Abortion and Planned Parenthood are in the news again. Honestly, abortion should be a headline every day. The killing of precious little lives, even if they are in the womb, is unconscionable.
But, what is also unconscionable is what brings women to abortion clinics in the first place: an unplanned pregnancy and a feeling of being trapped. This is where we need to spend some time and money if we are going to lower the abortion rate. Young men and women need to learn about sex and contraception and have access to affordable contraception. For a long time, I was an advocate of abstinence-only sex education, but studies have shown that kids in those programs were getting pregnant at a higher rate than their peers; it wasn't working. Kids in comprehensive sex education programs are the ones getting pregnant later. And, nowadays, kids are becoming sexually active later no matter which program is being used.
Women need access to contraception. Whether or not it is fair, women control the contraception decisions in couples. And women are sexually active these days whether they are married or not. Affordable contraception is important. For working women, contraception is part of normal healthcare insurance. For women who don't work full-time, Planned Parenthood and other community resources are necessary. In any case, without contraception, abortion becomes the back-up plan. And it's a bad one.
Women also feel trapped in their pregnancies because of what happens after they give birth. Women already in poverty know that having a baby almost eliminates their chances of higher education. Trying to work, find childcare, and a reasonable living situation are difficult enough when you already live well below the poverty line. And more babies equals more pressure.
What can we, as Christians, do to help stop abortion? There are lots of things. There is the political route of voting for candidates who will not support abortion. But this post is focused on social issues. First of all, make sure your own children get a full understanding of sexuality and contraception. If you have the chance to help at a school, then do so. If you are a medical professional who can work at a free clinic that provides women's health-care, then do it. Not only can you help provide contraception, but you can counsel women about minimizing their number of sexual partners, preventing sexually transmitted infections, and choosing life. And we can all participate in anti-poverty programs. Giving food to the food bank, giving to Goodwill or other thrift stores, helping with childcare organizations. Anytime we help with poverty, we are giving women a chance to lift themselves a little higher.
These aren't my only thoughts on abortion, just the ones provoked by a Facebook post by Rachel Held Evans. When my head doesn't hurt so much, I'll write more. What are your thoughts??