This past week in Canada, the second of three major political parties made pro-choice their only platform on the subject of abortion. Indeed, citizens and candidates are not allowed to join the Liberal party unless they sign off in agreement. The third major party won’t touch the topic, thus rendering pro-choice as the only choice. In this post, I look at what this sea-change means for people who support pro-life.
Let me disclose upfront that my choice is life and always has been, even before I became a follower of Jesus. Only a fool would deny, however, that by law in Canada and in most Western jurisdictions, people have two choices. According to Jesus, when we are bothered by the actions of others, they have a speck in their eye. The challenge for Christians is to take the plank out of our own eye so we can see clearly how to respond. This means seeking peace first about the issue troubling us. To not do so is to invite the human ego to dig in and resist the very thing we would want to see happen.
I have grieved this one. I accept the truth that well over sixty thousand would-be Canadian mothers did not want a baby in their lives this year. I grieve that eager adoptive parents (and even blood relatives) would have gladly taken that child and raised it for their own. I mourn the unwillingness of these mostly younger women to endure the effect being pregnant has on their body, on their work or school life and on how others perceive them. I despair over the possibility that they can’t live with having their own flesh and blood walking around on the planet having a life in which they play no part. I weep for the inner pain that unknowingly awaits them in their older years when the reality of what they have done hits them. I have personally witnessed this in women whose inner being hardened and whose self-worth degraded.
We who would want all mothers to choose life must mourn deeply. Jesus promised us that we will be comforted. (Mt 5:4) In his compassionate arms, we can find peace about the magnitude of the losses of life and the scarring effects of abortion.
With the inner peace that comes when we accept what we cannot change (legally, that is), we can see that there is much we can do. More than anything else, we need to stop making abortion a “them vs us” battle of pro-life vs pro-choice. We need to work with the system to ensure that the choice of life gets the fullest and fairest hearing possible for the young mothers-to-be. These women need to know that they will not be condemned by Christians working in the system if they choose abortion over life. Only then, will they be willing to hear and consider the ‘pro-choose-life’ side of the story, unfettered by the jaded noise about their ‘right to abort.’ Paul wrote wisely: “All things are lawful but not all things are beneficial.” (1 Cor 10:23)
Jesus exemplified this when the people were about to obey the law by stoning an adulterous woman. He set them free to make their own choice in accordance with their own conscience. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” And they all walked away freely and willingly. For those of us who would want a pregnant woman to not stone her own unborn child, we too must give her the freedom to choose wisely and trust that she will make the merciful choice. Then we must love her anyway if she chooses otherwise.
Jesus must have witnessed many stonings, whippings and crucifixions in his day. He did not ever make changing the laws of the land his priority. He did only one thing – preach God’s truth and invite us to follow him. This is by far the best way that we can encourage a mother to let her unborn baby live. Once a person is convicted of the truth that we are loved by God in spite of our faults by his mercy and by the sacrifice of Jesus, that person will choose life.
We can see the truth of the power of conversion in English slave-trader John Newton in 1748 who later wrote the hymn, Amazing Grace. He became an ardent abolitionist and a vocal preacher who openly talked about his former ways and the undeserved healing he received in Jesus.
Personally, I choose to see each unborn child’s death as a sacrifice that in time can and often does lead their mother to salvation as the burden of their mistaken choice grows in weight with each passing year. As Christians, we do not need to add to that burden by condemning the mothers, the doctors or even the politicians. Rather, we must pray fervently, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they are doing.” In so doing, let us always give thanks to our own mothers who chose life!