Abortion and Fear

Tomorrow the state legislature will have a hearing on a bill requiring that every insurance policy that covers maternity care must also cover abortion.  Next week, there will be a hearing to determine whether parents should be made aware if their minor daughters are planning to have an abortion.

While neither of those bills actually deals with abortion, the fact that they’re related issues virtually assures that passionate discussions about abortion will ensue.

This is a brief thought for those who, like me, have attitudes that sometimes betray their belief that abortion can't be rationalized.  Of course I'm not going to try to make the case for abortion. I don't think that can be done.

A person is a person, even if unplanned or unwanted.

As true as I think that is, the solution to the abortion problem does not lie within.

The vast majority of those who choose to have abortions agree with us on that point. They know it’s a person.  That’s why it’s such an emotionally difficult decision and that’s why they don’t tell their friends on Facebook that they just got home from their abortion.

When a girl is considering abortion, she knows it’s a baby.  But…she’s terrified. She’s terrified of what people will think. She’s terrified of how this will affect her career, or her relationship.  She’s terrified of what it will do to her financial situation.

The motivation for choosing abortion is not ignorance of the fact that it is a baby. The motivation for choosing abortion is fear. The antidote to fear is not a lecture about the fact that life begins at conception, but hope.  

She needs to believe that her life won’t be irreparably harmed.  She needs to believe that people will stand by her, that they’ll support her rather than condemn her.  She needs to believe it won’t lead to a life of poverty.

The facts surrounding abortion are chilling.  55 million children in 40 years have been denied their first breath.  But facts are not going to stop abortions from taking place.

Those of us who are opponents of abortion must be proponents of hope.  Even if we win the occasional legislative debate or election, if pregnant women feel hopeless, we’ve still lost.

True, sometimes we’re talking to legislators and not pregnant women.  There’s a difference.  I’ll be the first to admit that my attitude toward women with unplanned pregnancies is different than my attitude toward those who benefit financially from abortion.

But that’s mostly beside the point. 

We are not in a debate with people who want to destroy children, though that is an unfortunate result.  We are in a debate with people who are afraid and those who are sympathetic to that fear.

The solution to their fear is thousands of years old. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18) 

If we want to make their abortion decision unreasonable, we must make their fear irrational. Give them hope.


Posted by Nancy Roa on February 2, 2013
Well said. Thank you and thank God for the Pro-life pregnancy centers that provide that same hope.
Posted by Margaret Hall on February 2, 2013
Anyone who has feelings about abortion subject watch a movie just come out, "Meant To Be". There are perspectives that might widen your attitudes toward the subject. It kind of made me think - Matthew 7:12. Thank you
Posted by Karen on February 1, 2013
Is your reasoning on why women get abortions based on evidence? You haven't cited any, and it sounds like opinion, and a rather maudlin one at that (weak and effusively sentimental); just a first impression. And by the way, I object to your reference to "girls" getting abortions. They are young WOMEN, often in their 20's. As a woman (with opinions and no evidence), I believe you left out an important point. Women don't want their lives interrupted by preganancy and everything it entails. It's a huge, life-changing event. Keeping the child (even in a marriage) generally includes years of sacrifice. The last I heard, it's not the low-income women getting abortions anyway, it's the Middle Class. So finances are truly less of an issue; social climate is a factor. By the way, as a pro-life woman, I'm tired of hearing men talk against abortion. I'll bet the discussion would be different if more women got involved in the discourse. WHERE ARE THE WOMEN?
Posted by anonymous on February 1, 2013
I called the Hotline to Olympia and left a message for my legislatures against 2 bills. Earlier, I called against another bill - also regarding abortion.
Posted by Nancy Thompson on February 1, 2013
Beautifully stated-a great understanding of the reality of abortion. So. . . what should the ordinary person do? Support their local Pregnancy Care Clinic--those are the folks on the front line loving giving young women hope and courage and the willingness to have their babies. Support your 40-Days-for-Life groups, who are also on the front lines. And, if you have young people in your life, talk about the fear of an unwanted pregnancy and help to defuse that fear, should it ever happen.
Posted by yolanda on January 31, 2013
Praying that LOVE WINS OUT...
Posted by Alisa Kostecka on January 31, 2013
Thanks for telling the truth about hope. Guilt won't change hearts but hope can. There is hope for moms, hope for babies and even hope for the workers in the abortion ("women's health") industry.
Posted by Geoffrey White on January 30, 2013
Well put. A while back our pastor told of how the pre-exilic Israelites would sacrifice their children to Molech, by throwing them into the mouth of a statue of Molech in the Valley of Hinnom. Upon the remnant return 70 years later, the statue was destroyed and the place became the garbage dump (where the fire never went out). Today, we are far too sophisticated to sacrifice our children to a pagan idol; today we sacrifice them to the God of convenience. How tragic (and by the way, will we be judged less than they were?)!
Posted by Victoria on January 30, 2013
It is not only the girl or woman who is afraid -- if true that 40% of abortions are coerced, it is our culture that is afraid of the commitment and dedication that raising a child entails. We need to also pray and work to decrease this fear, on the part of fathers and parents.
Posted by NANCY KASPER on January 30, 2013
I was pleased that you turned in this direction, Joseph. I certainly perceive fear to be true for many "innocent" teen and college age girls who never imagined that what they were doing with their boyfriends would ever result in the conception of a child. There is an element of fantasy and mental numbness when a young person is in the midst of an intense physical relationship that moves quickly and unexpectedly into intimacy that is not understood for its consequences. These sweet girls must be protected from themselves when they are still so vulnerable and needy of acceptance from a male peer. Comfort is what they need most from us and part of that can be showing them how to make something very wonderful out of the decision they unknowingly made to create a life. I must say, however, that in terms of quite a few women in their twenties and thirties who have "been around the block a few times", there is definitely a hardening of the heart that can occur and an accompanying narcissistic perspective which invites them to have an abortion without an ounce of reflection or shame. In our culture today, there are women who thrive on the applause for being outrageous and self-centered. This has de-sensitized and dehumanized for them what sexual intimacy is all about. As awful as it is, there are "liberated" women who are proud of how many abortions they have had; for them it seems to prove the point of how desirable they must be and how free they are to do whatever they want. We all know that this is a shallow way to find value in oneself and that only an encounter with Christ can change one's worldview to believe otherwise.
Posted by John Weingarten on January 30, 2013
Amen! Joseph, that is exactly the approach that needs to be taken--and it's exactly the approach that many sidewalk counselors, working in concert with campaigns, such as 40 Days for Life (www.40daysforlife.com), and partnering with local Pregnancy Resource Centers are taking. God bless you for standing up for life!
Posted by Robert N. Schwartz on January 30, 2013
Attention to "hope" as the medicine for desperate ladies is very well stated and emphasized. The Pro-life movement ought to swing the pendulum from some of its negative moorings to a more hopeful and comforting discourse, offering adoption, medical and financial assistance. Perhaps above all, parents and churches must offer moral instruction to children, and both parents must be on hand, for both are equally responsible for the guidance and example of virtue.
Posted by Hugh Fleet on January 30, 2013
To the Editor Every year in our state government some member of the house puts forth a bill called “parental notification” This bill if passed would force planned parenthood and their friends that do similar procedures to notify the parents of these minor girls before an abortion can be given. When this intrusion or assumption of parental rights happened our state government pleaded good intentions, “the girl is afraid to confront her parents about her situation”! Parents in most families work to instill the moral values in their child, but these agencies do not want the parents involved and our state senator Hatfield and reps Blake and Takko play the part of Pontius Pilate by washing their hands of this gross intrusion of parental rights. It is not too much to say that the constitution was made to guard us from our elected official’s good intentions. The allegiance of those who represent us should be the people here in the 19th legislative district and not their fellow senators and representatives in Seattle. A former leader of their party JFK once stated “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral during a morel issue! Hugh Fleet 159 N. Nemah rd. E South Bend Washington 98586 3608754002 hughfleet@gmail.com
Posted by Tanya Warren on January 30, 2013
Thank you, Joseph!! We agree that your words clarify the true heart of this very difficult issue. It is so sad that each "side" talks AT each other & we fail to understand on another. You have brought understanding!!!! As you wrote of needing hope, I thought of the marvelous ministry provided by Teen MOPS. They love on these young moms & help them in so many practical, and fun, ways to nurture their precious babies. They provide a strong support structure :o)
Posted by John Sweeney on January 30, 2013
Well said. But there is also simple convenience -- I've seen that. Or the wrong sex -- I've seen that. Even so, we can help those who are simply afraid.
Posted by Madeline P Nugent on January 30, 2013
Absolutely right on target. There is plenty of hope out there. We operate a prolife pregnancy center that offers concrete help to make the hope real. But the women have to believe that they can be helped and that they are worth being helped and that life will be better for them if they give birth than if they don't. Only the Lord can give them that hope in an unforeseen future. It seems more sensible to reclaim the unpregnant past, although to reclaim it is impossible because the woman HAS been pregnant. Let us pray that the media allow us to present these hopeful ways of dealing with pregnancy to the public who needs to know they exist and believes in them, whether or not they believe in God.
Posted by Daniel J. Doyle on January 30, 2013
You've identified the reality very clearly here. To be pro-life means that we are not just on the side of the person in the womb, but on the side of the person who is pressured by her fears to make that unfortunate choice. We need to make hope tangible and present to them. It would be good for them, for the child and for the society in general.
Posted by Mike Hasslinger on January 30, 2013
Finally, a pro life proponent with a real heart and a real understanding of why some folks take extreme measures regarding a problem...FEAR. Count me in to assist you Joseph!
Posted by Susan S. Anderson on January 30, 2013
Very well said, Joseph--I think that you have rightly identified the motivating factors behind abortion. You have given us a new persuasive argument to help others choose life.
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