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One Body or Two?
JW's Thinking Out Loud
JW grew up on a farm in a rural area with a village of 700-900 people in the center of our township. We belonged to a Second Congregational (formerly Puritan) church until a merger when we became a United Church of Christ church. The other church in town was Roman Catholic. Our church was already liberal and now is moreso.
But even without the liberal orientation of our church the standard protestant view was that if a pregnant women was in danger from her pregnancy it was better to abort the fetus and save the mother's life. The Catholic church has opposed abortion all along.
Two things changed this view for conservative church's after I became an adult and had graduated from college.
When I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center I explained historical understanding of the issue and my current understanding. And I emphasized my empathy for either side. My role as a facilitator was simply to guide the men I worked with through curriculum that taught how to be a father to the child that was coming.
One very important thing I learned through experience was how many ways an unplanned pregnancy could occur. Of course biologically there is only one way. But I was always troubled about the ignorance of not looking ahead of what their activities could result in - but the fact was they were already ill equipped for the current relationship they were already in.
Decisions that come out of these situations are often no more practical or thoughtful then the decisions that they already made (or fell into?). Its at this point where I raise the question as to abortion. A decision that only rarely receives the reasoned thinking that is necessary for a better outcome.
The Ground Rules
The debate about abortion revolves around two issues. First is whether the fetus is part of the mother's body and second is whether liberals or conservatives are more compassionate.
I share a particular view but I'm not going to vilify the other side. Links I've included (which are not mine) will present both sides of the discussion (not a debate). Also I believe in the sincerity of both sides.
But on such an important issue it requires us to have an informed opinion of our own. What friends or family say is insufficient for creating any kind of public discourse.
Truth or Fiction
When the woman says it's my body is she correct? Here are two different articles with obviously contradicting opinions. Can you see any fallacies in either point of view?
When the embryo implants in the lining of the uterus, it emits chemical substances which weaken the woman's immune system within the uterus so that this tiny “foreign” body is not rejected by the woman's body. Were this tiny embryo simply “part of the woman's body” there would be no need to locally disable the woman's
Noam Chomsky, the most cited academic in the world, said that an unborn baby is “an organ” and a part of the mother's “own body” during a recent guest lecture at an Irish college. "There is a strong debate at the moment with regards to a woman's right to control ...
After the two articles and the photo do you Agree or Disagree with the following statements?
Do you believe the Mother and Embryo are two people or one?
Being Democratic, Republican, or thinking compassion
You can see I've put the issue of compassion outside of Democratic or Republican politics. I also know the American public is majority pro-life and open to abortion at the same time. Compassionate people can see something in both sides. But I don't think that foresight is a part of the process. Rather it's the stress of the moment when unplanned or risky pregnancies come along. Statistically the family or boyfriend makes the decision to abort more often than the woman.
The issue of the child itself and trust in the future of the situation are what should be considered most. What would make the decisions easier if there was non-judgemental support that was real. Often the deciding circumstance is that there is not support. For the young ladies I would point out that a boyfriend with income would be a good idea to start with. In fact, recognition of sexual activity without any thought of pregnancy would help forestall a crisis for everyone.
Poor reasons for Abortion
Compassion starts with listening. Listening should start with the young child at home and be available when wrong decisions leading to unplanned pregnancies occur. To my mind that includes knowing not to put an unborn child into risky circumstances. Between lack of planning and rape and incense many babies are conceived that are not wanted. For all the debate - shouldn't the discussion about what to avoid precede the unplanned pregnancy? Isn't listening a part of a two-way conversation?
Sexuality is not just a recreational activity. It has potentially life-changing implications. In truth, sex before marriage (and income) have life-changing implications. It's at this point I must confess my Biblical Christian orientation.
I cannot delay any longer side-stepping what I believe to be the clearest picture of compassion for these issues. The Christian faith holds the key to make "unplanned pregnancies" "planned" and relationships lasting, supportive, and financially stable. Compassion says we will not engage in any activity that is a direct threat to the continuation of this relationship and the nurture and wellbeing of any offspring.
When I see people deciding for abortion because of family convenience I cringe. I cringe even more when a woman refuses adoption saying "I couldn't do that to my child" and aborts the baby. Some of the men I was facilitating who weren't working told me they purposely got their girlfriend pregnant - a continuation of their irresponsible behavior.
I have met young women who had gotten pregnant through rape or incense suffer trauma over a family decision to abort even while the young lady wanted the baby. Even some men who were powerless to effect their girlfriend's desire for abortion had similar trauma to the women who were forced to have an abortion.
Valid Reasons for Abortion
There are several acceptable reasons for having an abortion per https://www.webmd.com/women/tc/abortion-reasons-women-choose-abortion Most of the reasons above share a a view that I believe the majority of Americans agree with. Conservative legislation to deny abortion in these cases will face stiff or impossible opposition.
These views are also held historically. One that's not on the list is the out-of-wedlock pregnancy and embarrassment to the family. Especially for political figures this situation is by and large an encumbrance to their electability. But outside of the legislation that they've passed against government assistance to those that are poor, the politicians are in a category where they have access to even partial birth abortions by going out of the country.
I personally don't see anything on WEBMD's list that would justify Abortion since God can handle any of these situations. Of course a person needs to be a Christian and be confident that God can really help. And the home church needs to be supportive and not judgemental.
This where the church needs to come in. There is so much unstated but open to our imagination as to the backgrounds of the situations listed by WEBMD. The church has the answer for them all. And that answer is that each life is precious for however long God decides to leave them in our midst. Very seldom is anything other than joy experienced by the couples who come forward to offer a home to their child or someone else's child whose parents were not ready to love the child.
Did You Pray?
All of us have had varying experiences in this area. All of us are going to have different views on what compassion looks like.
But JW is always going to ask - DID YOU PRAY?
© 2018 Jim JW Worcester