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achinArt

Choosing Life

Exploring the reality of abortion is controversial and complicated especially for someone coming from my position as a hetero-Christian male. So, I want to make it clear that while I stand behind my views, I recognize your freedom to reject my views. I simply ask that you not reject them because they are mine; Hear me out before you decide that my opinion has no merit in the discussion. When discussing abortion, we often run headfirst into the battle of morality vs control. I want to offer a different approach, a morality that doesn’t seek to control. If you haven’t already guessed, I am pro-life. I hold this position primarily because I believe life begins at conception. Conversely, I do not stand in support of anti-abortion legislation. While I do not support abortion clinics, believing they operate to profit from death; I also don’t believe that outlawing them will solve anything. I see them as a symptom of deeper issues. You can’t place a band aid on a broken bone and honestly believe you are fixing the problem. From where I sit, the Pro-Life movement needs to take a step back. We are all human, and all come from the same source. Sometimes the Pro-Life movement becomes so passionate about value in the life of an unborn child that it fails to recognize the value in the life of the mother. This failing must be acknowledged for us to find a way forward. In order to heal humanity, we must offer compassion. The problem with the specific issue of abortion is the sacrifice required for survival. Each of us survived the first 9 months of life, prior to birth, because our biological mothers made sacrifices for us. Asking a woman to sacrifice for the sake of another life without offering our own sacrifices removes space for equitable compassion. We can’t expect to have a voice in the relationships others have, unless we are willing to become a part of those relationships. Biblically, it is clear that the law cannot correct the sins of men, only the compassion of Christ was able to cover the debt of our sin. So then, why should we now seek to control the morals of others with more laws? The Israelites sought a scape goat to control their neighbors when they insisted they needed a King. Today we seek to institute new laws to control our neighbors, so we don’t have to engage with them personally. My position on abortion seeks a different approach. Rather than trying to control others, we need to seek ways to offer support. Instead of simply outlawing abortion, we start by defunding it. Public funds should be used to support public life. Instead we should be investing in healthcare, education, childcare and other social services. There is a saying “It takes a village to raise a child” and yet the Pro-Life community isn’t doing enough to establish communities that can help raise the children we insist deserve to live. I want to save more lives by providing more opportunity: Provide employment opportunities with living wages that allow women to raise children, ensure medical bills are covered so the expense of caring for the child in the womb is not higher than the cost of eliminating that life, and even fund birth control instead of abortions helping prevent unwanted pregnancies instead of paying to end life only after conception. We also need massive reform in the foster care system and need to make adoption a more realistic option. When the choice a woman faces about her future, because of a pregnancy, doesn’t mean she has to give up on opportunity to better herself, then we can begin to reframe the conversation. Until we are willing to do the difficult work of solving the systemic problems that make pregnancies a negative experience for so many women, it will be near impossible to help more women choose life. Instead I find we are only contributing to the problem with our condemnation, pre-judgment and hate. Allow me to illustrate. I have been outspoken about my pro-life stance in the past and unwittingly caused deep sorrow in my mother’s heart with my passion. I was unaware of her past, and only found out after she died that she had had an abortion herself, years before she met my father. Now I knew she had a deep secret that she was afraid to share with me, she couldn’t hide the shame she felt, and I could never ease her fears enough to open up. I never had the chance to affirm my love for her. When we spoke about my faith, she would talk about a mysterious past, expressing how if I found out what she had done I couldn’t possibly still love her. She was wrong, but I don’t know if she ever realized that. My mother had an abortion before she met my father. Her first pregnancy with my father ended with a miscarriage. These things tore at my mother. I love her more now that I know the truth than I did before. Her life remains just as important as the lives of those siblings I never had the chance to know. Siblings that might have made my existence impossible had they lived. Now I didn’t have a voice when my mother made the choice to end her first pregnancy. I don’t have a voice in the lives of any women currently considering that sacrifice. Those women must be the ones to choose what sacrifices will be made, but I want to believe there’s hope. As someone who is pro-life, I want to offer help to any pregnant woman reading this article. My resources are limited, but both my wife and I are willing to do whatever we can to help you support the life you now carry. I invite any other pro-life supporters to make that same offer, provide opportunity to help women facing a very dark consideration. Ultimately abortion is about choosing who will sacrifice for the sake of life, the mother or the child. I want to offer my own sacrifice to ease the burden on the mother as far as I am able. My hope is that a child might have opportunity to not only live, but also to thrive. And if you choose, or have chosen, abortion please know that I will hold no judgment against you, and that you are never without hope. Your life has great value and you are still capable of accepting redemption. I have no doubt that God loves who you are.