Loving Life: Pre and Post Abortion Podcast
The abortion issue is charged and complicated. Yet there is a simple reality every time – there are two lives to love. In this episode of Breaking Bread this love is made evident by two guests who example what loving life looks like in the hard reality of an unplanned pregnancy. Rita Metz is a sonographer at a pre-abortive ministry called Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center and Kevin Knapp is a volunteer staff member with the connected post-abortive ministry called Deeper Still. Together they beautifully elevate Jesus in this crisis.
It seems trite and easy to oversimplify the abortion issue. For when we do, we tend to forget the lives involved. Some of us attempt to simplify the matter by demonizing the mother. The issue is easy -“Have the child”. Others try and simplify the matter by explaining away the embryo. To them, the issue is easy -“terminate the pregnancy because the embryo is only tissue.” Much more difficult, however, is to fully embrace and love both the baby and the mother and seek compassion for this very controversial, yet real struggle.
Five common questions are often raised regarding the humanity of the embryo:
Question 1: Does the Bible speak to human status among embryos?
Answer: God has sanctioned the womb throughout the biblical narrative. God intersected with Sarah, Hagar, Rachel, Rebekah, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary and more by divinely governing the conception in their wombs. Conception is consistently addressed and revered as God-ordained human life. The Psalmist reflected on his own origins in Psalm 22:10 “I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.”
Question 2: When the embryo is so small, should it be regarded as human life?
Answer: Size is not a category used to determine whether something is human. Otherwise, small people would be less human than big people.
Question 3: If the embryo is at such an early stage, should it be regarded as human life?
Answer: Level of development is not a category used to determine whether something is human. Otherwise, children would be less human than fully developed adults.
Question 4: If the embryo is inside a womb, should it be regarded as human life?
Answer: The environment in which humans live is not a category used to determine whether something is human. Otherwise, a person who lives outside might vary in their humanity from another person who lives inside. Or a person who lives in a palace different from a person who lives in a tent. Or a person who lives in the tropics different from a person who lives on the tundra.
Question 5: If the embryo is so dependent on the mother, should it be regarded as human life?
Answer: Dependency is not a category used to determine whether something is human. Otherwise, a person who depends on medication would be less human than another who does not.
To sharpen our compassion for the complexity of the unwanted pregnancy situation, remember every abortion is difficult. Using abortion as a form of birth control is not the norm. Some reasons for a desired abortion often include the following:
- Loss of school scholarship.
- Loss of job or school opportunities.
- Young and living far away from family.
- Shame in facing family & friends with unwanted pregnancy.
- Shame in facing church with unwanted pregnancy.
- Fear of being able to care for the baby.
- Alone with no support.
- Sexually assaulted.
- Forced to abort by powerful people in their lives.
Statistics would suggest that 1 out of every 4 women have had an abortion. This alarming number means abortions are impacting families, friends, neighborhoods, and churches in our circles. Abortion is not “out there”. Abortion is “right here.” The hurt and trauma of women having abortions runs deep. As Dr. David Reardon suggests: “Abortion is not some magical surgery that turns back time to make a woman unpregnant. Instead, it is a real-life event which is always very stressful and traumatic. Many women cannot resolve the trauma of the abortion on their own.” Mothers are hardwired to give birth and nurture. Abortion violates this and often, deep hurt results. Fathers are hardwired to provide and protect. Abortion violates this and deep hurt results with them. Both men and women who have experienced abortion carry with them unresolved shame. This shame is locked up in secrecy and both often struggle to accept, extend and feel forgiveness.
What can each of us do? How can we begin to see this important social, political, and emotional struggle as Jesus would want us to? To begin, understanding that abortion is forgivable often helps us listen to the abortive story and helps us empathize with the complexity of the hard situations women are often put in. Pray for both the women, the baby and those on the front-line helping see God’s redemptive power regarding abortion and the spiritual warfare that surrounds this decision. Another way believers can help is by being like Jesus and receiving those who have experienced abortion as the oppressed, brokenhearted and lonely. Remember to judge the right things – sin may have led to pregnancy, but pregnancy is not the sin. Teaching our sons and daughters about the sanctity of life both inside and outside the womb from an early age is important. Likewise teaching our sons and daughters that should unwanted pregnancy occur, they will be received in love and together you can help engage in reparative, restorative action that honors life.
Jesus stepped into the messy things of life with a voice of truth and a touch of love. May we, after his example, do the same.