Several years ago, when videos of Planned Parenthood selling baby parts went viral, I wrote the below post, after contemplating “what ifs” related to abortion. I asked myself the following questions: What if abortion became illegal in the U.S. tomorrow? What would I do? How would I respond?
Now, as Alabama has passed the toughest abortion law in the nation, and other states have already passed similar ones, this contemplation is becoming more of a reality, and this post becomes even more relevant.
If abortion became illegal . . .
Instantly, I know that I would praise the Lord above! I would praise Him for the lives that are being saved! I would praise Him for doing something that only He could do–change hearts and minds! I would be ecstatic, but then . . .
. . . I would be drawn to hit my knees in prayer and beg Jesus to call His Church to minister to the needs that would swell in our society. Several years ago I feared that the Church would not be ready to respond to what would come next. I’m thankful that today, I can see where the Lord has raised up His Church in many ways, yet there is still much work to be done. I would beg God to continue to change hearts in His Church.
You see, it is easy for me to be self-righteous and consider myself better than those who are choosing death for their child…
It is easy for me to think I have more integrity than those who promote and encourage abortions up until birth…
But, the Lord reminds me that I was once like that, as well (Col. 3). Once I, too, was simply serving my needs with no regard for Christ. I acted “morally” for self-glorification, with no thought of His pleasure or His glory. I acted out of what was best for me and for my needs.
God reminds me that any righteous thought or action I have is simply a gift from Him. (Psalm 25: 20-21) He also reminds me that His work in my life is for the purpose of His glory and is to be shared with others.
How grateful I am that the Lord displayed mercy and grace to me! Oh, how grateful I am that He reconciled me to Himself! He gave me joy freely and reconciled me to Himself, and now He has invited me to join Him in this ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5: 11-21)
How will I respond to this invitation to be an agent of reconciliation? Am I to take this invitation and then simply criticize those who seek out or perform abortions; or, am I to defend the lives of those who have yet to be born, as well as those who are struggling and thinking that there is nowhere to turn?
It is easy to be drawn into a simplistic view of the battle for life—saving the lives of pre-born babies. I fear that our energy and attention can be too focused on ending the wrong of abortion without preparing for its end. We should fight for abortion to become illegal. We are right to demand earthly justice for those who are performing abortions; we are right to defend the oppressed, specifically the lives of those who are unborn; but, we cannot afford to stop there.
My conviction is that the Church has a responsibility to take action.
We must strive to be consistent in living like Christ and be more than pro-birth only. We must be truly pro-LIFE. To be truly pro-life, we must respond to the needs and reasons that lead women to choose abortion. We must understand that many women do not choose abortion for reasons that are rooted a woman’s convenience; many times, the choice is made because of real needs that will arise after the child is born.
In a survey conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, the top reasons women chose abortion were: 1) having a child would dramatically change their life; 2) they could not afford a baby, and 3) they had relationship issues or feared to be a single mother.
The bottom line is that most women are not merely acting out of convenience. They think abortion is the best option for them AND their child, and, like most lies of the enemy, an inkling of truth is twisted to deceive them. If a woman who is not ready to be a parent chooses life, there are repercussions for her and her child. Children who are born to women who are unable and unready to parent are at high risk to enter the foster care system or have significant needs resulting from the unexpected pregnancy.
Let me propose several actions for the Church to take today:
Offer love and compassion to women facing unexpected pregnancies. If abortion becomes illegal, a woman will have 2 options: parenting or making an adoption plan. Most will choose to parent but may not feel equipped. We must open our homes to women and children needing a safe place to stay. We must come alongside these vulnerable families by providing jobs, training, and other things that they need to thrive as a parent, as they find success in economic and personal stability. We can journey with them by mentoring them and connecting them with quality parenting classes and resources. We want these ladies to excel and thrive in their role as mothers! Ultimately, we want to point them to the Great Rescuer, in whom they can find their valued identity and hope for their future.
We can connect her with resources and services of integrity, that will treat her with respect, explain all of her options, and walk with her through her plan for her child’s future. Our churches can be a place of refuge instead of a place of fear for her.
Begin to speak positively about women who choose adoption. Some women will choose adoption. Women must know that both are life-affirming choices: parenting and adoption are ones that are loving and brave, and only after exploring all the options can they make an informed decision they feel good about. They must know that in adoption, they are not stuck with the first family that crosses their path, but that they have options in which family they choose. They must be prepared and not pressured into decisions. And just like with those who choose to parent, the women choosing adoption also may need the church and resources wrapped around them. We must point them to these resources.
Open our homes to children who need families. Currently, there are more families waiting to adopt an infant child than there are women choosing adoption. I pray for a day when more families are needed because women are choosing life. Even now, though, many children are available for adoption from the U.S. foster care system. These children need long-term familial stability; as parental rights have been terminated. These mamas chose life and for whatever reason were not able to parent. We need to continue to care for these children.
Engage through Foster Care. The reality remains that some children will enter foster care. Currently, there are almost 500,000 children currently in foster care in the U.S. This number will increase if abortion becomes illegal. The Church has to be ready to stand in the gap for these parents and their children by providing stable interim care and by engaging birth families with gospel-centered parenting resources designed to show them Christ and to help them parent with purpose.
So, Church, what if abortion became illegal? Are we ready? Let’s start getting ready now:
Tell women you know about both life-affirming options and point her to resources to help her regardless of her choice.
- Mentor a woman or man, who chose life but is struggling to be a good parent, by starting a Families Count program at your church.
- Become a foster parent and minister to the child and his birth family with the gospel.
- Start a foster care support ministry at your church to assist foster and adoptive parents by coming alongside them to meet some of their tangible needs (meals, transportation, babysitting, etc.) and equip your church childcare team to care for children from a hard place.
- Start a ministry at your church to care for women in unexpected pregnancies. Lifeline is developing the resources for this now.
Lifeline has exciting resources available to train and equip the Church and your local church. We would love to partner with you to help your church develop a ministry to reach these precious lives. The need is there, and we may be closer than we think to abortion becoming illegal in the U.S. tomorrow.
Written by Christie Mac Segars, VP of Domestic Services at Lifeline Children’s Services