Posts tagged ‘Women’

A March for Life

This past Friday was the 48th annual March for Life. As with many other events, this year’s march looked different from every previous year. It was held virtually in response to the continued spread of COVID-19. The virtual nature of the march, however, did not mute its message. Since abortion was legalized in 1973, an estimated 62 million babies have been lost. And though the number of abortions is going down overall, there have been some pockets of increases.

The fierce fights over abortion show no sign of abating. Sadly, the topic has often been treated more as ammunition in a culture war instead of a pressing moral question with life and death consequences. So many pay a hefty price each time an abortion is performed.

First, there is a baby who pays the price of his or her very life. The heartbeat of a child in utero can usually be detected between the third and fourth week of development. This means that any abortion performed after this stops a beating heart. Scientifically, there is a broad consensus that the life of a human organism begins even earlier – right at conception. In a recent study at the University of Chicago, 95 percent of biologists surveyed, many of whom self-identified as pro-choice, agreed that life begins at fertilization. Many Christians believe that life begins at conception because, Scripturally, life is celebrated and sacralized throughout a child’s development in utero. As the Psalmist says to God about his own creation and gestation:

You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Second, there is the mother who pays a price. For every high profile incident of people celebrating abortion, there are other instances of women who struggle with regret or outright emotional trauma. And these struggles can present themselves long after the event – often 10 to 15 years later. The price of a broken or guilt-ridden heart cannot and must not be overlooked.

Third, low-income communities pay a price. Half of all women who get abortions live below the poverty line, and 75 percent of women who get abortions are low-income. Many of these women choose to abort because they know they will be single mothers if they carry their babies to term and they are scared that they will not have the resources or support needed to raise a child. Their decision to abort, then, is less of a freely-willed choice and more of a perilous predicament that forces the hands of already hurting women.

We must count the cost of abortion. We must stand up for those who bear the burden of abortion. We can stand up for children in utero and advocate for their lives. We can stand up for women who struggle and lovingly present alternate ways forward if they are considering an abortion or offer grace and support to those who are struggling with the decision they made to have an abortion. We must stand up for impoverished communities by promoting the value of families, by holding men who would run from their responsibilities as fathers accountable, and by offering what we can in the way of financial resources, friendships, and modeling to demonstrate different and more hopeful paths forward for at-risk women who become pregnant.

For me, abortion is personal. I have two children because of the choice of two incredible women to put their babies up for adoption. I have a family because two women chose life. To them, I offer a teary-eyed “thank you.” Your choice for life changed my life. And the chain can continue. More choices for life can change more lives.

What a great choice to make.

February 1, 2021 at 5:15 am 1 comment

Women and Babies: Let’s Choose Both

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It’s been a watershed week for abortion law in this country.  Last week, the state of Alabama passed legislation outlawing abortions, except in cases where the mother’s life is endangered.  Just three days later, Missouri passed a bill that outlaws abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy.  These restrictions follow on the heels of a series of “heartbeat bills” passed this year in Ohio, Georgia, and Mississippi, which ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable.

These bills have sparked angry debate as a yawning chasm has opened over the issue of abortion.  Governor Kay Ivey, who signed Alabama’s bill into law, tweeted last Wednesday:

Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act.  To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God.

On the other side, progressive firebrand and New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted shortly after Governor Ivey:

Ultimately, this is about women’s power.  When women are in control of their sexuality, it threatens a core element underpinning right-wing ideology: patriarchy.  It’s a brutal form of oppression to seize control of the 1 essential thing a person should command: their own body.

The talking points for both sides are set.  The arguments are entrenched.  The legal battle is being staged.  And there’s plenty of animus to go around.

Personally, I uphold the value and dignity of life, whether that life be in the womb, out of womb, young, or old.  So, when a third-world despot subjects his people to disease and starvation, I shudder.  When another story of another school shooting makes headlines, I am angered.  And yes, when a child’s life is taken at the hands of an abortion doctor, I am grieved.

All of this does not mean, however, that I am unsympathetic to women who, when they darken the doors of an abortion clinic, are often confused and scared of what having a baby will be like.  Neither does this mean that I am unsympathetic to women who, after having and abortion, often struggle deeply with feelings of guilt and regret.

As with many debates in our current culture, caricatures that fall largely along “either-or” lines have been developed for the sake of simplicity and tribal identity – either you care about the wellbeing of women or you care about the life of the unborn.

I care about both.  And I have a hunch you might, too.

The Psalmist calls us to “defend the weak” (Psalm 82:3).  Babies in utero are most definitely members of the weak.  It is incumbent upon us, therefore, to defend them and to speak up for them.  But women who are pregnant and scared, along with women who have had abortions and are ashamed, can also feel weak.  It is critical, therefore, that we love and help them by offering hope for joyful lives beyond their most frightening moments.

We should care about both babies and women, for, ultimately, we are called to care for all.  In a political moment where anger burns hot, loving both babies and the women who carry them may just be the one thing that is hard to hate.

May 20, 2019 at 5:15 am 1 comment

For Women Only (But Men Can – And Probably Should – Read Too)

I have recently taken note of a trend which troubles me.  In many a conversation, I have met with a husband and a wife in crisis.  Their marriage is usually on the rocks, barely hanging by a thread, and steadily heading – if not speeding – down the road to divorce.  Although marriage trouble is almost always the product of both parties sinning against one another, I have noticed that, in these situations, the husband often lacks the fortitude to faithfully lead his marriage and his family according to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  His interest in the things of God is weak if not non-existent.  Indeed, it is often the woman who seeks biblical answers to important questions while the man is interested only in satisfying his own fleeting desires and infatuations.

To be fair, there are many men out there who are faithful, Godly leaders of their homes.  I praise God for these men.  But I want to speak for a moment to the women, for I know there are many, who are in relationships where the man does not dependably steward his mantle as the head of the household.

Through probably apocryphal, St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying, “Preach the gospel always, if necessary, use words.”  Certainly this maxim cannot be used to excuse us from clearly and cogently proclaiming the gospel, for Holy Scripture mandates just such a proclamation, but sometimes, a quiet witness to the gospel is a faithful one.  Indeed, this is precisely Peter’s argument to wives when he writes:  “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” (1 Peter 3:1-2).  As the apostle pens these words, he is addressing a group of women whose beliefs do not match those of their husbands, probably because they have converted to Christianity while their husbands have not.  Peter recommends holy living as a way to witness to these men who refuse to be the spiritual leaders of their households.

It is important to note that Peter’s direction radically contradicts the standard thinking of the first century.  For a woman to defy her husband’s sensibilities was considered an affront to his masculinity.  If the husband lived as a pagan, the wife was to live as a pagan too.  The first century Roman historian Plutarch explains:

A wife ought not to make friends on her own, but to enjoy her husband’s friends in common with him.  The gods are the first and most important friends.  Therefore it is becoming for a wife to worship and know only the gods that her husband believes in, and to shut the front door tight upon all peculiar rituals and outlandish superstitions [such as Christianity].  (Moralia 140D)

According to Plutarch, a wife is to believe only what her husband believes.  Thus, if a husband worships at the altar of football or lust or alcohol or crassness, the wife is to worship there as well.  Put Peter directs ladies differently.  A wife’s first and foremost responsibility is to the Lord, even when her husband refuses to honor and worship the true God.

Ladies, I know it is hard witnesses to men who do not know or care for the Lord.  And yet, there is hope!  For Peter’s guidance concerning a quiet witness to unfaithful husbands actually works!  Perhaps most famously, it worked with the father of St. Augustine.  Augustine writes of his mother:

When she had arrived at a marriageable age, she was given to a husband whom she served as her lord. And she busied herself to gain him to God, preaching God unto him by her behavior…For she waited for God’s mercy upon him, that by believing in Him, he might become chaste…Finally, her own husband, now towards the end of his earthly existence, did she gain over unto the Lord. (Augustine, Confessions, IX:19,22)

This woman’s dear faith proved persuasive to her husband…and to her son as well.  Indeed, her faith proved so persuasive that she raised one of the greatest theologians ever to serve the Christian Church.

Ladies, even in difficult circumstances, continue to serve your Lord faithfully.  Lead by your behavior if your husband will not lead according to his responsibility.  Know that I am praying for you.  Gentlemen, if you have fallen short in spiritually leading your household, repent and ask forgiveness from your family.  Then teach and live the faith.  Know that I am praying for you as well.  For there is nothing more important, heavy, and joyous than to teach and live out than the gospel of Jesus Christ!

July 15, 2010 at 8:39 am Leave a comment


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