Tag Archives: abortion

The Church: Pro-Life or Pro-Birth? (Your Stories)

https://tryingtofollow.com/wp-content/linkedimages/upload/static.flickr.com/2178/2291076942_d0b814f8fd_m.jpgSome of the comments on Monday’s post, Moving Beyond Pro-Birth, struck a cord and reminded me that it would be wise to reflect on where we as a church have been in an effort to figure out where we are to move to. The church, as made up of individuals, but it often becomes it’s own entity, for better or worse. So, this is a call out for you to share your stories about your church or a church you know of and how the church addressed the issue of birth and life.

Some have stories of hurt and judgment; others have stories of love and grace. We’d like to hear them all. Please feel free to post your story in the comments section below, and if you don’t have a personal story, please come by and read the comments of others. If we are to move forward it is wise for us to look back.

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Moving Beyond Pro-Birth

(This is not a critique, but what I believe is an honest starting point for a dialog regarding mothers and babies and how the church can be the embodiment of the love of Christ)


I have seen so much passion regarding this issue, so much time, energy, finances, thought and more being poured into the anti-abortion stance by Christians and christian groups. I’m not sure that I’ve seen so much passion from the church in the USA regarding any other issue (at least from my limited perspective).  I’m excited to see so much passion by the church (though at times I feel it is misguided) and I want to empower people to direct that passion to love for babies, children and mothers (completely families). I have a hunch though.

I’m starting to think and believe that the church isn’t pro-life at all. If you could call the church anything regarding this issue it would be “pro-birth”. When I look at the church wholistically and specifically regarding the issue of abortion I see a drive to insist that the only moral route for a pregnant mother is for a baby to be born. But before and after that I see very little effort by the church as a whole to live through our actions a truly “pro-life” stance. Let us love in actions and in truth.

So, that being said, here is my beginning list of ways the church can and should be The Church regarding the issue of pregnancy, babies, families, birth and abortion. I want to start with the ethos of the communities.

Looking at the statistics (regarding premarital sex) and beliefs (against abortion), I find it a little odd that (with one exception) I have never seen a young woman who was pregnant out of wedlock in any church or youth group I attended or was a part of (nor at Wheaton College where I went to undergrad). This concerns me on two levels. First, it says that couples that are getting pregnant and are unmarried are disappearing from the church, or could be secretly having abortions, because of the obvious social acceptableness of being pregnant and unmarried in the church. Secondly, it means the church, by and large, is an extremely uncomfortable place for a woman (or couple) who is pregnant to come to and find a support system.
The church is failing to live out it’s roll because we are shouting condemnation and judgement so loud no one is comfortable coming to us for the love of Christ.

Pastors and Youth Pastors need to take the roll of shifting the ethos of the church to be a welcome place for pregnant teens and unwed mothers (by and large it is not). Sermons need to be preached from the pulpit (of grace, not of condemnation), individuals and families need to be loved, cared for, apologized to. Students need to feel comfortable coming to the parents, youth pastors, or friends, for help regardless of the circumstances.

In addition, the church should be living by example a holistic love for people through out the life span, regardless of circumstance. By and large, most churches in the US participate in meager acts of charity (again, this has been my experience).  A person, of any age, should be able to walk in the church door and have their needs met. And I mean that to an extreme. (I’m talking church, not government, so feel free to accuse me of being a complete church socialist or communist ;).  Every man, woman and child within the vicinty of a church should be able to come there and have something to eat, proper clothes and a roof over their head (my church here is far short of that as well, and my own life does not live up to this standard I admit). It says something about us in the church when we claim to be pro-life, but we spend are money and resources on ourselves just like our neighbors while children go hungry around us and woman feel unable to go through with a pregnancy.

Lastly, we as Christians should be in relationships that would allow us the opportunity to intervene and shower our love and support on a woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy. I’ll be the first to admit, I have very few relationships that would put me in a position to help someone and support them before they made a decision. Abortions, by and large, are done in secret, many times because they want to keep the pregnancy a secret. If I was a young pregnant mother, Churches and Christians would likely be the last place I would go, you can feel the venom of condemnation and judgment just imagining it. We need to be those people of unconditional love. We need to be the people that a young pregnant couple could come to and ask for our support in making the right decision, and that we would love them in action, unconditionally. I fear the church (myself included) is not at that level of relationship with the woman (and men) who are being faced with these decisions, and we need to be. I think this is one of the churches great moral failings.

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Book Review: A book about Abortion

Post-election now, I want to learn and understand about the extreme passion that surrounds both sides of the abortion issue. I’m excited on one hand to see such passion in the Christian church about an issue, though I sometimes feel it is misguided, but I’m excited to see it and hope to blog and dialog about how we can direct that passion to caring for the lives of women and children in our midst.

This week I went to the library in our neighborhood. There is an extremely high teen pregnancy rate in North Minneapolis (I’ve heard one of the highest in the nation, but I’ll have to confirm that statistic). The point is that I did what I think some teens might do if they are sexually active or had an unexpected pregnancy, I went to the library, looked up abortion and checked out a couple books. There was only one book here geared towards a teenage crowd and it presented it self as an unbiased pro/con look at the issue.

I’m not going to name the book, I’d rather encourage you to try this same experiment (go to your local library, find the books about abortion geared toward teens and read them). But, I’ll share with you my impression of the book I read. And while I reserve the right that my opinion on this issue is still undecided, this was my honest impression of the book at the library that I read.

I felt the book was extremely biased toward the pro-choice movement, or more specifically, it made a case for abortion as simply another form of birth control. While I respect that opinion, the book claimed to be an unbiased pro/con book and it did not do service to the anti-abortion perspective. I’ll include just a few examples.

  • The picture they chose to display at the beginning of the “Pro-Life Camp” chapter was one of a protester dressed as Death, scith and all. And though I recognize there are a number of protesters with disturbing scare tactics, it clearly gives a certain impression of this group when you begin to read.
  • When talking about the abortion procedure, they give one or two vague sentences about the risks. I don’t expect scare tactics, but they did not make an effort to list statistics or possible outcomes, they simply stated that like any other surgery there are some risks. They mentioned that a women’s uterus could be damaged during the procedure, but didn’t indicate that for some (again they should be giving statistics for this like they did for other sections) women that means they are never able to have children.
  • They give one paragraph to the religious views regarding the topic and they state that none of the Christian, Jewish or Muslim scriptures say anything about the topic of abortion. Again, I’m not arguing that they do, but there are plenty of verses that people reference that could at least be mentioned so the reader can draw their own conclusion.
My intention in giving this review is not to give fodder to one side of the argument or the other. One knows there are plenty of biased literature from the other perspective as well. My hope is that pro-choicers can read this and realize that to find common ground the pro-choice view must be honest and fair about the views of the pro-life group (and visa versa). And I hope that pro-lifers can read this and recognize that if education on the issues is important then making sure that information reaches the hands of these women needs to be a priority.

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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Abortion is indeed on the decline

A statistic I’ve heard thrown around, and I’ve hesitated to mention, regarding abortion was that the number of abortions had risen under Republican presidents and gone down under Democratic presidents.

I finally remembered it and thought to look it up, and found the oh so reliable FactCheck.org had put together a clear answer for me:

A number of politicians and organizations have been circulating an interesting and surprising idea: that abortions have gone up under George W. Bush’s watch.  The claim is repeated by supporters of abortion rights as evidence that Bush’s anti-abortion policies have backfired, or at least been ineffective. 

But the claim is untrue. In fact, according to the respected Alan Guttmacher Institute, a 20-year decline in abortion rates continued after Bush took office, as shown in this graph


Source: Alan Guttmacher Institute, “Trends in Abortion in the United States

Read more

Statistical break down of Abortions by age and race (sort of) (1995)

In a recent discussion about abortion, the issue came up of knowing what groups of women are having abortions and the role that plays in how we talk about it and how we address it.

I found this chart that breaks down Abortions by age and race (when I said sort of, it’s because it’s split into white and “black/other”–But there is also a chart dividing Hispanic and non-Hispanic).

There is also this long article that does a good job articulating statistics concerning Teenagers and abortion and pregnancy, but it’s also ten years old.

The best and most recent statistics I could find are in this document (Download the pdf file).

Without getting too much into to the discussion of abortion, whether it’s right or wrong and all of that, I just felt it was valuable to put these links up so that we can read and learn and attempt to understand to a small degree the people about whom we discuss when we discuss abortion.
Regardless of what side of the fence you sit on, I believe it is hugely important for us to be addressing the needs of mothers in our society.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

If there is anything I take from that, it is a need to toss aside our abortion debates and come along side the mothers and children in our society and provide and meet their needs.

What are you doing to look after the orphans? What can I be doing?