First, some opening clarifications:
(1) My position on abortion remains unchanged: I support a full reversal of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. I oppose abortion except for cases of danger to the woman’s life.
(2) Supporting the continued legalization of abortion is not a pro-life position. (After all, even though laws prohibiting rape do little to stop its occurrence–and even though we do a crummy job pursuing such cases–we would not consider the de-criminalization of rape to be “pro-woman”.)
(3) All parties in the abortion–unless the one receiving the abortion is under coercion (which happens: ask me how I know)–are culpable. That goes for the “physicians” and “nurses” who perform them (to whom I assign majority blame), the woman who consents to have that done to her, and the sperm-donating jackwad who passive-aggressively (or in some cases just plain aggressively) pushes for the abortion.
(4) While I do consider the woman proportionately culpable, I do empathize with her on several levels:
- She is under great pressure to go this route by an abortion-industrial complex that markets the practice with great expertise.
- She often gets little or no support from her boyfriend (in some cases husband). Sometimes, the latter will put great pressure on her to do this.
But that does beg the questions:
(1) How do I view women who have had abortions?
(2) What do I believe society needs to do to parties complicit in abortions in the event that Roe and Doe are overturned and abortion becomes criminalized?
What necessitates this post? In an ongoing dialogue I’ve had with a very good friend of mine, it’s gone sort of like this:
Her: If Abigail got pregnant unexpectedly, out of wedlock – have you considered how you would respond?
Me: That’s a grandbaby, even if it’s not the ideal way I would have hoped.
Her: What if she chose to abort?
Me: I’d be heartbroken.
Her: She would be, too.
(No, I will not let you pound on her. She is a friend of mine, and is pro-life.)
On the other hand, from time to time I review my prior posts on certain topics. And upon reviewing my pro-life-related posts, quite frankly, I’m disturbed at some of my own commentary.
First off, I’m going to tell you a bit about my journey in the pro-life cause, as it is atypical for a guy.
Let me explain…
I’ve been pro-life ever since I knew what abortion was. It always seemed a no-brainer to me. It was like, “Duh…everyone knows that’s a baby!”
As a teen, I often listened to preachers on the radio who reflected my views. And from everything I saw in Scripture, there was no case for a contrarian view. So I was always a pro-life supporter on this matter.
But when did I enlist in the pro-life cause?
That came in my final semester at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I was a member at FBC Daytona Beach. The wife of my Sunday School teacher–NM–gave her testimony one January morning. She’d had two abortions, the first being in 1973.
NM described her lifestyle at the time, and also the way abortion was sold to her, although she did not minimize her own guilt. Her testimony was that of someone truly broken over what she had done. I felt awful for her. I remember walking up to NM and giving her a hug after class.
She wanted folks on her side. I was already there–as my politics were always pro-life–but NM had recruited me to The Cause.
After I graduated, I became involved in The Cause on several fronts: I was a chapter president of Right to Life; I became a speaking director for a maternity home; and I got recruited–by a woman who’d had a prior abortion–to be a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. (Back then, they let men do that.)
So for 3 years, I wore all 3 hats, but most of my work involved counseling clients at the CPC. During that time, I was the most active volunteer: I had about 500 clients. Most of them were just there for the free pregnancy test and the WIC/Medicaid/IPO referrals, some were abortion-minded, and–yes–some were post-abortive.
How did I treat the latter?
Well…I didn’t give them hugs, but that was only because I was in a counselor role. But I did empathize.
Having studied as much as I could on the subject–and having been mentored by a counselor who was herself post-abortive–I handled those cases with grace that was not simply trained, but also heartfelt. I felt for them the way I felt for NM.
During my time at that crisis pregnancy center, one of my teammates–TC–befriended me. She was post-abortive. We often counseled clients as a team–we were usually on the same shift–with her in the room with me. TC and I were BFFs. She was married, and her marriage was rocky: he was abusive, and she sometimes took it out on me at the CPC (sometimes to the concern of other volunteers). But we always walked away friends (to the surprise of those same concerned volunteers). When I moved to start my seminary studies, TC wept.
In my 3 years, a grand total of zero of my post-abortive clients said they’d do it again. One of them–my favorite client ever–summing up her sentiments on the issue, put it succinctly: “Oh fuck no!”
In my professional life, I’ve met only one person who is happy about her prior abortion, and she’s an atheist.
What I’m getting at: while I have always been pro-life in my worldview, my enlistment in The Cause–and the bulk of my work in The Cause–was driven by empathy for post-abortive women. Heck, they were the ones who recruited me!
How do I view post-abortive women from a theological standpoint?
Do I view them as murderers? Do I view them as victims? Do I view them as proportionately culpable in a murder?
The long answer:
(1) some of them are indeed full-on murderers;
(2) most of them are partial victims to a government-murder complex that markets what amounts to murder with the greatest New York sloganeering;
(3) most of them are proportionately culpable to some extent.
I put the majority blame on the government-industrial complex (which includes “physicians” and “nurses” who perform abortions) for making this hideous act appealing and easy.
May that entire complex rot in Hell.
I also put proportional culpability on most of the men involved in the pregnancies.
Of the men: some are innocent–the women abort against the wishes of the fathers (ask me how I know this)–but let’s be honest here: if you’re a man and you want the easy sex and you don’t care about anything but getting your own pleasure in life, then abortion is the mother of all “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. And many men have called in that card.
Hear this: if you are a man who got a woman pregnant and you actively–or passively by neglect–pushed her in that direction, then you also have proportional culpability.
And yes, I do believe that the woman receiving the abortion–unless she is under coercion–has proportional culpability. There is no pretty way to spin that.
(What complicates all of this? Keep in mind that with most forms of murder, we tend to legislate and punish it. But with abortion, government actually subsidizes the practice and even its marketing. So I would not put all post-abortive women and the men in, say, the same league with convicted first-degree murderers. There is a world of difference.)
How do I believe this should be handled legally? Like I said: let states handle this status quo ante; i.e., enforce it the way we did prior to Roe v. Wade. Some states will let it go on unabated; other states will have tighter restrictions.
Before Roe, states weren’t investigating miscarriages and in fact prosecuted illegal abortionists as they surfaced. I’m for doing that. I’m also for educating women and men regarding the responsibilities that come with sex.
Now how do I view post-abortive women from a personal or theological standpoint?
I’ll just state it up front: if you’re post-abortive and tell me, you’re more likely to get a hug from me than you are to get any form of condemnation.
I’m all for God’s grace and forgiveness, and I believe the Church ought to be a fountain for said grace. From the time in 1990 when I listened to NM until now, that has been and remains my view.
If you have any heart for the things of God and have an abortion–and yes, women will do this, just as King David did with Uriah–then the guilt is going to be crushing as all get-out, and you probably are going to need counseling, probably from a real therapist.
David lamented in Psalm 51: “my sin is ever before me.” Even as God took his sin away, he was a broken man. His conduct for the duration of his life reflects that.
As a member of that Body, I see it as my responsibility to be a conduit for that grace.
On the other hand, I can look at my prior commentary on this matter and conclude that I fell way short of the glory in that department.
In closing, I apologize for many of my prior comments on this issue and other issues. My motives were knee-jerk anger and I make no excuse for it. I accept that I did not extend grace as I should have.
I considered taking my blog down completely, but decided against it.
Why will I keep it up?
I will let the record show what I was then and am today: good, bad, and ugly (hopefully not in that order), but hopefully increasingly refined in God’s proverbial crucible.