What does it mean to pro-life? Is it all about law and politics and making the news? No. It’s about more than that. It’s this.
Well. This has certainly been an interesting few weeks to be a woman in America.
Within one week of each other, we saw the Women’s March on Washington and the March for Life. The former had, as one of its core principles, the belief that in order for women to be truly free, there must be affordable access to abortion. Period.
The latter represents a “vision of a culture of life, one where every child is welcomed into life, and protected by law.”
It was interesting to watch the somewhat heated interactions of these two movements. I am pro-life. I am also pro-women. I’m not just pro-life-in-the-womb. I’m pro-life-of-all-parties-involved.
A lot of mixed messages crossed my path (i.e. my Facebook wall), and it seems that pro-lifers were, depending on what I read, either not welcome to attend the Women’s March because their views are anti-women, or accepted because all women should be able to march.
Writing for The Atlantic, Emma Green said, “pro-life marchers have found themselves in a somewhat awkward position.” And she’s right. It seemed suddenly that there’s not really a place to be both pro-women and pro-life.
The Women’s March came and went and then the March for Life was upon us, with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the nationwide legalization of abortion. Now my Facebook feed was filled with op-eds, statistics, spreadsheets, and arguments from both sides.
Abortion is a right.
Abortion is murder.
Abortion saves women’s lives.
Abortion is detrimental to women.
It’s a fetus.
It’s a person.
These arguments swirl around us and I think the gut reaction can be to simply grow angry. To point the finger and say, this is all your fault, Roe. v. Wade! How dare people kill their babies. How dare women make that choice. We must stop them.
This morning, I drove my typical route to work that takes me through the streets of the University I graduated from 11 years ago and now work for part time. It was one of those perfect January days where you love living in Florida because it’s basically like April in all the other normal places. Windows down, music blaring, sun shining.
I thought back to my college days. To the choices I made back then that led me where I am today, and how God’s story for me was that I get married and have children and so on and so forth.
But what if mine were a different story? How would it really feel, to have made all the plans and had all the dreams and be a year away from graduating, and instead suddenly be faced with the dilemma of a pregnancy? What if, instead of it being my choice to have that family, that family feels like the removal of every single one of my choices. What if?
How would it have felt to tell my parents, my family, my friends? To face rejection and shame and embarrassment. To face a lifelong reminder of all that was taken away from me by a single reckless act.
Christian, I urge you, think about how this must feel. The desperation, the fear, the loneliness. You are ready for someone to tell you something, anything, that will fix this.
Enter the voice of Planned Parenthood, and other organizations like them. Their mantra, as stated by Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, is “The ability to decide when or whether to have children is key to women’s opportunity to be financially secure and pursue their dreams.”
Do you hear that? So say I’m in this crisis and someone says to me, this is the key to your future, whether or not you keep this child. The key. And I see that I can make it go away. Sure it’s not what I’d want or choose, but this is my predicament, and it seems the best of all options.
What Do We Do?
We bear such an immense responsibility, brothers and sisters, to speak and act God’s truth into this battle for the unborn. Not with our Facebook posts or our political affiliation, but with our hearts and hands and our time and our very lives.
It is my sincere belief that the world of social media and constant news cycling in and out of our feeds has lured us into thinking that words are the equivalent of action. And that action is only important if it makes it into the news of those feeds.
As Christians, we must stand against the temptation to think this way. Instead, we must ask, what am I supposed to do, Lord Jesus. Not what should THEY do, but what should I do?
The answer came to me this week through glimpses into the real gospel work being done in my own local church.
I saw a couple who I’ve known for over 10 years quietly raise the money they needed and then show up at the hospital to bring home their new son, caring for the least of these by saying yes to adoption and to making life possible for a woman who never planned or expected to be a mother.
As I spoke at a women’s event at our church on Saturday, I looked down into the faces of all of the women I love and saw a single mom flanked on either side by moms who are walking the hard road with her together. Not leaving her on her own, but willing to get their hands dirty for the sake of the gospel.
I see my dear friend who is fostering, driving her foster daughter to visitation daily, braving the complex maze of the legal system, she and her husband entering into the messy brokenness of this world, seeing that there are more important things than earthly security and comfort.
I see my sister, serving as a Guardian ad Litem, ensuring that those fostering families like my friends aren’t left without an advocate.
I look at the crisis pregnancy centers I love in our town. While Planned Parenthood says that these centers “may try to frighten you with misleading films and pictures to keep you from choosing abortion,” I know that what they’re really doing is telling women the truth. That they really do have a choice, and that while they can’t keep them from abortion, it is not the key to anything at all.
I look into the faces of my own children. And while we are the public face of our adoption, there are hundreds behind it who said yes with us, giving the money and paying the bills and helping us raise two little ones out of being orphans and into being a son and daughter. Giving a young mother in Uganda the hope that her children will live into adulthood.
Pro-life means pro-life. It doesn’t mean politics and it doesn’t mean moral superiority. And it doesn’t mean loud angry Facebook posts and it doesn’t, ultimately, mean changed laws. We pray that God puts an end to the atrocity of the genocide of abortion. We pray that our leaders be exposed to the holy light of God and have hearts full of compassion for the least of these.
But we, ourselves, have a job to do as well. And it’s not going to put us on the news or win us any awards. But it pleases our heavenly Father and aligns our heart with His good plan to give life to a dying world.
As he closed his sermon on the sanctity of human life last Sunday, Pastor Ray Cortese asked what we are to do as believers. He said, “We lay down our lives. That’s the issue. Will we? Will we lay down our lives? How then shall we live? Well, you don’t take another person’s life, you give up your own. Should the inconvenient baby, the elderly, the special needs [person] die? No. We should die. Jesus said, “by this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we should lay down our lives for our brothers.” We should lay down our lives for little ones.”
On both sides of the equation, the crux of the issue is whether or not we will sacrifice self for the sake and life of another.
For the woman with the unplanned pregnancy, it’s “will I sacrifice my own life to carry this child to term and see him/her cared for.” For the follower of Christ, it’s “will I sacrifice my comfort, money, time, stability, to see women in crisis cared for so that abortion will NOT be the only option.”
Christian friends, what will you and I personally sacrifice to see life – true, everlasting life – provided to the desperate and needy among us? May we hold our lives with open hands as we seek the will of our Father in these things.