Kate Middleton’s royal baby is expected to be born this weekend. Photographers are camped outside the hospital where she will give birth and stores in the UK are marketing baby goods. Her unborn heir to the British throne has made global news for months. By contrast, more than 3,000 babies will be aborted in America today. None is likely to make the news.
Meanwhile, the Texas legislature is debating significant abortion restrictions during one of the most raucous sessions in state history. Lawmakers in North Carolina recently sparked a firestorm of protests after passing a law that restricts abortion there. Legislators in Ohio and Wisconsin are debating similar measures. And politicians in Ireland recently debated an abortion bill until dawn.
Abortion has been legal in America for more than 40 years. Since that time, more than 56 million abortions have occurred in this country. Since I believe that life begins at conception and should be protected, I’m grateful for those who seek to protect the unborn through legislative means. At the same time, we need a positive and effective response which all believers can make to this issue.
Andy Crouch’s Culture Making offers a hopeful two-step approach. First, define our goal for change. (He reminds us that there’s no such thing as “culture,” only “cultures.”) For instance, if a woman simply doesn’t want to have a child, our ability to change her mind will be limited. But what if she is considering an abortion because her unborn child will face physical challenges, or because she doesn’t have a family system, or because she can’t afford to raise a child? Here we can and must help.
Second, create a new culture for her to consider. Recognize the burden we’re asking this mother to choose: she would carry her child to term, endure the reproach of many in society, suffer nearly unimaginable pain to give birth, then raise her child alone or give it away. She needs our help, not our scorn.
As a model, consider the Rev. Thomas Vander Woude of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville, Virginia. He learned of a young couple who planned to abort their Down syndrome baby by this past Monday. They agreed to deliver the baby if he could find someone to adopt it. So his church posted a plea on their Facebook page early Monday morning, asking those interested in adopting the baby to call their office.
They were not prepared for the response. The priest received more than 900 emails while phone calls flooded the office all day. The offers were narrowed to three families, which the unborn child’s parents are reviewing with the aid of an adoption agency.
For more on positive responses to abortion, please read my colleague’s excellent essay, “After pro-life victories, what’s next?” And ask the Father how he wants to use you as his hands and feet (1 Corinthians 12:27) to offer grace and hope to a mother and unborn child today.