Friday, June 02, 2017

Choose Lives

I shouldn't be alive.  That sounds dramatic, I know, but statistically it's true.  In high school I remember debating a girl on the topic of abortion.  Her succinct argument was that I didn't have a right to speak up because I was a male.  But I think I have more of a right than most, simply for the fact that I am alive to say something.

You see, I was given up for adoption at birth.  My biological parents were unwed teenagers; I don't know their names or really anything else about them.  I was thankfully adopted at two weeks old; my adoptive family is the only family I've ever known.  I know many who haven't been as fortunate- being shuffled between foster families, never feeling settled or ever having a sense of 'home'.

So I should be militantly pro-life, knowing that adoption is always an option.  I was part of a youth/campus ministry for a time that had "life" as a top priority.  We would pray daily for the unborn.  I even participated in a march or two.  I got in a fight with a friend in college who refused to eat the Domino's Pizza I ordered because its owner donated to pro-life causes.

But I'm not.

Shortly after the debate mentioned above, a good friend became pregnant.  She was salutatorian of my graduating class.  She was allowed to walk, but she couldn't speak (our school was small enough both the valedictorian and salutatorian gave speeches).  She was vice president of our student council, but had to step down.  She was rejected, shunned, and made fun of (I confess to participating in the latter).  And when graduation day arrived, I could see the pain in her face as she held back tears.  My politics had a face.

This wasn't some Christian school in the bible belt.  This was just a small town, rural high school that remembered a time when a pregnant teenager would be sent away to stay with an "aunt" to save her family from embarrassment.

You might've seen a similar story in the past week, or maybe you read the young woman's op-ed in the Washington Post.  To say I relate is only partly true- I haven't felt that rejection, I haven't carried a baby to term, I wasn't afraid of what my future had in store and how every plan and dream I had now had to change.  But I've witnessed it.

I've witnessed it as an adult too.  I witnessed it as a young girl in the teen ministry I was helping lead became pregnant and was effectively, though not officially, disfellowshipped.  But my wife and I kept our door open- severing her dinner, babysitting while she looked for a job.  Around the same time, a good friend also got pregnant (must've been something in the water, as they say).  She was single.  She too was rejected by the church.  So the door to our home opened wider.  Then a friend of my wife returned from deployment in the Middle East and needed help, as a single mom, getting on her feet.  Another women had the exact opposite need, her husband was deployed and needed help with her kids as a functionally, though not technically, single mother.  All of this happened within a couple of years.  I look back at times like these and can see that God was at work, even if I didn't feel like it at the time; we had our own kids to deal with, after all!

A friend likes to quote the DJ/artist Moby, how Christians care more about the woman entering the abortion clinic than the woman leaving it.

This is how I feel about the pro-life/pro-choice debate.  My politics have done a complete 180 in the years since my Young Republican and College Republican days.

I wouldn't say I'm pro-choice however.  I just want to say that I understand.

Despite my politics leaning right, I appreciated the (old) Democratic platform with respect to abortion: it should be available, but rare.  Sadly they removed the "rare" qualifier during the last election cycle.

But a child isn't a right/left, life/choice dichotomy.  A mother is not a political football, being thrown downfield in either direction depending on who is on offense for the next four years.  There must be a "third way".

Yesterday, I listened to the latest Phil Vischer podcast with their guest Angie Weszely.  Angie was representing the ministry Pro Grace.  And she expressed everything I feel.

Check out the podcast.  And check out the ministry.  To say we are "pro-life" but only care about one of the two lives (really three, the men responsible are seldom considered in the debate) is only being half-honest.  We should be "pro-lives", plural.  And that is Pro Grace.

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