The issues of abortion is a big issue for many Christians, particularly the Christian Right in America. “Why?” I ask. Does that seem like a silly question to you? If you are one of those Christians the answer will probably seem ‘obvious’ . Well I’d like to question some more your vehemence concerning abortion in this post. I also feel the issue is not really debated, discussed and explored as much as it should be – quite often you just hear “It’s wrong”.
Abortion is a big, emotional topic. I’m not going to try and cover all the various arguments for and against it, nor am I stating my personal position on the issue here. I will make such arguments in other posts from time to time. For now I’m just exploring a few questions that come to mind…
My first thought as to why it’s such a hot topic is because of the commandment ‘Thou shalt not commit muder’. Ok…that makes sense. And not committing murder is a universally held moral, whatever your religion, that the majority of people believe is a correct one. But then why, do many of those anti-abortionists favour the death penalty? That is undeniably hypocritical, is it not? (Of course, you may argue in terms of what the definition of ‘murder’ is and the justification of it according to circumstance…but that is another issue.)
Next thought: If the issue is about following what you say are God’s commandments, then why are you not also so vehement, so vocal, about other issues that appear to be in conflict with the other commandments? Surely, if you insist these are God’s commandments, they are all equally important. Or are you saying some are more important than others?
What about “You shall not commit adultery”? Now why aren’t you all up in arms about the number of people who commit adultery? Why are you not campaigning to get the law to do something about those found to have commited it? Anyone can tell you how much infidelity adversely affects peoples lives. Could it be because many of you have committed it yourselves, and that’s, well, just a bit too close to home for comfort…?
What about “You shall not steal”? Why not be up in arms about the number of burglaries and theft, and say, the number of such crimes that are not solved. I don’t see you with placards protesting about that. These crimes have a real emotional and psychological affect on their victims which can last a long time, and shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.
These are just two of the commandments other than “You shall not commit murder”. So if your argument is that abortion is wrong because it’s murder, and the commandments forbid it, then why aren’t you just as passionate about adherence to the other commandments? Picking and choosing are we?
My other concern is this – what are you doing about the mental and emotional well-being of the mothers and babies/children concerned? Do you wash your hands off them once the law has been changed the way you want it? Who will look after all the babies that are born that are not wanted, or are brought up in homes by mothers who are just not ready to be mothers or are perhaps not good mothers (I’m not for a minute saying all women who would have had an abortion or are in the position of considering it are not good mothers)? What are you doing to ensure that there is enough support for them to deal with giving up their child , raising one when they are not ready to, or are not coping well with being in that situation. What are you doing to ensure those babies will be given good homes – that they will not stay in a system where they are passed about from one foster home to another or grow up in an orphanage (and yes, I know there are alot of people who have been adopted or grown up in foster homes that have been well loved and are happy. My concern is with hose that haven’t been so fortunate. How do we know those numbers won’t increase?). If you want to effect a change, ie make abortion illegal, a change that will affect women’s lives, you must ensure that good systems are there so that this change does not impact negatively on their lives.
We need to ensure first and foremost that women are helped as much as possible not to be in that situation in the first place – through education, good sex and relationship education. Education about contraception, about being in a good relationship, etc…I’m sure you can think of a myriad ways the problem can be tackled. I don’t have all the answers. My point is, if you are so vehement about abortion being illegal, then why aren’t you so vehement about ensuring our societies bring up girls with the education and life skills so they do not find themselves in that situation in the first place, or at least so that the chance that they will is minimized. It’s all very well saying you shouldn’t do this or that, but what are you going to do to help them not do it? As Christians, if you don’t want them to go down the road of having an abortion, and you claim to care so much about human life that you can’t bear the thought of a foetus being killed, then where’s your voice campaigning to ensure the support is there these women will need if they cannot do so.