BENJAMIN WATSON: Fellow Christians, We’ve Got to Solve the Underlying Drivers of Abortion

ANALYSIS

This is a pivotal moment in the history of our country. For the first time in nearly 50 years, states have the legal authority to protect innocent life in the womb from the moment of conception onward. Americans also have the best opportunity in decades to present women with real alternatives to abortion.

Of course, this seismic Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that women will still be seeking abortions in states where they can no longer obtain one. The same underlying socio-economic factors that drive these women to abort still exist.

For the believer, addressing injustice isn’t just altruism, it is a divine requirement and a hallmark of our existence. From the unselfish acts of the early Christian church to contemporary ministries impacting lives globally, the body of Christ has a rich history of good works, outpouring the love of the Father on image bearers who surround us.

Through individual benevolence and church engagement, we must meet these women where they are, walk with them and offer hope and holistic support. Through public policy and personal practice, we must help provide not only for their material and spiritual needs but continually favor systems that promote human thriving. What a scandal it would be if abortion supporters are the only ones talking about the material needs of these women.

This pro-life organization offers a 24/7 hotline and local crisis pregnancy options for anyone facing an unexpected pregnancy. 

Whether stated in good faith or as a manipulative talking point, the prevailing consensus is that black women will be most impacted by the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Since reported statistics reveal that black women are nearly four times more likely to seek abortions than their white counterparts, it is reasonable to posit that these women would bear the brunt of abortion restrictions.  

But this number is only smoke from a fire that has been burning black communities for generations. Black and low-income women face higher maternal mortality rates, a greater chance of raising a child in poverty, worse access to education, wage gaps, and occupational discrimination.

Though they make up 12 percent of all the women in the US population, black women represent 22.3 percent of women in poverty. These disparities and others are not happenstance. They are the premeditated, predictable result of discriminatory policies and programs in nearly every sector of American society over the lifespan of a nation. Abortion, the extermination of human life, is the rotten fruit of a tree that has never been fully uprooted and a soil that has never been repaired.

Despite a culture that has redefined choice, a majority of abortion-determined women, especially those who have been characterized as most impacted, do not embrace abortion as a desirable outcome. According to Human Coalition, 75% of their clients would prefer to parent if their circumstances were different. Contrary to the claims of some activists, abortion isn’t something most women “shout” about; rather, it is a last resort or something they’d rather forget.

Instead of just opposing abortion, churches should instead be seeking to understand the plights of these women and accompany them, meeting their needs and reaffirming that they can have their child.

After all, scripture commands us “to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the “neighbor” of the victim whom Jesus lauds wasn’t the person holding the most exalted position in society; rather, it was the one “who treated” the victim “with mercy.” Jesus then commands us, “Go and do likewise.”

We are all called to perform the works of mercy. In the wake of Roe, there are many women entrenched in desperate need and paralyzed by palpable fear. Whether it’s lack of access to quality health care and education or lack of employment, many of these women are a victim of circumstance and those of us in the church have an obligation to be a “Good Samaritan,” not only meeting their physical needs but strengthening their faith in their professed brothers and sisters in Christ.  

These women may live in different zip codes and in entirely different circumstances from us, or they may be sharing our pew every Sunday, hands raised in reverent worship. In both cases, we are called to seek them out and accompany them in choosing life. A whole life perspective emboldens us to employ our resources and vigor to uphold dignity in all stages of human existence.

CARE NET: What is a pregnancy center, and how can I find one? 

The “Good Samaritan” didn’t just give some cash to a stranger and journey on his way – he took his “neighbor” to an inn and ensured he was cared for. With our advocacy and our actions, we must do the same today.

Frankly, this must be the long-term goal of churches, too.

Pro-life activism can’t stop at the voting booth or at overturning Roe. Churches must be seeking to change hearts and minds, and a fundamental part of this mission is working to address the systemic injustices many women are facing.  They have an opportunity to not only connect women to the care and support they need, but also to feed them spiritually. And the churches should be at the forefront of proclaiming God’s word – speaking out prophetically for justice and righteousness.

The pro-life movement has been working for 49 years for this moment. It will all be for naught if we neglect the very women who think their only option is abortion.

Benjamin Watson is a former Super Bowl champion and current vice president of strategic relationships with Human Coalition.

BENJAMIN WATSON: Fellow Christians, We've Got to Solve the Underlying Drivers of Abortion

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