Ultimately as a Christian I don’t hold the view that it is my responsibility to tell a non-believer that they can’t get an abortion or that they can’t be in a homosexual marriage. I believe that as a Christian I am called to live by the convictions held up by the scriptures and the Church through which the Spirit has spoken and continues to speak. But as a Christian I am not called to enforce those values upon non-believers. Furthermore, if our culture where to attempt to impose on me a value which strikes against God’s values, I am to resist at that point, and endure the persecution which would follow.
But as a citizen in a democratic society I have both the right and the responsibility to engage and oppose those values which are detrimental to the society at large, especially when society has deemed such a value – when acted upon – to be illegal. And if society later legalizes something I believe to be detrimental to it I have the right and responsibility to do whatever it takes within the system to overturn that ruling. In other words, like everybody else, I have a right to fight for what I believe in within our democratic system.
Recently I tossed around the hot-issue potato of homosexual marriage (here), now I’d like to take a moment and throw up the hot-issue of abortion.
As a Christian I believe abortion is a despicable and cowardly act that devalues human life in the extreme. Within the Church I believe no Christian ought to affirm abortion or ever go running to the defence of those who do. We should hold to the conviction within the Body of Christ and in our own spirits that abortion devalues that which God values most and is therefore wrong. If society ever attempted to regulate childbirth the way some Communist countries have – by aborting the second daughter, for example – we have a mandate to resist, and endure the persecution to follow.
But as a citizen in a democratic society, we have both the right and the responsibility to oppose abortion through any and all legal means precisely because it is bad for society many times more than any suggestion of a morsel of good that may come from it. I’m not going to go into all of the ways abortion is bad for society because those reasons have been repeated and repeated so many times, often accompanied with the most gruesome pictures, that I don’t want to contribute to a desensitization of the facts by overexposure to them.
But this issue is not always black and white. There are scenarios that have occurred that we need to be sensitive to. Like this one: What if, God forbid, my wife were ever raped by a stranger who is never caught. And what if she were to get pregnant from that rape. What would we do then? If we chose to keep the baby it would be an ever present reminder of the most horrible encounter of my wife’s life and an ever present reminder that I was unable to rescue her. Then if we chose to raise the child – as opposed to giving it up for adoption, which is a viable option – would I be able to look at him or her in the eyes every day knowing that he or she is the result of the monster who violated my wife? I would love to believe that in that – or any – scenario abortion would never be on the table. That we would rise up and turn a disastrous situation into something that truly honours God. Yet at least just thinking about the scenario I have a certain amount of empathy for those who have faced situations like this. But I still believe abortion would be the worst answer to a horrible situation.
In any case these rare occasions cannot be used as reasons to allow abortion to be civilly acceptable. The three reason women almost always give for abortion are 1) about 3/4 say they’re too busy to have a baby (abort it!), 2) about 3/4 say they can’t afford a baby (abort it!), and 3) about 1/2 say there’s no steady man in the picture (abort it!). None of those reason are acceptable.
But abortion is legal here and in the States, though with certain qualifications which are steadily eroding away. What are we to do? I think it is our civil responsibility to protest in non-violent ways. To stand up for the baby and the parent. To try and meet the parent in their emotionally detrimental situation and offer support and a way forward that in the end will not harm their child. (Parents of aborted babies do not walk away unscathed.)
But what is still illegal in Canada (though, sadly, not in the US) is gendercide and, more commonly a particular form of gendercide known as “femicide” (the practice of aborting female babies in a culture – or at least by someone with a particular cultural mindset – that prefers male children over female). Even though the US does not have specific laws agains gendercide (the issue has not come up until recently), it is none-the-less a practice that is abhorrent among Americans. So I found it shocking when the “underbelly” of Planned Parenthood was exposed as an organization which not only endorses someone who wants to commit femicide, but actually offers all the help they can and any assistance possible to accommodate the woman who wants to commit femicide.
But what’s more shocking, so disturbing in fact that I refused to engage in the discussion, is that some Christians are anxious to run to the defence of PP on this issue. I was appalled and deeply disturbed. These Christians made an effort – either consciously or unconsciously – to subtly change the emphasis of PP’s responsibility. They claim that it’s not PP’s job to “provide moral instruction” on this issue. Yet as true as that is, it misses the point entirely and attempts to hijack the conversation and steer it away from the real issue:
If a woman goes to an abortion clinic and requests an abortion on the grounds of femicide, the clinic will refuse the woman the abortion on the grounds that gendercide is abhorrent to most Americans – even most abortion clinics. The women from PP in this video makes this surprising admission and counselled the young woman interested in femicide to simply not say anything when she goes for the ultrasound because, says the PP employee, they would probably deny her the abortion. This makes PP a conscious accomplice in an act that our society views as abhorrent. This is the worst kind of publicity. (PP would also likely be the ones to perform the abortion).
This has nothing to do with the abortion clinic “teaching the woman morals.” It has everything to do with social accountability and responsibility. The abortion clinic would be held responsible for committing, assisting or conspiring in an act (along with the woman who requested it) which our societies still finds abhorrent. If gendercide where considered a culturally acceptable norm, this whole discussion would be different. But in the mean time, this is why I refused to engage with those who want to make the issue about Planned Parenthood and the relative moral conviction of the individual involved. That is not the issue, yet.
As recent as May 29, 2012 (two days again) a Bill was amended that was brought before the US House of Representatives that seeks to make gendercide illegal. It’s opening line reads:
A BILL To prohibit discrimination against the unborn on the basis of sex or race, and for other purposes.
It is set to be voted on on May 31, 2012. You can view the Bill here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr3541rh/pdf/BILLS-112hr3541rh.pdf