Articles

Where Every Child Is Wanted

A Problem the Supreme Court Can’t Solve

December 3, 2021 by

Once again, as the Supreme Court takes up the case of Dobbs v. Jackson, it seems those on opposing sides of the abortion debate cannot help but speak past each other.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, over sixty million abortions have occurred in the United States. A decision on behalf of the defendant in the current case could permit state governments to prohibit or limit abortion before the twenty-four-week mark. Beyond that, it could find that there is not a right to abortion in the Constitution.

These are questions of jurisprudence, and I am a Christian pastor. For me, abortion is wrong because it is wrong to kill any human being, let alone an innocent child. That’s nonnegotiable. But I believe there is much we can agree on.

BabyFeetBHFembed

We can agree that a government should protect and give justice to all, particularly the weakest. Allowing unborn children to receive the protection of the law would be a move towards a more just and humane civilization.

I stand alongside Christians throughout the last two millennia, and many other people as well, who have seen the spark of worth in each human life: worth that no law can take away, worth that demands not just legal protection but love. Each person has this spark of worth, this image of God: each baby, each mother, each father, each person who reads this.

We have too, deep in our DNA, a desire to care for others and help the helpless. I see noble efforts on many fronts, spearheaded by people of all faiths and none: programs for homeless people and addicts, food and clothing distribution centers, organizations that advocate for oppressed and disenfranchised groups and undocumented immigrants. The unborn may be the last frontier.

I am heartened by the prospect of Roe v. Wade’s overturn, but I also know that would be only a beginning and would not solve the fundamental problem. We need to support each human person at every stage of life, from conception until death, from childcare to education to employment to healthcare. Those of us who pray for an end to abortion must also pray for an end to everything that denies the sacred image of God in each person. If we see each person as made in God’s image we must also end the death penalty, establish stronger social safety nets, and adopt foreign policy that promotes friendship among nations rather than bloodshed.

Together we must work for a society where every child who is conceived is wanted, loved, and cared for. But even the best government cannot carry the burden of an unplanned pregnancy. We need each other; we need to help and be helped, to love and be loved. We can do this as individuals, as families, and as churches, synagogues, mosques, and other communities of care. Together we must work for a society where every child who is conceived is wanted, loved, and cared for.

Ending abortion is only the beginning of the great reform of society needed to affirm and nurture life and human flourishing. Why are so many women looking for help from abortion clinics? Why do they feel they have no other choice? Why are so many men fathering children they are not prepared to raise? What help can we give long before abortion is even contemplated? Where is the support for single-parent families and families that want to adopt children?

We are approaching Christmas. During this season, Christians remember what Jesus’ mother did when she found out about her own pregnancy. She went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was herself six months pregnant with the baby who would later be known as John the Baptist. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,” the Gospel records, “the baby leapt in her womb.” This story, of an unborn child responding to the presence of an embryonic king, is never far from the minds of Christians as we contemplate the wonder of personhood already in the womb.

Comments

About the author

Heinrich Arnold 1

J. Heinrich Arnold

J. Heinrich Arnold serves as a senior pastor for the Bruderhof in the United States and abroad.

Read Biography
View All Authors

Recommended Readings

View All

You Might Also Like

View All Articles
View All Articles