There has been a lot of chatter in pro-life groups about the upcoming film, "Unplanned." Some are saying it will "change everything." Others saying, it's no big deal. Some film snobs (you know who you are) are pooh-poohing the ability of Christian filmmakers to turn out anything worthwhile. Others are lamenting the fact that this particular film will certainly have strong Christocentric themes.
In short, pretty much what you would expect to hear about when a movie like this comes out. Some love it, some hate it, some aren't sure.
One comment really stuck out to me though. In one online forum somebody commented, "this movie isn't going to end abortion."
As my husband says when he hears what he believes is an obvious and undisputed statement, "No crap, Jack."
Do we really expect a movie, a movie, to end abortion? If we do, we need to check ourselves. No movie, no one effort, is going to completely end abortion. It isn't going to happen. Is this movie going to "end abortion?" No. Is Abby Johnson, as hardworking and gifted as she is, going to singlehandedly end abortion? No.
Is any one person, any one effort, or any one event going to end abortion?
But, before you get too depressed and admit our sure defeat, let's think a little bit. There are tons of great efforts out there, surely one of them is the silver bullet. One of them has to be the magical solution. Here are a few:
Politicians and Political Action Committees
This is probably it, right? If we could just get our politicians to outlaw abortions we would be OK. They could make them completely illegal and then nobody will be able to get abortions. In this way, we can immediately end abortion.
Not quite. Even if, and it's a big if, we get Roe v. Wade reversed, states will still be able to make their own laws. The only way to get every state to outlaw abortion would be to work a significant change in the hearts and minds of the populace. Further, even in heavily pro-life areas, women will still experience unplanned pregnancies and some of them will seek an abortion. While outlawing abortion is huge, it won't get rid of it entirely.
These are my personal favorites. Heck, let's lump in all pregnancy help. We have pregnancy centers, adoption homes, and maternity homes. These awesome organizations, including Alpha Omega Center, work with women facing unplanned pregnancies. Some of them also do STD testing and treatment and abstinence education (for preventing unplanned pregnancies among other reasons).
This has to be the answer, right? They certainly help a lot of people! The problem is that pregnancy centers can't reach everyone. Some, yes. Maybe even a lot of people. However, not every person experiencing an unplanned pregnancy will come to a pregnancy center. Even of those that do, not all will choose life. Pregnancy centers, alone, are not the answer to ending abortion.
Discourage Abortion Providers
This is a unique approach. And Then There Were None works to end abortion by reaching out to the workers at abortion clinics and helping them leave. This unique population is often unhappy at their job but not sure how to exit. To further complicate things, abortion clinics pay a good wage, and it can be hard for a worker to take the financial hit when they leave. This organization does a great job of reaching out and loving on these people.
Unfortunately, they can't reach every worker. No matter how hard they try. Some don't mind their work, others believe in what they're doing. Further, there are always new people for abortion clinics to hire. What this organization does is key, but it's not going to end abortion on it's own.
This takes a lot of forms, but my two favorite organizations are 40 Days for Life and Sidewalk Advocates for Life. These organizations work to end abortion by actively praying against abortion clinics, and by encouraging women entering them to consider choosing life for their child. Each of these ministries is powerful.
As you may have guessed at this point, they can't do it all. Not every woman, maybe not even most, will turn back. Even if they do, these organizations rely heavily on pregnancy centers to provide help for mothers who are second-guessing their abortion decision.
One last shot, what about people who work to educate? You have Students for Life, Feminists for Life, March for Life, the list goes on. These organizations have unique ministries and outreaches designed to reach unique groups of people for the cause of life. They educate, empower, challenge, and inspire.
Can any one of them end abortion independently? Nope.
Back to the topic at hand. Can this movie, this powerful movie, end abortion all by itself? It can't. So, why bother, right?
Maybe we should wait around hoping the perfect solution arises. Maybe we should more closely examine the options above (or come up with myriad other organizations that I haven't even mentioned) and look at them. One of them has to be the solution.
You can try, but I think you will come to the same conclusion I have. None of these organizations, efforts, events, or individuals will single-handedly end abortion. They won't.
We can't admit defeat, and we can't give up. These women, and their babies, matter too much for us to get discouraged. So, if there is no silver bullet for the problem of abortion, what do we do?
We do it all.
We fund, run, and volunteer at pregnancy centers. When we can, we pray in front of abortion clinics and attempt to enter into conversation with women headed inside. We vote and advocate for pro-life politicians. We spread the word of pro-life through our own social media pages and in person with our friends, families, and churches.
And remember, we're not the only side in this fight. We have an enemy that wants to see babies killed and souls destroyed. This enemy would like nothing better than for abortion to rage unchecked and Christians to sit on their hands doing nothing. Or worse, spend their time sniping at one another because none of us has the "perfect" solution. Never forget that in every battle their are two sides, but in this one we already know that we win. Our weapons are the sword of the Spirit (God's word) and prayer. Use them often, they make a difference.
We work together, we fight together, we pray together, and we accept everyone who wants to make a difference. We chip away at abortion piece by piece by encouraging those around us, voting our values, and helping women in need. We accept, and even celebrate, incremental legislation while pushing for abortion to be completely outlawed. We keep enduring, we keep hoping, no matter what.
And sometimes, we see a movie.
Will this movie end abortion in one fell swoop? It won't. Can it help? Yes. Can it be part of the tidal wave that is pushing our culture back to one that values life? Absolutely.
Go see the movie. Take your husband, take your best friend, take your grandma, and take your pro-choice Aunt Edna. Talk about it, buy it on DVD, show it to your (teen and older) kids, play it for your youth group.
Don't go into the screening thinking you have found the magical solution to end abortion. There is only one solution.
We're the solution. We can end abortion. We can be the difference.
First, we get off our duffs and get to work. And one person at a time, one abortion worker at a time, one voter at a time, we make a difference.
Abby Johnson isn't going to single-handedly end abortion, but she is making an incredible difference. You know why? Because people decided to pray outside her abortion clinic. Then, she decided to roll her sleeves up and get to work.
Go see the movie, pay for the ticket, buy some popcorn, and thank the theater for showing it. Then, after you're done having a lovely evening, figure out what God is calling YOU to do in this fight against abortion.
Be part of the solution. It isn't magic, it's hard work, and every single one of us needs to be involved.