Updated: Sep 1, 2021
I recently heard an argument in favor of abortion that shocked me. The individual believed that if the church isn’t ready to empower women with the option to choose life, then abortion should carry on. There were a few concerns for the person advocating this position. To list a couple, (1) abortion would go underground and be unsafe for those still looking to have an abortion, and (2) if the church is saying abortion is wrong, then it’s the church’s responsibility to create a way for people to choose life. The church should fix it.
There is a lot wrong with these viewpoints, and I’d like to take some time to address the two points above to better equip people with what I’ve seen as a growing argument.
Abortions will go underground
Let’s begin with the argument of unsafe abortions and it going underground. The flow of logic here is if society bans legal abortions, then women will have to look for back-alley ways of getting an abortion. A parallel example could be the legalization of marijuana. Some say that by legalizing marijuana it can now be better regulated and held to a higher standard of accountability, thus prevent back alley deals with drug dealers, bad product that may be toxic or laced, and everything else the mind can imagine. There is merit to this argument. But like the argument with marijuana, you must ask yourself is it morally wrong to have an abortion?
Answering the philosophical question of whether an abortion is wrong is at the center of this argument—or at least ought to be. Most people in the pro-choice position believe that it is a woman’s right to choose abortion since it’s her body. The pro-life argument advocates that the life inside of the woman is a human life with intrinsic, personal value. Therefore, the option to kill that child does not exist because taking the life of an innocent is wrong. Similar to how it would be wrong for me to kill one of my sons because I said, “My household, my choice on whether you live or die.”–I’d be arrested for that, and rightly so–the pro-choice argument sees abortion as killing life. While this in some ways is a boiled down version of the argument, the fact remains that if abortion is wrong, then the back alley concerns do not matter as much as trying to protect the life of innocent children.
The church should fix it
This argument is bothersome for me. I need to get it out there that I’m tired of this kind of rhetoric because it displaces responsibility from oneself and puts it on the church. For one, just because the church advocates a moral view on something doesn’t mean that it is now the church’s responsibility to carry the burden of your life choices. Hypothetically speaking, it would be like making a financial adviser responsible for putting away 15% of his own income for someone else’s retirement account because he believes that you ought to save for retirement. That is not how it works.
We are all responsible for our own lives and accountable for our own actions to God. And with only 1% of reported abortions being the product of rape, there is a lot of neglected responsibility going on. Don’t get me wrong, I sympathize with those who are in a situation where they are in financially straits or question how they can get through it, but a solution to those struggles should never be taking someone’s life. Just like we say a solution to your problems should not be committing suicide. Life is worth protecting and fighting for.
The church is not responsible for civil programs
The church is not responsible for every civil program that someone can think of. And yet, the church does have a marvelous track-record of benevolence whether it is its long history of building hospitals, orphanages, building water-wells, helping with mission projects, building schools, offering addiction programs, counseling, helping the homeless, serving as weather shelters, and so much more. These efforts are almost always done without any government aide. Unlike the government that subsidizes 24% of all abortions in the US through taxpayer dollars, we should encourage churches to do this even more by getting involved ourselves and giving toward these efforts.
Both arguments are trying to make excuses for the reason why many get abortions and are shifting the burden onto the wrong object. They lack ownership and taking responsibility for engaging in sex and the outcomes of sexual relations. As I said earlier, I understand that there are cases of rape or other matters like medical well-being of the mother, but those cases are incredibly rare. Still, it should be our duty to help love people who find themselves in a situation where they are considering abortion. Help them understand the beauty of motherhood and the precious quality of life, and if it is in your power to aid them in their journey, do it. And if I may add one more item to the list, look for ways to come alongside your church to help reach your community needs.