Navigating a Nation with Abortion

Navigating a Nation with Abortion
This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series A Political Series

I’m **talking about politics** as much as religion in this series. At least on the surface. Feel free to move along to something more innocuous (like [dwarf bunnies]( if you don’t want to enter this quagmire with me.

Why I’m Pro-Life

So what about issues that are driven by my faith? Well, let’s look at the big hot topic: abortion.

I am pro-life because the message of the Cross is that every person is loved by God and should be loved and served by His followers. Yes, individuals often distort and ignore passages of Scripture to produce something more amenable to their own worldview, but I can’t see anything but love and value of individuals (Christians or not) to be found in the teachings and life of Christ Himself.

Yet critics raise a valid point when confronted with a political movement that carries the “pro-life” banner on matters of abortion but doesn’t seem to apply that stance to other social arenas. Even within the confines of the abortion debate, there are reasonable questions. In his blog post, Rev. Rasmussen captured this well:

Can I hope and pray that Planned Parenthood will be defunded because it
obscures better options in favor of convenient ones (perhaps even
profitable) and not be put into a corner with a red elephant? And at
the same time can I see that defunding as a complete failure if it’s not
backed by churches willing to adopt, mentor and support women in crisis
pregnancy situations, and fund clinics that offer comprehensive health care?

How can we cling to the sanctity of life if we do not treat mothers with the same value we expect them to give their unborn children? How can we expect others to make sacrifices based on our political/religious ideals if we cannot make sacrifices ourselves? How can one cite God’s love for the defenseless unborn as the motivation for the hatred one spews at mothers visiting abortion clinics?

A Personal Subject

And this is personal for us, too. Clara and I desperately want to adopt a little girl. It’s a calling we’ve both felt and discussed since before we married.

My criminal history places some very specific obstacles in that path (no international adoption, for example), but many are ambiguous as well. I don’t yet know if/when we’ll find an adoption agency that will be willing to place a child with us.

Nonetheless, we’re very ready to do our part to make a difference in the life of at least one child. So I find myself emotionally invested in this subject.

Additionally, Clara was very close to being aborted herself, like so many would-be siblings. The great love of my life, the mother of my amazing children… almost never existed because her parents were not economically stable enough, emotionally strong enough, or even merely sober enough to raise children. Good reasons to have an abortion, many say. And much of the joy in my life would be gone.

Still, when I strive to remain objective, I can grudgingly see why pro-choice advocates hold so little regard for some of the pro-life movement.

Considering the Opposition

You’re roughly 8 times more likely to get struck by lightning in your lifetime than adopt a child.

When I see so many thousands of unadopted children in America, I can see why the critics of the pro-life movement have doubts. Only 61 out of every 100,000 adults in the US choose to adopt. You’re roughly 8 times more likely to get struck by lightning in your lifetime than adopt a child. Even if we assume that only pro-lifers adopt children (44% of Americans, according to a Gallup poll a couple of years ago), that means that one out of every 65,000 pro-life advocates adopt in a year (based on 2014 census data for population. We can trim that down even further by considering adoptive parents don’t repeat their effort annually, and there are lots of technical flaws in these calculations anyway. Any statisticians reading this are likely cringing as they read this.

But even these unprofessional, rough numbers don’t do much to defend pro-life positions. We seem quite ready to condemn abortion, but we haven’t exactly embraced adoption.

To be clear, I don’t think people should be obligated to adopt any more than I feel people should be obligated to give to the poor. That’s a recipe for a nightmarish childhood. But I have to wonder: what’s in our hearts if we don’t want to (in both cases)?

Defending Others

Still, if I’m objective, I can see why this is so polarizing:

  • Pro-Choice is about defending a woman’s right to choose.
  • Pro-Life is about defending a child’s right to live.

Each side is defending someone’s rights. In other words, if the other side wins, someone’s rights were infringed upon. No wonder it’s such a complicated matter of the heart. And no wonder heated discussion turns so readily into open mouths and closed ears.

Abortion is polarizing because Each side is defending someone’s rights.

Voters often make decisions on this strictly on this one criteria. On both sides of the aisle, people choose candidates because they cannot abide someone who would not support a woman’s right to choose or a baby’s right to live.

This debate is like so many others these days. It could do with a lot of compassion from both sides. Less talking, more listening. More trying to understand. More people who might be on one side of the debate or the other, but who might be willing to hear out the other side.

Disqualified by Genitalia

Unfortunately, I’m like the Lutheran pastor who wrote that blog I mentioned last week. My lack of uterus disqualifies me from this discussion in the minds of many.

And that’s sad.

No, it’s not my body, but that could be my child in there if you’d be willing to give her a chance at a life of love and support. There is no meaningful reason to have zero male input.

Look, I know it’s a complicated issue. There are countless nuances to this, from the fringe cases of rape and incest to the psychological challenges many women face after having an abortion. And I understand that men cannot accurately fathom some of these implications.

It’s a shame, though, that half of society is disqualified from even sitting at the table, particularly when they could be a source of compassion, kindness, and a willingness to listen.

I heard someone last week refer to the penis as a talking stick in conference rooms (i.e. men pretend they don’t hear women speak because they don’t have “the talking stick”). And sadly, that’s not far from the truth. Many men do have a tendency to talk first and listen… well, never.

So I get it. I get why men don’t have a voice worth listening to according to many pro-choice advocates. It’s a numbers game. A consideration of probability. But it’s still a shame.

And this is where things get particularly frustrating for me, though abortion is only one slice of the pie here. Next week, I’ll set aside abortion and vent a bit more broadly to demonstrate how this sort of disqualification is more prevalent and unfortunate than one random blogger’s personal frustrations.

Originally posted 2017-06-19 08:00:53.

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About Phil (245 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.

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