NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Recent press reports hailed the news that the number of U.S. women having an abortion is at “its lowest level since 1976.” Yet there is little agreement as to what is leading to the decline or if the alleged drop in abortions is a statistical anomaly.
Some point to increased accessibility to “contraceptive technology” while others suggest programs that stress abstinence deserve credit. Not mentioned but worth noting is the fact that the number of women in the age range most likely to abort a child has declined since the Roe v. Wade court decision — many having been aborted.
But most important to note is the fact that despite a drop in the number of abortions, an estimated 1.29 million babies were aborted in 2002. There is little, if any, reason to celebrate when for every 1,000 pregnancies there were 242 abortions.
An important shift in Americans’ views on abortion is taking place. Over the last five years, the number of people considering themselves “pro-life” rose from 33 percent to 43 percent while the number calling themselves “pro-choice” declined from 56 percent to 48 percent. And even with nearly half of Americans polled labeling themselves “pro-choice,” only 27 percent of those citizens believe abortion should be legal with no restrictions (as is currently the case).
Yet abortion remains a deadly option for women who want to end a pregnancy, and it is estimated that 47 percent of unplanned pregnancies are ended by abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America expresses the views of those who argue for a woman’s right to take her unborn baby’s life, calling abortion a “basic human right.” Ann Furedi, an official with Great Britain’s largest provider of abortion services, claims, “We should stop seeing abortion as a problem and start seeing it as a legitimate and sensible solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancy.”
So, while those favoring severe restrictions on abortion (including banning the procedure) are gaining adherents, nearly 1.3 million babies are still being aborted each year and many people are dedicated to allowing the killing to continue. Much work needs to be done. What can you and I do to help stem this deadly tide?
Build a foundation of truth that respects human life in your family and community. Instill in your children the truth that God is Creator and that human life is precious. Stress the value of a pure lifestyle and respect for the sanctity of marriage. Make sure young people understand they do have a real choice — to not be sexually active outside of a marriage relationship.
Support the work of pregnancy care centers in your area. The vast majority of abortion-minded women who go to such a center change their mind and decide to keep their baby, especially if the center has ultrasound services available so she can hear her baby’s heartbeat and see his or her developing form. Pregnancy care centers often are the last hope to save a baby’s life, and they introduce many desperate mothers to Jesus Christ.
Search for ways to aid women facing unexpected pregnancies by providing housing, medical care and proper nutrition. Provide emotional and other support to women who decide to place their child for adoption. Help those families who are considering adoption or foster care.
Take your faith-directed beliefs and values into the public square. Don’t hesitate to support public policy and political candidates that actively advocate saving babies’ lives. Realize that hearts and minds need to be changed on this important issue.
The count of babies aborted is more than just a cold statistical tally; each number represents an innocent little life that did not have a choice about its future.
Women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation need your help. If we, whose own lives have been redeemed by Christ, will not offer emotional and spiritual support for women facing a difficult pregnancy and for women who made the tragic decision to have an abortion, who will? If not us, who? If not now, when? If not this, what?
We have an obligation as Christians instructed to be “salt” and “light” to get involved and be part of the solution to the moral monstrosity of abortion on demand.
Reprinted from Faith & Family Values, journal of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.