What I want to do in my blog here is lay out some of my struggles that I’ve gone through with this issue over the years and where I have come to. I approach this issue as a struggle and ultimately with fear and trembling before the Lord and ask that, “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer” as we seek wisdom in knowing God’s heart for how we can best be pro-life in all the different facets that entails. “…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
All that to say, this is obviously such a divisive issue. For those who say it is a cut and dried issue, I encourage you to listen to what I have to say here with an open mind. Approaching another’s view with an open mind is an act of love and consideration of the other, so that is what I ask as you read this. And hopefully, even if we disagree, we can come to a better understanding of other peoples’ viewpoints and thought processes.
I am Pro-Life. I have always been and will continue to be so. I would consider myself a Pro-Life Progressive. In my younger years I was zealous for being Pro-Life to the point of collecting signatures and being active in the movement. I continued to vote toward one party for years despite being increasingly troubled morally with that decision. It finally came to a point where I saw that voting that one way failed to make a change in that issue and that it was being used more as an effective political ploy than affecting change. In fact it felt like fool’s gold as I would see more and more aspects of the party I didn’t believe in that I saw as very un-Pro-Life.
“Historically, I was a right-wing evangelical. I founded/chaired the pro-life student committee at Olivet Nazarene University. I have since renounced pro-life influences and repent of my involvement in it. It was/is hypocritical and ideologically based—not biblical. It has only to do with politicizing abortion—not the value of all lives. See: Franky Shaeffer.”Rev. John Franklin Hay
So here are the things that lead me to change my approach in voting on the Pro-Life Issue:
- The number of Abortions has been on the decline since Roe v. Wade. I know this doesn’t make the decision, but it is part of something to consider as a trend in our country and brings up the question about what is causing it to decline. Which then brings up the further question that efforts to fight abortion may be better spent in the approaches that decrease abortion overall instead of fighting to illegalize it. In fact to those who are Pro-Choice, the Pro-Lifer’s claims ring hollow because often those same people who are so fervent about fighting to end abortion also fight the very efforts that help decrease abortion.
- This leads me right into my 2nd point: initiatives that are typically more supported by Progressives help decrease the rate of unwanted pregnancies and abortions, such as easier access to birth control, increase efforts for the education and support of women, sex education, women’s access to health-care, working with diverse communities, access for food and nutrition, housing, and child care to young mothers.
Found this on the web. I researched the numbers and found them to be accurate as per the CDC:
PAUL PETERSON EXAMINES THE DATA TO ANSWER:
“I’m not a theologian, but I am a mathematician. Let’s talk data. I want there to be as few abortions as possible, which is why I vote Democrat, and why I think pro-life people should, too.
Like it says in Matthew 7:20, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
So what are the fruits of the presidents for the past 40 years? Well, here are the changes in abortion over their terms…
Bush Sr.: -0.9%
Clinton: -36.9% (!)
Bush Jr.: -3.7%
Obama: -24.5% (!)
Trump: -5.3% (extrapolated to 4 years)
DOING A BIT OF MATH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS OVERSAW AN INCREASE IN ABORTION TOTALING 158,000. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTS OVERSAW A DECREASE IN ABORTIONS TOTALING 3,094,000
We’ve had two Democratic presidents, and they have absolutely blown the Republicans out of the water when it comes reducing abortion, and it’s not even remotely close. It’s ridiculously lopsided.
And this makes sense. Democrats expand access to birth control, they fund sex-ed programs, they do jobs programs. All of these things reduce unwanted pregnancies, which reduce abortions.
So, be a single-issue voter if abortion is your #1 issue and nothing else matters. But that means you should vote for Joe Biden. Republicans have shown they don’t know how to reduce abortions. Democrats have shown they can, in spades.
Vote Biden, imo”
Neither party is in favor of abortion. One party just has a substantially better track record in decreasing the rate of abortions.
- On issue upon issue outside of the abortion issue, one party’s track record on pro-Life stances in regard to Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness, recognizing Life of communities & minorities, recognizing life and living in quality-of-life issues and so on holds the higher ground. The moment I pivoted my view in voting was in the midst of our nation’s ill-fated war on terror which has claimed so many lives and wreaked so much devastation that I started to question why we were valuing pre-born lives above the lives of foreigners. Here is a sample of typically Progressives’ more Pro-Life Stances and the irony is not lost on Progressives:
- The Democratic Party has historically been less hawkish than Republicans and have sought a more peaceful and collaborative approach in foreign policy.
- Democrats typically do not support capital punishment, which has also shown a pattern of systemic racism both in the judicial system as a whole, but also in those who are sentenced to death.
- Democrats approach to immigration… “What’s Pro-Life about Separating children from loving parents’ arms at the border with no plans for reuniting them? And then putting them in cages?“
- Democrats approach to social programs… “What’s Pro-Life about trying to cut funding for a nutritional assistance program that feeds hungry children?”
- What I would call the Anti-Life, Pro-Gun stance of most Republicans. See my thoughts on that here: https://howiesnyder.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/my-anti-gun-hermeneutic/
- Track record on Racism Issues of Republicans, which is Life-Stealing. Just look at the divisive and racist comments made by our current president over the past 4 years. https://www.newsweek.com/trumps-full-list-racist-comments-about-immigrants-muslims-and-others-779061
- Trump’s record on women’s issues, which you can lump in there the fact that there have been 26 women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct and rape. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-women-international-womens-day-abortion-policies-healthcare-a9380411.html
- Republicans bad track record on care for the Environment, which disproportionately negatively affects poorer people and poorer countries. Personally I think this issue cannot be over-stated when you consider the devastation that is being caused globally.
- Republicans financial approach that favors corporations and the wealthy, which is Life-Stealing to the 99%.
- The Democrats approach to Health Care. How can it be that we are the ONLY western nation without Universal Health Care? It’s nonsensical!
- The overwhelming majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester of pregnancy. However, from a Scientific perspective, Sentience, does not begin at conception:
The cortex, the epicenter of human consciousness, starts to form by six months gestation. Neuroscientists suspect from studies that even within the womb, in the late stages of pregnancy, the fetus becomes familiar with the sound of its mother’s voice and may already be learning language.
So how can a fetus have a soul before sentience? I used to reject this argument as I saw human life as created at conception, but when you look at how God has created us via the scientific universe that God created, I don’t divorce scientific considerations from my approach to faith as I once did. And God’s foreknowledge of us is from before we even entered the womb, so God’s foreknowledge is not limited in God’s sovereignty of all things.
Historically this has been supported by Christians:
In 1968, a Dallas Theological Seminary professor, Bruce Waltke, wrote an article for Christianity Today. It seemed to reflect a common stance for Evangelical Christians at the time – that life begins at birth. Afterall, God breathed “the breath of life” into the first human. The breath of life, essential, first sign – proof of life.
My wife’s blog also mentions the racist roots of the Pro-Life movement, which should sound alarm bells for Christians.
Life doesn’t begin at conception. The individual sperm and egg are already alive – they have life. I think all would agree that as a single-cell organism, there would not be a soul there within either the egg or the sperm. I then have a hard time believing that when they bond to form a zygote of just a few cells that start to divide, that a soul is present at that point either. It’s just a few cells. On a spiritual level, we just don’t know when a human life form encounters a “soul”. I have a hard time believing that it happens 9 months later – at birth. I’ve known of children that have been born as much as 3 months premature and have survived. So it doesn’t make sense to me that the barrier of the mother’s womb or the difference of breathing oxygen from air into our lungs is the point of a soul entering the body. In searching the Internet, the stat I’ve seen the most is that 91% of all abortions are performed in the first trimester and a majority of them prior to 8 weeks. Unfortunately in politics its all or none with most issues, but I wish we could look at reversing Roe v. Wade for only abortions performed after a certain point (perhaps around 16 weeks). Some states have essentially done this – making it all but impossible to get later-stage abortions. I know this could be looked at as justification and I don’t want this to be that. But I just have a hard time believing that a zygote or a blastocyst or even an embryo is a human life with a soul. I would say this is more likely true in the next stage, the fetus.
I appreciate dialogue on this issue if respectful. This is obviously an emotional issue, but where we are at as a nation in Roe v. Wade hasn’t changed in 47 years, so it’s worth discussing with one another with mindful, respectful, consideration and empathy for the other. And also to have empathy for the the scared young woman in the midst of an unwanted pregnancy who is most likely poor and in less-than ideal social circumstances. Thank you for your time and considerations in this.