In a discussion about Wendy Davis and the pro-life/pro-choice debate, one of my Facebook friends said this:
. . . Texas, who claims to value life just executed it's 500 inmate. Last but not least if you want to be pro-life be all of pro-life and support women who choose to be single mothers, head start programs, education, food stamp programs and the list goes on. If we are a country that tries to live by christian values then help the disadvantaged like Christians.
I have to say, I mostly agree with this. “Mostly” because I have some problem with women who choose to be single mothers. But overall, I think that a whole-life policy requires that we think about abortion as a part of a general approach to life.
I call this a “whole-life policy” because I oppose abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, and war all for the same reason: I think life is sacred.
Possibly because my grandmother was a single mom before it was common, I have always tried to help and support single moms, who by and large haven’t really “chosen” that status and who have a very difficult job. So for friends and parishioners who are single moms I have babysat, helped them fill out paperwork for Social Security, food stamps and WIC, chauffeured them to doctor’s appointments, listened and tried to be available when they just needed a break or a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. I have great respect for anyone trying to raise children on their own and I have learned a great deal about love, sacrifice, patience, frustration, and poverty from some of these single moms. I have also learned that no matter how much government support someone has, the government support will rarely help someone change their status. At best it will support them in their poverty; but as far as I can tell, the best way to help someone get out of poverty is to build a relationship with that person that enables you to see how all of the parts of her life fit together and how useless simplistic solutions are. I have felt fairly helpless in trying to help solve the mountain of problems faced by some of these single moms, but at the very least I can try to help them believe in themselves and in their children.
I have to admit, I don’t have a lot of sympathy in general for women who use abortion as birth control and there are a lot of abortions that fall under that category. As a pastor, however, I would not condemn a woman who was feeling guilt over a past abortion. I would assure her that God forgives her and that she needs to accept forgiveness. I would ask her to think about how she could honor her unborn child by working for life in some way – volunteering to read to schoolchildren, serving the homeless, working at a food bank.
But in terms of abortions, I think that late-term abortions are barbaric and I fully support the 20-week limit. I would actually rather have no abortions. I don’t think Wendy Davis is a heroine for trying to make sure that women can kill their 24 week fetuses. (See http://www.liveaction.org/inhuman/videos/ for interviews with late-term abortion providers) I urge women in particular to stand against abortion, especially late-term abortion. But I deeply urge everyone and women in particular to stand for those who are trapped in poverty and feel that the only good choice is abortion.
And one more issue, while I am discussing a whole-life policy. I am totally opposed to the death penalty and I am sick that Texas has executed 500 people. (And yes, Rick Perry has lost my vote over this.) I have told my family that if I am ever murdered I want them to ask prosecutors not to seek the death penalty if my murderer is brought to court. I would not seek it for someone killing a member of my family. Make no mistake; I would want to extract justice with my own bare hands. But I would not. And the time to make that decision is before anything horrible happens.
So that is a brief look at my “whole-life policy.” There is lots more to say, but that is enough for now.