As pro-life Americans rally together to try to defund Planned Parenthood, part of me is really happy because I hate much of the work that Planned Parenthood does. I’ve been on their website and the language they use to speak of abortion is very masquerading, and it works; they are misleading countless women every year and effectively carrying out genocide on infants while hailing themselves as heroes. I am all for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
But part of me is also troubled at all the lawmaking excitement and PP-bashing because, if abortions become harder to get, where does that leave women who really feel like they need one? No amount of litigation can remove the reality of unwanted pregnancies.
I think a lot of pregnancies are terminated just for lack of information. Popular lies have sunk so deep that the mother genuinely doesn’t think the fetus is a baby, so she truly doesn’t believe an abortion is killing anyone.
Some women, on the other hand, such as the poet who called her aborted daughter’s death a sacrifice for her mother’s right to choose, know abortion really is the murder of a human being but deem the act worth it anyway.
But many women find themselves considering abortion because they truly don’t know what else to do.
She will get kicked out by her family or abandoned by her boyfriend.
She literally has no money and she can’t imagine watching her child starve.
She’s 50 years old and already has her plate full with her other kids. She was even on the pill!
She was raped by her boss.
The father is not her husband---it was just once!---but once the baby is born, his skin color will serve as a constant reminder of his mother's unfaithfulness.
She and her boyfriend are respected in their church and if anyone found out, he would never be able to be a pastor.
Her family is abusive and might hurt the baby.
I can think of a ton of other situations that all make me want to weep for the mother because it’s all so hard and wrought with suffering. So what are people in the pro-life movement going to do for the women?
I have learned---even from my own experience as a 19-year-old expectant mother---that just because someone is "pro-life" on the ballot doesn't mean they actually have a healthy view of babies or their moms. Yes, even pro-lifers can make you feel like pregnancy is the worst news ever. (I was even married but received lots of hurtful negative pushback for my "irresponsibility.") Here are some ideas that get much more personal than writing a letter to your congressman (which is a great thing to do!)
Make it known that you would gladly adopt an unwanted baby.
I think that if only there was a stronger culture of joyful adoption “because I want to!” instead of “because I had to”, many more troubled moms would be willing to continue their pregnancies.
You never know, maybe a Facebook friend from middle school has found herself pregnant and she feels like she has no options. But if she knows that you will gladly take that baby and welcome him or her into your family as one of your own, she might be willing to stick it through the nine months and have that baby. Nobody wants their kid to go to foster care (and rightly so; the system is very broken) but if they know that a good family will gladly take their child regardless of appearance or disabilities, they might truly reconsider.
Personally, I’m still growing up and I’m not totally on top of things with the kids I already have, so I don’t know if anyone would want me to adopt their baby at this point, but if given the opportunity I would gladly do it. We’d make it work. A situation has happened before where a friend’s sister was considering abortion, and Peter and I immediately agreed that we would welcome that baby into our family if that meant it would save his/her life. (The mom decided to keep the baby and as far as I know they’re doing great!)
I’m almost certain anyone in my church would do the same. If a mom in a hard place came to me needing a good family for her child, I would be able to find one for her in a heartbeat just by asking my church family. That’s what churches are supposed to do. Caring for orphans isn’t just for special adoption-minded people; every Christian’s heart should beat for adoption because God’s heart beats for adoption. (He’s adopted us, hello.) Let’s make it known to women that we will find a good home for their child.
Let your loved ones know that children are gifts from God 100% of the time.
Stop warning your children or friends to “be responsible!” (implying “don’t get pregnant!”) If your child/friend forgets to use protection or gets raped or did everything she was supposed to but the birth control still didn’t work---or, gasp, maybe in the moment she even wanted a baby---when she gets that positive pregnancy test she will remember your words and think the “responsible” thing to do is end the pregnancy.
Tell your daughters and friends you will love and support them if they get pregnant. Tell your sons and friends you will love and support them if they father a child. Encourage purity, certainly, but remember that though premarital/extramarital sex is sinful, conceiving a child is not a sin.
God is the creator of life 100% of the time, whether the lovers had wedding rings on or not.
Psalm 139:13-14 (“You have knitted me in my mother’s womb” and “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”) doesn’t only apply to wanted babies in stable families. Let your loved ones know that you would consider their child a tremendous gift no matter what.
Quit badmouthing unmarried mothers! Moms who keep their babies alive are heroes.
You never know what the person you’re talking to is going through. She might gossip with you about that girl fresh out of high school who “got herself pregnant” but she might very well find herself in a situation...maybe from deliberate promiscuity or maybe not; either way, she is worthy of compassion, but from prior conversations she will only expect condemnation from you.
Speak highly of women who have wept over the positive pregnancy test and have no idea how it’s going to work but who have resolved to make it work. These women are courageous and deserving of praise. Talk to someone whose mother was considering abortion but chose to keep the baby or give him/her to a family instead. That mother made the hard choice to keep someone alive even though that decision surely came at great cost to her. You never know who in your life is struggling with this decision, so we all need to be careful about how we think and talk about others.
So yes, let’s do everything we can to stop Planned Parenthood. But let’s also do everything we can to care for moms in personal ways. Throw a baby shower for someone who isn’t finding much support otherwise. Reach out to an expecting mother when you see pregnancy news on Facebook. I know women who have found hope in Jesus through their unwanted pregnancies and they were never the same. Let our love for women be even louder than our hatred for Planned Parenthood.
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My name is Hope.
I'm 25, married to a former skater dude and raising three little people ages 1-5. I like chartreuse, calligraphy, Coke Icees, childbirth, crocs, Studio C, and...alliteration.
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Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today