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Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Moral Choice

Unless you've been living under a rock lately, or avoiding Facebook for the sake of your sanity, I'm sure you've seen all of the pro-life propaganda that has been flooding the media, thanks to Donald Trump's incredibly inaccurate (and irresponsible, if you ask me) description of late term abortion. One of my favorites is this one that popped up across my news feed multiple times yesterday:

I'll be honest, I couldn't bring myself to read the actual article. But you can clearly see, it's an article saying that Hillary Clinton is telling people to deny their Christianity and their beliefs to support abortion. 

Now, I realize that many of my followers do not believe in God. And that's fine, that's their choice (see what I did there?). I, on the other hand, grew up in church and had a deacon for a father. I don't go to church anymore, but I still consider myself God-fearing. With that being said, I thought this would be an interesting topic to explore.

Many of you know that I have not always been pro-choice. I used to be, what I would now consider, a pro-life whacko. I wasn't out protesting at clinics, I wasn't sending death threats, but MAN, the topic would get me heated. Looking back, I realize that I only felt that way because that's the way my mind was programmed growing up. I'm certainly not blaming this on religion, but those were my parents' beliefs and it takes kids a while to make up their own minds on complex issues. When I first began to question those pro-life beliefs, the biggest hurdle was my faith. My church had taught me that abortion was wrong. No ifs, ands, or buts. When I think back on it now, I can pick out a few instances where abortion wasn't wrong for a few members of our church because apparently their cases were the exception (funny how that works, huh?). But regardless, I still believed in God, I still believed in the idea of Christianity. How could I be okay with abortion? So the internal struggle began.

Now, the article I previously referenced, states that we the people must deny our faith and any Christian values that we may have, in order to support abortion. I'm not having it. As someone raised in the church, I'm fairly familiar with the Bible. And when my internal struggle began, so to speak, I did some poking around on this exact topic. Let me make one thing clear: THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE SCRIPTURE THAT SPECIFICALLY CONDEMNS ABORTION. NOT ONE. What the Bible does specifically reference is the sanctity of life. So let's examine this. Here are a few scriptures that many pro-lifers like to use in reference to abortion:

Jeremiah 1:5 : Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

This does not reference abortion, but the sanctity of life. It clearly means that every life matters. And it does. I have never met a woman who has had an abortion that did not recognize the gravity of her decision. Whether she believes that the fetus she's terminated is "alive" or a person or what have you, she understands the gravity. She understands the potential of what is growing inside of her. My personal interpretation of this scripture is that it is to provide comfort for those who find themselves feeling lost or obsolete. I'm not sure why many pro-lifers see the word "womb" and automatically relate it to abortion.

Isaiah 49:15 : Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 

I think this scripture speaks for itself. I'm honestly not sure how this gets brought into the abortion debate. If a baby is at it's mother's breast, it has already been born, eliminating the correlation to abortion. Am I the only one who sees this as a reference to neglected living children? Again, in my opinion, this is a scripture meant to comfort those who need it.

Psalm 127:3 : Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.

Kids are great! I have three of my own and they make my life so much fuller than I ever thought possible. Boom. That's it.

I'd like to point out that while all of these scriptures specifically referencing the sanctity of life, no Christian is out supporting Syrian refugees, protesting the death penalty for murderers, or working to improve things for single mothers with new babies. Instead, I'm seeing Christian protesting Syrian refugees, pushing the government to expedite executions, and shaming single mothers for being on welfare. Funny how that works, isn't it?

So we've looked at the Biblical side of it, or at least part of it (I don't have time to blog all of the times that the Bible references children). Let's examine a few scenarios:

  • A little girl is raped. Through absolutely no choice of her own, she becomes pregnant. Carrying this pregnancy means compromising her body that is not mature enough to support a pregnancy...which could easily lead to difficulty carrying wanted pregnancies later in life. It also means compromising her mental health, which could result in suicide (a sin, according to the Bible). It is immoral to force her to carry the pregnancy. Bottom line. There is no question as to whether or not this warrants an abortion.

  • A woman, married, gets pregnant by her abusive husband. She fears for the baby's life once it's born. There's a good chance that this child will die regardless of the decision made. It can be abused and murdered after birth where there is no doubt that it will feel every second of suffering that it endures, OR, this woman can go to a clinic and have an abortion early in her pregnancy where the fetus will feel nothing. Again, no question of morality here.

  • A young couple decides it's time to expand their family and they get pregnant. 20 weeks into the pregnancy, they learn that the baby the woman is carrying has Turner's syndrome, which means it's kidney's aren't functioning, it has cardiac defects, and the lungs are effected. There is no chance that their baby will survive long after birth. And while it is alive, it will struggle. It will be in pain. And it will greatly impact the parents to watch their child suffer and die in their arms. Which is worse? Euthanizing the fetus and ending the pregnancy, or carrying to term and watching their baby die? Again, in my mind, there is no question.

These are all extreme cases, but they happen daily. Making a baby is not a perfect science. And relationships aren't always as happy and easy as they should be. Real people find themselves in these very real situations on a regular basis. However unfortunate it may be, that's our reality. And for these extreme cases alone, we cannot allow abortion to become illegal. And many Christians who consider themselves pro-life support abortion in most of these cases.

So what about the "other" abortions? The majority of abortions. Then it becomes a different kind of moral issue. If you don't support it, that's fine. But women will find a way to terminate unwanted pregnancies, regardless of whether or not they're legal. Is it moral for a Christian to fight to outlaw abortion while knowing that women and girls will die trying to terminate their pregnancies, whether it be due to DIY abortion methods or going to unsafe providers? No. It is not moral, by any stretch of the imagination, to outlaw something that will force parents to lose their daughters, children to lose their mothers, and husbands to lose their wives. And if you, as a Christian, can't wrap your mind around that, wrap it around this: Separation of Church and State:

(Referenced in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution): 
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

(Shockingly enough, this does not only apply to the Muslim faith, but to all of us.)

As always, any feedback is welcome. And please feel free to share!