Yesterday, I waxed statistical on some of the issues that underlie the demand for abortion in the US: mostly poverty, unplanned pregnancy, youth, and a lack of options.
The crux of the issue between pro-life and pro-choice is this: Do women have viable options when they are confronted by an unplanned pregnancy?
It’s really hip and sexy in Christianity to be pro-life. Hey, that’s cool. I’m all about life. I think cutting unborn babies into body parts and hauling them out a woman’s uterus is pretty barbaric.
But most of the people fighting abortion look pretty well-off, all told. They come out of at least a working-class life, with opportunities to get an education, a good-paying job, and a house in a decent neighborhood.
And what do we know of true poverty?
When I posted an article about a friendlier, more gracious anti-abortion trend in Dallas on my Facebook feed to spark discussion (what else is Facebook for, right?), a friend of mine posted this immediately:
When [our 3 year old daughter] was born 6 weeks early, we were in the hospital for 10 days, and I met a 17 year old mom there who had been kicked out of her parents’ house for getting pregnant. Since then we have stayed in touch and become friends. She went to the local crisis pregnancy center where she was convinced not to abort her child, and these well meaning ladies promised her help once she had the baby.
Well, they brought her a gift basket and told her she could come pick up diapers any time she needed them, and that was it. That was the help.
She felt very misled. She has struggled since, dropped out of school, and needs constant financial help and help sorting out the complexity of government support. She loves her little boy, but she certainly needs more than diapers to make it.
I guess what I am saying is that I think it is time for the Pro-life movement to take more of an active interest in the entire life of the child, especially those children lost in the foster system.
The children’s defense fund website says there are 4,485 kids in foster care in South Carolina. According to the Southern Baptist Convention there are 1,878 Southern Baptist churches in South Carolina. That’s about 2.3 kids per congregation. If these numbers are correct, that’s pretty do-able, right?
It’s not good enough, my fellow Christians, to rescue babies. When you save a life, you’re tied in now. You can’t just walk away. This is your problem. Your responsibility.
If the Church in America wants to step up and prevent abortion, that’s awesome.
But where’s the next 18 years of help coming from?
More than diapers, these ladies need mentors, financial aid (for years), low-cost but dependable and good-quality child care options so moms can still work, advice on building positive relationships with men who will actually love & support them, help with mothering if this is the first child, sometimes housing, and assistance in navigating “the system” since WIC and SNAP (food stamps) do help.
So, pro-life folks: Where are you going to start?
Tomorrow, I think I’ll rant for a bit about resources available to young adults….
This is obviously the cure (to some degree), but if we are going to be realistic, no one has tgat much to give. Where I part ways from this line of thinking is here: Everyone is responsible for their own decisions and actions.
Are we so afraid of consequences, that we ignore the fact that this girl’s decision to have unprotected and premarrital sex, lead to her hardship? Once that mistake was made, the consequences are possible. I see a severe lack of ownership in mistakes in this culture. Most of society has become a leach. The Church has become a leach. Parents and children have become leaches. Its the wrong thinking.
I would sat that we are responsible to care for people like this girl. But caring for her has limits. We shouldn’t be enablers. We should be helping her make a better life and teach her the joy of who she is. I don’t think that takes 18 years. If it does, we are worse than she is because we keep her from becomig a better person.
In the end, I believe our duty is to raise her up out of the ashes and teach her both, ownership of mistakes, and redemption of self. This requires financial support for a time, but to me, that is the least worthy goal.
>>This is obviously the cure (to some degree), but if we are going to be realistic, no one has tgat much to give.<<
I think this is EXACTLY what we are called to give.
At what point do you get to stop loving someone else? At what point can you biblically say, "I'm done. I did all my job." Even when God is disciplining us (which includes the kind of "responsibility" thinking you reference, He says THAT is evidence of love.
If forgiveness is 70×7, what's the mathematics of Christ-like love? Infinite.
>>Everyone is responsible for their own decisions and actions.<<
Sure. No doubt.
Explain to me how your response to this girl squares with the Gospel.
Christ interacted with all kinds of sinners and they were keenly aware of their sin, but it never forced them away from Him. They ran TO Him. And He healed freely, restored sight, returned what was broken, mended relationships.
That kind of work happens only over the long haul. And you & I are called to be part of it.
The girl that Jenny met at the hospital isn’t a leech for wanting help. I don’t think God ever intended for a woman to be raising her baby alone. That only happens because of brokenness — a father abandons, or there’s a death, or (in this case) parents threw her out.
Never really sure why parents have to reject their children when the kid most needs their help, but anyway….
You’re right that we would want a young mother to get to the point where she’s able to get at least basics of life on her own.
But realistically — how possible is that? In an economy where college grads can’t jobs, where single moms have few options for child care, what exactly do you expect her to do?
I challenge you to find “pull myself up by my bootstraps” theology of living in Scripture. Really. Bring it. I don’t think you can find it. Because the Church is a Body — that’s the whole point. WE CAN’T DO THIS ALONE.
How much more do people a community of help when they’re truly in trouble?
Besides…. you can make your argument better when the Church is actually helping people so much that they’re mooching off of us. I’m not seeing that in my town, I can assure you.
I just read your comment on my later post, Mark….. so I’ll call truce here. 🙂 I think we’re on the same wavelength in the big picture.