Friday marked thirty-seven years since the decision of Roe V. Wade. Some see it as a day of long anticipated liberation and others see it as a day of shame and great sadness. A few things come to mind when I think of this day and it’s affects:
- Our either-or political debate often makes meaningful conversation and action very difficult. When we classify each other’s complex beliefs and experiences into one of two positions it is difficult to work toward a possible common goal of making abortions uncommon.
- Historical and cultural context can be helpful. Abortion has been a reality since before the time of the Greeks. In fact, it was such a part of the ancient world that the early Christian writing, the Didache, forbade it. The occurrence of abortion in the United States is very high compared to most countries that report abortions, and surprisingly some more “liberal” Western European countries have a much lower percentage of overall abortion and more strict abortion laws. I say that to say, abortion is historically common but our cultural context in the United States is unique. Having a big picture understanding can help us to see different ideas to reducing or ending abortion.
- Those of us who are Christians have a difficult balance in dealing with this problem. Please don’t mistake me, I think abortion is a great evil and I long to see the day where it no longer exists. I pray that one day we will look back on this time and wonder how we allowed such a thing, just as most view chattel slavery today. At the same time, those of us who believe that God made all people in his image and those of us who believe that all people deserve respect and dignity, need to remember that we need to extend the same respect and dignity toward those who receive and even perform abortions. We should ask God for humility to not see ourselves as better and for courage to be able to love people with truth.
- We should be active in fighting to end abortion. If voting is your conviction you should follow your conscience, but we need also let our convictions manifest in more than a trip to the ballot box. Prevention is better than intervention so we should consider the reasons for abortion and consider ways to prevent it altogether. Some examples (but not all) of how we can do this is to mentor and tutor children, encourage strong and stable families, help fight poverty in our cities, work with women’s centers, financially/emotionally/spiritually support pregnant mothers and fathers considering abortions and even be willing to adopt.
I admittedly have done a poor job of living out my stated convictions. Let us ask for God’s grace for our children, mothers and fathers and ourselves.