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Family

Every Heartbeat is Pro Life

February 1, 2019 by

The culture of death is advancing. New York, Virginia, and Rhode Island are all racing to promote abortion up to the moment of birth. (In fact, seven other states have already beaten them to it.) New York’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo celebrated the passage of the “Reproductive Health Act” by saying, “Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion.” More tragically, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam seems to promote killing infants after the moment of birth – at least, I have no other explanation for this quote: “The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
—Jesus

How is this infanticide possible in the name of health and human rights? I know abortion is a complex issue with heart-wrenching stories of hardship, abuse, poverty, and sometimes grave health risks to the mother. No one, least of all a man, can fully know the anxieties that countless pregnant women who choose an abortion may face. But an article in New York magazine documented twenty-six abortion stories in the words of the mothers and each one of them is heartbreaking. Many face guilt, shame, and regret, while others say it was the best thing they could have done.

One statement stood out: “Truly pro-life people should go light on the judgment, because shame motivates abortions.” That is true. Judgment is never a good thing; shame is never a positive motivator. But truth remains truth, and abortion is taking life – innocent life. It is evil and it is murder on a very large scale, more than any war or holocaust – there are more than 50 million abortions worldwide each year.

So what can we do to address the multiple problems that lead to the “need” for abortion, without spreading shame and judgement? The only lasting answer I can see is to celebrate children, celebrate family, celebrate faithful marriage between one man and one woman, and celebrate communities that nurture people in the difficult situations that lead to abortion. The church should be the most vibrant of such communities, and in many cases it is, but each of us who play a pastoral role should see what more we can do.

We shouldn’t be afraid to counsel young people to save the beauty and wonder of sex for its God-given place in marriage. We need to do more to prepare boys to be men and perhaps fathers; and similarly to help girls become women and eventually mothers. It is a sad fact that abortion is more prevalent alongside poverty and a lack of educational opportunity. If enough people would be prepared and willing to help an “unprepared” mother plan for an “unwanted” child, there would be fewer “unwanted” pregnancies and fewer abortions.

There is no easy answer to this epidemic of abortion, but if we each do our part to show love, to open our hearts and homes to mothers and babies, we can give every heartbeat a chance.

Adoption is another way to reduce abortion. Currently there are 135,000 children placed in adoptive homes in the US each year; that is no small number, but according to a study that compiled data from 277 national surveys in 190 countries, there are an estimated 48.5 million couples worldwide unable to have a child. In short, there could be many more adoptions. I have heard it said that if only 7% of Christians (I’m all for sharing this with non-Christians) would adopt an unwanted child, there would be no need for abortion. But adoptions are difficult and costly. Why is it that an abortion is essentially a free service while the average adoption costs upwards of $40,000? In my experience, many couples shy away from adoption simply because of the difficulty navigating the emotional, legal, and financial burdens of the process. We can do better.

But beyond counselling, education, or adoption, what would Jesus say about abortion? Although it’s not specifically addressed in the Gospels, he did say clearly, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14) and he also warned us, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 18:10).

ekg showing a steady heartbeat

There is no easy answer, no cure-all, for the conditions that have led our society to this epidemic of abortion, but if we each do our part to show love, to open our hearts and homes to mothers and babies, and to welcome rather than despise children, we can give every heartbeat a chance.

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  • Underlying the "culture of death"- is the for profit capitalistic materialism of our nation that is idolatrous (people serving profit and money, not reverse) and reduces everyone and everything objects whose only purpose is to use. It is that dehumanization that underlies abortion; and the reduction of sex, the creation of new human life, to a "consumer" item to be indulged in at whim. This is ignored by both pro-life/pro-choice. Further, many people no longer accept a religious/spiritual definition of life and make distinctions of biology (right or wrong) that "lower" forms of life have less value. Calling them "murderers" and labeling all abortion "infanticide" will not help the debate (and there is ONLY *debate* and no real *dialog* on either side that I see). Pro-Life advocates routinely back pro-materialism and greed conservative politicians who, while willing to criminalize abortion, are unwilling to materially support poor women faced with "unwanted pregnancies" fueled by a culture that pushes sex for profit and pleasure. Both *sides* need to realize that abortion is the destruction of human life in its earliest stages, and come together to make it "rare" (as this article shows ways how to other than criminalization). Recent legal developments show many pro-choice advocates are unwilling to do that.

    Paul Schryba