Yesterday was the 42nd anniversary of the landmark court decision Roe v. Wade. Many who will read this will find themselves on the pro-life side of this issue. You will consider yourself a champion or at least a cheerleader for the unborn. You would agree life begins at conception. You would be sensitive to the fact that pregnancies can cause a real harm to the mother and the every measure should be taken to protect both the mother’s health and the baby. You would desire that teenage girls who find themselves pregnant would seek to carry the baby and then find support necessary to help her begin motherhood.
Ah…but here is the best kept secret about abortion; teens are not the ones getting them. That’s right, women ages 30-39 years old have twice as many abortions as teens. Woman ages 20-29 have four times as many abortions as teens. Over 80% of all reported abortions are by those in the college or career phase of life. Teens make up only 15% of all abortions (over age 40 amounts to about 3-4% of abortions). The single largest age group having abortions is 23-27 years old or the first 4 years of post college. The second largest age group is the college ages 19-23 and the third is ages 27-31.
How many of us when we think of abortion think in terms of the teenage girl who because of shame and her young age decides to have an abortion? While not diminishing or minimizing the reality of such cases, the truth is the real face of abortion is the young career woman (and by association the young career man).
Career Chasing, Delayed Marriage and Wimpy Men
Abortion, as it turns out, has been less about teenagers having sex as it about 20 something’s who want to delay marriage and family for a host of mostly selfish reasons. The selfishness revolves around wanting to enjoy sex but not what sex produces–babies. Babies get in the way. Harsh, but it is a very real truth in the minds of some. Babies complicate relationships. I want to have sex with this guy but I do not want to be tied to him for life; I want my options left open. Maybe I will marry him, but not now. Babies also cramp the career panache of life. Once I’m settled into my career then I will start a family, but, in the meantime I really want to be able to have sex. See a pattern here?
Lest I seem to be piling on the women, men are just as responsible! It is a wimp of a man who cannot own up to responsibility. If you create life, be a man and be responsible for it. Don’t pawn off your spawning. That is weak and selfish. Selfish, because it foists upon a woman the weight of life and death. A real man provides, yes, but he protects. Running from owning your actions leaves a woman vulnerable and unprotected, the antithesis of manhood. If you’re man enough to make a life then be man enough to protect it.
The Bait and Switch
Abortion as it has turned out has undermined the institution of marriage and promoted the pursuit of mammon. For those less inclined to know what mammon is, it is simply money or the stuff of this world. Jesus taught this simple yet profound truth, “You cannot serve two masters.” Abortion tries to say you can. You can have sex, you can pursue a career, you can have a family exactly when you want. You can have it all. Except it comes at a high price no one ever tells you about a head of time. Kind of like buying that cheap printer for $50. You think, “Wow, that was easy and didn’t cost much at all.” Then you go to buy the ink replacement and it costs a small fortune and you say, “Hey, wait a minute, I just wanted a cheap printer I didn’t expect it to be this much.” Too late, gotcha. Once you buy into the lie you can have it all and it won’t cost you anything you have unwittingly bowed to the master of mammon.
Jesus goes on to say, “Either you will love the one or hate the other.” Something is the master of our lives and we can’t have two of them. Jesus means we will either love this world or we will love Him. Now, when He says world2 He is not talking about beautiful sunrises, walks in the park and so on, He is talking about the philosophies of this world that are diametrically opposed to His wisdom. Sex outside of marriage is one of those philosophies diametrically opposed. Murder is as well (I type those words with great care and empathy to those who may have had an abortion!). We must be honest about this issue and what is really going on. We are falling for the old bait and switch. We are too focused on the immediate and the material instead of the eternal and spiritual.
What About Us Christians?
Is the church practicing anything much different? Yes,3 but we too are susceptible to the subtle pull of career chasing and marriage delaying. When we do, or when we encourage our children to; we put them in an almost impossible position of staying pure. Which master are we really following? This is something the church must think deeply about in approaching our youth.
The Now and Then
The issue of abortion is not one woman’s rights or freedom to choose. Those arguments are framed within a too narrow of a view that there is nothing beyond today; there is only the immediate. The issue of abortion really is an eternal one. What is done cannot be undone for all of time. No one can go back and erase anything. Decisions we make must not be dogmatically tied to the here and now but must be tied to the now and then. I decide to do “this”, whatever “this” is, then what? Then I do “that”, whatever “that” is, then what? If you ask the question, “Then what?” enough you get to the ultimate question, “Then I die, then what?” Indeed then what? Life is a sequence of interconnected events and choices that for all of us cease one day. Then what?
While nothing done can be undone and events cannot be erased, everything can be forgiven. If we will by faith believe in Jesus, believe in His sacrifice on the cross, believe that He is the resurrected Son of God and make Him our master instead of mammon all will be forgiven. There will be no condemnation for anything done. Healing will be found. A master who leads us to green pastures awaits us.
Abortion is mostly about a choice to enslave ourselves to a deceptive master; mammon. We want what we want and we are told we can have it but we are not told what it will cost until it’s too late. It’s worse than a well kept secret, it’s a lie.
2 See 1 John 2:15-17
3 Research by the Center for Reason claims Christians have as many abortions as non-Christians but the research does not delineate between nominal Christians and active born again Christians. This author believes the latter would show lower rates.