I recently posted on Facebook an open letter to those who are positive about the new abortion legislation in New York. You can see it in my previous post. I deleted the post from Facebook. Why did I leave it here? I hope that by being open here I can at least show my thought process and the fact that I don't think that what I wrote was incorrect or anything that I don't actually believe. That said, I think it was still right to delete it.
Abortion cuts close to the quick for me due to it being the reason for the quiet eugenics in our society against disability. It leads to the majority of those who are deemed disabled before they are born being terminated. As the father of a disabled child, it seems like society deems her as less valuable than those who are able. When I see legislation regarding vague terms like 'health' being used as qualifiers for abortion up to birth, I react instinctively. The downside is that the easiest response to lax legislation is to light up social media with opinion, and often, rage. And many have done just that, including me. I was feeling affirmed.
The issue with spouting off on Facebook is it is a great echo chamber and those that agree will say so, those that don't agree might be brave and a conversation or argument arises. Generally, those most affected by the argument or those who have experienced the effects of abortion will be watching from the sidelines.
I am one of a team of leaders in my church. I love my church and our church has a great pastoral care team with people who have all sorts of amazing experience far beyond my own. A few of whom have first hand experience counselling women who have undergone abortions, who faced the decision and managed to avoid abortion or whose 'choice' was abortion or death for both baby and/or mother. This is not a choice but a brutal part of a life in a world that is broken. I believe there is hope in this broken world as I've written about before and I hope that anyone reading my last post will read this.
I don't want to be that guy that yells from the sidelines through social media and condemns those who've done wrong. I do want to see change in the way society views the unborn but I also want women (and the men who may be involved in the decision) to know that even if they have had to make such a decision in the past, that they can find acceptance and peace now. Both are available whether they think they need it or not. By the age of 45, 1 in 3 women will have had an abortion. Many will regret it for the rest of their life (google "abortion regret" to see for yourself if need be). Church should be that place where you can find peace and a family that welcomes you because you are loved by the one who is love. If Jesus can say to a woman outcast by society and the religious elite by what was deemed a sin, 'I do not condemn you, go and sin no more' then I can say no more than that.
Christians are often known by what we disagree with and I think the world does know that most of us think abortion is wrong. I fluctuate between how helpful I think posting on Facebook is or not and at the moment I'm leaning towards it isn't helpful at all. I am not sure it will do anything more for the debate other than hurt people already feeling guilty or hurt. The temptation to post and share what I believe is there and the likes and comments can make me feel like I've done something worthwhile. The danger with social media, and our culture, is that if you say an action is wrong, the assumption is that you are 'hating' those who have committed said action. This is patently false but maybe as Christians we need to get better at showing, through our actions, why this is false. Then when those actions are visible, we can share that on social media little bit more. As Christians we seek to love both mother and child. Whilst proclaiming the wrongfulness of the NY law I feel I may have been in danger of being misunderstood and inadvertently judging women.
If one person who reads this who has had an abortion, no matter your reasons, I hope that you can know that there is a place where you can find forgiveness and peace rather than judgement. I would hope that would be any church, and I'd hope that someone could find it in my church too. In a perfect world it would be without having to deal with people like me posting, even if it is truthful and factual, on Facebook. I'm looking forward to that perfect world one day too.
For those wanting to campaign and see that the law protects the mums facing pressured and often desperate decisions as well as the life in the womb, maybe join me in supporting groups like CARE and #BothLivesMatter. Look for the charities that care for both lives and lobby the government to protect and support both.