In January of 1973, I had just started my second semester as a junior at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when the news hit our campus: the United States Supreme Court had ruled 7-2 in favor of a case that we now know simply as “Roe v. Wade.” With that landmark decision, abortion became legal in America. Since then, nearly 55 million abortions have been performed—55 million babies who were never given the chance to become part of a loving, caring family.
As I began my career in social work a couple of years later, I could hardly believe the passion and commitment with which my colleagues in the “helping professions” championed Roe v. Wade as a positive development for society. Some—especially in the medical community—even argued that if pre-natal testing discovered severe mental or physical impairments in the fetus, it would be better for everyone if the child was aborted.
My response then, as it remains today, was that abortion is wrong because it takes the life of a human being. The Psalmist wrote, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV). Every little boy and girl resting comfortably in the safety of a mother’s womb is divinely created and deserves to be given a chance to grow up into the man or woman God designed.
I have always believed that it is critical to help both the mother and the infant in every unplanned pregnancy. Early in my career in the nonprofit social services sector, it became clear to me that one of the best ways to fight abortion is to provide as much love and compassion to the parent or parents who are considering an abortion. While some political action and public demonstrations against abortion may raise awareness about this critical issue, many have also contributed to an unwarranted negative view of Christians, often hardening the hearts of men and women against our pro-life message. What better way to counter that image—and to save babies—than to come alongside a young mother, shower her with love, and offer her alternatives that will give her child the gift of life?
For example, the organization I lead, Bethany Christian Services, has actually networked with clinics or organizations that provide abortions to help prevent abortions by offering adoption as a potential choice. We have been able to place counselors in abortion clinics to meet with women who are unsure about going through with an abortion. When we learned that 3 of every 4 women who seek abortions do so because of financial reasons, we set up a birthparent assistance fund in all of our locations. Individuals and churches can similarly reach out to women who feel abortion is their only choice.
Abortion is wrong, and we must never tire in our efforts to protect the unborn. But every mother considering this option is also a child of God, often feeling alone and conflicted. Maybe our best weapon in the fight against abortion is for her to hear these welcome words: “God loves you and the child within you, and we’re going to give you whatever you need to give that child the life it deserves.”