I re-posted an article by Matt Walsh on Facebook the other day, and I really gotta stop doing that. Even when I agree with some of his basic points, his tone and attitude offend me, and I always end up being associated with them. This one had to do with Planned Parenthood and abortion, and a friend took me to task on account of it. So, even though I thought I was done with this topic, I guess I have more I need to say.
My friend contended that pro-life advocates have fought against effective strategies to reduce unwanted pregnancies. Maybe so. Other friends have argued that pro-life advocates leave these mothers hanging when they've had the babies they didn't want aborted. True sometimes, but less often than they contend. My friend believes that pro-life tactics are at least 50% responsible for abortion rate in the U.S. today. I agree that pro-life advocates have often gone about this wrongly and irresponsibly, but the 50% figure I'm not so sure about.
My friend asked me to read the story of a couple struggling with the revelation of their unborn baby having a serious medical condition. And I truly sympathized with that; as I wrote earlier, there are certainly situations that would find me wishing that abortion was a viable alternative. I don't have answers (at least, legal answers, answers outside of my faith) for those really difficult situations: rape, the life of the mother being at risk, etc.
But those are a minority of the abortions performed, maybe 15%, according to even liberal sources. The other 85% are done for other reasons: "I don't feel mature enough to raise a child . . . I don't want to be a single mother . . . I'm not ready for a child, can't afford it . . . I'm done having babies . . ." 85%.
I want to talk about that 85%. That was the group I was talking about to begin with. Abortion is too big a topic to address as a whole: I want to talk about the aspect that we SHOULD be able to agree on. That 85%.
See, although I've always believed abortion was wrong, I haven't been very outspoken about it, and I've entirely backed off of the discussion of laws regarding abortion. And I had a reason: my opposition to abortion was solely based in my religious beliefs, and I understood that the country couldn't make laws based on any one group's religious beliefs.
But the situation has changed. You don't have to be religious anymore to recognize that abortion is the destruction of a living being. I have nonreligious friends, even atheist friends, who agree with me. There is just too much information out there now to realistically believe otherwise. Yet, I have friends who apparently do believe otherwise – intelligent, thoughtful, informed, compassionate friends. And I just couldn't understand this.
Until I read another article this week entitled, "I Don't Know If I'm Pro-Choice Anymore." The author explains that he's struggled with his pro-choice stance in recent years and that the Planned Parenthood videos have just about turned him around. He says from the beginning he understood the abortion debate as "a tug-of-war between competing rights—those of the mother versus those of an unborn baby" – and yes, that's exactly what it is.
Then he said this: "I sided with the mother. And I tried not to think about the baby."
That's it – that has to be it. That's the only explanation that makes sense to me. My pro-choice friends are compassionate people. They fight for the underprivileged, the oppressed, the helpless. They see women in desperate, heart-breaking situations, and they hurt for them. They "side with the mother" . . . and they try not to think about the baby.
May I remind you of citizens in the Nazi regime who enjoyed the resurgence of their nation, the growth of their economy, the stability of their communities, the new pride in their country . . . and tried not to think about the Jews.
And of early 19th century Americans who benefited from the cheap cotton products made possible by the beautiful, well-ordered plantations run by their Christian brothers and sisters in the south . . . and tried not to think about the Negros.
Folks, I contend that we don't have the luxury anymore of not thinking about the babies, because their plight is obvious, it is horrific, and it is in our faces. There is medical information and research – there are ultrasounds, pictures, videos – there are testimonies of mothers, medical practitioners, people involved in every aspect of the birth and/or abortion industries. It's one thing if you're a teenage girl with your head in the sand not thinking further than your next crush and your weekend's entertainment. But my friends are not teenage girls; they are intelligent, informed, thoughtful, compassionate adults. And to be such a person and not recognize the nature of a fetus in the womb and what is happening to it during an abortion . . . well, I'm sorry if I offend someone I love, but I can't escape this conclusion: that seems to require a willful choice to ignore this particular category of the innocent and helpless. To try hard to not think about the baby. I recognize that if you are enmeshed in the pro-choice movement, that choice may be made easy for you by the limited amount of information you are exposed to. Nevertheless, these are lives we're talking about. If that choice is not immoral, it is certainly irresponsible.
But the truth is, I want to believe that my friends are guilty of this irresponsibility; the alternative is worse. Are you telling me that you have come to grips with what an abortion truly is, and you still support it as a valid, legal choice? You have no problem with a woman ending the life of the child in her womb for one of the reasons of the 85% given above? "I'm done having children, so I'll end the life of this one." "I don't think I am ready to be a mother, so I'll end the life of this child." (Consider, as I wrote before, what those words would sound like if spoken just after the baby leaves the womb.) You have no problem with our country having laws in place that not only make this legal, but strive to make it as easy and painless as possible for mothers to make such a decision? Really, my friends? Because if that's you . . . well, please, don't tell me so. It may affect what I think about your character, and I just don't want to believe such things of my friends.
You do understand, I hope, that "siding with the baby" does NOT have to mean siding against the mother? Not with this 85%. One thing we have learned in the last forty years is that the choice to abort is not without dramatic consequence to the mother who makes it. There is a huge wake of psychological, emotional, and even physical damage as evidence. Despite what you think, pro-lifers are very concerned about the welfare of the mother; for many, it was the heartache of the mothers that convinced them this practice had to stop. There are solutions to these desperate situations that are in the best interest of both the mother and the child. Can't we all be on the side of both?
I'm not smart enough to offer any answers for the difficult 15%. But this 85% -- this should be a no-brainer. We should all be able to agree on this. It grieves my heart that we don't.