It is Time for Christians to be Pro-Choice
Abortion has long been a divisive issue between the religious and non-religious. More specifically it have been a contentious issue between the Republicans and Democrats for as long as I can remember. Evangelicals have been especially outspoken in this debate and have been fervently anti-abortion. In this article I hope to appeal to Christians, in convincing them to take a pro-choice stance to not only protect women’s rights but also the betterment of our society.
Firstly I must start by saying I am pro-choice as in wanting women to have the right to choose whether or not they want to keep a baby. I would still personally encourage (a term which I hope to expand upon later) every single women considering abortion to bear through birth and either raise the child or give it up for adoption. Furthermore there is the issue on when a fetus is considered a human being. Though this is not an article on defining such a thing, my view is that 21 weeks should be the cut off date (any abortions after this time period should be illegal and not allowed, unless it is life endangering for the mother). I come to this conclusion because the earliest surviving premature baby is dated at 21 weeks and 5 days (Baby Freida in Fulda Germany 2011). Meaning that past 21 weeks there seems to be a chance of a living child. If it is illegal to kill the newly born baby then I believe that after 21 weeks the baby is an autonomous person whether inside or outside of his/her mother’s womb. Therefore it should be illegal to abort the 21-week-old baby, just as it is illegal to murder a person. However before 21 weeks neither biblical nor scientific sources provide evidence that gives a clear timeline on what defines personhood. Therefore, fetuses before the 21-week threshold must be accepted as an unknown variable. That is to say, it may be a person, it may just be a bundle of cells, we simply will never know, but must be open to future discoveries in either science or theology. All this to say, I would personally encourage all women to give life to their unborn babies, however I believe it would be a deeply un-Christian thing to restrict and try to control the free-will of women.
What I would see to be analogous to this scenario would be like Christians wanting to ban mosques, temples, Gudwaras, Synagogues, etc. for the purpose of preventing sinful behavior from going on (Exodus 20:3, You shall have no other gods before me). I am not equivocating pro-choice advocates as being part of some religion, but rather stating that Christianity is a faith that does not force belief upon people, in fact, this free-will is a defining virtue for the Christian Church. Whether you see abortion as a sin or not is quite irrelevant to whether or not girls should have the ability to choose. The question is, for what other scenario do Christians prohibit someone from exercising a choice? We are to be a shining beacon for Christ, reflecting the love and grace he has shown us, not an enforcer of commandments like the Pharisees were. We do not force anyone to conform to our beliefs; rather we change lives by loving others, and sharing the blessings of our life with others. I am not calling for Christians to be passive Benedictines, but instead to voice pro-life convictions without terrorizing abortion clinics, abortion-receiving women, and doctors performing abortions. So when I say that Christians should be pro-choice, I am saying that we should be steadfast in standing by women whom are going through these deeply personal decisions and support them with the unconditional love that God has shown us.
At this point, those who believe that fetuses, at any age, are fully human would argue that by allowing abortions to go on in the name of free will, would set a societal precedence that allows sin to continue on. I would argue that anyone who truly feels convicted in stopping this “sin” should not be doing so by preventing abortions, but rather by supporting potential parents in every capacity possible and by creating a social environment that will make being pro-life a feasible choice for the potential mother.
I would further like to challenge the pro-life evangelicals on how they voice their concerns for unborn fetuses. Many believe that being pro-life is about preventing abortions, but I see it as being more than that. In the States many Republicans are adamantly pro-life, but at the same time want to cut funding for limiting welfare funding for single mothers and low-income families. If the goal of a pro-life supporter is for “life” then shouldn’t they be pushing the government for legislation that would make having an “unwanted” baby more financially feasible? The Guttmacher institute suggests that 42 percent of women who get abortions live under the poverty line, while all together 69 percent of women who get abortions are “economically disadvantaged”. So if one’s agenda were to be pro-life, should not the goal be to make sure that these mothers and children are properly taken care of, so that to-be mothers make the choice of life? Programs like income support or paid maternity leave should be the main objective of pro-life groups as those are the issues that will ultimately make women want to keep their babies. Some may argue that by promoting and funding these programs you would be giving hand outs and perpetuating a behavior of dependency. Though this may be true, I believe that if by providing for a mother who is truly in need means that some will abuse the system, that is a cost society must be willing to take on. And again, if the goal of pro-lifers is simply to prevent the “murder” of fetuses than the cost should seem irrelevant in light of the saved child.
The purpose for this article comes from a hatred of how abortion has become a political issue that has been used to radicalize opinions. It is used as a hot button topic to stump politicians and stir controversy in political discourse. Through all of this, the discussions of abortion have lost all humanity, and have been reduced to an issue that alienates many from the church. My biases are clear, I believe that all women should give birth to their unborn babies, but this does not mean that I will force women to do so. Christians should not fight against women’s right to choose because choice is an ability that God gives so that we may answer the door when he knocks, not just have him break it down. If Christians are truly convicted about saving unborn babies, we should not work to prevent abortions, but work to give women a reason to choose life.