You May Be Anti-Abortion and Still Not Pro-Life

Hey TD!

One of the statements we were going voiceless and social media-less to make last week at V4V is that we are very much pro-life.  By that, I mean not only against killing babies in wombs, but also against mistreating babies, children, and people outside of the womb – all people; for all people bear the imago dei (the image of God), and all people have value and dignity, including the vulnerable, disabled, and orphaned.

Being really pro-life means really being FOR life, not just against a law or practice, like abortion, for instance. Do our lives reflect a decided belief that we are FOR life?  Are we willing to inconvenience ourselves, sacrifice our lives, and put our money where our mouths are as proof that we really do believe that people’s lives matter? Or do we merely take “pro-life” positions, but don’t really live to defend, support, aid, and grow people’s lives?

Here’s a recent article that ruminates on this very idea.  It’s a helpful read. – Arthur

The Sanctity of Unwanted Life

Jimmy Needham / January 22, 2017

The Sanctity of Unwanted LifeToday marks the 44th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision by the United States Supreme Court. Since that Monday, January 22, 1973, just under 60 million babies have been legally executed in our country. That’s roughly 3,000 little lives lost every single day.

I’ve struggled with how this modern holocaust continues in a nation where over 3/4 of the population are professing Christians, and where access to the Bible, which so clearly affirms the value of human life (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:13–16), is always only a finger-swipe away.

Even if we were to set aside our religious convictions, science itself objects. Modern advancements in technology and molecular biology make it impossible to argue that a baby inside a mother’s womb is anything less than a baby. So, if Christianity and modern science stand opposed to the legitimacy of abortion, why does the slaughter continue?

Three words: self above all.

These three words are the engine under the hood of the pro-choice movement. But they are also the touchpoint where the abortion issue confronts even the most passionate anti-abortion activitsts among us. One moment in Jesus’s life illustrates the point.

Tiny Inconveniences

In Mark 10, Jesus and his disciples are welcomed by a large crowd in Judea where he began to teach them “as was his custom” (Mark 10:1). Then, in the middle of his sermon, a mob of children interrupts Jesus, irritating the twelve.

“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them” (Mark 10:13).

Put yourself in the disciples’ shoes for a moment. You and Jesus have just arrived to preach the good news of God’s kingdom, to heal the sick, to cast out demons. Out of nowhere, a group of kids tackle the Teacher. They’re loud. They’re a little out of control. This was not on the agenda for today. If you’re one of the disciples watching this, what you see are not children. What you see are inconveniences. Welcome to the attitude underneath abortion.

The abortion-attitude isn’t about bloodlust. It’s about a disdain for inconvenience. We protect what we value most. If you value your life, your plans, your goals, and your happiness most, then by definition, anything that interrupts any of those things must be aborted or prevented.

The haunting reality, then, is that it is possible to be anti-abortion, but not pro-life.

Anti-Abortion, But Not Pro-Life

I recently read a birth control advertisement that said, “Parenthood is an elite club where the cover charge is gaining 30 pounds and giving up on your dreams.” This is how our culture wants us to understand the lives of children: dream-crushers.

To the young married folks, I ask: Are you avoiding pregnancy simply out of fear for how a child will interrupt your career advancement and financial stability?

You may be anti-abortion, and still not pro-life.

This abortion-attitude goes beyond what we think about children. How do you regard the elderly in your church, your neighborhood, even your family: burdens to avoid or people to cherish? For those of us who have elderly parents, when you think about their growing number of needs and medical expenses, do they begin to look more like a monthly bill than a person fashioned in the image of God? Are you unwilling to heed the apostle Paul’s words to “make some return” for them since they labored for you when you were dependent on them (1 Timothy 5:4)?

You may be anti-abortion, and still not pro-life.

How about systemic issues like the plight of minorities, especially African Americans in our country? Do problems like the mass incarcerations of black men, or the fatherlessness of urban minority households push you toward things like mentorship programs for low-income kids and teens? Does it impact how you vote?

You may be anti-abortion, and still not pro-life.

The War Inside

Being pro-life is noticing where human-flourishing isn’t happening and moving toward it, even if it inconveniences us. If we want to truly end abortion in our country, we must end the seeds of it in our heart as well. And our only hope for change is to look to the one who was infinitely inconvenienced for our sake.

But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:14–16)

In Christ, we find the perfect pro-life attitude and advocate, because in Christ we see indignation against anyone who sees another person made in God’s image as a burden, and not a blessing. There is a heart in him to embrace people, no matter the age or stage of life. He willfully died, in love, for the least of these, and sends his Spirit to empower that kind of broken-hearted compassion and sacrificial love in us.

We must take action against the sin of abortion in our country and we must do it now. But make no mistake: The battle for life is not only inside clinic walls; it’s inside our hearts. Let’s stop abortion where it starts.

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