I’m writing this post a little reluctantly because with heavy subject matter, it’s difficult to know where to draw the line. There have been times I have said something on social media I later regretted. On the other hand, I know sometimes I can hold back a little when it comes to what I talk about on my blog, because I am afraid of people’s reactions.
I guess that’s not very rational – one can choose to read my blog posts or one can choose not to.
So after a little internal debate, I thought this was better written down than left to fester inside.
Two weeks ago, I attended an event hosted by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). (No, I’m not pregnant just in case that thought popped into your head, haha).
I wasn’t really feeling it – I’d just returned from a short break in Lisbon and the last thing I wanted to do was end the holiday mood by going to this thing, but I’d promised work I would go, so I went.
Few times in my life have I found myself in such a surreal situation.
The event was a panel of women discussing BPAS’s new campaign, ‘We Trust Women’, which seeks to completely decriminalise abortion in the United Kingdom.
Working for a Christian lobby group not only means that the people I am surrounded with on a daily basis are in agreement with me on the subject of abortion, but that I am essentially in a bit of a ‘bubble’. I may be up to speed on the arguments of our detractors but I’m not directly engaging with them.
So to sit there, one of a mere handful of pro-lifers in the midst of around two hundred supporters for this campaign, was an unusual experience.
I listened to secularists attack the ‘religious’ lobby for being ‘dishonest’ about what abortion involves; I listened to campaigners completely deny the humanity of the unborn child, and assert that there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever because, after all, we should ‘trust women’ to make good decisions.
I listened to a lot of rhetoric about how abortion restrictions are a product of the partiarchal society going right back to the Victorian era. I listened to them argue that decriminalising abortion would simply be another way of replacing laws made by ‘out of touch’ politicians with ‘more humane laws’.
Here are some quotes I jotted down during the event because I had to assure myself that I was really hearing these things:
“It is a fact of life that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion at some point in their lives.”
“Women need abortions in modern society.”
“Anti-abortion groups defend the rights of the foetus, which just don’t exist.”
“We need abortion to back up birth control.”
“We need abortion so that women can have lives that are full, not just simply being mothers.”
“It’s all about women having complete autonomy over their own bodies.”
“We need to decriminalise abortion so that women can get themselves out of the mess they are in.”
As you probably know, I studied English and American Literature at university, and the way it is taught promotes and encourages not only feminism but quite a left-wing political stance in general. I do not agree with all of it but I can understand where the arguments are coming from.
I also consider myself to be pretty independent and am absolutely in favour of equal opportunity.
But I saw at this event how strongly the ideology of feminism is tied to pro-abortion views, and how many people – mostly young women but a few men also – were buying the ‘autonomy’ and ‘liberation’ rhetoric.
By the time I left the building I was feeling quite sick and utterly grieved. It’s one thing to read arguments like this on the internet but another to hear them directly.
Looking back I wish I had spoken up. But I had been feeling tired and what I heard had made me so sad that I couldn’t speak.
So now I am writing about it, which seems to be a pretty feeble response, but it is a response nonetheless.
I think what struck me most was the selfishness of these arguments and the way they were cloaked in the guise of solidarity and in supporting and ‘trusting’ fellow women.
I listened to one young man ask about how he could get better medical training because his aspiration was to become an abortionist.
I felt the heart of the Lord during that meeting – both His love for those women and His grief for every life discarded, for whatever reason. ‘Convenience’ was a good enough reason for the women on the panel.
The line of work I’m in at the moment can be tough, especially on a sensitive soul like mine. I felt very small indeed after that event. I felt like these issues are too big for me. Yet I also felt a conviction about the heartcry of my God. He cares, so we should care.
I think that part of taking up your cross and following Jesus is to engage in the very things that make you uncomfortable. That will look different to different people, of course. But it’s easy to care about poverty. Nobody will criticise you for that. Nobody will criticise you for fighting to end human trafficking or helping the homeless.
But human thinking on abortion can be so contrary to what God says about life.
Around three thousand years ago, King David wrote this to the Lord in Psalm 139:
“13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
I can understand why being pro-abortion is common. As long you do not believe in a Creator, intentional design, purpose, and intrinsic value, it’s much easier to make the ‘choice and automony’ arguments.
There are many resources out there, however, that argue scientifically for the humanity and the ‘life’ of the unborn child, separate and distinct from that of the mother.
The pro-abortion campaigners will do everything possible within the power of language to dehumanise the unborn child, because it’s the only way abortion can be justified. And there are a lot of women who believe it.
Yet it is apparently the ‘dishonest religious lobby’ that seeks to deceive.
It is now two weeks since the event, and time offers perspective.
I remind myself that God’s got this. I do not need to feel like my convictions are just a subculture that must pander to a more dominant mainstream culture. My worldview is one of life and hope because I carry Life within me. I think as Christians we need to remember this – to maintain a mindset of victory, knowing we have Christ in us, the hope of glory.
We have good news to offer the world.
That includes how we engage with issues like abortion, if indeed we choose to engage.
May our motivation be love, always.
I believe abortion is wrong, of course, but I also believe in redemption through Christ.
My hope is that Christians who passionately engage with any sensitive topic would be known primarily for their love, their empathy and compassion; carriers of joy as well as advocates for justice.
So those are my thoughts. I don’t know what else to say but my prayer is that God will take these imperfect words and use them somehow.
If you consider yourself pro-choice, just know that I love you and do not write this to condemn.