Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and a recent Time magazine cover story offered an interesting viewpoint on the current status of the abortion debate. The article outlines increasing state restrictions on abortion and suggests that Roe v. Wade could be overturned in the not-so-distant future.
As Christians who believe God creates all life, what should we think about overturning Roe v. Wade? For some it is their primary goal in addressing abortion. Other Christians believe Roe v. Wade should stand, even though abortion doesn’t line up with their personal morals. Most of us have very strong beliefs and emotions around the issue. But what does God want us to do about it? Is legislation our only means of making a change?
Women are not having abortions simply because it is legal. Yes, the fact that it is available means it’s easier for women to consider it as an option, but the reason most women consider abortion is actually the fear of shame and scarcity that surround an unplanned pregnancy.
We know from research that when a woman faces an unplanned pregnancy it turns her world upside down and alters her view of herself. “I had a feeling deep down that I’d just ruined my life. I’ve become that stereotype. I never thought I’d be that girl.” These feelings of shame, combined with the lack of practical resources to support her child, can leave a woman feeling like her only options are abortion or overwhelming struggle as a mother.
God’s heart in this issue is much broader than simply stopping abortions. It breaks His heart when women believe that their lives are over and their dreams have ended. He doesn’t want any woman to resign herself to face overwhelming struggle as a mother. That isn’t His plan for her or her child.
The negative story around unplanned pregnancy that is behind most abortions will persist whether Roe v. Wade stands or falls. But we can counteract that story with two things: acceptance and support.
Acceptance can break the power of shame and change the way a woman views herself. When a woman receives acceptance and empathy, doors open and she no longer feels isolated. Support can break the power of hopelessness and change the way a woman sees her future and the future of her child. When people help her get the practical resources she needs, it helps her see she can still have goals and dreams.
Working to make abortion illegal, or to keep it legal, does not bring the acceptance and support that can change the trajectory of the lives of women and children. The people best equipped to bring this change are Christians living out a theology of grace. We have experienced God’s total forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We can level the playing field and bring a counter-cultural message that a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy is no different than the rest of us. We can see God bring transformation so that both the woman and the child can thrive.
Our calling is so much higher than anything legislation can accomplish. Our dream for God to bring a hope-filled future for both women and children won’t become a reality through any political platform. We can be grateful for our political system and engage in it to make a difference, but we can’t rely on it to bring a miracle in our country. We need a strategy from God Himself, lived out through people demonstrating His complete heart for both women and children.