Pin it

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pro-Life 101: Every Child a Wanted Child

*This is the fourth installment in a series of posts on pro-life apologetics based on the “When They Say, You Say” talks developed by Olivia Gans Turner and Mary Spaulding Balch. While reading in order is not strictly necessary, you may find it helpful. Post 1. Post 2. Post 3

 This third category contains responses to the social arguments for abortion. Social arguments include concerns about the ability of poor families to care for children, unwanted children, and child abuse. Oftentimes people are only repeating what they’ve heard (and have not thought through the subject well themselves), and it’s best to assume that they have good intentions. In order to win hearts to the pro-life movement, you must recognize their compassion for what it is, even if it’s misplaced or uninformed.

The main premise of social arguments is that it is in both the parents’ and the child’s best interest to abort. An unplanned pregnancy will only add to the burden of parents struggling financially. Parents who don’t want their children will be more inclined to abuse. Children born into such families will suffer poverty or abuse. And because nobody wants to increase child abuse or poverty, they look at abortion as a reasonable and even responsible solution to the problem. Our job, then, is to persuade others lovingly that while these are good concerns, their conclusion is incorrect and better solutions exist.

What exactly does the slogan “every child a wanted child” mean? At first glance, it looks great: everyone wants to be wanted and loved! But the implications are much more negative. First, this suggests that value is equated with being wanted, and we know that simply isn’t true. We set a dangerous precedent when we say that someone only has worth when she is wanted by someone. With reference to abortion, “every child a wanted child” quickly becomes “and every unwanted child aborted.” This mentality of killing anyone who isn’t “wanted” endangers everyone living. As soon as we assign value based upon an arbitrary standard, anyone who does not meet that standard is at risk.

More importantly, is any child truly unwanted? At any given time, thousands of couples are on the adoption waiting lists, hoping for a child. Even children with disabilities, who are undervalued by our culture, have families lining up to bring them home. Just this summer, for example, hundreds of couples volunteered to adopt an unborn baby whose parents were considering abortion after discovering he had Down syndrome. While adoption is a difficult decision requiring great self-sacrifice on the part of the birthmother, it has a happy ending. By making an adoption plan, a mother not only gives life to her baby, she gives life to a completely new family. The same cannot be said about abortion.

It’s also good to note that feelings about pregnancies change. It’s common for mothers to have mixed feelings when they learn they’re pregnant, but over time they begin to bond with their unborn baby, especially when they can feel him moving. Every woman has a different timeline for when she bonds with her child, and for some mothers, it might not be until after birth. Regardless of how women feel about their pregnancies, though, we need to remember that the decision to abort is a serious matter, and a temporary emotion is not enough to justify the taking of a life. Too often, expectant mothers who feel trapped into abortion live with regrets for the rest of their lives.

But what about poverty? First of all, aborting the newest member of the family will not solve the problem of poverty. Someone’s financial situation and unplanned pregnancy are two different issues, and a poor mother who has an abortion remains a poor mother, with the additional pain of knowing she killed her child. We don’t condone the arbitrary killing of poor adults, and neither should we advocate the killing of their unborn children! Even if parents don’t feel like they have the financial resources to raise a child, there is help available. Pregnancy care centers across the country exist to support women as they face difficult pregnancies, providing free care, classes, and supplies. Besides material support, the workers at pregnancy centers often form friendships with the clients, providing much-needed emotional support, as well. Unlike abortion facilities, pregnancy care centers empower women and their families with education, resources, and the tools they need to succeed. 

Despite all this, many people are concerned that if parents are “forced” to care for an “unwanted” child, the abuse rate will escalate. If that is the case, it would make sense for cases of child abuse to decrease after the Supreme Court ruled abortion on demand legal, right? Wrong. In 1973, the National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect reported 167,000 cases of child abuse. In 2011, an estimated 681,000 cases of child abuse were reported. This is in spite of increasing standards of safety, such as background checks and training for anyone working with minors, as well as approximately 1.2 million abortions per year. 

So why does the abuse rate go up with the abortion rate? One reason might be that women suffering from post-abortion syndrome are more likely to struggle to bond with or care for subsequent children. Another reason is that an abortion culture promotes a very negative view of children. Planned, wanted unborn children are babies; unplanned and unwanted unborn children are disposable clumps of tissue. When abuse takes place within the womb, we call it abortion and say it’s a woman’s choice. When abuse takes place outside of the womb, it’s a crime. Is it any wonder that as children are no longer seen as gifts within the womb, they aren’t seen as gifts outside of it, either? When children become commodities, we lose the understanding of them as persons.

Abortion has become so customary that it doesn't even occur to some people that it is part of the problem, not the solution. As pro-lifers, it is our duty to address these issues with great love. Our culture is broken and needs to be retaught the value of each person, born and unborn. 

No comments:

Post a Comment