Abortion and Medical Necessity: Improving the Pro-Life Approach

Ambulance going with lights on and blurb background to show it's going fast

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Pro-life people really don’t like abortion. Shocking, right? But I don’t just mean that pro-life people believe abortion is morally wrong, which we do; pro-lifers have a strong emotional reaction—a moral aversion—to abortion which is often right and healthy.

What Pastors Need to Know about Abortion

Cross on wall in church

Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

Pastors very often, I think, would rather not speak publicly about abortion, even if they personally support the pro-life cause. This isn’t usually because they want to hide from the issue or because they don’t think it’s a truth worth defending, but because they are afraid of putting a stumbling block in the way of someone’s salvation. Pastors want pro-choice people to turn to Jesus because they need Him just as much as pro-lifers do. Ministers don’t want to be responsible for someone’s refusal to accept Christ because they pushed them away with a political position.

The Duality of Abortion: Simple and Complex

People often have trouble recognizing when two seemingly contradictory statements are both true and not at all contradictory. (Christians ought to have a bit more practice with this, since the nature of the Trinity, for one, is a hallmark example of this kind of thing.) But it’s not enough for things to seem contradictory, nor for someone to just assert that they can’t possibly coexist; it’s important to drill down to what the statements actually mean and whether those meanings are or aren’t compatible. Unfortunately, as is often the case in arguments about abortion, people like to stay at the “seeming” level and share snarky memes rather than engaging in this next level of critical thinking. 

And so one side of the debate tells us that abortion is a complex issue, too complex for simply banning it to be an option (but, it bears mentioning, not too complex to label those who oppose abortion as “anti-choice”). Every abortion situation is unique, they say, and every possible regulation on abortion could affect a woman’s life in myriad ways, so it’s best to keep our noses out of other people’s business and simply “trust women!” The other side maintains that abortion is fundamentally simple, and anyone who says otherwise is trying to distract from the fact that “babies are murdered here.” The assumption is that one or the other of these statements is correct; either abortion is simple, or it is complex. The reality, however, is that both statements are true: abortion is a simple issue and a complex issue.

Simple and complex

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Managing Anger as a Pro-life Advocate

Boiling tea kettle with steam

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

I don’t think it’s controversial to say each person is more inclined to certain errors based on his or her personality and temperament. For example, an anxious person would likely be more inclined to passivity or inaction, while a more gregarious person might be less likely to choose to sacrifice interpersonal relationships even if confrontation is warranted. Personally, I struggle with the host of potential errors associated with anger.

Do you know why it’s a struggle, why I can’t just “be less angry”? It’s because, as a pro-life person living in contemporary America, anger makes sense! Anger is a logical, appropriate, and even necessary response, to some degree. Just because anger is also dangerous, because it requires walking a knife’s edge to avoid causing further harm, doesn’t make it inherently wrong. And therein lies the temptation.

“Missed-Period Pills”: An Ethical Nightmare

Pink haired girl holding tray of pills

The University of California is beginning a study into public demand for “missed-period pills.” The pills are just misoprostol—half of the typical chemical abortion regimen—and what they are designed to do is procure a chemical abortion without the woman needing to know whether or not she’s pregnant. In other words, it’s either a chemical abortion or an unnecessary, unindicated medical intervention, but the patient doesn’t have to know which one.

Of note: the investigation seems to presuppose the rightness of providing the pills. The only questions the researchers seem to care about are: 1) will it effectively abort human embryos; and 2) will women purchase this, especially women who might not otherwise get an abortion. In other words, they want to help women who might be uncomfortable with abortion feel better by never knowing whether or not they were actually pregnant when they took the pill. It is, after all, just a pill for your “missed period.” The lead researcher, quoted in the linked article, hopes that the pills would be a simple prescription, able to be picked up at a pharmacy, in order to assure endemic abortion access.

These pills are an ethical nightmare. “Missed-period pills” violate multiple bioethical norms, and not just because elective abortion is wrongful killing. The pills are designed to promote and cater to cowardly ethical decision-making, all the while promoting a potentially less-safe form of abortion.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes