I’m pro-life. I’m Christian. But is that all there is to it?

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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I’m a professed Christian, and as a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that all life is sacred. I also believe that life begins at conception, from the moment the embryo is implanted in the mother’s womb and starts to take human form. Thus, as a pro-life Christian, I feel that abortion is wrong. Period. In fact, my first son was adopted, and while he’s now my angel in heaven, I will be forever grateful to his mother for giving me this precious gift of life.

But here’s the thing. Being pro-life doesn’t necessarily mean that I support regulations that outlaw it.

You may be thinking “WHAT? Of course it does. How can you be pro-life and not believe that abortion should be illegal?” Please hold that thought, and allow me to explain.

There’s a lot of data that show that anti-abortion restrictions aren’t really that effective in lowering abortion rates. The number of abortions declined 19 percent from 2011-2017. This trend was largely the result of fewer teen pregnancies due to affordable healthcare and readily available contraception, and not restrictive abortion policies.

Perhaps even more significant was that during this same period, the abortion ratio (the number of abortions per 100 pregnancies) declined by 13%. More women than ever before were giving birth versus aborting their babies—during OBAMA’s administration. The fact-checking site Snopes reports that “The abortion rate has steadily declined since the 1980s throughout both Democratic and Republican administrations, with a greater rate of decline during the former” (emphasis mine). And isn’t that what we want? Isn’t that the goal? So to reiterate: Research shows that the abortion rate goes down when healthcare is affordable and contraception is readily available—and the abortion rate has actually declined more during Democratic presidencies.

But for me, there’s something even more important at work here that goes beyond the statistics. Some of the laws that have been proposed and the rhetoric that surrounds them — like saying that women who abort their babies are murderers — sound just downright un-Christian. Aren’t we as Christians supposed to love and support those who are suffering (including that young woman who feels abandoned and afraid and doesn’t know how she will raise a child alone)? Don’t we as Christians believe that God should do the judging, and not the folks in Frankfort, or the folks in Washington, or those who would condemn a woman because of the decision she’s made? And doesn’t the Bible say “Let those who are without sin throw the first stone”?

It’s taken me a while to decide which side of the fence to straddle in the contentious abortion debate. What finally convinced me, however, was the term “baby killer” that some practicing Christians use when referring to someone who is a member of the Democratic party. I have family members and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of friends who are Democrats, and I don’t know of a single one who is in favor of abortion. NOT ONE. Not a single one. They don’t deserve to be demeaned and belittled, and often even hated, simply because they may be pro-choice (and many of them are not).

In fact, I’ve come to realize that this whole issue of abortion is being used as a political ploy to help politicians gain and stay in power. Here’s the Republican strategy: Let’s just tell everyone we’re pro-life and make abortion the greatest sin of all. Then we can paint every Democrat as being evil. We can convince people that every single Democrat — all 99 million of them — will go to hell because they support this terrible sin, and the rest of us (who of course are also sinners) will be saved. And we will win elections because good Christian people will believe it.

Yes – good Christian people, who are commanded not to judge lest ye be judged, will indeed judge every Democrat as being evil simply because of their choice of political party. Did you ever stop to think about why these same politicians have done nothing to overturn Roe v. Wade? Of course, why should they? The strategy has worked so well for them.

Perhaps the greater sin is that so many are using the abortion issue to divide our country and sow hatred. So many, including many faith leaders, are using abortion as a litmus test for being a Christian, when there are OH SO MANY other discerning morals that Jesus talked about that could be used – like the commandment to love they neighbor, or to welcome the stranger, or to feed the hungry, or to walk humbly with thy God.

So who are the real sinners here? Think about it. I urge my fellow believers to not be so blind in the current moment that you risk losing your very soul.

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Rebecca Powell is a retired educator who lives in rural Kentucky with her husband and two fur babies.

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