In the wake of the recent SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v. Wade I have struggled to find answers and common ground with friends and colleagues who have varying opinions about abortion. Regretfully, it’s impossible to find common ground or even have a calm discussion, about abortion or the Second Amendment. And, regretfully, I have provoked conversations about both, only to beat myself up later for doing so.
For me, abortion is not, and will never be, a black and white issue. It is complicated. I know this because I spent a couple of years co-leading a Bible study for women who work at a pro-life organization supporting other women considering abortion. This particular organization, while most certainly pro-life, did not shame or demean those who chose to go through with abortion. And for those who ultimately decided to carry their child to term the organization provided levels of support including job training, child care, baby supplies and clothing, etc. They were and are a loving group of people.
I learned while ministering to them that most all women considering abortion do so because they don’t think they have any other options; this is certainly the case for for many. Their lives have been difficult, many have no family support system and work for a non-living wage, have no health care available, come from abusive relationships, and the men who fathered their child have disappeared. The list goes on and on, but the point is that almost no abortion choices are “recreational”; they are choices made in desperation.
Frankly, my heart grieves at the thought of abortion; I don’t like the idea. And my pastor’s heart grieves for those forced to make such a choice. I just can’t judge women who make that decision (although I can probably judge the men who impregnated and then abandoned them). My pastor’s heart compels me to love those women through the decision process and after. And my pastor’s heart tells me that the decision to abort a child is a personal one between a woman, her health care provider (if there is one), her family (again, if there is that support), and the God who loves her always. It is not a decision for the legislature, the Supreme Court, a red state governor, or the church.
Yes, I am pro-choice. I’m also pro-life.
And it seems to me that if you claim to be pro-life you simply can’t exclude anyone. You can’t exclude an immigrant by denying health care or turning her away at the border; for that matter, you can’t be willing to deny health care to anyone. You can’t be pro-life except for trans people, LGBTQ people, minorities, or the homeless. You cannot claim to be pro-life and believe that it’s ok for anyone and everyone to be walking around with a 9mm stuck down in their pants ready to go Rambo on the person who cuts them off in traffic. If you claim to be pro-life you can’t just shrug off nineteen school children killed in Texas as mere Hispanic casualties of a mental health crisis (as the recently passed gun control legislation suggests), and you have to be heart broken at the thought of 53 immigrants perishing in a tractor trailer as they pursued a better life in America. Yet, most of our leaders (using “leaders” as a description isn’t really accurate) do shrug these thing off and don’t give any indication that they value any life other than white, healthy, straight people (mostly just men, I would suggest).
You cannot be pro-life and just sit on your hands. You have to take a stand, speak up, and do something. If you’re pro-life stance is intertwined with your faith life, you must be the hands and feet of Jesus. Don’t believe that? Just read your Bible.
I am pro-choice, but I’m also pro-life . . . All life.