A provocative Christian tweet about the attack on Roe prompted a lot of reaction. Let’s conclude by looking at personal responsibility and then asking what the pro-life actions will actually deliver.
Is the pro-life movement so blinders-on focused on the plight of single-celled zygotes that they haven’t noticed where their bus is going? Their destination isn’t a play pen with laughing babies but an illegal abortion clinic with teenage girls afraid of the procedure and terrified that they’ll be reported to police by some Christian busybody.
But first, let’s look at one more reaction to the tweet that started this set of articles (part 1).
How about the concept of personal responsibility? I am stunned at how Americans no longer want to be responsible for themselves or their actions. From abortion to free everything, we’ve become a nation of irresponsible freeloaders.
Are you a freeloader if you get food from a church food bank or take other forms of church charity? If church members can give charity to needy people who aren’t freeloaders but need a little temporary help, why can’t taxpayers do the same thing through government programs?
I presume part of this complaint is that a pregnant woman must take responsibility for her actions. Yes, and she might take responsibility by getting an abortion.
Consider a parallel medical need, someone injured in a car accident. The person who drives a car knows there’s some chance of an accident, but the emergency room personnel don’t disqualify them even if they were irresponsible. Similarly, a woman who has sex knows there’s a risk of pregnancy, but the abortion clinic doesn’t disqualify her either.
(While we’re talking about responsibility, note the irresponsibility of U.S. churches who hide behind a loophole that allows them, and only them, to accept nonprofit status but not open their financial records to prove to the American public that they’re using that financial benefit wisely. Only two percent of U.S. churches file the IRS 990 financial disclosure form. Do they have something to hide? That’s what the rest of us are thinking, and Christian churches should push for the removal of this embarrassing loophole. More about churches and hidden finances here.)
Trying to illustrate how taking responsibility works, one Twitter reply showed a meme of a pair of pants with the caption, “Used as directed, prevents 100% of all unwanted pregnancies and STDs, with zero nasty side effects!”
Not really. “Keep your pants on” is an effective contraceptive in the same way “Don’t eat so much” is a practical weight-loss diet and “Just stop smoking” is valuable advice for someone trying to quit.
What is the pro-life goal, really?
The pro-life goal is to replace Planned Parenthood with Kermit Gosnell, the illegal abortion clinic doctor who was convicted in 2013 of the murders of three infants delivered alive plus the manslaughter of one patient. As Chris Charbonneau observed, you can’t eliminate abortion; all you can do is make it more dangerous. With legal avenues gone but the demand still there, abortions will just be illegal. We’re not in the dark about what will happen since we’ve already been here. Before the Roe decision in 1973, the per capita abortion rate was higher than it is today.
Demand is the key to a sensible abortion policy, not prohibition. We must focus on reducing the demand, which means reducing unwanted pregnancies.
I’m about to explain the unsurprising route to reducing unwanted pregnancies but first I want to check in with any pro-life Christians. Do you really think of abortion as murder? Do you think of the 930,000 annual abortions in the U.S. as a holocaust? If so, keep that thought in mind as we continue.
The first step to reduce unwanted pregnancies is comprehensive sex education in schools. Sex can’t be taboo if we expect students to really understand where babies come from, how consent works, how contraceptives work, sexually-transmitted infections, the myths surrounding sex, and so on. Second, contraceptives (especially the most reliable kind, the Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives) should be subsidized and easily available.
At this point in the discussion, many conservative Christians push back. There’ll be no 12-year-olds putting condoms on bananas if they have anything to say about it! But prudery is no excuse when we’re talking about murder—right, my Christian friends? You did say that what we’re trying to avoid is murder, right? Of course sex ed must be age appropriate, but children must learn the facts early enough so they’re comfortable with them before they need them.
Based on what I’ve seen, conservative politicians have no interest in seeing the abortion question resolved. They benefit from an ongoing fight where they can say, “The sky is falling! Vote for me!” This means that they would be the last ones pointing out how the differences could be resolved. Following a conservative politician’s advice on how to respond to abortion is like getting advice from a crisis pregnancy center on how to respond to an unwanted pregnancy.
Christians, don’t focus on making abortion illegal. Focus instead on making it unnecessary. You’ll make a lot more progress working with pro-choice advocates on the common goal of reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.
See more: Most US abortions are due to the pro-life movement
Mandated, forced or compulsory pregnancy
contravenes enumerated rights in the Constitution,
namely the 13th Amendment’s prohibition
against involuntary servitude and protection of bodily autonomy,
as well as the 14th Amendment’s defense of privacy and freedom.
— Prof. Michele Goodwin, New York Times