By Dwayne Hastings, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
There have been over 52 million abortions performed in the U.S. since the ignominious Roe v. Wade court decision in 1973. And for every abortion there is a woman who to some degree–knowingly or unknowingly–is complicit in the taking of her baby’s life.
While those around her may have tried to convince her that it was in the baby’s “best interest” not to live and that it was good for her well-being that she abort her unborn child, the reality is that no one walks out of an abortion clinic totally whole.
Abortion doesn’t just impact the unborn child. The emotional and, sometimes physical, damage to its mother is severe and long lasting–even if the mother herself denies it. The ring of damage extends to the baby’s extended family, including his father and grandparents, particularly if they advocated for the abortion.
The statistics about abortion are staggering. Nearly half of the 6 million pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned and about 1.3 million end in abortion. At this pace, nearly a third of U.S. women will have had an abortion by the time they turn 45.
Those who push a so-called pro-choice perspective disavow reality when they say that women can have an abortion and be unchanged. Apart from Christ, they have been inalterably changed. Most often abortive women seek to deal with the emotional trauma and distress on their own. Society tells them to get over it and to get on with their lives.
Yet there is healing and forgiveness with no strings attached in Christ. Jesus knows the pain; He feels their hurt. And He wishes each person, no matter his or her background or baggage, to come to Him in faith.
This is a spiritual issue. The scourge of abortion is the sour fruit of a culture that denies that all human life is beautiful and valuable. The reality of abortion is evidence the church has failed to teach Truth and to be “salt” and “light.”
As Christ-followers, we must forgive because we have been forgiven. The film “October Baby” centers on the redemptive power of forgiveness. The film, written by brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin, follows a college freshman, an abortion survivor, as she searches for answers to a growing list of questions. October Baby, was released in selected theatres Mar. 23, is a powerful tool for encouraging church-goers to re-engage in the “life” issue.
As Christians, it is our responsibility to support women in difficult pregnancies, particularly when they lack a support network. It is the church’s duty to teach the biblical precept of the sanctity of every human life. The burden rests on people of faith to care for children who are unwanted–either to foster care, adopt, or support those who are called to do so.
And Christians are obligated to reach out in love and in forgiveness to those who are still struggling with a decision they made years earlier to abort their child.
The tragic reality is that the state of the culture in the area of “life” in the 21st century can be laid at the feet of Bible-believing Americans who are neither speaking out nor stepping out for the innocent and defenseless. When God’s people go silent and hide their “light” under a basket, children are at risk and people suffer.
Dwayne Hastings serves as the vice-president of communications for the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.