From the Abundance of the Heart

In my previous post I called out the manipulative language of the abortion lobby. As it’s important to address both sides of any issue,  I thought this deserved its own post instead of having it tacked on to the last one.

The goal of the pro-life movement should be to save as many lives (born and unborn) as possible, by changing laws and by changing hearts. And while many of us share this common goal, I often cringe at the counterproductive tactics and rhetoric pro-life men and women resort to.

We must always be honest when it comes to discussing topics such as fetal development and abortion procedures. And I acknowledge that righteous anger most assuredly has its place. But when you allow anger to guide your words, the only people who will agree with you are the people who already do. Condemn actions. Condemn laws. But be mindful and compassionate when addressing people.

People Including:

Women facing an unplanned pregnancy. In my birth group message boards there is always at least one woman who asks about abortion. It is always heartbreaking to see, especially when it was only a few days ago that that same mother was asking about names or baby gear. I am not unfamiliar with the emotions that result from an unplanned pregnancy.  I recognize that  many times the biggest hurdle is getting past that initial fear. To encourage someone to avoid making a permanent decision based on temporary (but very real) emotion, use kindness. Offer support. Link her to local resources. Speak with compassion. Guard your language.  “Murderer” should have no place in that language, unless you want to send her running to an abortion support group.

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Women who have had abortions in the past. Just don’t. Zero attacks. Full stop. Why? Our goal should be to save lives, not condemn or cause hurt.Some women may have no regrets. Some might be hurting and not realize it. And some are ready to accept help from an organization like Rachel’s Vineyard. Offer help or lay off.

Women (and men)  loudly advocating for abortion rights.The sad truth is that our society successfully sells abortion to women as a viable option. It’s no longer even talked about as something that should be “safe, legal, and rare”.  Women are encouraged to shout their abortion and fight for their rights to their own body while ignoring the life of their unborn child. Lena Dunham suggested it’s somehow integral to female solidarity (luckily that didn’t seem to go over well with anybody). There’s even a t-shirt for how awesome abortion is. The message is prevalent, inescapable, and loud. Could you travel to the 1850s and use your Angry Words to shame a plantation owner into freeing his slaves? Or would you be  ignored and ridiculed for suggesting that you shouldn’t own people? Seen as “backwards” even? Sometimes voices have to be added little by little, over and over, to create change.  We cannot expect angry words and hateful rhetoric in one social media exchange to convince women that a “right” that they currently have is not really a right at all.

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Abortion clinic workers. Now, I don’t have actual statistics for this, but I’m going to make a wild guess that people working at these clinics aren’t in it for the thrills that come from assisting in abortions. I will further wildly speculate that they are driven by a (misguided but sincere) desire to help women.

Consider the video posted by New Wave Feminists about a woman whose baby was saved because a Planned Parenthood employee thought she wasn’t in the proper frame of mind for an abortion.

Consider this video, in which it is revealed that most Planned Parenthood clinics do not offer prenatal care. You can hear the apologetic tone in the voices of the employees, and one even refers to Carenet.

Consider people like Abby Johnson. She has  been all of the women mentioned above. I think one of the most valuable aspects of her first book was the fact that she offered her perspective both as a clinic director and as a pro-life advocate. She also writes about who it was that helped her change her stance (spoiler alert: not the people holding signs with graphic images). As I am sure is the case with many, her goal was always, and is now as a pro-life advocate, to help women.

I am not proposing we excuse immoral actions on the basis that they may be done with good intentions. Applying moral relativism where human lives are involved is dangerous and unacceptable. But if we stop and consider the stories and hearts of everyone we encounter in our difficult conversations, it will do much to create respect and save lives.

Here’s the giveaway: I am giving away an audio copy of Abby’s book : Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line  

To enter, comment on this post with contact information to a center or health clinic that offers free or affordable prenatal and/or postnatal assistance and care. Post a link or phone number and what state it is in; it doesn’t even have to be your state. I will select and e-mail a winner on February 14th.

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