes one group of people feel empowered and another feel disgusted. For many, it is a word that brings confusion.
What does abortion mean? According to Merriam-Webster.com, the simple definition is “a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and cause the death of a fetus.” The Planned Parenthood website provides explanations of in-clinic abortions. One option is aspiration, defined by Planned Parenthood as “A procedure that ends pregnancy by emptying the uterus with the gentle suction of a manual syringe or with machine-operated suction.”1 The other option is dilation and evacuation (D&E), which, according to Planned Parenthood, is completed when “Medical instruments and a suction machine gently empty your uterus.”2 Planned Parenthood explains that during a D&E, a woman in her second trimester may require an abdominal shot “to make sure that the fetus’s heart stops before the procedure begins.”3
How is it that in our civilized society, so many can read these definitions and explanations of abortion, including phrases like “cause the death of a fetus” and “make sure the fetus’s heart stops,” and not feel disgust? How has this practice become so widely accepted, when its proponents and practitioners openly admit that it is the voluntary ending of human life? When Christians use words like murder to describe abortion, they are decried as fear-mongers. But what other word can better describe willingly stopping an innocent heart from beating?
This issue goes far beyond semantics. Ultimately, abortion is an issue of sin. For our voices to be heard in the abortion conversation, we must reach the hearts of people by revealing to them the heart of God. As 1 John 4:8 says, God is love. In His love, He made His law clear regarding murder: It shall not be committed (Exodus 20:13).
Politics of sin
In 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade made abortions legal throughout the nation.4 This became a turning point in American culture. Numerous women interpreted it as empowering, feeling that the right to choice they claimed was finally validated by law. Conversely, conservative thinkers and Christians were devastated by this ruling. While the secular world applauded women for their newfound freedom, Christians recognized the consequence would be countless unborn lives snuffed out by the choice of their own mothers. As Steven Ertelt put it in his January 2015 LifeNews.com article, “The blood of more than 57 million aborted babies represents an enormous stain on our national conscience and a heavy burden on our hearts.”5
The horror of abortion is, at its root, the result of sin. The fact that such a practice can not only become lawful but also become a law so desired by citizens, is a result of sin. When separated from God, darkness takes over, and even the most deplorable acts are praised. “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Proverbs 4:19).
Psalm 82:5 speaks of rulers and governments: “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.” As with the legalizing of abortion, a government not submitted to God rules its land in darkness. It is incapable of understanding truth, and thus, its sin-directed laws destroy the foundation of its nation.
This is what has happened in the United States. Mother is pitted against child. Wrong is declared right. The worth of human life is measured by time and convenience. Sin destroys millions of unborn lives in this age and even more lives (those of abortion’s supporters) eternally.
We can attempt to address the abortion issue by arguing its legality, but even if Roe v. Wade were overturned, the problem would not be solved. The problem is sin and darkness. The only solution to sin and darkness is the Light of the world, Jesus Christ (John 8:12).
Politics of light
In response to the Roe v. Wade ruling, Christians have spent the last forty-three years marching, picketing, protesting, and voting against abortion. Pro-lifers have utilized the Internet and social media to speak truth about the sanctity of life and engage in thoughtful debate with those who identify as pro-choice. While all these efforts are noble, there is another perspective to be considered. Instead of attempting to overturn Roe v. Wade, we can turn our focus to shining Christ’s light on the darkness causing such mayhem.
Jesus declared, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46).
Women with unwanted pregnancies desperately need His light. The secular world desperately needs His light. What is desperately needed in order to prevent continued abortions? His light. As Christ’s followers and ambassadors, we are His light. We cannot allow our contempt for abortion to become contempt for the ones receiving, performing, and promoting abortion. Christ was crucified and rose again for them too.
Each of us was lost in the darkness of sin at one time, but Christ shone His light on us and eradicated darkness. He desires to do the same for all who support abortion, and particularly for the women who have had abortions or are considering aborting their unborn child. He pours His love for these people into us through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) so that they can learn of Him through us. Genuinely loving them with Christ’s love is the first step we take in shining into their darkness.
Several years ago, I was trained as a crisis pregnancy counselor at the local Pregnancy Resource Center. During training, the PRC taught us to advocate for the mother before advocating for her unborn baby. The point was not to neglect her baby but to first address the mother’s needs in hopes that she would willingly protect her baby.
It was made clear to our training group that women facing crisis pregnancies need to know that they are not alone. They believe the lie that it’s either them or their baby; it cannot be both. If a woman doesn’t feel supported by Christians, she will turn to a place where she will feel support. Organizations like Planned Parenthood are designed to make women feel valued, validated, and cared for. We can question the sincerity of these organizations, but mothers with crisis pregnancies rarely do.
Politics of love
It is imperative to the lives of the unborn and to the eternal lives of their mothers that we shine the light of Christ’s love into their darkness by seeking them out in their distress, caring for them in their need, and demonstrating and speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ to their hearts. We do this in faith that He is able and willing to give each woman her own faith in Him. We do this by His grace that enables us to reach her, love her, and guide her out of darkness and into His transforming light.
We can take practical steps individually and as churches to combat abortion by first ministering to mothers:
- Pray for women who have chosen abortion in the past or are contemplating it in the present.
- Converse with abortion supporters in a way that showcases the gospel.
- Donate time, money, and resources to local pregnancy resource centers.
- Donate time, money, and resources to reputable Christian adoption agencies.
- Begin a church outreach fund/ministry to draw in and assist women in crisis pregnancies.
These are just a few of the many ways to reach women affected by unwanted pregnancies. As with all things, we must begin by aligning our own hearts and minds with Christ and pray to be used to shine His light into darkness. When we hear and read the word abortion, may our disgust be accompanied by love as we seek to shine brightly for our King.. Web accessed 3-3-16.
- www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/in-clinic-abortion-procedures. Web accessed 3-3-16.
- www.lawnix.com/cases/roe-wade.html. Web accessed 3-3-16.
- Steven Ertelt, “57,762,169 Abortions in America Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973” (January 21, 2015), www.lifenews.com/2015/01/21/57762169-abortions-in-america-since-roe-vs-wade-in-1973. Web accessed 3-3-16.
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