A friend of mine from my youth provided a link to an interesting, and somewhat refreshing, blog post by a pro-life Christian:
Link — In Faith and In Purity: Are we really Pro-life?
In it the author, Valerie, points out some of the hypocrisy in the pro-life movement and tries to resolve the hypocrisy down to a central point. I’ll do my best to explain what I feel that point is herein, and Valerie, if you believe I have misinterpreted what you have said, feel free to provide a clarification.
The way she points out the hypocrisy that is seen in the pro-life movement is through a mock conversation. In this conversation, a pro-life woman protesting outside an abortion clinic verbally confronts a pregnant woman before she goes in. In the conversation it is revealed that the Christian pro-life protester is married, relatively well-off, has two kids, and to keep from having more children, her husband had a vasectomy. In response, the woman seeking an abortion says this:
So your [sic] telling ME, a non believer, with no husband, no money, and no house, I should trust in "God" to provide for me when it comes to children, and to welcome that unwanted child into my life with open arms because God loves children. And YOU a Christian who trusts in the God I do not know, who has a husband, and money and a home, and a car that works, wont even DARE let the chance of conception happen because your so scared of having more.
And Valerie is right that this is a display of hypocrisy. But how is it hypocrisy?
It comes down to two things: stating that God should be the decision maker in whether a child is conceived and born, and employing artificial methods to prevent pregnancy. Any contraceptive method can be seen as acting in conflict with God’s alleged plan for you. Even the rhythm method can be seen as this as well because you are purposefully ignoring your own innate instincts until such a time as the chance of conception is at its lowest.
This is especially pertinent given the language that was used in the argument. The woman says "we decided our family was complete", implying it was only the husband and wife. Did they pray on it? If they did, it wasn’t mentioned so we have to assume that they did not. As God wasn’t consulted, their actions could be seen as contrary to God’s plan because God wasn’t given the chance to provide any indication that He decided their family was complete.
Could the confrontation have gone differently in such a way that does not seem hypocritical? Maybe.
In response to the question "Is that all [the children] you plan to have?" the protester could have responded simply with "Yes, that is all we plan to have". Is there any implication of hypocrisy in that statement? Certainly not. The question was answered. But the pregnant woman could still reveal the hypocrisy of the protester with two questions: "Are you and your husband still sexually active?" and "What measures do you take to prevent pregnancy?"
The answer to the first question would be "Yes", and responding to the second question truthfully would reveal the hypocrisy and place the conversation back where we left it. The hypocrisy is out in the open, and the protester again looks foolish.
Now how could the hypocrisy have been avoided at all? This I think is the question that Valerie should have explored as it leads to the true answer to the question of whether you are really pro-life. Let us explore this.
Instead of the black and white "Choose life. Trust God." argument the protester was stating, the focus really needs to be on providing help. "Well turning them to God is helping them," I can already feel running through the minds of Christians reading this. And if you’re thinking that, you are missing the point.
In about 3 of 4 abortions, financial difficulties were given as the reason the woman was terminating the pregnancy — she just didn’t feel she could afford to raise the child.
Here we have an unwed, single, impoverished, pregnant atheist. Instead of engaging her only to say "Choose life. Trust God", you could instead say, "Let me hand you a business card to a private charity who can help you get whatever you need." And if you were to try to direct this woman to a charity that would try to proselytize to her, she may end up back at the clinic.
If she still says she doesn’t want the child, an alternative could be "Let me set you up with a lawyer who can help you arrange for an adoption when the child is born." You could also include in the argument that many couples looking to adopt children from unwed pregnant impoverished women also help cover prenatal medical expenses, in some cases in full.
Find a way to respond to their concerns regarding the pregnancy and you may be able to talk them into continuing to carry it.
I am pro-choice. The decision regarding an abortion is ultimately between a woman and her physician. However if the woman has expressed interest in obtaining an abortion, then within reason others can try to talk her out of that and toward other options. However this should occur without mentioning God, Christianity, or Christian principles because that has a remarkable capability of turning people off, in which case you’re only going to lose the argument and the chance to talk a woman out of an abortion.
As painful as it may be for you, if you want to convince women to not obtain an abortion, you need to leave God at the door. Bringing God into the argument will only cause you to be perceived as an older sibling getting daddy to back you up in a bid to get them into trouble. And if you want to successfully turn women away from abortion, that is not the impression to be giving.
So let’s get back to the question of whether you are really pro-life.
First let me ask you this: do you really think, in the bottom of your heart and in the depths of your soul, that protesting and proselytizing outside an abortion clinic is really helping to turn lots of women away from the clinics? To the best of my knowledge there is no unbiased evidence suggesting this. So protesting outside a clinic isn’t doing any good, especially if all you’re doing is shouting and proselytizing. ("Trust God. Choose life. Abortion is murder! You’re going to regret this!")
So if in your bid to curtail abortions you employ means that have no demonstrable evidence of obtaining the ends you seek, are you actually pro-life? If what you are doing is having little to no demonstrable effect on the incidence of abortions, in the United States or abroad, are you actually pro-life?
Valerie says this toward the end of her blog post:
BUT AT LEAST now I can say honestly to any woman who asks, I am pro-life. I will welcome any child God chooses to give me. And if you choose not to raise your child, I will gladly welcome that child into my home also.
She believes she could honestly say she is pro-life because her husband had his vasectomy reversed, despite there being an apparent irreversible negative effect on her husband’s fertility courtesy of the vasectomy. But even with him seeking the vasectomy, could she still have said she is pro-life without looking like a hypocrite?
I volunteered as a counselor/client advocate at a crisis pregnancy resource center and all the while, my hope was that I could encourage, love on, and bring hope in the name of Christ to some of these hurting women.
While the actual effect of crisis pregnancy centers on the incidence of abortions in the United States is dreadfully difficult to measure, I would be lying if I said they had no impact. They are set up to help people. Some are established with the secondary purpose of proselytizing, but they are there in an attempt to give women an alternative.
Valerie took an active, peaceful role in turning women away from abortion, therefore she is pro-life. It is all in how you try to combat the incidence of abortion that makes you pro-life. Do you proselytize and preach, standing around holding signs and shouting, or do you actually try to help the women who are in need?
Are you really pro-life?