Ponder: Abortion

Over the past few weeks, several states have passed new laws criminalizing abortion. I don’t have a political agenda in this pondering; I just suggest food for thought. In preface to my proposal to follow, I affirm that when the first heartbeat is recognized, life is present. I believe all life is precious and that Jesus came for all of God’s creation. And, I think that taking any life is not our choice but should be left to God.

That said, I suggest that we start by considering our definitions. If the purpose of banning abortion is to give every person life, then how are we defining life? What is it? Is it simply breathing? Does the term life assume food, clothing, and shelter? How about medical care and basic education? What about love and acceptance? Are these not requirements for life?

There are on average half a million children in foster care in the United States. In 2017, that number rose to nearly 700,000. Children tend to enter foster care around the age of 8 years old. Most foster children live in multiple foster family homes, and 11 percent live in institutions and group homes. One-third of these are children of color. Children who do not find a forever family have a higher likelihood than youth in the general population to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults (Children’s Rights Organization).

The average woman does not want or desire an abortion, yet I know many women who have chosen to have one. Each woman came to the decision with heartache and grief, and many question their choices long after the fact. I can only imagine the additional emotional and spiritual turmoil a woman who has suffered rape or incest must go through.

This country has far too many children living in unhealthy foster care families, institutions, and group homes. To really offer life to all people, our response to abortion needs to include them. Let’s live into God’s word:

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. — 1 John 3:16-18

If we must ban abortions, then I’d like to see the law call to account every capable adult with at least middle-class income and education in our nation’s care for the right to life. We’d start with those who identify as “right to life” Christians. Families would be picked at random. When a child or siblings enter the system—regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or age—a family would be notified, and a child or children would arrive within 72 hours. Under this arrangement, the state would no longer spend so much of its budget to care for children. It is logical that people who believe that every child has a right to life willingly cover the cost of raising children unable to stay in their homes. We stand together and make sure every child in the nation is cared for properly.

As the second step of my proposal—after the half a million children in need of homes have been placed with pro-life Christians—the general population would be added to the registry to receive a foster child with the hope of becoming a forever home. Then, perhaps, we would be well on our way to ending abortion in our nation.

I know that “right to life” and “pro-choice” arguments will keep warring, because that is what we are wired to do: talk and complain about abortion without trying to come to a real compromise. Where is common ground? What are we willing to give up in order to make tangible, beneficial progress in this debate?

6 thoughts on “Ponder: Abortion

  1. Karen Lehman on said:

    Your proposal is compelling! Thank you for putting words to thoughts that I have and know others have as well. We do such a poor job of taking care of the world’s children. I wish for the same focus on the born children as on the unborn. Thank you for sharing your pondering!

  2. Charity B Gourley on said:

    I appreciate you addressing the question of “what happens to an unwanted baby after birth?”. I’ve been amazed at the time and attention anti-abortionists have devoted to protesting abortion in violent and non-violent ways, but not proposing solutions for the care and upraising of unwanted children. I don’t believe God intends us to bring a beating heart into the world when there are no parents or other caring people to give those children the love and attention they need to become happy, healthy, and stable adults. I recommend more sex education and universal availability of contraception devices. We definitely need organizations like Planned Parenthood to fulfill these needs if the larger community only turns a blind eye on this issue of unwanted babies and older children.

  3. Marian Egli on said:

    Would the debate change if we brought the responsibility of the fathers of unplanned babies into our comments? How many women are threatened into having an abortion? When the fathers are named, they can be court ordered to pay child support no matter if the father has another wife, girlfriend, or family, has a huge college debt, or wanting to start a business. If the father gives-up parental rights for adoption, there is no promise that a 14 year old will not show-up at his doorstep with a duffel bag and say, “Hi Dad, I’m moving in.” And the teenager looks like him and his children. Wealthy people including avid anti-abortion voices who have affairs, will always find a doctor and pay to cover-up for themselves or their rising star 19 yr old grandson, so this is a justice issue. I worked for 9 yrs in social work in foster care and adoption, so I back all that is written about these precious children and teenagers.

  4. Joy Kauffman King on said:

    It is good to hear these issues addressed! I wish there were more conversations in our church publications, which may bring more awareness, action and ideas?

    Thru a friend I heard of a group that believes in “Consistent Life Ethics”, meaning that if we believe all life is sacred, then all killing or taking life in any form is wrong. That is something I have embraced for a number few years. That does not address the issues of uncared for children that are born. I encourage you to send this on to our church publications if you have not done so. How can we bring this to the attention of our State and National Government?

  5. Peggy Martin on said:

    This article is excellent , practical, real, and offers a true Christian solution and challenge. I want to “share” this all over!!!

  6. Jennifer Delanty on said:

    Thank you for this thoughtful, nuanced pondering, Cyneatha. I love the invitation to creatively discern this polarizing subject with an eye toward finding holistic common cause. Brava!

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