Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Different Christian View of Abortion

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled, "How Can You Be A Pro-Gay Christian?" because I wanted to answer the question that I knew many of my fellow Christians were asking me, either verbally or just in their own heads. I hope that I explained how my beliefs were formed and why they are in line with my view of the Bible and my love for Jesus Christ, though not all agreed with what I wrote.

This post is even scarier, because it's something I've not yet "admitted" to many of my Christian friends yet.  Everyone already knew I was a supporter of equal rights and equal treatment toward gay and lesbian people. But because of the often higher level of vitriol and moral outrage, I've not told many how I feel about the subject of abortion.  In many ways I wasn't even sure myself, until recently.

I always used to say that I thought abortion should be legal, but really difficult to get, with tons of restrictions, permissions, waiting periods, ultrasounds, etc. to deter women from getting an abortion. But I've read first-hand accounts online of women and families affected by these new restrictive laws that I used to believe in.  Recently I read an account of a couple who desperately wanted a baby but found out that it wasn't viable and would certainly die.  However, her doctor was not allowed to safely and humanely terminate the doomed pregnancy, forcing her into weeks of emotional torture, followed by the birth of the baby who gasped for air and suffered for several minutes before dying. Shaming, inconveniencing, or harassing women is not the answer.

A life begins at conception. This seems quite evident to me. Obviously a fetus is alive, if you define life as active biological processes or continued cell division.  I don't think it's just a blob of cells comparable to a tumor or a mole, as some have described it.  I think it's a person. What thoughts or feelings or sensations it has, I don't know, but it's a living human being. Killing a fetus without the mother's consent is murder.

So yes, I believe life begins at conception. And, I believe that abortion should remain legal and safe.

So how can I believe both of those things and still call myself a Christian?

Let's say you and I are acquainted, and you develop a life-threatening heart condition requiring a transplant. My heart happens to be a perfect match. Without my heart, you will certainly die. But in no state in the union can I be forced to donate my heart to you. It is not my legal or moral obligation to give up my life for you...even if I passed on the virus that infected your heart in the first place.  Even if we were talking about not a heart, but a kidney, something I could live without, it would still be wrong to force or coerce me to donate it to you.

Can you imagine if individuals could be legally forced to help others with an anatomical gift? It's the kind of thing that could be presented as positive, because it saves lives! But imagine if the police came knocking on your door to take you for the removal of your kidney for your cousin...or the president...or the boss who fired you...or a convicted murderer.

Heck, even if just a pint of my blood would save you, it still can't be taken by force of law. It is wrong. It would be wonderful if I could and would donate to you so that you could live, but making me do it is unthinkable...even if it means you would have to die. 

And I didn't come up with this law, nor did any government, nor any man. This is the law of God himself, known as Free Will.

God created all of his children and loves all of them.  I'm sure it would have been much easier for him to implant in them some switch, some absolute moral force that would kick in, make sure they never ever sinned, keep them from experiencing consequences, and ensure that they would all end up in heaven. But he gave us all free will instead, knowing that many would use that free will to break his heart or make terrible choices.  Free will is more valuable than even life itself, according to God himself. 

Love without choice is not love.

You cannot and should not be guilted, manipulated, threatened, jailed, fined, shamed, or forced by law to sacrifice your body or any part of your body, even temporarily, to another person if that is not what you choose to do. Yes, even if I think it's your fault that person exists to need your body.  It is clearly a violation of your individual liberty, and a violation of God's most fundamental law and most valuable gift, free will.  It would be wonderful if you choose to sacrifice your body to give birth to that other person, but if you don't want to, it is the most sacrilegious kind of wrong to force you to do so.

There is (always) more to say about the subject of abortion, but that is, in brief, why I assert that abortion can and must remain a legal, safe, and private matter between a woman and her doctor, and why I believe that this does not make me any less of a Christian.