Updated: Jul 13, 2022
How the worship of self fuels the pro-abortion movement
I’m sure if you’ve spent any time on social media or watching the news these past few weeks you’ve probably been overwhelmed with the explosion that the overturning of Roe v Wade has sparked across North America.
Maybe as a follower of Jesus you’ve felt conflicted, or excited about the news. Or maybe, you’re a Christian that holds pro-choice views and the news has upset you.
Perhaps, you’re struggling with solidifying your neutral or pro-choice views in a way that is not only in line with the Christian “ethic”, but also in line with the heart of compassion that you believe should mark those who claim to be followers of Christ.
To help others process through this issue I decided to put together a three-part series focused on how us as believers should understand the moral and societal issue of abortion and what tangible forms of action it should lead us towards.
Hopefully, at the end of this series you’ll be better able to answer if you can truly stand in the camp of being pro-choice while fully following the narrow path that Jesus calls us to.
When I listen to the debates, arguments and speeches from pro-abortion advocates (and I use the term intentionally), three main issues come to my mind that us as believers have to see clearly so we can wrestle with the topic of abortion effectively.
The first issue is our culture’s worship of self. The second is our disordered view of the purpose of marriage, sex and gender. And the third issue is the lack of action that hinders a holistic pro-life reality.
So let’s start with Western culture’s worship of “self”. Or the term we’re more familiar with, “individualism”.
In our culture, individualism often sounds like:
“I don’t believe in organised religion. I’m more spiritual than religious.”
“That may be your truth, but it’s not mine.”
“As long as it’s not directly hurting me then it’s totally fine what you decide to do with your time and money.”
Now, to set the stage I want to make it clear that the answer to individualistic cultures isn’t collectivism. Both can and have been used as a destructive tool by the enemy.
When discussing individualism, John Piper says it a lot more succinctly in this article:
“But let’s not compete for who’s the biggest bad guy. My point here is that the message of the New Testament confronts the horrors of corporatism as forcefully as it does the crude self-absorption of individualism. It rescues the individual human person from the illusions of corporate privilege and corporate helplessness. And it recreates a corporate reality whose glory is more than the sum of its parts, but never less than the glories of each member.”
So, it’s important for us to understand that the remedy to our culture’s extreme love and worship of “the self” above all else, isn’t a swing to a conservative and collectivist culture.
The remedy is the Gospel and the way of life that Jesus calls us to.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus never once taught us to chase after all the things we desire as the path to greatest fulfillment.
He actually called us to lay down our lives as a way of glorifying him and serving others.
Matthew 16:24-27: “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?””
Jesus knew that the true, lasting satisfaction we all crave can never be found in the endless pursuit of self-fulfillment and achievement. It can only be found in a life dedicated to loving God and our neighbors sacrificially.
So, where collectivist cultures preach the gospel of self-sacrifice to advance the temporal achievements of the community, and individualist cultures preach the gospel of prioritzing the desires of the individual at the expense of others, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to drink deeply from rivers of living water that will not only quench our thirst, but also become streams of life for everyone around us.
You may be saying “okay, so I see that both individualism and collectivism can be bad, but what does this have to do with abortion?”
With a balanced view of both evils in mind we can now properly assess the illness at hand and provide an adequate antidote.
Our culture’s idolization of “the self” is another disordered functioning of human nature, (aka, sin), that is fully manifesting itself through the issue of abortion. And like all other sins, our job as believers is never to endorse it or be “laissez-faire” about it. Scripture clearly tells us that we are to abhor, hate, despise and detest sin. It should quite literally grieve us. We should both do everything we can to not just stay away from it in our own lives, but to expose the darkness with God’s light and help share the truth to people who are ensnared by it.
“To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech.”
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood…”
“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
The fact is that abortion is the murder of an unborn child. You can call it a clump of cells all you want, but science is clear that a new being exists at conception. So, the question to ask yourself as a believer is, do you hate what God hates? Does the murder of babies break your heart the way it breaks God’s? Or, similar to the language we see in Romans, are you a Christian that “approves of those who practice such things?” Do you shrug your shoulders at a practice that God’s wrath and judgement is stored up for?
If God’s Word alone still isn’t convincing enough, let’s look at some stats.
According to a study done by the Guttmacher Institute, (which by the way is very openly pro-abortion) the most commonly reported reason on why women in the U.S. have abortions, was because of how a baby would impact their life plans/trajectory.
Now in this document, the Guttmacher Institute themselves share that part of their motivation for doing this updated study in 2004 was so that misperceptions surrounding why women have abortions can be cleared up.
In their study, they found that one of the highest reported reasons for abortion was how a baby would dramatically change the mother’s life and her plans. Note, that this is not about the immediate worry of the lack of being able to afford a child. It’s about how the mother’s life would have to change. So, worries about education, graduation, career plans and the sacrifices that come with juggling the care of more children come to mind. This reason accounted for 74% of the women surveyed.
As we discussed earlier it’s clear that one of the largest reasons for abortions can all be pointed back to “the self”. How will this baby impact “my” career, “my” degree, “my” family plans. It’s the deeply rooted individualistic idea that if a baby in-utero impacts one’s life trajectory, then they have the definitive right to end that life to secure the future that they believe is best for them.
And regardless of how nicely this feminist message is packaged and delivered to us, the clear answer to this worldview is that it’s wrong. The hard truth is that yes, birthing and or raising a child will forever change your life. There is no getting around that. But our job as believers just like Jesus did, is to proclaim boldly that ALL human life is worthy of the sacrifices and heavy responsibilities that come with it. As Christians we need to echo time and time again that killing a child so that you can get a degree or get the job you want, or fulfill your idea of the perfect amount of children, is always and will always be wrong.
And so let’s jump into the other reasons.
Second in line after “life change” was the issue of “affordability”, which 73% of women reported and relationship issues at 48%.
Now that we have the pursuit of life goals to the side, let’s ask the real hard questions. Are the same people that claim to support women under the banner of “pro-choice” actually trying to help “the least of these” in our society that are legitimately struggling to feed their children?
If it’s more likely for a black single mother, or a refugee woman fleeing violence, or a teen mother in an abusive relationship to turn to the killing of her child as the only option when pit against making ends meet, then wouldn’t it make sense for those same pro-choice advocates to fight like hell to address the actual problem that’s leading over 70% of women to choose abortion? Wouldn’t they champion organizations that are meeting the very real problem of women not being able to purchase formula on top of grocery bills and baby clothes plus the rent bill? Wouldn’t it make more sense to ensure access to every other option is as accessible and worthy as they do for abortion? And when you know the root issue is the poverty she’s facing, wouldn’t you rather offer her free formula, diapers and relationship counselling, than offer her up to a doctor to dismember and vacuum the baby out of her?
You tell me, which one sounds more pro-women to you?
Unfortunately, this is exactly what we’re seeing in North America and especially in Canada. Pregnancy Help Centres that literally give away free, much needed resources to women so that abortion doesn’t have to be their only option, are under attack across Canada. From mainstream media, news outlets and even more so our current federal liberal government.
Run as charitable organizations being completely supported by the overwhelming generosity of local churches and everyday Christians, these centres are doing the hard Christ-like work of addressing the exact issues that over 70% of women report as being the lead cause of them having an abortion.
Through my past experience at volunteering at one for months, I’ve seen the demographic of women that come in needing help. A lot of them are lower income, facing tough relationship situations, and immigrants/refugees that are grateful beyond measure to take whatever free resources they can get to provide for their families. These centres are giving many women the support and resources needed to emphatically choose life.
So, this leads us to our final point.
Quite often I hear pro-abortion supporters say that the decision to have an abortion is usually a very emotional and private decision that wasn’t made lightly, and is not a position that any woman would willingly want to be put herself in over and over again... Maybe you have echoed the same sentiments. They say this because at their core they know they’re doing something that has serious ramifications even if they choose to ignore it for the rest of their lives.
So, if the “pro-choice” movement use majority of their voice, reach and energy to continually push abortion not as something to be avoided at all costs, but as a right that every woman should have access to without restriction, we eventually have to ask ourselves if they’re also actually promoting all of the other choices available to women, such as poverty alleviation, open adoption, closed adoption or raising the child oneself, or if they’re simply only promoting the option that stands as a blazing symbol of the rights of their hard-earned individualism and feminist objectives.
And if you’re a follower of Jesus, you have to ask yourself what you’re promoting as well. Are you encouraging and feeding into our culture’s destructive idolization of self? Are you affirming that killing a child to finish school is just a necessary evil in the modern world that we have to accept and turn a blind eye to because “you would never get one yourself”?
Or are you fighting against the pervasive evil of hyper individualism in our culture with the truth of the gospel?
Are you pushing back against this darkness by being a living, talking, breathing example of the fact that our lives are not our own… that real love and freedom is found in losing yourself fully in Christ… that loving your neighbour means sacrificing your money, time and comfort to show the love of Christ… that Jesus has called us to a life of standing up and speaking the truth even if we’re persecuted for it?
In this spiritual battle, everyone who confesses Christ MUST understand that there is no grey area. Stand firm and push back against the spiritual darkness of abortion by declaring God’s truth and call to repentance, and by showing God’s love by opening your hands to those in need.
“Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.”