There seems to be a misunderstanding on my Xanga over how I feel about abortion, and so I am going to take a few moments to explain my position on the matter.
Right up front, I will tell you that I am adamantly pro-life. My pro-life sentiments permeate much of my decision-making. It is because of thse sentiments that I am now a vegetarian and am in the process of going vegan. It is my pro-life stance that makes me an advocate for peace and not war. As I have said many times, and it bears repeating, being pro-life means so much more than simply being anti-abortion.
Let me start with a bullet point list of stastistics regarding abortion. All of these and more can be found at the link associated with this subject heading.
- There are aproximately 46 million abortions carried out each year. This averages to about 126,000 per day.
- The overwhelming majority of all abortions (78%) are carried out in Third World countries. This means that only 22% occur in developed nations.
- Race is a factor in abortion. 60.5% of abortions are done by white women.
- 46% of abortions are women over the age of 25.
- The majority (95%) are done as a means of birth control. But why abortion?
- 25.5% want to postpone childbearing.
- 21.3% cannot afford to have the child.
I could go on and on with these, but you get the idea. There are a whole lot of abortions conducted in the world. But isn’t it strange that the majority are done as a result of poverty?
My Stance in Light of the Statistics
In light of these statistics, my stance my seem to be pro-choice. But I assure you, I am not pro-choice. I do not think that abortion is simply a woman’s right. I personally think that if someone is going to fool around, they should accept the possible consequences of their actions; they should be ready for anything from HIV/AIDS to pregnancy.
BUT, I also think that, at least here in America, we who are pro-life need to examine our methods.
First, 95% of abortions are done as a means of birth control. From a pro-life perspective, this is sick (in my mind at least). Were it not for the numbers that follow, I might be of a mind to start marching on abortion clinics holding up those hideous photographs of dead babies lined up on a table. But the numbers that follow elicit only compassion.
When nearly a quarter of abortions happen because the women cannot afford to have their child, I am forced to ask why. Well, giving birth can cost up to $20,000. Usually, those who are unable to afford this are also without insurance, as would be the case with women from Third World countries and many here in the US as well.
To tell these women, “Don’t get pregnant,” is simply cold and uncaring. If a woman has the right to an abortion, then she should also have the right to have a child. And when killing the baby costs less than allowing it to live (the average abortion costs only $372-$468), the problem is not with abortion being legalalized.
Something needs to change in our health care system. Simply by making it easier (and cheaper) for women to get the care needed to actually have children would immediately cut the number of abortions by at least 21%.
Secondly, when the majority of abortions are had by white women over the age of 25, there is a deeper problem, again, than abortion being legalized. There is a problem with lifestyle.
The lifestyle of the last generation is one of never-ending wants. It was a generation raised on plenty. A generation raised after the Great Depression and at the close of World War II. It is a generation with, generally speaking, no real sense of what it means to be in need. The issue here is not abortion, but rather a matter of worldview. We must get to the root of the problem and change an entire generation’s worldview. By attempting this one task and succeeding, we could cut abortions by another, at least, 46%. That makes a total of 67% of abortions already eliminated without even making the practice illegal.
Another 12% could be eliminated by regulating abortion such that parents and partners could not force their daughter or partner to have an abortion. That now makes 79% of abortions eliminated.
Now, this doesn’t account for the abortions in Third World countries, and that is a matter that I am totally unsure how to deal with. Education and compassion would probably be key, though.
Pro-Life Without the Picket Signs
I am pro-life. I am against abortion. But I see a glaring error in limiting our defense of the sanctity of life to merely making abortion illegal. Just making abortion illegal is not going to solve anything. All that making abortion illegal is going to do is meet a political objective. It is not going to deal with the root causes of why women are having abortions in the first place.
It’s not entirely an issue of promiscuity, although that does play a role. It is an issue of people. Real men and women who feel like they are left with no other options.
Even more than that, though, it is an issue with us, the Christians. There is talk constantly about how the church should be the ones helping the poor, not the government. But what about women who have had abortions? What about women who are considering them? What about the woman who wants to have her child but can’t afford it? What are we as a church doing to help these women?
We must be willing to get our hands dirty when it comes to this world. Sometimes we may have to go places that we are not normally confortable with going. Maybe it would be the best means of sharing God’s will with someone for us to go and sit with her in the waiting room before her procedure. Not to condemn her or endorse what she is doing, but to be there to embrace her when she comes out and to offer God’s forgiveness in the form of our own forgiveness.
Maybe it means embracing that 16 year old girl who fooled around with her boyfriend and got pregnant only to have her boyfriend leave her and for the church to hold a baby shower for her and celebrate the new life that is growing inside of her.
Maybe it’s time that we grow up and stop bitching about it and actually start offering some realistic solutions.