I read with great interest a blog by 29-year-old Ashley M. Gorman, who recently wrote about the need for pro-life Christians to care about the born as well as the unborn. Of course, this assumes that we don’t already do that. And there begins the problem with Gorman’s blog.
Gorman seems to separate those who picket, protest, and ‘riot’ (why she used that term, I have no idea) from those who are committed to helping women in crisis and the children they deliver. Gorman makes some compelling arguments about the role of Christians who are called to care about those in need, and I would generally agree with those points. But where she loses me is when she claims most pro-lifers are “pro-birthers.” She writes:
Christians want the baby to be born, sure. They care about the birth of the baby. But do they really care about the actual life of the baby or mother?
It seems most pro-lifers are really just pro-birthers. They simply want the baby to be born, but when it comes to involvement in the quality of life for the baby or the mom, the majority of Christians don’t really care in an obvious or measureable [sic] way.
You see, as a long time pro-life activist, I have heard this very false accusation many times – but mostly from the opposition.
Gorman claims that because of her Christian beliefs she is opposed to both abortion and Planned Parenthood – and I have no reason to doubt her sincerity – but her accusations against pro-lifers are without merit.
How can Gorman pretend to know the majority of pro-life Christians in the nation? How can she possibly know how they spend their time and money, or to whom they minister? How could she know who they help and for whom they lay down their lives? There is simply no possible way to document the claim that pro-life people are not helping the born.
Why is it that only pro-lifers – with the abuse they face on a regular basis, with a general lack of help when ministering at abortion clinics, and with a need for more Christians offering help outside abortion clinics – must meet the needs of the world (or as Gorman puts it, “the born”)? Why must this responsibility rest squarely on the shoulders of, specifically, pro-life Christians?
Why doesn’t Gorman ask how Christians in general are meeting all these other needs?
However, if it satisfies Gorman’s curiosity, as a “pro-life Christian,” I can say that I, and many others, have personally helped many born people. How? We have welcomed women into our homes. We’ve helped young teens with health-related financial needs. We’ve fed the homeless, the elderly, and the poor. We’ve visited the sick, the downcast, the disabled, and the mentally impaired. We’ve personally given away thousands of our own hard-earned dollars to help those already born into this world.
It is an amazing thing that happens when Christians get out of their homes and onto the streets: God will bring people to us who are in need of ministry. Such is the case with every pro-life activist who speaks against abortion and offers help to women on the public sidewalks week after week after week. God brings people to them who are in need.
If we really want Planned Parenthood defunded or abortion to end, then we better get really familiar with our age-old buddy Isaac Newton. Every action has a reaction, remember? Both abortion and birth have consequences.
If the action is abortion, the reaction or consequence is the loss of 1,050,000 human lives per year in the U.S. (This is the total amount of abortions in the U.S. annually. Planned Parenthood’s contribution is 327,000 abortions last year.)
If the action is birth instead of abortion, the reaction or consequence is the gain of 1,050,000 human lives per year.
If you are holding up a pro-life sign, then you’d better be ready for 1.05 million new babies in our country on a yearly basis, and you’d better have a better plan than just “have the baby and see you later.”
Really? Only those who ‘hold up a pro-life sign’ need a plan? What about the pastors and church leaders who ignore the fact that children are dismembered in the womb in abortion facilities located in their very own communities? Just the over-worked, often tired, and maxed out pro-lifer needs to be ready? What nonsense!
This lecturing from Gorman is patronizing and uncalled for. Of course, pro-life people know that if the baby is not aborted, then he or she will be born. We’ve been in the trenches doing this for 40-plus years – where has Gorman been?
Gorman is incorrect to assume that the exact same number of babies would be born that are aborted. However, it is reasonable to assume the number will be substantial. What is not reasonable is to also assume that every woman who gets pregnant and is unable to access abortion needs help. Statistics show that many married women and those of normal financial means seek abortion.
According to Planned Parenthood’s former research arm, the Guttmacher Institute, poor women are already less likely than other women to end their pregnancies in abortion:
Compared with higher-income women, poor and low-income women are less likely to end an unintended pregnancy by abortion. Consequently, poor women have a relatively high unintended birth rate.
To her credit, Gorman points out the need for Christians to adopt children now and in the future. “This will mean a lot more mouths to feed and mothers to mentor, and a lot less time for excuses on how busy we are,” she writes. I agree.
Gorman then rightly challenges both herself and the Christian, writing:
This personally challenges me when I look around at my life, at my house even. We have an extra bedroom. It was originally intended for guests to have their own separate room and bathroom. But guess what? If the end of abortion ever comes, then I’d better be ready to have that room permanently filled with a mom in crisis or an adopted child.
But why does Gorman give herself permission to wait for “the end of abortion” before she takes action while criticizing “pro-life Christians” as being “pro-birth”? If Gorman is going to say that to be pro-life means to do more, then she must lead by example – she must act on her own convictions first as Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 (NIV):
How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
I am growing weary of the pro-life movement – especially those who tirelessly work to rescue children from the grip of death – being used as a scapegoat for the church’s lack of participation in pro-life work.
Just because caring for the born is important doesn’t mean caring for the unborn isn’t. We can care about both. Creating a general culture of life in which we care about the weakest members of society, the elderly, the poor, and others in need will never happen as long as we advocate for abortion or ignore the cause of the unborn.
While I agree with most of Gorman’s words, I disagree with what appears to be the spirit behind those words. This spirit points fingers at some of the hardest working and most devoted and giving people I know.
Perhaps the next opinion piece that Gorman writes on this subject will detail her own, personal efforts to help the needy now and not just once abortion ends.