In my review of Marissa Shrock's The First Principle, I complained about the lead character Vivica's one-time-boyfriend Ben because I didn't feel that he offered any tangible support for her pregnancy, even as he insisted she keep the baby. When she tells him the news at the start of Chapter 7, he says, "And if you are (pregnant), you're not going to kill my baby" and "I'm so sorry I did this to you, but please don't punish my baby." That really got under my skin, given that the boy who had recently broken up with Vivica is now laying claim to the child inside her. He's asking--ordering!--Vivica to basically trade her current life, all her comforts, her education, and everything she knows to give birth to "his" baby, while he makes no sacrifice whatsoever. I agree that the little life growing inside her is a baby, but what claim does Ben really have to it?
But that actually helps me see why a lot of people get so upset over the pro-life movement. Many "pro-life" supporters speak out loudly against abortion, while at the same time demanding cuts to welfare benefits, insisting that the poor are not entitled to health care, and rallying against the idea of the government increasing the minimum wage at all or dictating any sort of paid parental leave. If these people have plausible alternative ideas to supporting the poor, I haven't heard them, and I'm not even liberal... It just seems that some of the same people who loudly proclaim that abortion is murder seem to show little interest in supporting the baby inside the womb, let alone the mother carrying the baby.
I understand that Christians believe that intercourse should only take place within marriage, which would substantially reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies. And I recognize that there's a danger that if we make pregnancy look desirable, teen girls will take that as encouragement to get pregnant.
But today, many women who do have unwanted pregnancies are faced with a choice rather like Vivica's. They can risk or give up their comfort, some of their security, and at least a portion of their income or schooling, maybe their figure, and possibly lose the respect of many people they care about, Christian and non-Christian both, and have their baby. Or they can quietly get an abortion and go on as though nothing happened.
If you take God out of the equation, then it's pretty easy to disregard a fetus and tip the scales to the "keep it secret" side. And even if you do believe in God and do believe abortion is wrong...well, God seems to forgive more easily than the earthly judges some people face every day.
I know what the right choice is, and it's a brave choice, but I won't say that it is ever an easy choice.
I think it's tragic that women would ever be proud of getting abortions, and I rankle at the idea of abortion being used as "birth control." But I'm not sure that Christians are really fighting enough to support the women responsible for bringing the unborn into the world. I know there are Crisis Pregnancy Centers and the like, but is that enough support? Out here it appears the hours are limited, and the services might be too. Why aren't we making adoption an easy and viable option? Working to offer counseling and prenatal care outside of Monday-Friday? Truly cheering on and loving those women who make the brave choice not to hide, but to carry their life to term? Supporting parents as best we can?
If needed, are we willing to sacrifice a portion of own comfort and income to help those women we admonish to bring their babies to term?
Or are we basically saying, "You made a mistake, and getting rid of it is murder. You can't get an abortion. I can send you somewhere to give you some help, and that's the end of my involvement. Good luck."
James 2:14-17 (ESV) What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.Yes, Ben's demands still irritate me...but am I any better than he is...?
(Similar thoughts on the issue of "pro-life" just popped up on my Facebook feed today with Traci Schmidley's story on Medium.com.)
Click below to see what other tour members think!
Thomas Clayton Booher
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Megan @ Hardcover Feedback
Rebecca LuElla Miller
*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I was sent a free copy of this book.