If you know me, or my writing, you know that I am passionate about life. You also know that I believe that the universal Christian Church, every believer in Christ, is the answer to the problem of abortion.
Are nonbelievers, atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, et al. an important part of the pro-life movement? Yes, and I think we need to make space for them. However, I look at it this way. When my kids make a huge mess with their friends I expect my kids to clean it up. Should their friends help? Well, yes. They made the mess too. If they help, that's great.
The reality is, though, I hold my own children to a higher standard. Regardless of how much of a mess their friends made, and whether or not they want to clean it up, my kids are cleaning it up. In fact, I expect to see my kids putting forth more effort than anyone else while graciously thanking the others for helping.
Brothers and sisters, we made a mess. A BIG mess. Whether or not we actively participated, we watched it happen. This is our responsibility. Dad, our heavenly Father, expects us to take point on cleaning it up.
A lot of us are thrilled about the new pro-life laws that are popping up. YES, we want abortion to be outlawed. YES, we want to see mothers choose life. YES, we want to see babies saved.
But, are we really ready? What does a post-Roe world look like?
When, because it is becoming clearer every day that it's going to happen, Roe v. Wade is reversed what happens? Well, its hard to know for sure, but this is my not-a-legal-expert opinion.
Some states are very clearly going to be extremely pro-abortion and some are going to be extremely pro-life. The majority, as always, are going to waffle around for awhile until they figure out what they are. Our job is to do our best to ensure that our states end up on the pro-life side. It will be a hot mess, and believers need to be ready to make phone calls, lobby, march, protest, and write letters. Above all, we need to vote. Register yourself, your grandma, your Aunt Edith, and your best friend and encourage them to VOTE.
Note of clarification, ENCOURAGE them to register and help them if they need it. Do not go around impersonating people.
Once the dust settles, we'll know where we stand and what to do. Then, we get to work, right?
That is what everyone will want to do, but is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. We need to get to work NOW and prepare for the best case scenario in our state. For some of us, we already know what that means. In states like New York it will become even more of a fight. Not only will pro-lifers need to work against abortion in their communities, they'll have to consider abortion tourism - women from other states coming into New York just to get an abortion.
What about other states? States where abortion could become illegal, or extremely restricted, what do we do? How do we prepare?
Frankly, we need to step up our game.
If legal abortion ends, there will be more babies.
More single mothers, more babies born addicted, more babies born with developmental delays or other challenges, and more children in need of foster and adoptive homes. Having more live babies and fewer abortions is a GREAT thing, but we can't pretend that it has nothing to do with us. Let's look at some numbers from Pennsylvania to see what the picture would look like for us:
In Pennsylvania, in 2017, there were just over 30,000 abortions performed.
Are we, Christ-followers in Pennsylvania, ready to help with 30,000 more newborns?
87% of those abortions were performed on unmarried women. Are the men in our churches ready to step into the gap and act as a father figure to 26,000 children? Are they ready to walk alongside young men who don't know how to be a dad or how to treat their baby's mother? Are they willing to invest countless hours in mentoring young men in their communities?
Almost half of these abortions were performed on women from minority communities. Are we ready to accept 15,000 children into our homes and churches that don't look like us? Are we willing to adopt or foster children when its obvious that they aren't our biological children? Are we willing to foster friendships with single moms who may look different than we do or come from a different cultural background?
810 abortions were performed on girls younger than 18. Are we ready to see 810 teen moms struggling in the grocery store? Are we, the Church, ready to help them finish school, provide for themselves and their child, and perhaps provide a foster home for them and their young baby?
(Sidenote: yes, girls in foster care get pregnant. There aren't enough homes for teens in general, much less pregnant and parenting teens. Can you fill that gap?)
Honestly? We aren't.
In the counties Alpha Omega Center serves, an end to abortion would mean over 300 more families parenting a child they may not be ready for and can't afford. Will we help them? Of course! But, it will max us out, and quite possibly overwhelm us. What about our neighbors? Women's Choice Network in Pittsburgh would see approximately 3,000 more families in need. Are they ready for that? They, like us, would do their best. But, they're already struggling to meet the demand for their services.
You might be thinking, "Wow Sarah, that's really harsh. We're ready. We want abortion to end! Why do you think that we wouldn't step up to the plate?"
I don't think the Church is ready because we have proven that we aren't. Pregnancy Help Organizations across the country are underfunded and understaffed. Foster children are stuck in substandard homes, group facilities waiting to age out, or they're floating around hoping someone will adopt them. Churches are often too absorbed in their own drama to realize that there are families and children in need.
Further, I hear too many people asserting that once abortion becomes illegal we're done. We can close down the pregnancy centers, pack up, and go home. The reality is that when abortion becomes illegal we will be needed more than ever. But, what happens to our donors? Will I have a hard time convincing churches that we're still desperately needed in our communities?
Are you depressed yet? Don't be. My message, to my brothers and sisters in Christ, is a hard one. But, I wouldn't share it if I didn't think we were capable of change.
There is a lot to do but we, God's people, are equipped to do it. God has given us the solemn duty to be His hands and feet. He tells us in the book of James that pure religion means caring for orphans and widows, and keeping ourselves unstained from the world.
Caring for orphans and widows means donating to organizations that exist to help others. It may mean putting a high paced career on hold to work for a non-profit or for a church. I could mean giving of your time and talents to volunteer or serve on a Board of Directors.
It might look like offering respite care to a family who fosters or has recently adopted. Or, maybe you're supposed to foster and adopt a child (or two, or three) yourself. You might adopt or foster an infant, but more likely an older child, or even a pregnant or parenting teen.
Whatever you're called to do, and that's between you and God, it will stretch you, make you feel uncomfortable, and there will be days you just don't want to do it. You'll feel taken advantage of, you'll miss out on things you want (or even need), and some days you'll just feel like garbage for trying and failing.
Why do it?
We do it because these children, and their families, need us. We do it because it's our calling. We do it because the greatest worship we can offer God is to care for the people He loves and gave His only Son for.
We need to end abortion. This terrible practice has gone on for much too long. But, when it happens, we need to be ready. We can't wait until it's ended to get going, we need to get going now. These children, and their mothers, need us. When abortion ends, there will be more children and more families in need. We can be there for them, we have to be, there won't be anyone else.
Your first step is to discern your specific calling. What is God asking you to do? What is He asking your family to do? Then, do it. Don't delay, don't put it off, and don't allow yourself to get off with an excuse. Pregnancy centers, foster care, and adoption agencies should be overwhelmed with applications, donations, and help. There shouldn't be any substandard foster homes because there are too many excellent ones to choose from. When there is a financial need the outpouring of help should be immediate and complete.
We each have a role, and it's time to get to work. These children need us.
All Pennsylvania statistics can be found online at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/HealthStatistics/VitalStatistics/Documents/Pennsylvania_Annual_Abortion_Report_2017.pdf
Do you struggle with communicating these messages to your church family and friends? Do you understand your calling, but you can't get those around you to take part? A new 12-week Bible study/Sunday school curriculum called Courageously Pro-Life will be available soon. Sign up on my website to be the first to know when it is available for pre-sale!