So, let’s do it. Why would I bring this up on my peaceful parenting blog? Because the way we approach abortion has everything to do with our worldview and the example we set for our children. And, it determines how we will treat our children if they choose abortion for themselves.
With more and more states all but banning abortion, I keep finding myself in discussions with Christian friends and family about how best to address this matter. As a reminder, I’m a Christian clergy wife and seminary trained in my own right, which I don’t discuss often on this blog because it organically permeates my peaceful parenting experience. It’s simply part of my identity.
I don’t talk much about my stance on abortion either, because, frankly, it’s not that important, but for this post, I’ll tell you. I believe that humans are precious at all stages. It doesn’t matter to me when life or personhood begins, because I honor human existence from conception to the grave.
I also recognize that my position doesn’t really reflect my own Christian tradition. Jewish law dictates that a fetus is not considered a person until it is born and that life is associated with emergence from the womb. This understanding would have been inherent in the teaching Jesus received, in case you were not aware.
I have no issue with other people’s perspectives on when personhood or life should be recognized. My vision of our shared future involves continued reduction in the rate of abortion as much as possible while honoring those who are pregnant and facing a very difficult decision.
Here’s what I know for sure. Legislating abortion won’t make it go away. Abortion is older than recorded history, y’all. I think anti-abortionists know deep down that their efforts to criminalize these procedures won’t do anything but impose their sensibilities onto everyone else. They must know that banning abortion doesn’t reduce the rate of abortion and may, in fact, have the opposite effect.
If Christians really want to make an impact effectively, the way forward is clear.
- Step back from efforts at banning abortion.
- Provide all forms of birth control at no cost via taxpayer funds, since different forms work better for different people.
- Make it easier to get tubal ligations and other such procedures that are currently difficult to obtain.
- Champion universal basic income, universal healthcare, guaranteed housing, no cost college, childcare support and subsidies, and a minimum wage increase. In other words, if you truly believe in the sanctity of life, then you must honor it no matter the socioeconomic status of the family.
- Stop elevating virginity as having value in and of itself separate from the human being it is attached to. Virginity is a harmful construct that has no scientific basis and has been used for millennia for the purpose of subjugation. There are plenty of reasons to delay sex that don’t involve losing one’s worth.
- Stop shaming childbirth “out of wedlock.” If you want these children to live and be loved, stop punishing those who choose to raise the children they deliver.
- End abstinence-only sex education. While this approach may be understandable for faith-based communities, it is not an effective public health strategy and, in fact, research shows its limited effectiveness, particularly as a result of seismic shifts in our understanding of sex and gender.
- Support a cultural reorientation toward keeping families together by reducing reliance on foster care and adoption. So many of the reasons children get separated from their first families can be mitigated by a caring society.
- Choose anti-racism. For all the outcries over the differences in rates of abortion between white and marginalized people, you’d think the natural response would be to take action to end racism. Somehow, that is not the case.
- Leave people alone when they have an abortion. This one is simple. Just stop harassing and belittling them. Focus your efforts on 1-9 with a healthy dose of empathy and understanding.
If you are a Christian who is serious about taking steps to reduce the need for abortion, which is the most effective way to achieve the goal of the anti-abortion movement, then please get to work. If you’re here to bluster about, please step aside and let the rest of us serve all people with Christian love and respect.