There is No Pro-Abortion

This is going to be a quick one sparked by a conversation on the MennoNerds Facebook group. Many took part in this discussion, including some who think abortion is inconsistent with a Christian ethic and some who think the opposite. As usually happens in such discussions, you get some who are very rationally looking for what actually makes the world a better place, and you get some who just want to assert repeatedly that their side is right and your side is wrong. I’m happy to say that MennoNerds – and in my experience, Anabaptists in general – tend to skew toward the former.

Here’s all I want to say in summarizing the conversation, though, and I know I’ve said similar before: there is no such thing as “pro-abortion.” There is no group of people out there who are just eager to have a fetus destroyed inside of a woman. It doesn’t even matter if you think that the fetus is “life” because you still wouldn’t want to make a woman go through that procedure and ending a “potential life.” Nobody wants that to happen; there is just a difference of opinion about whether or not it should at times be allowed to happen (within Christian ethics and/or within the law).

I generally would probably think that an abortion is inconsistent with a Christian ethic. My personal reasoning is simple. I think that all violence is inconsistent with a Christian ethic. Since I do accept the presupposition that life begins at conception – and yes, that is a presupposition, not a fact, because the definition of “life” is hardly an easy one to pin down – then violence against a fetus is inconsistent with a Christian ethic.

So according to many, I am clearly a conservative. I know, it isn’t often you see me write that. At the same time, I acknowledge we live in a broken world and my stance on abortion is much like my stance on violence in general: while I think it is inconsistent with a Christian ethic, I do not think it is fair to expect everyone to live by that ethic. Ultimately, in a broken world, I am thankful for laws allowing abortions within limits. And I firmly believe that the way forward is in both “sides” pooling their resources in order to reduce abortions as best as possible instead of using all our resources to fight each other. I do not think that women who have had abortions should be treated as the lowest of the low, or even the second lowest behind gay people (depending on which conservative church you go to). Wait, so am I a liberal, then?

I just want to scrap the whole language of conservative/liberal, baby-killer/woman-hater, pro-choice/pro-life. Few who think Christians shouldn’t do it and/or laws shouldn’t allow it actually hate women. Few if any who don’t think it should be allowed by Christians and/or the state actually hate and want to kill babies. Nobody is pro-abortion.

Just stop it with the stupid rhetoric. It isn’t accomplishing what we all really want: less hurt women and less abandoned fetuses.

What does accomplish that? Support women in poverty who know they could not afford birth control or the doctors to give birth or to raise a child, a ridiculously expensive task even here in Canada with lots of government support. Support the adoption system, not because you’re obligated to but because those children are just as worthy of love as any other, as we often say when we suggest “oh, just give it up for adoption instead.” Go to those pregnancy centres where women are hurting, get to know them and help them heal, instead of protesting and making them feel like they are incapable of love (and so why have a kid if you can’t love it?). Lots of studies have shown that changing laws doesn’t change abortion rates – just makes it more likely to hurt the mother in the process – but these kind of acts of love consistently do help.

In other words, being vocally anti-abortion-legislation and hating people who disagree with you does not stop abortions; love stops abortions.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.

  • Yes, yes, yes. When we remove “abortion” from a strictly political context, we can move forward. Together. I was just talking with my wife about this same topic the other day, and our language. We are absolutely against abortions, but the way we go about helping abortions come to an end is, as you say, through love. Let’s take care of not only the women in our communities, but support each other (men and women) so we can also get rid violent acts toward women that could lead to situations of abortions, e.g. rape.

    Laws change with the wind. Love doesn’t.

    Nicely stated there, Ryan.

  • Well done, Ryan! Good article!

    I know one of the push-backs you’ll hear from the more militant anti-abortion crowd is that there are folks like Margaret Sanger (Planned Parenthood founder) and Peter Singer who are more for the idea of eugenics and breeding better people and aborting to save “wasted resources”. That rhetoric IS out there and can be found… so there are some folks who probably could be said to be pro-abortion… but I would go right along with you that those are very MUCH the exceptions and certainly not the rule and they are the very EXTREME side of things… and if experience says anything, it says that the EXTREME ends of things have a very sparse population compared to the middle of the bell curve (how’s THAT for a math geek reference).

    • Fair enough. I haven’t listened to those people enough to say very confidently what they think. Based on what you say, they clearly have a much farther back line of when it is allowable, but is that the same thing as saying that they enjoy it? If they could breed better people without abortion – just pain-free blocking pregnancy from those who shouldn’t have children in the first place, for example – then they probably would prefer that. In any case, even if they do really enjoy and want abortions for their own sake, you are correct that they are extreme exceptions to the rule.

      • Andrew Mugford

        I admit, I disagree with the absolute statement that you make for the reasons, or people, that Robert cites. Those who are influenced by eugenics-minded thinking, are not interested just in breeding perfect people, but in culling the existing population of imperfections.

        …. and I don’t consider myself militant… though maybe I’m wrong about that. 😉

        • My point in the above reply: if one of these people were given the opportunity to painlessly block the pregnancy of people they don’t think should be reproducing rather than putting that woman through an abortion, would they do it? Maybe I’m wrong since I’ve never asked these people that question, but I can’t imagine anybody saying that they actually like abortions for their own sake and not just as the best currently-available means to an end (a very problematic end in this case).