Today is the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade and today I heard a lot of discussion about abortion. I will say that for the first time in a long time I am hearing those voices who are against abortion sound reasonable, loving, supportive of women, and joyful in their message. Conversely, those voices that support abortion are sounding far more unreasonable, unsupportive of women, and depressing in their message. Even more surprising is the use of fear tactics that are supposed to scare women into believing that if we do not support abortion that the massive amount of unwanted pregnancies will result in death due to back-alley abortions, that the system will be suffocated with children low-income women cannot support and that a woman will be set back in all the ground she has covered in the last 40 years in gaining respect and dignity in the culture in which we live.
Congratulations to the anti-abortion voices who are countering this fear-based assault with (1) a continual presence offering women information and real access to alternatives other than abortion; (2) support that includes a love that highlights the dignity of all people, rich and poor, as well as education and information not only on alternatives but how to travel down those paths and receive support in doing so; and (3) the voices of young women articulating new feminism that celebrates a woman’s life-giving ability in addition to her ability to earn a wage, and be counted in the culture in which we live. All of this is done with a public statement of faith and reliance on the Lord who has given us His Son and His love to rescue us from the lie that some life is just not as good as other life and therefore can be extinguished.
That so many women who have had abortions and experienced repercussions such as depression, post-traumatic stress, and alcoholism have come forth to talk about their experience, lends such insight to the abortion discussion and further highlights the need for alternatives to be made known. These stories, in my eyes, are what changes hearts and minds because these stories are real and these women are real. Some argue that no clear link has been made according to the AMA or the APA of a relationship between abortion and depression, alcoholism, post-traumatic stress, or other destructive illnesses. However, it is only recently that women have even had an outlet to discuss the negative consequences of an abortion. And even today, there is still so much shame about abortion and furthermore, a great deal of pressure to only say it was the right thing to do.
That the abortion discussion is now including more and more voices speaking up from Pregnancy Crisis centers and sharing real-life examples of women changing their mind about having an abortion not because they were pressured to do so but because, through love and support, they have begun to envision their life differently is such a joyful message. Through these real-life situations, women begin to envision their situations differently and they begin to see value and dignity in themselves and their babies. They also see a network that cares and is giving them hope and real hands-on support. It is transforming.
Giving life is a gift. It may not seem that way under any circumstances. But think about how awful is it when a couple wants to have a baby and they cannot. How much they suffer…therapy can be involved….marriages break up….think about it. Is there some technical relationship between the inability to conceive and the consequences I have outlined above? Where is the APA and AMA on that? But we all know people who have suffered this way.
But those circumstances where pregnancy seems not at all a gift but a curse – I know they exist. But I think it is because we look at them through the lens of reason alone. When reason stands apart from faith, it can veer off course; lead man astray. Just like faith without reason can make a man fanatic. Reason needs faith and faith needs a reason. Reason alone is cold and hard and unyielding. The human condition needs love and warmth and forgiveness and understanding to function. OF course, it is reasonable to say that if I do not have enough money to have a baby, therefore I shouldn’t have a baby. But when that logic is introduced to the beauty of life itself, the value of life, a life made in God’s image, and the uniqueness of being human, the reason alone seems void of a reality that is overwhelming. Life is ultimately more valuable than money…that life comes from a loving God and I will depend on that love to pull me through. I will see this differently now and live this “gift” of life without fear and in love and faith. I will apply myself in a way I have not thought possible. I will seek others out who want to help me without shame and with a humility that relies on their love and generosity.
How much more beautiful is this picture than one in which the end of the road is death. There is dignity, responsibility, a humility that life is sacred, that life is an inalienable right that must be protected, a lack of fear in the unknown, and a hope in the future. Above all, though, there is hope in the One true hope, the Saviour who has already won the battle against evil for us. All we have to do is act in His love and receive His graces and know that He is there for us through it all…