The subject of abortion has really been on my mind lately. You may or may not have read my post Sick from a few days ago. Clearly, it has upset me quite a bit. If you remember, I was fairly direct and blunt. I have to admit that I was writing with the emotions from reading the article still fresh and strong.
I still have those emotions but they have ebbed back to the normal levels, and I’ve spent the last few days more in mulling over my thoughts about it than in fuming over them. I want to add these quieter thoughts.
I’ve had many conversations with women whose lives have been directly affected by abortion. Many of them freely chose to have an abortion the first time they found out they were pregnant. They were formerly of the pro-choice viewpoint. Or they felt themselves panic at their situation and compromised their convictions for the sake of their one specific circumstance. Some of the women I’ve talked with were coerced into making a decision they didn’t want to make by a parent or boyfriend or spouse who felt more shame and panic than they themselves did. Many of the women I talked to were women who march in the very front of the “March for Life” every year in D.C. These are women who have had abortions, and are now fervently active in seeking ways to end the practice.
There is one thing they all have in common, regardless of their previous convictions. They all say, in so many words, that what they did was wrong. They know and assent to what I wrote about abortion in “Sick.” I have yet to meet a woman who was proud of her abortion, who told me she would do it again, who still defends the “right” for other women to do the same. Are there women like this out there? I’m sure there are a few, but I don’t think they are the norm.
Having said that, I want to clarify what I mean by taking action. By not just sitting by and ignoring this while it’s happening here. I did address that a little in one of the comments, but I want to expound upon that a little here. There are two parts to this.
Yes. Prayer. I do believe prayer is active and effective. I won’t get into my whole theology of that here and now; I might save that for a later post. But I think this prayer needs to happen on many levels.
Prayer for leaders in our states and nation who make decisions about this. There is a lot going on in our country right now. Decisions about the national budget, healthcare, birth control options. There are controversies over charities that are supporting or not supporting other charities (I’m thinking specifically of the kafuffle that happened with Komen and Planned Parenthood). I don’t think the most effective way to influence these decisions is pickets and marches and petitions. Do they have influence? They can. But in a country where there has been a consistent pro-choice majority (although that did change in 2009 even though the vast majority still agree that abortion should be legal under certain circumstances), the reality of having pro-life legislation passed is unlikely. Yet, these decisions do come down to the individuals who make them, and we should keep those individuals in prayer. Pray for our president and vice president (whether you like them or not). Pray for the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. Pray for the Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. Pray for our Senate Leaders, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. And pray for our Supreme Court Justices. Also pray for local leaders, like your house representative, governor, and state senates. Pray that these men and women will have wisdom as they lead. Pray that you will trust God as he raises up leaders and works his will through them in our nation.
Next, pray for the men and women whose lives have been affected by abortion. I know some by name. You may not realize that you do. (Statistically, it is very likely that you know several women who have had abortions and have never spoken of it.) These are men and women whose lives are hurting because of a very traumatic experience. They may struggle with guilt or shame. They may face huge regrets. The women who have had the procedure may have serious and long-term physical effects like chemical depression, damage to their reproductive system causing infertility, infection. Pray for their physical, mental, and emotional healing. Pray for their restoration spiritually. Is abortion awful? Yes. Is it forgivable? Absolutely.
Pray for those tied up in the industry. For those who are supporting the pro-choice agenda, pray that God will open their eyes to see what is really going on. Pray for their conviction and that they would then have a desire to make things right. Pray for the doctors and clinics that perform these procedures. Again, pray for conviction. Pray that they will act ethically and honestly in matters like offering to let mothers see their ultrasounds.
Pray for people contemplating abortion. Unplanned pregnancy can be traumatic and stressful (regardless of whether it was an accident or the consequence of something far worse like rape), and for many people the only way out that they can see is termination of the baby. Pray that they will be comforted and encouraged in the midst of their panic. That there will be people who can give them wise counsel about their other options. That they will have people in their lives whose primary motive in helping them will not be an “agenda,” but loving them and desiring their well-being.
I know this is a lot. But there’s one other action I want to suggest as well.
2. Listen, and then Talk
Please hear what I’m NOT say here. I’m not saying to preach from a soap-box on a street corner. I’m not saying to shoot condemning looks at a woman walking into a clinic that you’re picketing. What I am saying is take the time to get to know people who have a different view point. Honestly listen to what they have to say. Gently and humbly share your point of view. Again, make your primary, genuine motive be loving and caring for the well-being of the other person, not “winning them over.” This is not a battle that will be won by marching in the conquering troops and subjecting the opposition by force. The problem is not the socio-economic pressures and trends. They are merely a symptom of the brokenness of the human heart.
This is a huge, culture-wide issue. It will take lots of time and prayer. It will take the innocence of doves and the shrewdness of serpents. It will take small amounts of salt scattered in strategic places. It will take the time and effort of building true friendships one person at a time. And it will take an unyielding hope and trust in the good God directing it all.