Questions for My “Pro-Life” Friends

question markThese are not “gotcha” questions, I’m just trying to get some input and answers. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, only trying to better understand a view I’ve aligned myself with in the past, and questioning whether I can comfortably do so in the future. Feel free to respond to them individually, I’ll number them so you can number your answers.

  1. Do you believe that using birth control, such as the pill, is also abortion? If so, why have we never seen a church campaign to stop it’s members from using the pill?
  2. There are thousands of babies all over the world who die every day simply because they don’t have enough food and clean drinking water. They aren’t murdered by abortion (an act we have little control over, whether legal or illegal), they are murdered by our apathy and reluctance to help. If the church really cares about the smallest, why are we spending so much of our wealth on ourselves instead of caring for those lives we could save across the globe?
  3. What evidence brings you to the conclusion that “life” begins at conception? What scriptural support if any?
  4. Abortions occurred during Jesus’ time as well. Why did Jesus not say a single thing about this during his time on earth?
  5. Is there more to the “Pro-life” platform then simply overturning Roe v. Wade? If so I’d like to know. I’m wondering if there is a platform stance on issues concerning maternity, like federal paid leave, medical support, etc.

I really want answers to these questions, so I’m not going to add any more. I’ve addressed other questions I’ve had about the consistent ethics, when life begins, national depravity and a specific Bible verse as well, you can comment on those posts regarding those topics.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I’m really seeking to better understand the position. I’m not out to debate. My goal is to respond to comments with further questions or clarification, but I’m not going to try and debate any answers that are given.

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22 thoughts on “Questions for My “Pro-Life” Friends”

  1. Oh, I’m sure if you get any kind of reply, it will be of the “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, variety – lots of catchphrases, and smypathetic bemoaning, but no real substance. and I will certainly watch this post, to see if anyone proves me wrong. I would like to wrong on this one.

  2. 1. no

    2. good question.

    3. I don’t hold that conclusion, although I realize that what *I* think about the issue doesn’t make it so. Or not so.

    4. I’m not the person to ask about that one!

    5. I’m not politically conservative, so I can’t really answer this one, either. As I havn’t read here for a little while, it’s very possible that you’re looking for answers from specific pro-lifers and I need to do my homework before I post a comment!If you’re looking for answers for pro-lifers in general, I guess mine might be that not all pro-lifers think exactly the same.

  3. 1.I do not, at least at this time have a major concern with contraceptives. I would be interested to wholly hear the argument to the counter, as it was always simply stated, and never explained to me.

    2. The question, while not explicitly saying it, implies that those who care about stopping abortion do not care about starving children around the world. I disagree wholly. Yes it is true that the spotlight on starvation is too small, but the answer is not to take the spotlight off of current injustices within our own country. That is not to imply that abortion is the only injustice in the states, but it is one. We need to instead stop wasting our time on that immaterial. I agree with what you have to say, I just don’t see how it relates to the question at hand. IT comes at it sideways, it isn’t sticking to the question. There are serious problems both with abortion and hunger. I agree that the way in which people approach the issues that come with abortion are not the answer to the problem (changing the laws will not change the morality of the people).

    3. ps 22.10
    4. There are other things that Christ did not explicitly talk about in His time on earth. One example would be Human sacrifice. That was certainly going on in the time of Jesus, but it is spoken strongly against in the rest of the Bible. We look at the whole of the Bible for our direction.

    5. Being pro-Life is to be pro Human. It is to see the potential in the oppressed, the downdrodden, the abused and the unborn. It is to seek justice in the world. While on DTS right now, one of our speakers pointed out that the poor, and justice are mentioned well over 100 times in the Bible, while hell only around 14. I thought it was an interesting point.

    I would be interested in hearing how you would answer these questions. Is pro-life simply a political box that we use, or can it be more than that?

  4. 1. if you mean birth control, then the answer is no. it would be like saying the same thing about condoms. of course not.

    2. the criticism is valid. but dont discount the fact that lots of believers are trying to help in those situations. we can always do more though obviously.

    3. Ecclesiastes 5:11, Isaiah 44:2, Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 49:5, Jeremiah 1:5. These are not empirical evidence but enough to make me believe god gives life in the womb.

    4. I don’t know. He didnt address gambling or pedophelia or beastiality or homosexuality or slavery either. maybe he wasnt trying to address each issue, but address the way we live and love.

    5. i dont know. it isnt my platform. it comes from a core belief. my goal isnt to transform govt but to love sacrificially. that love extends to the mother as well.

    it is hard to pigeon hole someone that is pro-life. you cant label them or judge them without knowing them. i try not to do it to others although i am guilty.

    what is the problem with being pro-life? i am not talking about the angry crazies outside abortion clinics. i dont see the love of christ there. i mean people who are moved by their beliefs to protect life. you could say, “well they all tend to…” or “they say they are pro-life but…”. but that is stereotyping and putting us all in one category.

    here my tone. i am not angry. i just dont understand what the great evil in being pro-life. my thoughts arent as much for you as much as i am just ranting. i know you are exploring what’s going on. i am not aligning with a platform but with what seems to be the “least of these” that jesus aligns with. that love is given to the mother, father and all involved in that situation. and i do try to live by a consistant ethic of life.

    peace brother.

  5. One of the reasons that many people choose natural family planning is because they believe that the pill is like an abortion. The way the pill works is that it usually prevents an egg from releasing, but if one does, the pill also has hormones that prevent the egg from implanting into the lining of the uterus once fertilized. So a fertilized egg cannot implant. Perhaps then some pro-lifers believe that life begins sometime after implantation?

  6. Joe, a brief response…

    I don’t see any problem with being pro-life. In fact, I consider myself 100% pro-life. I’m just trying to figure out what that really means. Both for myself, and those who hold the “pro-life” platform as it seems to be definied in the USA.
    After listing those Bible verses, I’d be curious on your take on Ex. 21:22
    http://blog.iamnotashamed.net/2008/10/13/the-most-specific-bible-verse-related-to-abortion/

    Regarding the first question and your answer, some birth control methods allow eggs to be fertilize but not attach to the uterian wall. In effect, it allows conception to happen, but a fertilized egg to be passed (“aborted”). Do you see this as “abortion”?

  7. hey sorry i kinda threw that up on you. i was just venting. as far as #1 goes, i guess i am not up on my birth control. lol. that’s a good question. i may have to look into that more.

    i remember commenting on that exodus verse on your facebook. i assumed the “no injury” part was in regard to the infant. that the baby, although born pre-mature, was fine.

  8. Joe, oops, your right you did comment on that. my ability to keep people consistent in my mind between blogs and facebook, is well, woefully in adequate. Sorry.

    Do read up on the birth control bit and let me know your thoughts. I’d be interested to hear them.

  9. 1. Many people don’t know (or perhaps don’t want to know) that hormonal methods of birth control (as well as the copper wire IUD) can sometimes act as abortifacients. This is one reason that I’ve chosen not to use these methods.

    2. Good question.

    3. I was going to post the link to this sermon and commentary on the sermon on my blog, but I’ll go ahead and share it with you in case I don’t get to it. I think it has a lot of good thought about how the church should handle the abortion issue. I’m not sure that I agree across the board, but there is a lot of very good stuff to think about here. http://www.lifewatch.org/abortion.html

    4. Maybe he thought that improving the status of women would be the best way to give women more options. He didn’t work for the abolishment of slavery or any number of other things.

    5. I realize that I’m not the typical prolifer, but I think that overturning Roe v. Wade would do very little good (if any). Abortion would still be legal in almost every state. Those in illegal states could cross state lines. Of those who couldn’t or wouldn’t, many would get illegal abortions. I fully support the type of things you’ve mentioned. As the article I’ve mentioned above say, I don’t think that Christians can have any sort of viable witness on this issue until we start practicing the welcoming of pregnant women and children in our churches.

  10. Just wanted to say real quick that part of Randy Alcorn’s ministry Eternal Perspective (www.epm.org) is teaching about the pill being an abortifacient… (or however you spell that). And the crisis pregnancy clinic I volunteered at will not recommend the pill for that reason. So there are Christians out there who believe that… I’m guessing mostly Catholic, however. It is more rare in the Protestant circles. But even then I think there’s more biologically and philosophically to it than just a direct comparison of the two being equal. That’s all. =)

  11. Most Christians are uneducated about criticism of the pill. I think it is an area they consider themselves different than Catholics without really understanding the reasons why. It’s really a tradgedy because I think that many people would rather err on the side of life in this case if they knew the risks.

  12. Emily, Thanks for point out Alcorn’s ministry. I received an email forward from him about Obama. Found it rather condescending to young Obama voters (not that I am one), but sincere nonetheless. At least someone is addressing a consistent ethic of life in that camp.
    I guess that’s why I raise the question, because it seems the issue, as far as I’ve seen in churches and “pro-life” organizations, is to point and judge those woman who are choosing to have abortions. I’ve seen very little evidence of churches welcoming single mothers, little evidence of addressing life issues within the walls and communities of those Christian circles.

    To Jamie and Emily, why do you think it is that this isn’t trumpeted under the ‘pro-life’ banner?

    Also, as an aside, are there any popular female voices in the ‘pro-life’ camp? All the emails and things I’ve been forwarded are written by men (Dobson, Robert George, Alcorn, etc.). Just wondering.

  13. @Josh, thanks for your comments, and sorry I didn’t see them till now. Really, I appreciate you chiming in. Some brief responses:

    2. I realize the question is loaded, but my effort was to clarify it, not in attempts of making a point, but to get a genuine explanation. I personally, when I look at the “pro-life” campaign, see very little effort on any front except to outlaw abortion, and maybe I’m not seeing a large portion of the effort. It just doesn’t seem very “pro-life” to me and that’s why I raise the question.

    I agree with your idea that being “pro-life” is being pro-human and caring about justice. Your right there are over a thousand verses about the poor and about injustice in the Bible.
    My opinion, is that what I’ve seen, the “pro-life” label and cause is evoked only in reference to being against legalized abortion, and it’s used almost only as a political platform and ideology. It’s sad, and maybe I’m not seeing the whole picture, but that’s what I see.

  14. Hm, I think part of the reason Protestants don’t look at birth control in the same way Catholics do is simply because we tend to do anything and everything to separate ourselves from them out of principle, nevermind all the things they’re doing that are wonderful and right. That’s another issue in itself, but one which I’m constantly annoyed about. =) Other than that, I’m not sure… other than maybe Protestants have less of a developed theology of being pro-life, despite the many presidential campaigns that would suggest otherwise. =) Not just an anti-abortion stance, but like you were talking about, respecting life in all forms. At least when it comes to pregnancy, Catholics have a defined and thorough theology of respecting life. Which I guess brings me to another reason, because of the very nature of church authority in the Catholic church, they’re able to make across-the-board statements of what is right and wrong and all of the parishes teach the same thing. Protestants bicker and disagree and leave everything up to the individual, so there really can’t be much total agreement in that area, it’s just too personal. I never hear preachers and bible study teachers really teach anything personal about abortion being wrong and what that means for the individual, it’s more of just a blanket understanding for “that woman out there who’s selfish enough to consider it.” The Catholics aren’t afraid to bring the issue home, and other than in a “God bless America” kind of way, I don’t hear evangelicals talk about what being pro-life means for you and me, even if we aren’t going to have an abortion. We need people to take it beyond abortion and start really developing a robust theology of being pro-life.
    As far as women, no major prominent voice comes to mind, but the crisis pregnancy clinic I volunteered at was staffed totally by women. I think they had men on their board and stuff, but everyone there was female. And from what I hear, it seems like that’s pretty common. So I would imagine that although the main voices of pro-life are men, the real people doing all the grassroots efforts are women. AND, I bet that probably has more to do with the fact that Christian women’s voices aren’t as welcome or elevated as a Christian man’s, and the whole complementarianism thing than the specific issue. There are a small handful of popular Christian women voices, but no one I can think of that’s as authoritative for evangelicals as the men you listed. So I bet women are probably doing just as much if not more of the work, but we still have no main representative. But that’s another problem in itself…. =) (sorry so long!)

  15. Personally, I have some concern about the phrase “pro-life.” That may be the name of the political stance that motivates people to get involved in this issue, but it doesn’t really relate to the law that we are debating. It would be more accurate to describe the debate as between choice and no choice. What the pro-life people are after is to remove any choice in the matter of abortion, and that just seems a violation of rights.

  16. I think Emily has some great ideas about why the pill isn’t discussed more in Protestant circles. I just want to add one more observation. I think that the pill is an easy way out of having responsible educated sex. Being aware about the ways that female and male reproductive systems work gives respect and dignity to both husband and wife. It creates synergy and awe. I’ve read in many marriage books (written by men) to use the pill. I think it’s awful. The pill (besides being a suspect of abortions) has terrible side effects that include stroke and infertility. Many women take these pills thinking these side effects won’t happen to them. The culture in which we live encourages sex at all times, but women and men need the ebb and flow that comes with understanding the ways that we were created.

  17. I do think that Protestants are not big on hard and fast rules for many things, not just this issue, is caused by the reformation mentality. They are constantly “reforming” the church, based mostly on accepting that we humans may not know exactly what is in God’s mind. So, as life changes, we learn more about life, and we do well to keep ourselves open to the potential of being wrong. Remember the good ol’ days when we Christians thought the world flat, and we actually killed people who professed otherwise? Reformers want to avoid that kind of mistake. Also, keeping hard and fast rules about life prevents us from having a fuller and more dynamic relationship with God.

    I haven’t read all the other comments, I hope I didn’t just repeat someone else’s comment. :0)

  18. 1. I think that it can be. When I first started taking the pill I was just taking it because my OB said to. After being on it a few months and then doing my research I promptly stopped taking it. I had no idea what it was doing to my body. I think there are a lot of people out there who blindly take contraceptives without knowing what it truly does. But there are many other contraceptives that are not so damaging. On this I would say research is the key. And I think the Catholic church is pretty vocal about it.

    2. I think there are a lot of churches and individuals who are trying to aid these children. The church I attend being one of them. It just doesn’t get a lot of media attention. Mainly because we can all pretty much say that giving to the poor is a good thing that needs to be done. Abortion on the other hand gets lots of attention because it is controversial. If giving to the needy children was controversial it would make the news.

    3.joe gave a lot of good ones. The Bible speaks many times of life in the womb.

    4. Again I agree with joe. There are a lot of things that Jesus didn’t talk about.

    5. I would like to think so but I just don’t know. I hate that abortion gets used as a platform. For me it is a very deep belief that stems from love and the Bible. Even if I wasn’t a Christian I don’t know if I could be pro-choice. Abortion not only hurts an unborn child, but can be very damaging to the woman emotionally and physically.

  19. I don’t have time to answer all your questions now, although I DO hope to come back. I do want to say I believe that most forms of birth control are absolutely abortive and not at all in line with my personal ethic of respecting life. My husband and I do not use any form of birth control for this very reason.

    I think what (the other) Jamie said in their last comment was very beautiful and so completely right on:

    “Being aware about the ways that female and male reproductive systems work gives respect and dignity to both husband and wife. It creates synergy and awe. I’ve read in many marriage books (written by men) to use the pill. I think it’s awful. The pill (besides being a suspect of abortions) has terrible side effects that include stroke and infertility. Many women take these pills thinking these side effects won’t happen to them. The culture in which we live encourages sex at all times, but women and men need the ebb and flow that comes with understanding the ways that we were created.”

    Anyway…very good questions Ariah. I am enjoying this conversation.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  20. Emily, Kevin, Jamie, Momma, Jamie, etc.

    thanks everyone for your thoughts. It’s helped me hear a more well rounded opinion of the pro-life crew.

  21. 1 Hormones in birth control pill keep a woman from ovulating, or releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken the woman’s cervical mucus to block the sperm and also thin the lining of the uterus, which makes implantation difficult.

    The pill has three functions; the first two prevent the egg from meeting the sperm. If the first two functions fail, the third function prevents the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall, That’s murder.

    2. Self-centered, lust for more, love of this world.

    These verses are about brethren, but the point would cover starving people also. I mention some of this at Anointing

    1Jn 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
    1Jn 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

    3. What evidence indeed! Do we no longer have any common sense in this world? Does the Farmer go out the day after he plants his seed and plow up the ground because he can not yet see the fruit of this seed. No, he does not! He knows that as soon as this seed germinates, it is alive, and in time the evidence of this life will be visible.

    4. We do not have the complete record of all the things Jesus said and done. So we do not know if he included the murder of unborn children in his sermons and teachings. John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

  22. @Indie!
    THANK YOU!!!! I read that Hauerwas sermon/speech a while ago and somewhere along the lines forgot it was him and thought it was Walter Wink and haven’t been able to find it since.
    http://www.lifewatch.org/abortion.html

    Thanks for finding it again for me! I won’t forget anymore. I think Hauerwas is right on, and I pray this is the type of vision we can begin to carry out in the church

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