The internet is saturated with pro-life vs. pro-choice debates. While having these conversations help educate and raise awareness, approaching the abortion issue with philosophical discussions does little to comfort those facing an abortion decision. But if arguing isn’t the answer, how do we weaken Roe v. Wade and save lives? Furthermore, can we make a difference in the pro-life movement without being aggressive and argumentative? Absolutely, and it all starts with a simple and under-appreciated truth: empowered women empower women.
Becoming the type of person who empowers others begins with empowering yourself, and doing so is easier than you think. You don’t need a degree in science, law or theology to have an impact. After all, there are simple steps that can fortify women with the confidence to choose life.
Step One: Educate Yourself
Invest time in learning about the struggles that abortion-minded women face. Often, women face an abortion decision because they feel helpless, hopeless and isolated with their fears and concerns. Rather than letting yourself be enraged over the loss of life, ask yourself why a woman would consider abortion in the first place.
The answer may not be as simple as you think. Here are some abortion facts, based on Guttmacher Institute’s Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions:
- Most women say financial burdens are a major factor in why they face an abortion decision.
- Many women cite single motherhood as a reason for seeking out an abortion.
- Abortion-minded women over 30 voice concerns for their own health.
- As stated by Guttmacher, “more than one-third of interview respondents said they had considered adoption and concluded that it was a morally unconscionable option because giving one’s child away is wrong.”
From Guttmacher’s research, we find that the driving forces behind abortion decisions can be alleviated by efforts that empower women. What if single mothers didn’t feel inadequate or alone in their pregnancy journey? Also, would we see a drop in abortion rates if women below the poverty level had access to affordable childcare and mommy-friendly jobs? It’s not unreasonable to assume that the answer is yes.
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Step Two: Lead With Love
Leading our pro-life efforts with love is a great first step in treating these root causes of abortion. Start by identifying the areas in your life where you can empower women to choose life. For the most part, empowering women to choose life doesn’t have to be a formal effort. We can start making a difference by investing our time and God-given talents. Here are few simple ideas:
- Celebrate preborn life by throwing baby showers.
- Gift a Love Box to a new mom.
- Invite pregnant teens over for a movie night.
- Consider attending parenting or birthing classes with single moms-to-be.
- Offer to cook or clean for new moms.
- Babysit for new parents while they have a spa or date night.
- Know where women with unexpected pregnancies can go for confidential, non-judgemental help. Check out My Choice Network or OptionLine to find pregnancy clinics in your area.
For more ideas on how to create a pro-love culture for women with challenging circumstances, check out How to Join the Pro-Life Movement.
Step Three: Break The Stigmas
Stigmas we’ve allowed to infiltrate our thoughts on unexpected pregnancy have created a culture that ostracizes mothers and children of unplanned pregnancies.
For example, a single mother might face gossip and scrutiny from her church. Well-meaning teachers may instruct their students that pregnancy will make them less desirable to college scouts. And sadly, children conceived from rape are ridiculed and shamed for a crime in which they had no part.
Thankfully, these stigmas can be broken with simple acts of love. Challenge church gossip with scriptures that speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. Share stories of brave women like Jennifer Christie, Kourtney Rae and Esther Meeder. These women are among many who chose life, even when the odds were stacked against them.
Choosing Life After Rape - Jennifer Christie
Step Four: Use Empowering Words to Empower Women
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Hogwash! Words hurt and, according to the Bible, we carry the power to speak life and death.
How you respond to an unexpected pregnancy can set the tone for how that woman views the life within her. For this reason, be intentional with your words. Speak with love and hope rather than pity or judgment. Likewise, when you find out someone is pregnant, greet her with congratulations! Be active in sending prayers and encouragements her way, and don’t stop after she gives birth. Remind her that she is strong and that, no matter the circumstances of the pregnancy, both she and her child are gifts in your life and the lives of others.
Step Five: Expose Lies That Victimize Women
Sometimes, our well-meaning efforts lead to unintended consequences. Believing lies about abortion and the women who face abortion decisions play a huge role in victimizing women with pregnancy-related challenges.
Here are few tricky lies that don’t empower women to choose life. Also listed is the harm produced by believing these lies:
- “Adoption is an easy solution to abortion!”
Truth: Many birth mothers report that even an open adoption can be hard.
Outcome of the Lie: Women receive inadequate care and support after choosing the adoption option.
- “Women who choose abortion are selfish!”
Truth: As previously mentioned, abortion statistics say otherwise. Studies show legitimate concerns for both the mother and child’s wellbeing as huge factors in an abortion decision.
Outcome of the Lie: For fear of condemnation, abortion-minded women feel too ashamed to ask for help from pro-life friends and family.
- “Pro-Choicers are heartless, and they are pro-murder!”
Truth: In reality, reasons for being pro-choice usually come from a place of extreme compassion on women in difficult circumstances.
Outcome of the Lie: Conversations about the abortion issue revolve around politics rather than helping the mothers in need.
- “No real Christian would ever consider abortion!”
Truth: According to Guttmacher, “Many abortion patients reported a religious affiliation—24% were Catholic, 17% were mainline Protestant, 13% were evangelical Protestant.”
Outcome of the Lie: Placing ourselves in an all-authoritative position on the abortion issue alienates the women in our churches who have or will face an abortion decision.
Empowered Women Empower Women
One of the most powerful benefits in choosing to combat abortion with women empowerment is the fact that it’s contagious–ask the many women who have been empowered during unexpected pregnancies. Success stories from pro-life support programs like Embrace Grace capture the importance of approaching abortion-minded women with love and compassion.
A higher quality of life, hope for the future, healing for the hurting — these are dreams well worth pursuing. Also, we get the privilege of helping women achieve those goals by empowering those who face an abortion decision. To learn more about how you can get involved in providing women with the support and resources to achieve these dreams, visit our How to Join the Pro-Life Movement page.