[Note: This post has been updated to adjust specific date/time information about past pro-life events.]
Christians having abortions? Impossible….. right?! Actually, very possible- probable even. Every day and all over the world. But isn’t that a sin?? First of all, stop. I have to ask this: Did you know about “Lobby for Life” 2019 at the Capital? Each year it is the time and place to address lawmakers and make a substantive difference in our state to oppose any further attempts to spread the culture of death that has infected the state of New York. Then there was Focus on the Family’s “Alive from NY” in New York City – an unapologetically pro-life event taking place in a city where more black children were aborted in 2018 than were born. All good things.
And now THIS: Abortion is the most intentionally racist and heinous action ever perpetuated upon mankind and yet people of all races laud it as progressive, evolved and even godly. If it weren’t so deadly serious, the irony of that could almost be laughable. The worst part of the willful dismemberment, disembowelment and beheading of unborn human beings? The participation of Christians. If we don’t cry out, if we don’t DO something, who the heck will?
I have known the agony of staring down a life-or-death choice when you are a Christian who knows that abortion is an act of murder and yet here you are- pregnant, unwed and a pastor’s daughter. We all say things like, “abortion is murder” and maybe it boggles your mind why a Christian would have an abortion, but it does happen.
I hope you’ll read what I have to say here because there are Christians out there, right now, who are faced with this choice, and you might be the person they see, or overhear or turn to or confide in and what you say in those moments could change everything for the unborn, God-breathed human being waiting for a chance to live the life God has created them for….
NOTE: This will be longer than my usual posts, but I implore you to read on and learn something that might one day, literally save a life…
I won’t lie- these truths may hurt, and maybe they should, but from one who has walked this path, here are five reasons (there are more, of course) why a Christian would rationalize abortion as an option. Which of these resonate with you??
For Christian women faced with an unplanned pregnancy, abortion isn’t a “convenient choice”- it’s a desperate one. Shame is a powerful and motivating force. We all want to hide the things we are ashamed of, but it’s a lot easier to fly under the radar with a porn addiction or alcoholism or the tendency to slap your wife or kids in the face when they mouth off than it is to hide a growing child in your stomach.
Historically speaking, people of faith have not been kind to women who sleep around, or even women who made one mistake, one time. If a baby shows up, it’ll be a forever reminder of her shame. “Who’s the father?” People will demand answers. She’ll always have to tell people how her husband isn’t the baby’s “real father” or people will do the math and figure it out, and that woman? She knows it’ll be that way. She’s seen you do it to everyone else and she knows she’s next. Shame.
Let’s be honest – we all judge on a “sin scale” and when a desperate woman sees a positive pregnancy test, make no mistake: She can already see the look on your face, and hear the things you’ll whisper behind her back. Removing that baby from the equation sounds like freedom.
Actually, I should rephrase that to “terror”. The terrors of a Christian woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy range from Who is going to take care of it while I work/go to school? to Will it be loved and accepted by my friends and family/boyfriend/church? to What about my life/my plans?
The fear of bringing a “bastard child” into the world has a rich history in the church so much so that plenty of Christian women died from coat hangers, poultices, ritual cuttings, self-mutilation and worse in an attempt to hide a baby that will forever be the hallmark of what led to that pregnancy. While that’s not necessarily true in every Christian circle, those things regardless do run through the mind of every woman who got pregnant from an affair, or from a one-night stand, from a boyfriend or even from incest or rape. What good, Christian man would want to take on someone else’s used goods/baggage? Who would choose her over a virgin, or over someone with a less sordid sexual history?
She’s terrified on every level that her life will never be the same – which is true either way – and she will cling to whatever catharsis will make her feel better now. The antidote to fear is LOVE. But if you wait to show love after she’s pregnant, you’re too late and that baby is as good as dead. Change the way you speak about this issue now. Change the look on your face now. Change your tendency to gossip now before she gets pregnant. She is watching you now, and the baby that results from her mistake depends on your example of love, forgiveness and redemption now.
We Christians thrive on guilt. We have a guilt culture. Let’s be honest for a sec. We say that the Lord brings conviction and that Satan brings condemnation, but we are often quick to judge people who don’t seem like they feel guilty enough for their odious sin or who look a little too forgiven too quickly, don’t we?
We like people to feel guilty because it makes us feel like they’re truly sorry and that they’ve learned their lessons and that they’re now, officially, deserving of forgiveness. Been there, done that. The Christian woman feels plenty guilty, I can promise you that. She doesn’t need your help. Maybe she’s smiling and putting on a brave face, but most of us seriously think about killing ourselves when we see a positive pregnancy test and the realization hits home that our sin/shame is about to find us out. How could we be so stupid? We ask ourselves that over and over.
Instead of facing our guilt and running to the cross of Calvary, the baby dies in our place, taking our guilt and shame away forever (we hope) like a little, tiny Messiah – except the difference is Jesus was a willing sacrifice. An abortion feels like catharsis, but instead of dissipating, the guilt becomes a permanent fixture, branded into the heart for all of time and eternity. Abortion is a deception on every level and the only winner is Satan.
HARDNESS OF HEART
When I was 22 and starting graduate school at a Christian university I found myself unwed and pregnant. I took a blood test to confirm what I already knew and then the doctor tossed a stack of Planned Parenthood literature on the bed and left the room. Abortion. The only reasonable solution.
The literature was very clear: There was a path forward to freedom. It would be quick, painless, inexpensive and private. Sign me up. I knew abortion was murder. I grew up sitting outside of abortion clinics with literature and prayers and signs. My dad had once gone to jail for blocking the doors of an abortion clinic.
But when it’s you… everything changes. You steel yourself. You harden your heart and ignore what you know. You pretend it all away. You try to convince yourself it’s your life, your body and your choice, that the baby will be better off. You turn a blind eye. You justify. You rationalize. You compartmentalize. You apologize to yourself and your baby. You tell yourself the Planned Parenthood mantra: It’s viral. It’s just a lump of tissue, that it’s not “viable” yet. You tell yourself that God will forgive you. And you get yourself to Planned Parenthood under cover of night and a fake name.
Unless… Unless a Christian stops you. Unless a Christian asks what’s wrong and you pour out your heart. Unless a Christian speaks words of life over you. Over your unborn baby. Prays with you. Loves all over you. Rubs your back. Reminds you of your courage. Of God’s grace and mercy. Reminds you that you’re not alone in the fire.
That’s what happened to me and 18 years later, I look at my son who is an artist and plays the saxophone and is in college and I desperately thank God for a woman named Renee Ross in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who saw me and stopped me, and softened my heart and saved his life. Who can you see, and because of that, who will you save?
As the daughter of a pastor, I was often, and against my will, expected by my friends’ parents to be some kind of example of Christian purity, godly character, 9 fruits of the Spirit and womanhood that all other girls should want to look up to. Not a chance. I was as self-serving and bratty as the rest of those pretenders.
The biggest difference is that I tend to, ahem, “live out loud”. It’s both a blessing and a curse- pray for me. If discovering myself pregnant was a shock to me, it was Hiroshima to my parents. It launched me into “how the mighty have fallen” status for many years to come from smug frenemies and their parents everywhere. I can’t tell you how many people to this day “do the math” and realize I wasn’t married when my son was born. To this day. What the actual heck?!
For any Christian woman who has had an affair, or a one-night stand or even slipped into sin with a committed boyfriend or fiancee, she already knows her reputation is about to be torpedoed. Most of us read “The Scarlet Letter” in high school so we are keenly aware of how “the church” views purity and sexual sins, even if we go to a grace-heavy fellowship. There is still a pretty pungent stigma surrounding pregnancy out of wedlock.
Maybe Christians aren’t overtly using words like “whore” and “bastard child” anymore, but plenty are still conflicted about the question of whether a child conceived out of wedlock should be celebrated or hushed up. (The answer? CELEBRATED.) So, the Christian woman who just found out she has a very unplanned and probably unwanted pregnancy pictures the look on your face when you find out, what does she see? When she imagines what you will think of her, what words does she imagine you’ll say about her? About her baby?
For the Christian woman who was, perhaps, raped by someone of a different skin color- she knows everyone, ever, ever, ever will notice and wonder why one of her kids is clearly not of the same father as the rest. She cares what you think so much so that she’s willing to dismember or chemically burn her unborn child to death so you can continue smiling and approving when you think of her. What the heck? An unwed pregnancy is, sadly, a brand we carry forever. And in one way or another, we are forever reminded that our child was conceived in a manner “Other” than a holy marriage.
Whose life do you hold in your hands?
Lots of people are pro-life and I applaud that, and many often gather to stand for that, but we have to do more than march and stand, and picket, and even vote. We need to adopt children, and foster them, and embrace and love, support their confused and scared mothers…So, maybe you flat-out don’t approve of what the Christian woman did who should “know better”… but you know what? We all should know better, about everything.
And yet here we are still doing all the things Jesus died for- cheating on our taxes, speeding, being disrespectful, lying, fighting, holding grudges, murdering, gossiping and having sex outside of marriage. Sin happens. No more high horses, please! But if you insist, at least go with this: A baby has nothing to do with it. That baby chose nothing. It simply lives. GOD KNEW life would come from that choice and He was okay with it – why aren’t you?
I didn’t become a news anchor, you know. I didn’t become a world traveler. I didn’t become an actress or a model or a missionary either. Those were my plans at the time I saw my pregnancy test. Instead, I gained 50 pounds and became a mom.
And I realize now that that adventure was more wild, thrilling, frustrating, scary and maturing than any other experience could have afforded me. Satan tried to get me to kill my son, my heritage, and God saved his life. I found a godly, Christian man who loved my son and raised him as his own. The joke is on you, Satan. All because of this: A Christian saw past my mistake and helped me to see past it too. Can that be you?
Christian women consider abortion every day. They feel they have nowhere to turn. Can you be the person she can turn to before she needs it? Someone’s life depends on it.