A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine from my seminary days–she leans a little left politically but is otherwise pro-life on abortion–posted this meme on her Facebook feed:
Yes, she is a friend of mine, and we had an otherwise collegial, low-key discussion about this matter offline. I did this to keep other FB friends of mine from turning this into a foodfight.
First: a few stipulations:
(1) Abortion is murder. Period. Abortion kills a living human being. You don’t like that? Calling me names won’t change that reality, as I didn’t create it.
(2) Abortion, in spite of being a great evil, is sold in America with the best New York ad agency sloganeering and political posturing. For a woman in a crisis pregnancy, it is easy to see how appealing it can be.
(3) Abortion, like other sins, is very forgivable. And, contrary to what you might think intuitively, the pro-life crowd is a very merciful and graceful lot with women who seek mercy.
(If you have had an abortion, you will have a harder time showing yourself mercy than you will have finding it in the pro-life movement.)
Still, the Chandler quote sticks in my craw. And here’s why.
First of all, abortion has been legal in all 50 states, for the full 9 months of pregnancy, for 46 years.
(And yes, before you start saying, “THAT’S NOT WHAT THEY SAID IN ROE!”, just hold your pants on and read: abortion IS legal for the full nine months when you consider the ramifications of the Roe v. Wade decision AND its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, which SCOTUS ruled on at the same time on 22 January 1973.)
Because abortion is both legal and government-funded, Americans have killed about 60 million babies since 1973.
So let me ask you, Mr. Chandler: how high does the death toll have to be before we pass a law banning in utero infanticide?
Before we have any discussion about what pro-life is, and is not, on this issue, I’m going to lay the card on the table.
IF YOU BELIEVE ABORTION SHOULD GENERALLY BE LEGAL, YOU ARE NOT PRO-LIFE.
You think I’m being mean?
Think about it this way. if you believe that rape–which goes on nearly unabated in spite of laws against it–should be legal, we would rightly say you are NOT pro-woman, even if you otherwise support a myriad of rape prevention efforts.
Moreover, if you believe that child abuse should be legal, we would rightly say that you are not pro-child even if you otherwise support programs to prevent child abuse.
And consider our former national atrocity that was slavery. Those who supported slavery could not be reasonably considered abolitionists.
But back to Chandler’s quote.
On one hand, I’m all for the Church showing more compassion to women in crisis pregnancies, with couples stepping up to the plate to adopt and/or provide foster care.
At the same time, I can also tell you that, having been through training for foster parentage, and having spent two-and-a-half years on an adoption waiting list before we got picked and Abigail made her grand entry, Christians make up the overwhelming majority of adoptive and foster parents.
While we can reasonably argue that we need the Church to do more, it is also fair to say that Christians are hardly inactive on this front.
Perhaps if the Church spent more resources taking care of widows and orphans and less on high pastor salaries and building new churches in areas that are already inundated with them, you’d see more foster children receiving compassion.
The problem I have with Chandler here is that his statement is often used as a subtle form of blame-shifting for abortion, as well as a code-term used by people who wish to keep abortion legal. It fosters the “if only the Church reached out the right way, women wouldn’t murder their babies” mindset.
In point of fact, the waiting lines for adoption typically exceed 3 years. At Catholic Charities, the venue through which we adopted Abigail, the average wait is 3 years. (And they ONLY deal with infertile couples.) For many agencies, the average wait is about FIVE years.
There are at least two adoptive couples for every baby murdered in the womb in America. And most of those couples are Christians.
And while we are on the subject of abortion, I am going to make some hard statements here. Most of you aren’t going to like this, but I’m going to say it anyway.
(1) The death toll from abortion is proof that neither sex has a monopoly on evil. While we can all point to examples of “toxic masculinity”, the fact remains that toxic femininity is every bit as serious, even if pastors are scared to death of pointing to the elephant in the room that is standing on the blood of 60+million babies.
(2) Just as we rightly blame rape on rapists, it is fair to blame abortion on (a) those who make the decision to abort and (b) those who carry out the act. Yes, there are some women for whom the abortion decision is made FOR them–ask me how I know this. Those, however, are totally in the minority.
My point here?
Yes, let’s extend the best compassion that the Church can offer for single mothers, foster children, orphans, and widows.
Yes, let’s extend the mercy and grace of Jesus to those who, for whatever reason, have blood on their hands due to their participation in the atrocity that is abortion.
Still, we must continue to call abortion for the evil that it is, and demand that our legal system right this terrible wrong by ending its sanction of the practice.
If you aren’t for that, then you aren’t pro-life. Period.