With the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, I’ve been encouraged by the thought of the pro-life movement’s efforts coming to fruition. Being a Christian and having heard from organizations like the Life Training Institute and Save the Storks as a Summit student, I couldn’t help but celebrate how so many lives would be saved moving forward.
I can’t say that this sense of hope was shared amongst all of my friends.
While so many people that I’ve met through college and Summit were posting about the news on social media, I quickly realized that a lot of those that I kept up with were less than excited about the overturning. Yes, even some Christians. A friend that I’ve cherished since middle school and throughout our shared Christ-centered education posted on his Instagram a quote from Methodist Pastor David Barnhart, which says:
“‘The unborn’ are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never
make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated,
addicted, or the chronically poor…and when they are born, you can forget about
them, because they cease to be unborn… They are, in short, the perfect people to
love if you want to claim you love Jesus, but actually dislike people who breathe.
Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups
that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus
for the unborn.”
Alongside this quote were some of his personal thoughts of other people groups that are suffering and receiving less attention than what is necessary. Immediately, I drafted and sent him a reply, carefully retaliating against the sense of hollow virtue that had been attributed to the pro-life movement. I referenced the S.L.E.D. argument that I’d learned from Megan Almon and did my best to justify my position.
But, the more I considered his opinion, the more I’ve come to sympathize with him.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision, but I think that there’s more that can be done. The issue of abortion has certainly been a primary concern for many evangelicals, but there are other elements of culture that also warrant attention. Human Life International found that pro-life organizations received an average of $2.75 billion annually over a twenty-year period, which includes their paid services and donations. This is over four times more than San Francisco’s annual homelessness budget, and more than the yearly revenue of America’s top nine food pantries combined.
Again, I’m very thankful that a worthy cause like this has received such a staggering amount of support, but…what now? Now that Roe v. Wade is no more and abortion is no longer federally protected, what comes next for pro-life advocates? I think there are really three paths to walk for those who have been involved with the movement, at least for the time being. And, while many factors may contribute to each path’s validity, the direction in which to go must be thoughtfully considered.
Firstly, those with a heart for the unborn, who are connected with pro-life organizations, and are creating or capitalizing on opportunities to get involved, will likely want, even need, to continue their mission. While the Supreme Court’s backtracking took away abortion’s constitutional right, it also allocated the responsibility of legislature to state governments. Each state is now responsible for its availability to its respective citizens, with some states having already outlawed its practice. This being said, abortion has not been criminalized outright, and many states stand firm on the provision and protection of its practice. The epicenter of the debate is no longer in Washington D.C., but in states like California, New York, and Illinois. For many resolute pro-lifers, the war rages on, and for good reason.
The epicenter of the debate is no longer in Washington D.C., but in states like California, New York, and Illinois. For many resolute pro-lifers, the war rages on, and for good reason.
Another path available to advocates is satisfaction. Not everyone involved until now shares the same drive for this cause, and, naturally, there will be some that lose steam in the aftermath of the reversal. Participation in such a dynamic and culturally significant point of emphasis requires continued engagement, which may not be possible for everyone. Of course, some advocates may also live in states where abortion is either not as accessible or socially relevant, and their capacity to invest locally is lessened. On the other hand, those who live in definitively secular or liberal areas of the nation may feel discouraged by their surroundings and that their efforts would be in vain.
Thirdly, there are some who may be searching for other opportunities to support the destitute, oppressed, or belittled. Maybe, given the status of your local government, you want to better your immediate surroundings in a practical and meaningful way. Maybe you’ve identified another people group that is underhelped and struggling that you are interested in helping. Or maybe you’re considering the circumstances that these protected lives will be born into and want to continue supporting them throughout their development. Pastor Barnhart’s quote, despite being somewhat myopic, only scratches the surface of a struggling America and its citizens. In addition to the continued need for pro-life advocacy, this nation needs Christians that are mindful and motivated for all kinds of people, even those that may be pro-choice.
I had a conversation with a second friend of mine, a non-Christian, in the wake of, and regarding, the recent decision. He was lamenting the environments that many babies would face once they are born. Having lived in Central Toronto since his youth, he told stories of some of his friends’ hardships with poverty, addiction, and violence, which has led to their poor mental health. In detailing my personal philosophy and Christian approach to the abortion conversation, he was in agreement that life begins in the womb, but wasn’t willing to say he was “pro-life” because he knows the anguish that many children will experience and the lack of support for many of them. What if we could build a culture that was so bright, so prosperous, and so caring that no parent would want to deprive his or her child of it? What if the easiest path to making abortion illegal is making it antiquated?
If you have been involved with the pro-life movement and are at a crossroads for the future, now is the perfect time to reevaluate your direction.
If you have been involved with the pro-life movement and are at a crossroads for the future, now is the perfect time to reevaluate your direction. Abortion is still practiced in America, and local leaders are needed now more than ever. But, like us, those children require a society that is safe and loving, filled with people looking to support them throughout their life. The resources tab below is a starting point for those who want to get involved locally, whether for the unborn or not. Consider what path makes most sense for you, then follow it.
By Chris Murphy