In light of the recent release of videos detailing the horrific work of abortions inside Planned Parenthood and the move to defund this organization from federal tax monies, I began to think, “What if abortion became illegal in the U.S. tomorrow?” What would I do? How would I respond?
Instantly, I knew 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 . . .
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. I would beg God to change hearts in His Church because I fear that the Church is not ready to respond to what would come next.
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 find more value in a baby’s body parts than the child herself…
But, the Lord reminds me that I was once like them (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 His invitation? Am I to take this invitation to be an agent of reconciliation and simply criticize those choosing and performing abortions or am I to understand His command differently by defending 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 has been too focused on ending the wrong of abortion without preparing for its end. We are right to demand earthly justice for those who are performing abortions; we are quick to defend the oppressed, 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. 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 an 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 being 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, be dependent on social welfare, or have significant needs resulting from the unexpected pregnancy.
Let me propose several actions for the Church to take today:
Begin to speak positively about women who choose adoption. We must recognize this choice for what it is: difficult, unselfish, loving, and sacrificial. We must present adoption to women in ways that winsomely affirm it as an option that addresses their chief concerns. Moreover, we need to celebrate the women choosing this option because they have chosen life. They are not giving away their child; they are not giving up their child; they are treating their child as a precious gift by choosing life!
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.
Minister to birth moms who choose to parent. If abortion becomes illegal, some women will choose to parent instead of making an adoption plan. We must open our homes to women and children needing a safe place to stay. We must come alongside these vulnerable families by mentoring them, providing jobs, providing training, providing what they need to thrive as a parent as they find success in economic and personal stability. Ultimately, we want to point them to the Great Rescuer, in whom they can find their valued identity and hope for their future.
Engage through Foster Care. The reality remains that some children will enter foster care. Currently, there are over 400,000 children currently in foster care the U.S. This number will increase if abortion becomes illegal or if more women begin choosing life. 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 the 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 the option of adoption.
- Mentor a woman or man, who chose life but is struggling to be a good parent, through Lifeline’s Families Count program.
- Become a foster parent and minister to the child and his birth family with the gospel.
- Support foster and adoptive parents by coming alongside them to meet some of their tangible needs (meals, transportation, babysitting, etc).
- Give to support the ministry of Lifeline. Your gifts directly impact our capacity to share the gospel with more women; tell more women about the option of adoption; and provide more vulnerable children with Christ-honoring foster homes.
It’s time, church, stand up.
Written by Christie Mac Segars, Director of Domestic Programs at Lifeline Children’s Services. To learn more about Lifeline’s birthmother ministry, click here.