As a 13 year old girl in 1972 I found myself cheering on the equality of women and men in society with the mantra, equal work-equal pay! In that same year, a nationwide debate ensued on the role of abortion in society and it culminated with the Supreme Court decision now popularly known as Roe v. Wade. As I tried to think through this issue, I simply could not internalize the weightiness of such a monumental decision. I certainly agreed that women should be in charge of their own bodies. On the other side I completely agreed that God is our Creator and that life begins with God in the womb. David the psalmist eloquently spoke these words about the moment life begins. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place., when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13,16
I remember the many debates and arguments at that time between those who were pro-life and those who were pro-choice. Would there be exceptions in the case of rape or incest? The debate generally revolved around the life of the child vs. the life of the mother and the question remained which was most important. Was one more important than another? The pro-choice movement announced soon thereafter that this life inside of the mother was not that of a child, but rather that of a fetus. What does science have to say about this? "At what point is a fetus considered a life? Close to 95% of scientists believe that a human life may be considered a human person at fertilization. On the other hand, the minority attribute personhood once the physical appearance of a fetus resembles the mature human form at about week 9 of gestation during embryogenesis. (princeton.edu, 2017). The American College of Pediatricians have this as their official statement on the beginning of life in March 2017. The predominance of human biological research confirms that human life begins at conception—fertilization. At fertilization, the human being emerges as a whole, genetically distinct, individuated zygotic living human organism, a member of the species Homo sapiens, needing only the proper environment in order to grow and develop. The difference between the individual in its adult stage and in its zygotic stage is one of form, not nature. This statement focuses on the scientific evidence of when an individual human life begins.
Yet, on January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision in the Roe v. Wade . The highest court delivered a ruling in favor of "Jane Roe" (Norma McCorvey) holding that women in the United States had a fundamental right to choose whether to have abortions without excessive government restriction and striking down Texas's abortion ban as unconstitutional (wikipedia). Wade was the Texas attorney general upholding the Texas anti-abortion law case . In the 1990's Norma McCorvey had an amazing evangelistic conversion and began to speak out against abortion. However, it is hotly debated whether this conversion was sincere and if her anti-abortion position was genuine. In a 2021 documentary she declared that she had been paid for her transformation by Operation Rescue and others in the pro-life movement. Be this as it may, many believe that our Jane Doe (Norma McCorvey) had been manipulated and swayed one too many times by financial incentives. A most interesting piece of this story is that Norma McCorvey never had an abortion. At the present time, Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for close to 50 years, and thanks to a majority of women in the Democratic party, women have become convinced that abortion is their right.
Interestingly enough, even many religiously oriented people in our country believe that abortion is a right! The argument goes something like this. If our country does not allow this freedom for women, many women will die getting abortions in backstreet abortion sweat shops. More than likely most women are more intelligent than this; however, I do recognize that some women in poverty may not believe they have any other choice. Yet, I think the more likely scenario will be women traveling across state lines to a state that allows abortion, The idea of overturning Roe v. Wade is not an end to legal abortions. It is merely the opportunity for states to make that decision through the ballot box. This is a decision I believe we the people should be able to make.
Still, I think that with or without Roe v. Wade women will always have a choice. As women we are responsible for our own bodies. We choose who we allow or do not allow into our lives. I know there are certainly exceptions- as possibly may be in the case of rape or incest. I just cannot understand why a woman would want to destroy a life growing in her body unless it were because of such a horrible experience. Now, I have never had children; and I have made very different choices in my life. But, I want to say that I will not judge another woman who made different choices. I do want to say that there are thousands of couples across our country who cannot have children; and they would be very happy to adopt a child from the US, but many have had to turn to other countries where there are many orphans who need the love of a parent. I also will say that I have been in the company of women who have had abortions; and they would do anything possible to reverse that decision. Unfortunately, they must live with the repercussions of that decision they made. Some have terrifying flashbacks and nightmares. Many have serious health problems as a result of an abortion. A push for "rights" over a woman's body must begin before a woman finds herself in such a difficult position. However, I believe there are many who do not have the understanding or the maturity to make that decision before it is too late. I believe it is very important that we surround these women with compassion and support. However, abortion is not an act of compassion or support; and it certainly will never solve a woman's problems. I do believe along with rape and incest, there may be a place for abortion if the mother's life or the life of the child is in danger, but honestly these situations are often rare.
As I think about my fourteen year old self trying to understand what it mean to be pro-choice or pro-life, I am thankful that I chose to be on the side of life. I am convinced that women should not use abortion as a form of birth control. I Corinthians 6:19, 20 reminds us "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." The God of the universe created us to be in communion with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. He created our bodies to honor and serve Him. He created us male and female in order to be a family unit; and children are a blessing of the Lord in this family unit. He created families to be safe spaces through the sacrament of marriage. When we choose to go outside of His plan, our Father longs to put His arms around us and to bring us back into His fold.
Unfortunately, we have lost sight of the value of the family in 21st century America. It is not too late to return to the faith and the values for which our country was founded. "If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." This Scripture found in the Chronicles of the Kings, II Chronicles 7:14 was true for the people of Israel and the land of Judah and is just as true today. If we want our country to find true healing and God's blessing, we must choose life!