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April 03, 2020, 03:25:15 am

Abortion and Politics

Started by Pete, March 10, 2020, 11:24:10 am

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Now there's a thread title that's sure to provoke some lively discussion...  ;)

In our discussion in the Christianity and Trump thread, I made the comment that I didn't believe abortion should be politicized. I'd like to explore that thought here.

Abortion, legalized in the United States by Row v. Wade in January 1973, has been the rallying cry to get Christians to vote since before I was born.

Let me begin with my personal views; I am generally against abortion. What I mean by that is that I don't think abortion should be done out of convenience or incorrectly portrayed as a method of after-the-fact birth control. However, I also believe that the issue of abortion isn't as black and white as most Christians paint it.

Many conservatives that are opposed to abortion are also opposed to welfare. This seems counter-intuitive to me. If a young girl gets pregnant and has a baby, she now has the deck firmly stacked against her. She has to try to get an education and provide for that child. Costs of child care are incredibly high, and unless that young girl has a support system both mentally and financially, she's in for a rough ride. So you've got to have the baby, but then you're on your own after that, because you shouldn't have made that choice in the first place, so now you have to deal with the consequences.

So while Christians cheer that another abortion was prevented, it seems to me that for many people, that's where it ends for them. But now there's a baby, and the birth of that baby is just the beginning. While much ado is made about preventing abortion, there is comparatively little attention given to what happens to that child and their parents for the next 18+ years.

Further, if you've been here for any amount of time and know me at all, I don't believe that morality can be legislated. In other words, I think it's less important to legislate that abortion should be illegal and more important to actually work with the people that are affected. That's why our church supports a local charity that comes alongside young women who are considering or who have had abortions and works with them very closely, not just through the pregnancy, but long after their child is born. The legality of abortion does not in any way impact the work of that charity. By ministering to people directly, we don't have to legally prohibit abortion because they won't desire to have an abortion if we effectively communicate to them the value of life.

What I'm saying is that I believe the efforts to prevent abortion via politics are sorely misplaced. By making it a political issue, politicians are able to pander to their constituents to get elected and stay in power, despite never actually doing anything to change the situation. And if the day ever comes that abortion is made illegal, while Christianity will surely cheer the "victory", the underlying issues will still remain. In my humble opinion, that is no victory at all.

"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."


Pete, I love the wisdom you display in your posts - thoughtful and knowledgeable. For my part, I am ambiguous about abortion, neither in favour nor against it. I think it should be a decision for the pregnant woman to decide. What I do know is that many, many women, waking from anaesthetic after a termination, are invariably completely racked about what they have done. I even had one patient that woke significantly distressed after another procedure. The anaesthetists wanted to give her a powerful sedative injection but I and my colleague prevented him from doing so. Instead we both counselled this dear young lady and eventually found that the cause of her distress was a termination she'd had about five years before. My colleague eventually found that she'd never been told where her baby was buried so she took it upon herself to approach the appropriate authority and find out the burial site. She arranged to go with this patient and support her while she laid some flowers there. We like to think it helped her to make a breakthrough in her distress.

My point being that very few people realise and acknowledge the emotional damage abortion does to the woman. They tend to think it's little more than having a tooth out but they need to work in  the operating theatre and see some of the women after they've had it done.

Having said all that, I suppose I'm more in the anti-abortion camp than the other!


I appreciate your insight from the medical perspective, Jo, and I would mostly agree with your comments.

I think to make matters worse, Christians tend to heap condemnation on those that have had abortions. Young women who made a decision that they regret now face a lifetime of condemnation, being called baby-murderers and other negative epithets. This is all the more reason to counsel and minister to these women before they make a choice they will likely soon regret and provide support after the birth of their child. But Christianity has instead placed most of its energies in the US on the legislative side, doing our darndest to repeal Roe v. Wade, as if that will miraculously resolve the issue. 

Politicians know this, and they exploit it. Despite not caring one whit about repealing the right to abortion, they'll pander to the voters and say whatever is necessary to stay in power. Take our current President as a prime example. Mr. Trump is on record in 1999 stating that while he hates abortion, he is "very pro-choice" and said in no uncertain terms that he would absolutely NOT ban abortion if he were president. (https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/trump-in-1999-i-am-very-pro-choice-480297539914). Fast forward to today. Suddenly, Mr. Trump acts as if he cares about banning abortion because he knows that's exactly what he needs to say to capture the evangelical Christian vote.

So from my perspective, the issue of abortion has been turned into little more than a political weapon to be wielded when votes are needed. The women and the children are almost an afterthought. As long as the guy in power says the right things, he's the man for the hour to further the cause. And all the while real people suffer the consequences.

"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."


Yes, I agree with you too, Pete. What really needs to be done is massive funding for counselling units to help these young women to come to terms with their pregnancy and maybe even consider having the child adopted. I do believe that there are far more couples desperate to adopt than there are terminations. So sad.