Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Silence equals death

Christians Have Serious Problems With My Position on Abortion

OhDaughterofZio provides a fairly thoughtful post, but one that also demonstrates how shallow the discourse on abortion evidently is within the church as well as society.

As far as I'm concerned, we can't legislate away the fact that there has been a serious twisted depravity that's taken the place of a heart that was created by the living God to be intrinsically nurturing and protective of the life that grows underneath said heart...

When a woman's very first instinct is so marred and hardened into the desire to stop the beating heart of her own child, no law is going to remove that sentiment.

I will concede that in many cases, there is a twisted depravity in the heart of many a woman procuring an abortion. You can read their stories on hardcore feminist blogs. Their attitude is, "Yeah, it's a baby. And I didn't invited it. And somebody owes it to me to kill the little parasite. Because I am god of my own life. Period. Paragraph."

But this isn't what's bringing the typical woman into an abortion clinic. "I have no choice!" is a fairly typical cry of the woman on the abortion table. She's not there because she wants her baby to die. She's there because she feels trapped and sees abortion as her only way out. As Frederica Mathewes-Green poignantly wrote:

A woman doesn’t want an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.

There may be force or coercion involved as well.

Another factor that is ignored in public discourse is the ambivalence that is normal in early pregnancy. Alec Bourne, the ob/gyn who successfully challenged the abortion law in the UK, wrote:

Those who plead for an extensive relaxation of the law [against abortion] have no idea of the very many cases where a woman who, during the first three months, makes a most impassioned appeal for her pregnancy to be 'finished,' later, when the baby is born, is thankful indeed that it was not killed while still an embryo. During my long years in practice I have had many a letter of the deepest gratitude for refusing to accede to an early appeal.

Women are not told at any point that ambivalence and even rejection of the pregnancy are normal and self-limiting. They don't hear it in sex-ed, and they're certainly not hearing it when they're in the abortion facility, signing the death warrant for babies that they'd be perfectly happy to give birth to, if only they were given the chance to work through the normal psychological tasks of pregnancy.

There is also another misapprehension in OhDaughterofZio's post: the assumption that the woman getting on the abortion table knows that her unborn child has a beating heart. One common thread in many sad abortion stories is the lies women are told to get them to consent to abortions:

One patient told the clinic owner that she had concerns about hurting "the baby". The owner told her, "What baby? There's no baby. There's just two periods there that will be cleaned out... Oh, you're pregnant. But there is no baby there. Get that out of your head. You know how much blood there is on the pad during your period? That little bit? Well, this will be twice as much. Two periods. And some water."

One of the things that got me off the fence was my babysitter's lamentation about how the Planned Parenthood counselor's response to her questions about "the baby" was that there was nothing but some cells, "like a blood clot".

The law can't address the hardened heart of a mother who knows it's a baby and wants it to die. But the law can address the fraudulent and deplorable behavior of counselors and doctors who lie to women, or omit vital information.

OhDaughterofZio goes on to say:

I feel that we can attempt to stop abortion, but that abortion is the symptom of a much deeper problem.

Very true. But that doesn't mean that we don't address the symptom. After all, fever is a symptom of an underlying problem. That doesn't mean that we don't do everything in our power to bring the fever down. Yes, abortion is symptomatic of a variety of ills in society, the church, the family, and the individual heart. But the same is true of rape, murder, child abuse, poverty, and a myriad other ills. We still address those evils head-on, even as we work toward healing the underlying problems. If you saw a woman beating her toddler in the park, would you simply pray that she find peace in Christ, or would you intervene to prevent injury to the child, then witness to the woman? Aside from the immediate need to protect the child, there is also the fact that failure to intervene does a spiritual harm to the woman, by allowing her sin to escalate to where it drives her further from Christ.

no signs we hold up at clinics will have anywhere near the power that true evangelism rooted in the desire to exemplify the love and the heart of the living God.

But a loving presence at the clinic can be a blessing, and in and of itself a form of evangelism:

Don't all frightened women, thinking they have no way out, deserve the love and help this young mother got? To simply declare yourself "prochoice" and "let her decide" is to abandon her to isolation and despair.

Make Proverbs 23:11 a reality.

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