I would like to take a moment to address the abortion conversation. I would like to do this, not just to stir the pot or poke the beast. And I absolutely don't want to do this out of any desire to be dis-compassionate to anyone.
Please note, I am not going to be addressing the actual topic of abortion itself in this post... at least not directly... but I would like to discuss the issues that tend to arise in those particular conversations where abortion is the core topic. Now, I will obviously be speaking/writing from my own vantage point, based on my own experiences, and to be completely honest, this isn't a topic that has come up very often, but when it does, the flow of the conversation tended to go the same way every single time... It was a downhill slide... away from abortion.
So... the purpose of this post is to tackle the conversational slide that I've experienced by "thinking through" (in blog format) what is happening in these conversations, and what issues, I feel, are steering the conversation toward that downhill slide. I would like to call these issues "detours" ... they are the blockades that steer the conversation away from anything productive and into side topics that really aren't helpful and usually aren't accurate. The first detour I would like to mention, can be found in the misuse of the word, "compassion."
Compassion holds an interesting place in this conversation. In my experience, it has usually been invoked by the pro-choice voice in the debate. The intent is usually to imply that the pro-life person doesn't have any compassion for women, especially in certain circumstances. To put it a little more directly, as a pro-lifer, I might say something along the lines of, "Abortion is murder..." or "Abortion is not healthcare..." which would then be countered with a... "Where is your compassion for those mothers?" and sometimes a... "You must hate women."
In my opinion, this is the same logical reasoning that you might hear at a dinner table when a parent says, "Broccoli is good for you..." which would then be countered by a "You just hate children, don't you?" statement from the pro-noveggie-choice crowd. Without being snarky, I know that it makes some measure of sense to the child. I mean, it is possible that to some children, broccoli might taste terrible to them, and in their eyes, their parent, that is supposed to love them, is requiring them to put this terrible thing in their mouth, chew it up, and actually ingest it! The problem with the reasoning of the child is not that they are devoid of any measure of reasoning or understanding, but they are speaking from a very narrow viewpoint that does a whole lot of assuming about the parent and completely ignores the actual reality and role of the broccoli.
Now, stay with me here:
Saying, "Abortion is murder." is absolutely not a statement on measures of compassion. To abort something is to end it. In this particular case, we are talking about ending a person's life prematurely. When you end someone's life prematurely, in such a way that they do not continue to live at all, that can reasonably be defined as murder. Since the dictionary defines murder as, "the intentional and unlawful killing of a human being," then there would be some argumentation against that terminology because of the fact that it isn't currently unlawful to kill an unborn human life. From there the debate could get into something productive concerning the lawfulness of such an action, but the, "you don't have any compassion" argument detours the debate away from that.
I believe that this detour has become a "go to" for a couple of reasons... Reason one: It has a similar affect as a straw-man argument. It isn't easy to topple the reality of that baby in the womb... especially in light of all of the advances with ultrasounds and other imaging methods. Add to that the irrefutable fact that babies have survived outside of the womb at earlier and earlier stages, thanks to advancements in preemie care. Top that off with the actual cases of people charged with murder when they've killed a baby in the womb when it was against the mother's wishes. It is getting more and more difficult to try and say that a fetus isn't an actual human being that is alive. So for many, it is much easier to attack a person's character and claim that they don't have compassion for women.
The second reason why this detour has worked is because there have been some that haven't legitimately displayed any compassion for these women. I get that, to some degree... if the premise of "babies are actual babies" holds true, then abortions are horrific. But where some have failed women in their shortness of displaying compassion, it doesn't compare to the other side being completely devoid of compassion for the baby. I would also point out that the greater sin lies with the ones who are lying to these women, convincing them that this is OK, when it just isn't.
In fact, the tables ought to be truly turned... How is it compassion to tell a woman that they can kill that baby? When I know people who are going to be in a tough spot, whether it was because of their own actions or not, telling them to kill someone so that it will go away, isn't compassionate at all.
But... doesn't that bring us back to the real discussion. Is that or is that not ... a baby? That is really the only question that truly matters. The answer to that question changes everything.
Detour 2: Other Reasons
A second detour usually occurs when the reasoning behind the abortion comes into play. People will tend to bring up pregnancies that have resulted from rape or incest or a pregnancy that coincides with a mother's health issues... something like cancer treatments. The thought from the first is that a woman shouldn't be asked to carry that baby to term (implying that to ask that of a woman is as monsterly as the initial crime that may have caused the pregnancy) and the thought behind the second is a scenario where the mother's life would be at stake if the baby's life isn't terminated.
To address these issues with a pro-life stand, is not an abandonment of compassion. (I know we already talked about that, but it needs to be said again.) In that second scenario, where the mother's life might hang in the balance if the baby's life isn't terminated, the actual reality is that there are very few cases where that is even an issue. When you do a little research, it is already below 5% of abortions that occur where maternal health is even the given reason, let alone whether or not it is a confirmed reason. With the other given scenario, pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, I couldn't find any reliable numbers in the data, partially because the stats were such a small percent of the overall numbers, that this category fell into the category of "other" reasons given.
But once again, the very nature of these two scenarios changes drastically if the premise that an unborn baby is still a full human being is accepted. Let's have the real conversation... is it ever OK to kill anyone? What reasons would you accept? or reject? If I could save my wife by killing my son, should I do that? Would that be OK? Would it be more acceptable to kill him if he is younger than... any age? At what age is it no longer acceptable to kill a person that was the result of rape? Would a child conceived because of incest really not deserve to live? Once again... Unborn people being actual people changes the frame of the debate... and is what the debate ought to be about.
Detour 3: You can't just say, "Don't" without offering to help.
This third detour tends to come up after the other detours fail. The problem with this one is that it just isn't true. Let's consider the more than 90% of abortions that are happening, simply because of choice... The mother, for whatever reason, doesn't want to have children. I have yet to meet a pro-life person, that wouldn't, if there are no other options, take a child. Frankly, I'm putting it out there right now... I would be willing take your child, if they are not wanted by you. If you know a mother that does not want their children, they would be wanted (and loved) in my home. I also know multiple families that are actively seeking children. I'm also aware of multiple churches and other ministries that would willingly step up to the plate. You can't tell me that there isn't help out there. Adoption is a real option for those who believe in life for all.
Quite frankly, it is those that don't believe in life for all (the pro-choice people) that are holding back the help. For example, in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood received $616.8 million dollars. And they also funded 345,672 abortions in that same year. What if we just took that money and put it toward adoptions and orphanages? (By the way... orphanages were the way we used to deal with society's unwanted children.)
The type of help that you even consider offering to a woman in need is drastically altered if the humanity of the unborn child is accepted. If babies are people, then helping a woman by offering death to anyone... is unthinkable.
I don't mind talking about this topic at all, though I am weary of the detours. If you are interested in talking about abortion, and are willing set aside the detours... we could talk then as well. If you think that my "detours" aren't really detours... let's accept the premise that unborn people are still people, and have a conversation about the detours.
A final note: if you are a woman who has had an abortion, my heart goes out to you. Please consider calling my church... we offer free Biblical counseling to all. We will love you. If you are considering an abortion, please don't do it. There are ministries in my town that would support you, and even if there weren't ... I have a home and a Christian family where your child could live. In fact... It is also a place where you could live. We would love and accept you as well.