The Pro-life Position and Caring for the Baby
In his February 2, 2005, contribution, Greg Koukl on the Stand to Reason Weblog takes on a position that I have heard taken by pro-abortion advocates for years, namely: Unless a pro-life person is personally willing to care for the infant, they should not stand in the way of the abortion. As Greg puts it: "[P]ro-lifers have no right to oppose abortion unless they’re willing to care for the woman and her child."
Personally, I find this position ludicrous, and Greg makes it rather clear why such a position is ludicrous:
If you’re confronted with this challenge, take a moment to restate the claim without the spin. What’s actually being asserted is amazing, when you think about it.
“If I understand you right, you’re saying I can’t object to the killing of unborn children unless I am willing to care for those children? Is that right?” Then ask, “Do you really believe that I can only object to the killing of children if I’m willing to raise them myself? Why would you believe a thing like that?”
It simply does not follow that because one objects to the killing of innocent human being, he must be willing to care for those that survive. Imagine, for example, how bizarre it would sound if someone argued, “You have no right telling me not to beat my wife unless you’re willing to marry her,” or, “Unless you are willing to hire ex-slaves for your business, you have no right to oppose slavery.” (Indeed, slave owners used this very argument a century ago.) In the same way, abortion is not justified if pro-lifers fail to care for those (both mother and baby) involved in a crisis pregnancy.
This position is plainly ridiculous. Moreover, I doubt that most people would want the same rule applied to something they care about. In fact, that is the tactic I would propose that you take. If, for example, you know that the person with whom you are speaking cares for endangered species, then perhaps you can say: "Well, you can only oppose the killing of (pick your favorite endangered species, e.g., the spotted owl, the black bear, the California condor) if you are willing to take all of these animals and care for them in your home/apartment."
If they are passionate against the continued killing in the aftermath of the Iraq War, tell them something like: "Well, you can only oppose the killing of terrorists in Iraq if you are willing to care for (name your favorite terrorist) in your own home."
If they are avidly against the death penalty, perhaps you can suggest that they can only oppose it if they are willing to care for the convicted murderer.
I think you get the picture. I am sure there are dozens more such examples if you take the time to think it through. In fact, I encourage you to do so picturing in your mind people who you know who are, in fact, pro-abortion. Think through what these people's other passions and try to come up with some similar counter-argument if they should ever try to pull this argument on you. Remember, being fore-armed to respond will make you a better apologist.
By the way -- even though we may not personally be willing to care for each and every child who is not aborted as the result of the woman's exercise of her responsibility as a mother to care for the child in her womb, I know of no Christian who seeks to simply abandon the mother. Greg points out that we have wonderful organizations like the Crisis Pregnancy Centers that do seek to help both the mother and the child -- both before and after his/her birth.
As a point of fact, though, there are more crisis pregnancy centers—pro-lifers who are willing to care for those involved in crisis pregnancies—then there are abortion clinics in this country. Roughly 4,000 national and international pro-life service providers are dedicated to the well-being of mothers in crisis who choose life for their children. They provide medical aid, pregnancy support, housing, baby clothing, cribs, food, adoption services—even post-abortion counseling services—all at no cost.
If you are an expectant mother reading this and wondering what to do, don't abort. Find one of these wonderful centers (while not as numerous as the Planned Parenthood abortion mills, they are in most areas) and consult with them. There is even a webpage that is devoted to crisis pregnancy counseling. Being pregant is not easy and carrying a child to term is hard, but by making the choice for life now, you will be sparing yourself agony and self-doubt in the years ahead. Just as importantly, you will be saving the life of someone very, very special -- your baby.