The Abortion Issue

Mar 18, 2024

It is so interesting to me that Christians who are Bible readers and believers in Jesus Christ, the son of God, should choose only one issue to fight for politically that is not even mentioned in the Bible. I agree that Jesus is pro-life, but Jesus’s care for the poor and needy, the disabled, the sick, the outsiders, and so much more is the focus of his ministry; it is how he demonstrates His love of God’s people and all God created for us and in us. How could so many Christians choose an issue that is not even mentioned in the Bible?

And the anti-abortionists are succeeding, finally getting some states to ban abortions totally—14 states now ban abortion totally, while 8 states limit the length of time an abortion may be okay from 6 weeks to 16 weeks into the pregnancy. I have been watching this issue since the 1980s when it first emerged politically. It’s taken almost forty years to get the issue into the forefront of political debates, but there it is. Once abortion has come up in a political campaign, no other issue that Jesus cared about has emerge there.

What is so interesting to me is that the focus is totally on pregnant women; there is never any talk of bringing the man who fathered this child into the decisions about what is to be done. Is he her husband? A lover? A rapist? Shouldn’t he be a part of all the decision-making about abortion or keeping the child? Couldn’t he have at least partial financially and physical responsibility for this his child? When I think of what would Jesus do with a woman who is pregnant and, for whatever reason, wants an abortion, He would ask her what problem the pregnancy was causing for her. Was it a monetary issue? that she couldn’t afford to support this child? Or was the pregnancy threatening her life? I am quite sure that He would bring the father of the child into the discussion to see what his responsibility should be. Maybe an adoption is needed because the woman and the father can’t support the child.

Like the woman adulterer the Pharisees brought to Jesus in Luke 8:1-11 in order to push him into punishing her, this woman would not be denigrated by Jesus. Jesus was quite silent to their pressure. Finally, He told the Pharisees, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And the Pharisees left the area one by one. Jesus asked the woman, “Has no one condemn you?” “No one, sir.” Jesus then told the woman that neither did He condemn her, but He cautioned that she go and sin no more. This is love that He is showing her; not judgment and punishment for her sin. He knows that she knows the adultery is wrong, but he doesn’t need to lord it over her. His love will more that convince her to repent and change her ways.

Why it is that today are we so quick to judge, to condemn, and why do we ignore the truth of what is happening in the lives of these women who have sinned, but whom Jesus Christ and God are not tossing aside, as if they are not children of God made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). It’s so easy to judge, to condemn, to jail someone these days, but this is not following the Golden Rule to treat others as we’d like to be treated. We can help people and love them into repenting a whole lot faster than we can by judging and condemning them.

There is another whole dimension to this issue—that women of certain wealth don’t have these problems. They just fly to wherever they need to go to get the treatment they want, be it an abortion or any other issue that Americans might be split on. It’s the women on the lower rung of the income ladder who suffer from these laws. And it is only women who are challenged by these laws. As I pointed out above, the men who created the fetus sexually or by rape are not in any way judged by the laws. They are not even at issue. Just the women are. Is this fair? Is it respectful of them? Isn’t this the legacy of paternalism where women are second-class citizens anyway? And how can Christians who are supposed to be following Jesus and all that He taught condemn her and not even confront the father of the fetus?

Abortion is not mentioned in the Bible when Jesus proclaimed His purpose at the beginning of His ministry:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4: 16-21)

It is clearly not the only issue in the world that Jesus cared about. It is clearly not what God has asked of Him to stress in His ministry. So how has it become the one and only issue that many Christians believe fits God’s purposes?

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