Can We Make The Pro-Life Stance Palatable?

As a Christian, I find the current state of abortion in our country, and the fact that it even exists, heartbreaking. The “fetus” in the womb is nothing other than a living human being. A human being dependent upon the love and care of her mother. I would like nothing more than to see abortions end today. To see everyone admit that these children are just that: children and they need to be treated with our love and care, and not treated as objects to be disposed of if we so choose.

However, I’m afraid that isn’t likely—at least not today. Our culture, like any other, didn’t just wake up with the understanding it has on this issue. Time and circumstances have gotten us to where we are, and it will take time and circumstances to get us to where we’re going. So I guess this can be seen as a call for all Christians to prepare for the journey. Don’t be downcast, but look ahead with hope and do what you can to get us to where we should be.

Right now, many don’t even see the pro-life stance as a tenable position. Even knowing this, I believe that we can begin to move the needle on the palatability of the pro-life stance—one that attributes human dignity to all people starting at conception—if we consciously chip away at some of the surrounding problems that abortion advocates might cite while pressing full steam ahead to rid our world of abortion as soon as we can. Orbiting the central issue of the Right to Life v. Abortion is a multitude of questions that end up being utilized as “defeaters” by opponents simply because they haven’t been solved.

Questions like:

How is a single mother supposed to care for her child when she doesn’t even have enough money to care for herself?

Our adoption and foster-care programs are overflowing and broken as it is, and you want to put more kids into this fractured system?

Why don’t you put this much effort into protecting the dignity of vulnerable people already walking the earth?

Questions like these are legitimate, and need to be thought about long and hard, and ultimately solved. While they don’t detract from the actual content of what is happening when an abortion is taking place—a human is killed—they are certainly things that need our attention.

As Christians, we tend to get a bad rap about issues like this. These are issues that need to be handled with thoughtfulness, loving-kindness, compassion, and sensitivity. And we, the Church, should be leading the fight in this way. We tend to be seen as simply shouting our opinion at people but not really being interested in caring for the individuals that are put in this predicament to begin with. While I think that this is a caricature of much of the Christian church in America, there is a hint of truth to it that needs our addressing and undoing. This undoing will take action over time, and we have to be ready to put in the work. We need to be ready to act in love, and a clanging cymbal isn’t love; love is the right beliefs in action.

I’m reminded of some words of Jesus’, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23) While I believe it to be, generally, a misrepresentation of the Church, I feel as though many in the on-looking world would view us as the scribes and Pharisees here. They think we only care about one or two issues that make us look, or sound, pious but we’re neglecting matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Let’s be known for doing it all. Let’s not even allow the world to say that we aren’t loving in this way. We’ve not been called to love others when we feel like it, or only in the ways that we feel like it, we’ve been commanded to love others as Jesus has loved us (in the ways that were most needed, and to his own detriment).

When a terrible plague was ravaging the Roman Empire in the third century—and while Christians were being blamed for it—Christians were known for staying in the cities that were being devastated and caring for the pagans. Even while others were fleeing their own, the Christians were staying and helping tend to the afflicted. Christianity didn’t win over the empire that was persecuting it by simply shouting position statements at it. Christians lived out what they said they believed. Don’t misunderstand me to be saying that we shouldn’t proclaim what we know to be truth, because we should. I’m just saying it shouldn’t be only a proclamation.

You see, we show that we are truly pro-life, not just because we care for the unborn, but because we also care for those born. An understanding of everyone being an image-bearer of God will motivate us to love, care for, and dignify all people—even those we most especially disagree with on this issue. So while we strive toward the day that everyone acknowledges everyone’s inherent worth—even those unborn—let’s work to fix some of these other problems along the way. With much time and effort put toward fixing these surrounding issues, we may be able to make the Pro-Life stance palatable and, in turn, win over our own culture through not just our words, but our works.