In America today, the decision to have or not have an abortion is complicated for women to make because our society has embraced so many lies about abortion, and teaches them as truth. Those who identify themselves as pro-choice must whole-heartedly believe that abortion is the best possible solution when a woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The truth, however, is that abortion ends the life of a human being, and profoundly impacts those who chose to end that life. Thousands of women and men are haunted by the decision they made for the rest of their lives.
In recent years we see some evidence that our culture has begun to suspect the lie. The number of abortions performed yearly has decreased slightly, and films with pro-life messages, such as Juno and Bella, have had success with mainstream audiences. No matter how deep the lies about abortion seem to run, there is something in us that can still recognize the truth.
Women who choose to abort do not usually take the decision lightly, or make it easily. Hillary Clinton, a strongly pro-choice politician, called abortion a tragedy. Most women see abortion as an evil, but a necessary evil. Having a child at all, or having another child, is something that they do not believe they can physically or emotionally do without irreversibly harming themselves. They even believe it would be harmful to the child to be born into their current circumstances. The lie that women believe is that an abortion will make them un-pregnant. That they can take control of the circumstances and go back to the way their life was before.
The truth is that things do not go back to the way they were. The lasting effects of the decision include shame, guilt, and depression. Women who have aborted are at an increased risk for negative physical effects, as well as emotional effects ranging from bad dreams to suicide.
Sadly, even when they are told this, many women still believe that carrying their baby to term would be so harmful to them that it is worth the risk. Our culture believes the lie that abortion is the only decision that is rational and responsible for women when they are not financially or mentally prepared to care for a child. Women are looked on as courageous for making the difficult but necessary decision to abort. They are looked on as irresponsible and selfish for keeping their child, another mouth for the already overburdened welfare and foster care system to feed.
If the pro-life movement wants to end abortion in our country, it needs to show women the truth instead of the lie: that the truly courageous decision is to choose life. The pro-choice movement tells women that they are not capable of being good mothers, or of making the difficult choice to make an adoption plan. We can change things when we tell women that they are capable. Another lie is that women are alone in all this, and forced to rely on government programs. The truth is that there are, and always will be, Christians who are helping women financially, with the skills for good parenting, or with emotional support throughout the adoption process.
As Christians, it is our responsibility to speak the truth in love. It is our responsibility not only to tell women that abortion is wrong, and that the difficult decision to carry their child is right, but also to tell them that they have a Father who loves them and will strengthen them to make this decision. Although there are exceptions, many women already agree that the child inside them is a human life, and it is wrong to end that life. They either believe that they have sinned too much already and so one more does not matter, or that God will forgive this sin because he knows it was the only choice they could make. When they see God as someone who cares for them and has power to help them, rather than as a distant Judge, then they have the strength to choose life.
We have a God who says:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, nor shall the flames scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...” (Isaiah 43:1-3).