My incredible mother, Amy Ford, was faced with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of 19. She grew up in the church, was connected with pastors and church leaders throughout her childhood years, and she was known in Christian communities. When the news of my mom’s pregnancy spread, she felt immediate rejection from the body of Christ. Her sin was the elephant in the room. People perceived her differently, and people treated her differently. Although my parents had repented of their sin, they still felt immense shame from the church’s messaging. Most of their church family claimed they were pro-life, but their actions hinted that they were merely anti-abortion.
When the Church Is Against You
My dad proposed to my mom when she was pregnant with me as an act of love and obedience, and after they were engaged, they both felt shame from the church. Once engaged, my parents approached their pastor, their former mentor, to ask if he would marry them. He quickly denied the request because of their sin. You can imagine the devastation and shame that my parents felt from being rejected and shamed by the people that had a relationship with the only One that could provide healing.
This exact pattern continues to pervade the church today, and it is time to change the way we speak about the issue of abortion. Our message matters, and for the woman who feels self-inflicted shame, the last thing she needs is to be rejected by the body of Christ. Jesus is the one person that a pregnant woman needs most during a time of uncertainty. As ambassadors of Christ, we should be the people to which women with unexpected pregnancies run. This will only happen with effective messaging that is full of love, grace, and truth.
What’s Really at Stake?
Here is the reality of our situation: the pro-life movement has a choice to make. We can choose to empower women or to shame women, to cultivate strong courage in women or to belittle them.
We have a choice to make with the words that we speak, and we must choose wisely because the success of the pro-life movement is on the line. There are lives on the line.
Our message is more than a series of words and arguments; our messaging carries the power of life and death. When you engage with those that disagree with you, how do you speak about those who are post-abortive? Do you condemn them for their sins, or do you tell them they are worthy of love and restoration?
Hurting or Helping?
You can speak with love and grace without denouncing the evils of abortion. We can help women be brave without making them feel ashamed of themselves. Using shame and fear as a rhetorical tactic to win a debate is highly counterproductive. The goal of the pro-life movement is to make abortion unthinkable; it should be unthinkable because of the act’s disastrous nature, and because women should always feel capable of having her child. Whether or not she chooses to parent the child, she should always feel capable of giving birth to her child.
The pro-life movement is about empowering women. It’s about reminding women of their beauty and value.
Our movement’s motivation is two-fold: we want women to recognize their capability, and we want abortion to be widely rejected as a pregnancy option.
We must remember this: we do not war against flesh and blood. Our battle is not against people. The abortion debate is a spiritual war. We must fight with prayer, we must fight with love, we must fight with truth, and we must fight under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
If we want to change another person’s perception of abortion, we must remain consistent in the following message: women are strong enough to have their baby.
The Best Pro-Life Message
This pro-life message is not only providing hope for the world, but it is also speaking the truth. Consistently, the pro-choice movement implies that women are not strong enough, not smart enough, not developed enough, and not brave enough to have their baby. This is the fundamental lie of the pro-choice movement, and it is time that we expose this lie with love and hope.
Here is the truth:
She is brave enough, she strong enough, and she is capable.
Let’s remind her of the truth.