What happens if Roe v. Wade is overturned?
One of the questions I often get asked is about Roe v. Wade. What will it take for it to be overturned? How should we vote or speak to our representatives to get this law reversed? And while I believe in social activism, the legislation is not my biggest concern. I am more worried about the church, the family of God. Is the Church ready for Roe v. Wade to be overturned? Maybe legalized access to abortion is not really the problem.
If more women were to seek help and assistance when facing an unexpected pregnancy would the church be ready? Does the church have the words of encouragement, medical referrals, and support for woman to have a healthy pregnancy and then care for after birth whether raising the child or making an adoption plan? Would a woman choose the church instead of a place like Planned Parenthood? For the church to be pro-life they must have a plan to empower courageous women regardless of the access to abortion.
Not just about abortion access
Unfortunately, we, the followers of Jesus, have not always served abortion minded women well. Some of the most judgmental comments or actions come from believers. And I don’t think this is intentional. It is often a reaction based off fear and worry. In a recent broadcast, Kevin Rea admitted how he deeply regrets the first words he said to his daughter when she shared about her unexpected pregnancy. He missed a tremendous opportunity. “It was a beautiful moment I could have hit it out of the park for my Lord and come alongside her, and that is why it is still so raw.” Kevin says that he was spiritually unprepared, and because of that, his daughter considered abortion. I wonder how many of us are also spiritually unprepared.
Five actions for the pro-life family and pro-life church
1. A Pro-life family speaks words of life:
Believers need the right language. How to respond to an unexpected pregnancy is important. We need to start with supportive and encouraging words. Just like when I shared my unexpected pregnancy with my mom, even though surprised and sad her first words were, “let’s make a plan.” Let’s means let us. I knew we were in this together, and that gave me hope.
So, when a woman shares she has an unexpected pregnancy, let’s be prepared with words like, “Congratulations!” and “How can I help? And know these women are in the church too. According to Guttmacher Institute, 54% of women who get an abortion have some sort of religious affiliation. A Pro-life church has words of encouragement and comfort for every woman regardless of religion, including those who have conceived from rape, have been given an adverse medical diagnosis, or made the painful decision to access abortion.
2. Excellent medical care is a pro-life community’s priority
There are wonderful Pregnancy Resources Centers that offer alternatives to abortion in many communities that offer all types of care for unexpected pregnancies. However, they need support. Focus on the Family is proud to come alongside women’s clinics with free booklets, grants for ultrasound machines, and medical training. Ultrasounds provide an amazing opportunity for a woman to meet her baby. Many women choose not to pursue abortion but to keep their baby through this wonderful technology.
Our goal is to equip pregnancy centers with ultrasound machines, nurses training and other grants designed to help them reach the abortion minded women in their communities. From money, to talents, to time, they need it all because they provide so much and often want to provide more. Get actively involved in your local pregnancy resource center.
3. A Pro-Life church is a sanctuary
Lead out with love. Make your local church a sanctuary where moms and dad facing an unexpected pregnancy can get support. They have needs for the baby and themselves, both material and emotional. Many churches have a food pantry to provide healthy food for mom and baby. What about maternity clothes and baby supplies? Lead a Bible study or class that will support one or both through the pregnancy journey. Some ideas are birth classes, parenting classes (including single-parent classes), marriage classes, or education for those who choose to bless another family through adoption. Some churches have counseling. What about including pregnancy counseling for the emotions, concerns, and fears that may come up and make them want to access an abortion?
Truly give a man and woman actual choices that give dignity. Only providing access to an abortion is not a choice when there are other alternatives. There are options in an unexpected pregnancy, and each choice has different ramifications. Organizations like Embrace Grace can help churches navigate how to offer appropriate help and lovingly walk alongside those affected by an unexpected pregnancy and be a sanctuary in their lives.
4. Support after birth is important to everyone who is pro-life
After birth, the journey is not done. There are opportunities to be a mentor mama, or dad to help in the parenting and perhaps marriage journey. Even after the adoption is over, supporting birth mothers in their journey is important. Brave choices have been made, but they are not always easy. Help them stay in community and see how God works all things for good.
5. Pro-Life means valuing all life
While we have focused on abortion, pro-life is not just decreasing the need for access to abortion. It is valuing all life. Church’s and communities can easily do this by learning about and growing their outreach to those with special needs, the elderly and helping a foster or adoptive family. Parents embrace others and teach their children how to value life from the start. Being pro-life means valuing all life.
Abortion access and the pro-life church
I’d like to see us, the people in the church, be one of the first places a woman goes to when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. Just like in Luke 1:41-44, when Mary went to see Elizabeth. She was struggling with her unexpected (not unplanned in God’s eyes) pregnancy and Elizabeth rejoiced and blessed her. Mary would face censure from those around her and a potential divorce from Joseph, but with Elizabeth, she found joy and support. Could that have been what helped Mary praise the Lord in such a beautiful song found in Luke 1:46-56? Maybe the support and love of Elizabeth helped her see her pregnancy in a new way.
I’m calling out the church, and that can feel like stepping on toes. But really, I’m calling on all of us, myself included, to create a new community where access to an abortion doesn’t matter. How can we be pro-life families, communities, and churches? It will take work from of all of us. Mom and dad being deliberate in sharing pro-life values. Teaching children to be pro-life and valuing every life. Then look around and find those in your community you can help. Share joy. Share words of encouragement and the fact that we are in this together. We don’t have to fight or worry about what the government is doing. Or if access to abortion is legal or not. If we serve women’s needs, we can make a positive difference by being the love of Christ. And that is what the pro-life movement is all about.