I do not like abortion and I feel the most unheard voice in the entire world is the voice of the unborn who cannot protest or argue her plight.
However, I have never been comfortable with militancy (i.e., standing in protest lines, blocking clinics, personally “outing” doctors). I believe the best way to win the argument is to love people.
Even so, I do grow a little disturbed by a constant accusation I hear from those who wish to discredit people who oppose abortion. The argument is voiced a couple of ways. First,
It’s wrong to oppose abortion if you won’t take care of unwanted children.
Before I move to the second statement, let’s deal with this one. I do not want to make a flippant comparison to slavery. Abortion and slavery are different things and comparisons can be challenging and somewhat offensive to many people. But there is at least this parallel:
Was it wrong for the abolitionist to oppose slavery if he were not willing to take personal care of newly freed slaves? Would the slave holders have had a valid argument if they said: “It’s wrong to oppose slavery if you won’t take care of newly freed slaves”?
It’s not strictly parallel, I know, and I do not wish to detract from the issues that surrounded slavery and all of the terrible things suffered by African Americans during and after slavery. But there are some striking similarities in reasoning that are worth considering.
The second accusation is just a restatement of the first:
Why won’t you abortion opponents care for the women and children who would be affected if abortion were not available?
That’s an easy accusation to make. It often leaves abortion opponents sputtering without much to say. Sort of like, “By the way, Mr. Smith, have you quit cheating on your taxes?”
The question is a trap. The question itself is an accusation.
But accusations are not necessarily true. Until proven, they are just accusations.
What does the evidence suggest?
My wife works for a Baptist Children’s Home as a social worker (Missionary Alliance). Our own faith tradition, which is not Baptist, has several children’s homes across the US and several adoption agencies. In two churches I served in there were several families who fostered children and some who adopted children. It was never surprising to hear of Christian families adopting children.
Tonight I Googled “Christian Foster Care” and came up with an untold number of websites for Christian foster organizations. One was the Christian Alliance for Orphans. It listed 47 member adoption agencies, 31 foster organizations, 72 advocacy organizations, and (I’m estimating) over 300 individual churches that were members of this one organization. What was not listed was denominational foster and adoption agencies and several independent organizations that I personally know of. The Catholic church was not a member of this organization and it has a very large network of orphanages and foster agencies of its own in almost every state of the Union and around the world.
Add to this hundreds of non-profits dedicated to taking care of women seeking to avoid abortion (Women’s Resource Network, Birth Right, etc.)–these organizations usually provide free OB-GYN services, food, supplementation, and counseling to women who wish to either keep their children or give them up for adoption. In my own tradition many children’s homes are beginning to add residential services to unwed mothers–giving them a home environment, a safe place to live, job training, educational opportunities, and medical care.
I think it safe to say that there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of churches and Christian non-profits who serve children and women, including women who considered abortion but changed their minds. These are not protest agencies. These are agencies created for the practical care of children and women.
And these are organizations that specifically focus on women and the unborn, new born, and children. There are thousands more Christian organizations that seek to serve the homeless, the poor, and outcast. There are food banks, legal advocacy groups for the poor, free housing, medical care, job training, and community offered by Christian organizations to serve people who are struggling and hurting regardless of their race, sex, status, or religious (or anti-religious) affiliations.
Thousands of individual churches take care of their members and relatives of members who struggle with all sorts of problems including unwanted pregnancy. Yes, there are abusive churches and organizations. But there are many more who truly seek to serve and give their best to those in difficult and impossible circumstances.
Many of these organizations are staffed by unpaid volunteers and underpaid employees who have a passion to help and serve those who hurt.
This is one of the legacies of Christianity: to care for orphans and widows in their distress. I am told that even the concept of hospitals and hospice were Christian innovations.
So what is my point?
We can argue about a lot of things regarding abortion. We can debate about when life begins or any number of issues. But let’s not throw up an unsubstantiated accusation as “abortion opponents want to prevent abortion but they don’t want to stand up and care for children or the women who suffer.”
One, the argument doesn’t change whether the unborn deserve a chance to live or not and two, it just simply doesn’t square with the facts.
Just something to think about…