Did you know that in recent years in New York City more African-American babies were aborted than were born? While this tragedy can seem overwhelming, don’t give up. You can help. It starts with awareness and understanding.
As I share my true story, you may begin to see why abortion can sometimes feel like the only choice – even for Christians.
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Christians having abortions? Impossible! Right?
Actually, very possible; even probable. Every day and all over the world. In my opinion, the worst part of the willful deaths of unborn humans is the participation of Christians who won't cry out. If we don't do something; who will?
We all say things like "abortion is murder" and maybe it boggles your mind why a Christian would have an abortion. But there are Christians out there, right now, who are faced with this choice. And you might be the person they see, or overhear, or turn to, or confide in.
What you say in those moments could change everything.
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I have known the agony of staring down a life-or-death choice.
I am a Christian who knows that abortion is an act of murder and yet there I was—pregnant, unwed, and a pastor's daughter.
From one who has walked this path, here are five reasons why a Christian might rationalize abortion as an option.
Which of these resonate with you?
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Shame is a powerful and motivating force. For Christian women faced with an unplanned pregnancy, abortion isn't a "convenient choice," it’s a desperate one. We want to hide things we’re ashamed of. And it’s a lot easier to fly under the radar with a porn addiction, or alcoholism, or the tendency to slap your wife or kids in the face when they mouth off – than it is to hide a growing child in your womb.
Historically, people of faith have not been kind to women who sleep around, or even women who made a mistake, one time. So an unwed Christian woman may rationalize that if a baby shows up, it will forever be a reminder of her shame. "Who's the father?" people will demand. She may always have to explain that her husband isn't the baby's "real father." Or people will “do the math” and figure her out. She's seen people do it to others and she knows she's next.
We humans tend to judge on a "sin scale," and when a desperate woman sees a positive pregnancy test, make no mistake: She can already see the look on your face, and hear the things you'll whisper behind her back. Removing that baby from the equation sounds like freedom.
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Actually, terror. Because the fear of bringing a "bastard child" into the world has a rich history, too many women have died in self-inflicted attempts to hide a baby that will forever be the hallmark of what led to that pregnancy.
The terrors a Christian woman faces with an unwanted pregnancy range from “Who is going to take care of it while I work/go to school?” to “Will it be loved and accepted by my friends and family/boyfriend/church?” to “What about my life/my plans?” She fearfully wonders: “What good, Christian man would want to take on someone else's used goods/baggage?” Or, “Who would choose me over a virgin, or someone with a less sordid sexual history?"
She's terrified on every level that her life will never be the same (which is true either way) and she will cling to whatever catharsis will make her feel better now.
The antidote to this fear is love.
Change the way you speak about this issue now. Change the look on your face now. Change your tendency to gossip now before she gets pregnant. She is watching you now, and the baby that results from her mistake depends on your example of love, forgiveness, and redemption now.
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We Christians can tend to thrive on guilt. We live in a guilt culture. We say that the Lord convicts and Satan condemns, but we are often quick to condemn people who don't seem like they feel guilty enough for their odious sin. Or, who look a little too forgiven too quickly. We like people to feel guilty because it makes us feel like they're truly sorry and that they've learned their lessons...and that they're now, officially, deserving of forgiveness. Been there, done that.
The Christian woman facing unwed pregnancy feels plenty guilty, I can promise you that. She will often act as though she doesn't need your help. Maybe she's smiling and putting on a brave face, but the truth is that even a Christian woman may seriously think about killing herself when the pregnancy test shows positive. I know I did.
The realization hits home that our sin/shame is about to find us out. How could we be so stupid? We ask ourselves that over and over.
Instead of facing our guilt and running to the cross of Calvary, the baby dies in our place, taking our guilt and shame away forever (we hope) like a tiny Messiah. Except the truth is that only Jesus was a willing sacrifice. An abortion feels like catharsis; but instead of dissipating, the guilt often becomes a permanent fixture, branded into the heart.
Abortion is a deception on every level and the only winner is Satan.
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4. Hardness of heart
When I was 22 and starting graduate school at a Christian university, I found myself unwed and pregnant. I took a blood test to confirm what I already knew, and then the doctor tossed a stack of Planned Parenthood literature on the bed and left the room.
Abortion. The only reasonable solution.
The literature was very clear: There was a path forward to freedom. It would be quick, painless, inexpensive, and private. Sign me up.
I knew abortion was murder. I grew up sitting outside of abortion clinics with literature, and prayers, and signs. My dad had once gone to jail for blocking the doors of an abortion clinic. But when it's you...everything changes. You steel yourself.
You harden your heart and ignore what you know. You pretend it all away. You try to convince yourself it's your life, your body, and your choice. You decide that the baby will be better off. You turn a blind eye. You justify. Rationalize. Compartmentalize. You apologize to yourself and your baby. You tell yourself the Planned Parenthood mantra: It's viral. It's just a lump of tissue; that it's not "viable" yet. You tell yourself that God will forgive you.
And you get yourself to Planned Parenthood under cover of night and a fake name.
Unless a Christian stops you.
Unless a Christian asks what's wrong and you pour out your heart. Unless a Christian speaks words of life over you. Over your unborn baby. Prays with you. Loves all over you. Rubs your back. Reminds you of your courage. Of God's grace and mercy. Reminds you that you're not alone in the fire.
That's what happened to me. Now 18 years later, I look at my son who is an artist and plays the saxophone and is in college... and I desperately thank God for a woman named Renee Ross in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She saw me and stopped me. Her love softened my heart and saved his life.
Who can you see? And because of that, who will you save?
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As the daughter of a pastor, I was expected by friends' parents to be an example of Christian purity, godly characteristics, 9 fruits of the Spirit, and womanhood. Not a chance. I was as self-serving and bratty as any other Christian, teenage girl who had figured out how to “play church” while everyone was looking – and live very differently when they weren’t.
If discovering myself pregnant was a shock to me, it was Hiroshima to my parents. It launched me into "how the mighty have fallen" status for many years to come from frenemies and their parents everywhere.
I can't tell you how many people still, to this day "do the math" and realize I wasn't married when my son was born.
For any Christian woman who has had an affair, or a one-night stand, or even slipped into sin with a committed boyfriend, she already knows her reputation is about to be torpedoed. Most of us remember reading "The Scarlet Letter" in school, so we are keenly aware of how "the church" views purity and sexual sins—even if we go to a grace-heavy fellowship.
There is still a pretty pungent stigma surrounding pregnancy out of wedlock.
Maybe Christians aren't overtly condemning with words like "harlot" and "bastard child” today, but plenty are still conflicted about the questions of whether a child conceived out of wedlock should be celebrated or hushed.
The answer? CELEBRATED.
So, the Christian woman who just found out she has a very unplanned and probably unwanted pregnancy pictures the look on your face when you find out. What will she see?
When she imagines what you will think of her, what words does she imagine you'll say about her? About her baby? She cares what you think so much that she's willing to dismember or chemically burn her unborn child to death so that you can continue smiling and approving when you think of her.
An unwed pregnancy is a brand we carry forever. And in one way or another, we are forever reminded that our child was conceived in a manner "other" than a holy marriage.
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Whose life do you hold in your hands?
Lots of people are pro-life and I applaud that. Many Christians gather together to stand for the rights of the unborn. But we have to do more than march, stand, picket, and even vote. We need to adopt children, or foster them, and embrace, love, and support their confused and scared mothers.
So, maybe you flat out don't approve of what the Christian woman did who should "know better.” Reality is, we all should know better, about everything. And yet here we are still doing all the things Jesus died for: cheating on our taxes, speeding, being disrespectful, lying, fighting, holding grudges, murder, gossiping, and having sex outside of marriage.
Sin happens. Why the high horses?
But if you insist, at least go with this: A baby has nothing to do with it. That baby chose nothing. It simply lives.
God knew life would come from that choice and He was okay with it. Why aren't you?
I didn't become the news anchor I dreamed I’d become, you know. I didn't become a world traveler. I didn't become an actress or a model or a missionary. Those were my plans at the time I saw my pregnancy test. Instead, I gained 25 pounds and became a mom.
And I realize now that this adventure was more wild, thrilling, frustrating, scary, and maturing than any other experience could have afforded me. Satan tried to get me to kill my son, my heritage.
God saved his life.
I found a godly, Christian man who loved my son and raised him as his own. So, the joke is on you, Satan. All because of this: A Christian saw past my mistake and helped me to see past it too.
Can that be you?
Christian women consider abortion every day. They feel they have nowhere to turn. Can you be the person she can turn to before she needs it? Someone's life depends on it.
Alicia Purdy is a worship leader and author of “The Way of the Worshipper” and “The Way of the Worshipper: A Devotional Workbook”. Her passion is to write about a real faith in a real Jesus and to inspire, encourage and support the body of Christ. You can learn more at her blog: TheWayoftheWorshipper.com. She and her husband minister and serve in their local church and together they have 5 kids and 1 cat, named Chester.