16/05: Abortion on Balance
There are several vital questions that need serious responses by Christians, especially those Christians who are pro-life. Here are a couple: how can evangelicals (including Reformed folks) take the “moral high” ground by being pro-life while also minimizing and neglecting moral socio-economic injustices that usually lead to abortions? Shouldn’t Christians be equally concerned about those issues too if they truly love their neighbor just like Jesus taught?
Well, I was reading The Philadelphia Inquirer (Sunday, January 28, 2007) and lo' and behold there was an article about abortion. The article was heavy on the gruesome statistics and tended to downplay the moral concerns of women’s cultural and socio-economic environments, except for one passing statement that is worth citing (in bold below).
In fact, the numbers show that the individual abortion usually does not involve one of those tragic, heart-wrenching archetypes [referring to women who become pregnant as result of being raped by her father/uncle/minister]. Rather, it is simply a matter of an adult woman deciding she doesn’t want to be burdened with bearing the child she has created. A 2005 survey in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health reported that in 93 percent of all cases, mothers cited “social” concerns as the primary reason for aborting their children [emphasis mine].What is so subtle and dangerous about this article is how it virtually dismissed the morally unjust reality of women who become pregnant through rape as being an evil ploy by pro-choice folks “to sell” (to use the columnist words) and justify abortion for the last 34 years. This leads the impression that pregnancies through rape hardly ever happen and when it does happen, it is not too terribly important to deal with in our “high moral” ground abortion discussions/arguments.
Moreover, the columnist goes on to say (see above quotation) that basically women get abortions because they do not see abortion as “heart-wrenching” and therefore, do not want the burden of having a child. Wow! Is he serious? Now, there is no question that some women wrongly choose to get an abortion because of the struggles of bearing and rearing a child, which can be a frightening thing when you are not in the best of situations. But it is another thing and absolutely ridiculous and callous to imply that based upon what “the numbers show” of one particular woman (i.e. "the archetype") that these women do not feel anything, such as tragedy, sadness, or depression from their difficult decision to get an abortion. So I’m trying to figure out how in the world was he able to get all that from some cold and lifeless numbers. From the women I’ve spoken with who have gotten an abortion, none of them (no not one) said or even emoted anything like that at all. And here’s the irony that seems to undermine his very point. He then gave a statistic that said, “93 percent of all cases, mothers cited ‘social’ concerns as the primary reason for aborting their children.” But I’m sure he probably understood those “social” concerns to mean things like women who just want to go out on Friday night with her girlfriends and don’t want to have a child around to interfere. Again, there is no doubt that reasons like those exist. However, the question is, are those the only reasons? Are there also other moral social reasons that are neglected and left unexamined by the (evangelical) pro-life platform/rhetoric that claims to care deeply about moral issues, but in reality only when those moral issues are individualized?
Co-Founder Xavier Pickett