Responding to the claim that pro-life is just “pro-birth”
I read with great interest an opinion piece by Ashley M Gorman who wrote quite convincingly about the need for pro-life Christians to care about the born as well as the unborn.
The piece, entitled, “What would really happen if we defunded Planned Parenthood and ended abortion” seemed to be separating those who picket, protest, and riot ( why she used that term I have no idea) with those who are committed to helping women in crisis and the children they deliver. Gorman makes some compelling arguments about the role of Christians who are called to care about those in need and I would generally agree with those points. But where she loses me is when she claims most pro-lifers are “pro-birthers”, writing:
Christians want the baby to be born, sure. They care about the birth of the baby. But do they really care about the actual life of the baby or mother?
It seems most pro-lifers are really just pro-birthers. They simply want the baby to be born, but when it comes to involvement in the quality of life for the baby or the mom, the majority of Christians don’t really care in an obvious or measureable way.
You see, as a long time pro-life activist, I have heard this very false accusation many times, mostly by the opposition.
Gorman claims because of her Christian beliefs she is opposed to abortion and Planned Parenthood and I have no reason to doubt her sincerity. But her accusation is without merit.
As I regularly tell the pro-choice community there is simply no possible way to document the claim that pro-life people are not helping the born. How could Gorman pretend to know the majority of pro-life Christians in the nation? How could she know how they spend their time, money, and who they minister to, help and lay their lives down for?
But, even if it was true that pro-life people only care about the baby being born – why would that be wrong? In a world where many Christians I speak with tell me that fighting abortion is my ministry but not theirs, is there not room for the reverse to be true? Why is it that pro-life people, with all the abuse they face on a regular basis, with the lack of help to minister outside abortion clinics and where every abortion clinic is not yet manned by a Christian, why must the needs of the world or as Gorman puts it “the born” rest squarely on the shoulders of pro-lifers?
Why doesn’t Gorman ask, where the Christians are generally to meet all these other needs?
However, if it satisfies Gorman ‘s curiosity, as a “pro-life Christian” I have personally helped many born people. A few of the ways I have done so, include taking women into my home, paying for an operation for a young teen with a financial need, feeding the homeless, the elderly, and the poor, visiting the sick, the downcast, the disabled, and the mentally impaired and personally giving away thousands of my own hard earned dollars to help the so-called born in this world.
And, if her curiosity is not yet satisfied, I know hundreds of pro-lifers who have done the same time and time again. It is an amazing thing that happens when people get out of their homes and onto the streets – God will bring people to you to minister to. Such is the case with every pro-life activist who speaks against abortion and offers help to women on the public sidewalk week after week after week.
If we really want Planned Parenthood defunded or abortion to end, then we better get really familiar with our age-old buddy Isaac Newton. Every action has a reaction, remember? Both abortion and birth have consequences.
If the action is abortion, the reaction or consequence is the loss of 1,050,000 human lives per year in the U.S. (This is the total amount of abortions in the U.S. annually. Planned Parenthood’s contribution is 327,000 abortions last year.)
If the action is birth instead of abortion, the reaction or consequence is the gain of 1,050,000 human lives per year.
If you are holding up a pro-life sign, then you’d better be ready for 1.05 million new babies in our country on a yearly basis, and you’d better have a better plan than just “have the baby and see you later.”
Really? Only those who hold up “a pro-life sign” need a plan? Not the pastors, the church leaders who often ignore the blood running in our streets from the children as they are crushed and dismembered in the womb? Just the over-worked, often tired, and maxed out pro-life needs to “be ready?” What nonsense !
This lecturing from Gorman is patronizing and uncalled for. Of course, pro-life people know that if the baby is not aborted the child will be born. Come on, we’ve been in the trenches doing this for 40 plus years – where has she been?
But, to assume that the exact same number of babies will be born that are aborted is just ignorant to many facets of this very complicated issue. However, it is reasonable to assume the number will be substantial. What is not reasonable is to also assume that every woman who gets pregnant and is unable to access abortion needs help. Stats show that many married women and those of normal financial means seek abortion.
According to Planned Parenthood’s research arm, the Guttmacher Institute, the rate of unintended pregnancy among poor women (those with incomes at or below the federal poverty level) in 2008 was 137 per 1,000 women aged 15–44. But that rate drops exponentially for the same demographic having an abortion: 52 per 1,000. Interestingly, that same report dated July of 2015, claimed there was an increase of women with unintended pregnancies – this with all the contraception, chemical and surgical abortions available.
However, according to the abortion group’s latest stats, 40% of unintended pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) ended in abortion and 60% ended in birth. A reduction from 2001, when 47% ended in abortion and 53% ended in a birth.
What the numbers also showed is that women with higher incomes have abortions far greater than those with lower incomes:
“Compared with higher-income women, poor and low-income women are less likely to end an unintended pregnancy by abortion. Consequently, poor women have a relatively high unintended birth rate,” Guttmacher states.
To her credit, Gorman points out the need for Christians to adopt children now and in the future.
“This will mean a lot more mouths to feed and mothers to mentor, and a lot less time for excuses on how busy we are,” Gorman writes and I agree.
Gorman then rightly challenges both herself and the Christian, writing:
This personally challenges me when I look around at my life, at my house even. We have an extra bedroom. It was originally intended for guests to have their own separate room and bathroom. But guess what? If the end of abortion ever comes, then I’d better be ready to have that room permanently filled with a mom in crisis or an adopted child. Sorry guests, you may have to—gasp!—travel a few extra feet to the bathroom next time or maybe even—how insane!—stay in a hotel for the weekend.
See, this abortion thing is more than just opening up a sign at a protest. It’s opening up your home, your whole life.
But, I would disagree with Gorman for giving herself permission to wait for abortion to end before taking action, while criticizing “pro-life Christians” for being “pro-birth.” Gorman must lead by example – she must act on her own convictions first as Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 (NIV), “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
There are many points which Gorman makes which I would not disagree and you can read her words and judge for yourself here.
But, I am growing weary of the pro-life movement and specifically, those who tirelessly work to rescue children from the grip of death, being a scapegoat for the lack of participation in the church generally.
Look, pro-life people to their credit, are some of the most giving and selfless people I know. We are more than willing to do our share and despite what our critics claim, we have shown this to be the case by our very lives. To us, abortion ends every time a mother chooses life – for those babies, abortion is over.
It is true, that we need to care about the born in society. But, just because that is a true statement does not make the accusation that pro-life people who speak on behalf of the unborn don’t care about the born. For goodness sake, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. What we recognize is the need to promote a general culture of life where we care about the weakest member of society, and the elderly, the poor, and others in need. This will never happen as long as we advocate for abortion or ignore the cause of the unborn.
To Gorman and others like her, I say I agree with most of their words but I disagree with what I feel is the spirit behind the words. The spirit that points fingers at some of the hardest working and most devoted and giving people I know. I lovingly suggest that she lead by example and that the next opinion piece she writes on this subject detail her personal efforts to help the needy now and not just once abortion ends.