Abortion, like Christianity, is a personal decision. Both are life-changing events. When someone chooses to follow Jesus, they embrace God's sovereignty (Psalm 97:1-2). However, when a woman aborts her baby, she may be subjected to disapproval bordering on hatred.
God is watching how His children are handling this crisis. But unfortunately, non-believers also see Christians' words and actions, especially at pro-choice rallies. They focus on anti-abortion signs that are hateful and somewhat threatening, even if the intent is to educate.
A wise man once said, "If you see something that needs to be changed, make sure you have a suggestion on how to make that change happen." So Christians should ask themselves: What is their plan to help women choose a different path? Are they emulating Jesus? What would Jesus do?
A person does not have to be pro-life to oppose the act of ending a pregnancy, and not all Christians are pro-life. Many are pro-choice advocates. These Christians follow God's example of allowing everyone the freedom to choose. Furthermore, they believe that no one has the liberty to take that God-given right away.
Instead, Christians are called to advise against abortion and give women the resources to make a different choice. They need life-affirming care and prayer — something God-fearing Christians should do when dealing with this and other crises.
An ultrasound is one life-affirming method used in the United States. Thirteen states mandate verbal counseling or written information about having an ultrasound before a doctor is allowed to perform an abortion. In addition, the Guttmacher Institute reports that as of May 1, 2022, an additional 28 states mandate abortion providers to provide ultrasounds.
- Six states require the provider to perform an ultrasound and mandate the provider show and describe what they see in the image to all women seeking an abortion.
- Eleven states mandate providers to perform an ultrasound. Eight of those require the provider to offer the woman the opportunity to look at the image.
- Eight states require the provider to offer women the option of viewing their ultrasound if the provider performs one as part of the preparation for pregnancy termination.
- Six states only require the woman to be provided with the option to view an ultrasound.
Statistics reveal that having an ultrasound does change some women's minds, and others are not moved to decide against having an abortion. Statisticians reviewed the results of 5,342 patient charts four years after Wisconsin legislators passed its ultrasound law.
They found that 11.2% of the women viewing their ultrasound chose to continue their pregnancies post-law compared to 8.7% pre-law. The data determined that the law resulted in a "statistically significant but small increase in continuing practicing rates."
In the past year, several states have passed laws that effectively ban abortion, many of which do not acknowledge victims of rape or incest. However, contrary to one argument against protecting these women, conception does happen when a female is in her child-bearing years, even if she is sexually assaulted.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reports the following short-term consequences of rape: physical injury, contracting a sexually transmitted infection, and pregnancy. Nearly three million women reported rape-related pregnancy (RRP) in the United States last year. The statistics are similar for all racial and ethnic groups.
When Is a Fetus Viable?
The hard-won, controversial, and embattled Supreme Court ruling allows for medically-induced abortions until a fetus is viable. However, there seems to be confusion over when viability happens. Merriam-Webster defines viability as "a fetus having reached such a stage of development as to be capable of living, under normal conditions, outside the uterus."
From a medical perspective, "viability occurs at approximately 24 weeks of gestational age" in the United States, according to the medical textbook "Professional Ethics in Obstetrics and Gynecology."
However, additional factors are necessary for optimal maternal and fetal health. The first and most important is a woman must have access to quality medical care during pregnancy. She also needs to have access to healthy food and fresh water. Unfortunately, the USDA reports that over 14 million households in the United States suffer from food insecurity.
Christians need to consider their approach to the abortion controversy prayerfully. It is up to Christians to demonstrate Jesus' commandment: "Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another” (John 13:34). Apostle Paul explains Jesus' directive in Romans 13:`10: "Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."
Perhaps the best way to keep pre-born babies from dying is to follow Our Lord and Savior's example and give women the freedom to choose but help them wisely without condemnation.
Op-Ed by Cathy Milne-Ware