Start With Love
My Dissenting Opinion Re SCOTUS overturn Roe V Wade & What It Has Done in Texas
There are some amazing things that happen when you encounter God. Also, there are equally as horrible things that can happen when you encounter “Christians” doing and saying things in Jesus name.
And if you are grossly offended by this statement, then I am not sure that there is a future for us. Because if you can’t grasp that, then you can’t grasp that there are those still today who are marginalized; not necessarily by society as a whole, but specifically by Christians as they categorize sins and preferences as they continue to legislate religion accordingly.
Ultimately, this is where my heart breaks and this is the side I’m on and against the hatred and harsh judgment vomited out by “Christian” drive-by keyboard warriors. This is far more important to me than my chosen side that I address here in a few paragraphs.
These people are my mission field. This is where my heart is. My heart is for people who suffer from some form of Post Traumatic Churchy People Syndrome. People who have been marginalized by Christians, well-meaning faith keepers or not. When I beg God for the opportunity to move out of Texas, He reminds me, “Daughter, this is EXACTLY where you need to be.” I believe, I will be granted my desire to move one day to where there are mountains, rivers, trees, gentle breezes, fresh air and a quiet mountain town where I will find amazing community and a spirit of love for others. But for now, I am exactly where God wants me to be… in Texas. So,let’s keep the comments about moving out of Texas and take the Californians with me to yourself, ok?
I am writing this in response to the Roe Vs Wade reversal by SCOTUS. I started writing it when the decision was leaked during the first part of May. So, it’s not a rash reaction. It’s my story. And I will warn you, this is a long read. So, just be prepared for that. I do have quite a bit to say and some arguments to address. But it seems with this one single event, I have become a political & religious refugee. (I no longer have a political party & a great number of people in the Christian faith - including family, friends, my own pastor) disagree with me.
For those of you who don’t know me; or think you know my story (but don’t), let me start with some context.
I am an adoptee. I was adopted as an infant by my mom and dad. Later, they adopted a baby boy infant.. This is my family. (I have also found my birth family and they are very special to me as well.)
I am also a birth mother who placed my newborn son for adoption.
I have had 30 years of peer counseling experience - that has afforded me hours upon hours of listening to countless others navigate rough waters of crisis pregnancy or dealing with issues that come up in life as an adoptee.
I am a Christian.
I support the SCOTUS opinion & the overturn of Roe v. Wade because it returns that decision to the states because there is nothing in our constitution that protects women nor the unborn. I do, however, vehemently oppose abortion bans before 20-22 weeks.
Here’s the thing. Both sides on this issue just want to wrap their side up in a neat, pretty bow. Trouble is, there is nothing about this issue that is neat nor pretty. It’s messy. I am going to try to go through this point by point. I hope you can keep an open mind. Don’t discount me just because you disagree with me. I hope you will hear me out.
Legislated Religion (Entitled Approach)
My biggest, pet-peeve issue with banning abortion is that this is legislated religion and forcing a belief system about when life begins upon people who don’t believe the same as we do. When we legislate religion, we alienate & invoke further resentment against Christianity by non-believers. Many don’t even get as far as to hear the gospel and make a choice - their choice is made before they ever hear the gospel due to actions like this one.
Guess what? We can’t throw Biblical perspective and quote Scripture at them because they don’t care. Ana Kasparian’s short rant here is about as close to wrapping this point up in a not-so-neat package.
Non-believers don’t care about what we believe. Until we try to legislate it and force it upon them. Then they care a lot. . . LESS! And they get downright hostile about it!
When we try to legislate religion, we also are in effect trying to establish an earthly kingdom rather than a heavenly one - which Christ was very specific He was not here to do - so why should we? And through this, it’s like we are trying to make our life here on earth … more comfortable. That is NOT what we are here to do! Love God. Love others. Build His Kingdom - a place not of this world. It is NOT our charge to legislate our beliefs into law. This is an entitled approach, at best.
Transformation Starts With One’s Heart, Not One’s Laws
Legislating beliefs will never change someone’s heart. The true transformation comes when someone is taught to value life. For someone who values life and even the potential of life, abortion isn’t even an option except maybe for a fleeting second. So, in order to change this, we have to look at how we regard all life - how we treat those different from us, by race, by sexual identity / orientation, homeless, immigrants, disenfranchised, mentally ill, addicts, adulterers, law breakers (murderers, scammers, pedophiles), etc. How do we value the lives of the fallen or on the fringes of society? How do we treat those coming out of the back door of abortion clinics? Those who’ve had abortions? How do we love these people? How do we value them? Our children are watching - and this is where they learn whether or not - and how to value life.
“What would Jesus do?” is not just an 80’s movement of religious youth groups. It’s not just a saying on a T-Shirt or other merchandise. And it’s not just a hashtag #wwjd on a silicone wristband. It’s a legitimate question! If we are Jesus followers, we need to look at what He would do, right?
Jesus is known for hanging out with those who the society of his day marginalized and completely disenfranchised. If you grew up in the Christian faith, you probably can name off some of these: lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, adulterers, thieves (hung out literally), demon possessed, sick, lame, blind, and the list goes on. Guess who else Jesus loved and even had in his inner circle of friends that were marginalized by his society. Any guesses?
Women. We do the things that are important to us when we know that death is coming, right? Shortly before He was crucified, He went and spent time with Mary and Martha.
Jesus never addressed the unborn or abortion during his 3 short years of ministry on Earth. It wasn’t an important issue or else He would have said something.
What Does the Bible ACTUALLY Say About Life & the Unborn Child
Did you know that the Bible does speak about abortion? Yeah. I was surprised, too! I will get to that passage in a minute. I was asked several years ago to present a Biblically based argument for a Pro-life debate. When I did my Bible study - I found nothing to support a pro-life perspective biblically. This absolutely dumbfounded me! The ONLY 2 instances in the Bible where a woman experienced the death of the unborn and it was brought into question under the law or under a priest, the unborn child was not of value nor consideration. One, a woman was assaulted. She survived the assault; but lost the pregnancy. Her husband sought damages from the man who assaulted her. He was awarded damages for her injuries - but not for the resulting miscarriage. Exodus 21:20-23
Then, imagine my complete surprise when I discovered that abortion is indeed mentioned in the Bible! The second place I found where an unborn child was lost, it was induced intentionally! Numbers 5:20-31 .. a priest actually induces abortion when a husband suspects his wife of having sexual relations with another man and is jealous. The woman will bear the consequences of her sin. The way it’s worded is also interesting because it happened because the husband couldn’t deal with his jealousy. Had the husband not been jealous, she would not have been forced to drink the bitter drink that caused her miscarriage. There is so much to unpack here & lots to overthink. But I will just keep it on point - that a priest induced a miscarriage (abortion) because a woman’s husband was jealous and suspected (not proved) an affair.
After realizing that the Bible didn’t say what I assumed it would say about the unborn, my immediate response was, “God, please no. This is not where I wanted this to land!” But I can’t ignore where God led me through this study. No matter how much I want to. My argument up until that point was personally because of my faith, I landed on pro life side; politically, I land squarely on pro-choice. But now, I really couldn’t say that with a clear conscience. I am pro-life - but that doesn’t make me anti-abortion. I am pro-choice - but that doesn’t make me pro-abortion. I value life - I just have an opinion about when exactly life begins. While abortion isn’t my personal choice, I don’t believe I have any place robbing others of the option.
It’s hard to have a conversation with a right to life proponent for very long before they point to Psalm 139 where David poetically dwells on the thought of God knitting him together in his mother’s womb. A living, breathing, already born man acknowledges God as the Creator. I’ll just say that as a creative, I have many projects I started that get interrupted, fail or don’t get completed. I’m not God, of course; but I just don’t see this verse as helping the right to life argument. I can have a well made lamp - but if I never turn it on, it never achieves its purpose. This is really great poetry and praise for what God has done in the author’s life.
One comment I saw was that scientifically a heart beat is a sign of life. Ok, so if your heart is beating, but you are not breathing - are you truly alive? Or is that a sign of possible or potential life?
This really begs the question, “When does life begin?”
A closer look through Bible study, breath is the metaphor for life and the source of life through countless Scriptures. Adam (Genesis 2: 7) Ezekiel and the Dry Bones (EX 37: 5, 9, 14) In verse 8 Ezekiel even says with muscle and skin there was no life. 1 Thes 3:8 and Job 33:4 also refer to the breath of NEW life. (Not 8 month life after a heart starts beating in the womb.)
In fact, nowhere does it discuss heartbeat = life. Just something to think about before dying on this hill - without knowing what the Bible says about it.
The other argument I hear is the sin of “interfering with God’s work …”
That is not only stretching it - but it’s a bit dramatic.
Arrogant to think we could even do such a thing.
Infertility treatment, birth control - isn’t that interfering with God’s work as well?
So, who’s interfering with God when a woman suffers a miscarriage?
Here’s one for you: I suffered numerous miscarriages & then, infertility in my thirties. So, if miscarriages are spontaneous abortions - & I’m having several of them, is that cruel? So, should I get on birth control to avoid conceiving & losing more? Which exactly is the thing that is interfering with God’s work? Where should personal responsibility be taken in this case? What if I told you I was over 50 when I learned that it was an unidentified autoimmune issue that caused the miscarriages? Who’s fault is that? Who interfered then?
The only way that I could interfere with God’s work is the work He desires to do in my own life. If I ignore Him in that, then that is blasphemy. Then we have a problem. But a blanket explanation that ending a pregnancy voluntarily is interfering with God’s work, I just don’t buy it. It is so arrogant to think as a human we could even do such a thing!
Do we really love people for their flesh or do we love their souls?
I believe our souls were complete and our identity and purpose assigned long before our physical vessels were created. I believe we are merged with the flesh with that life-giving breath we take once we are outside the womb. When we are born and our lungs filled with fluid that is replaced with air - that is life. I believe we are naturally fully capable of breathing after about 28 weeks. With the aid of technology around 22 weeks. So, I support abortion bans beyond 20 weeks. But the heartbeat laws and total bans on abortion - I do not support.
We’ve been given this amazing capacity to love potential. This comes in extremely handy when it comes to relationships - falling in love and being open to the future with this person because of this love. We see (or imagine or even, in some cases, hallucinate) all the potential there & create dreams based on that potential. It works great because potential veils the reality long enough for us to get married and then a little while later when reality does not mean our envisioned potential, we find ourselves wondering, “What were we thinking?” We were thinking about the potential.
This same capacity gave us the ability to love the potential of life. A heart beat is a sign of the potential for a viable pregnancy. When we are born and take that life-giving breath - potential has become reality.
Laws to Protect a Species
One meme / post that I see pop up a lot is a meme about migrating swallows and how federal laws protect nests with eggs in them - but not the unborn (humans). Those laws are in place to protect an entire endangered SPECIES - not the unborn specifically. Because sadly, mankind will simply kill the animals or move their nests simply for nature being in their way and these animals need laws to protect them to keep them from going extinct and upsetting our ecological system on this planet.
When humans start becoming extinct then maybe we can put strict laws in place to protect our species. But for now, animal species need protection from US!
You Don’t Know Me
I was asked to present a pro-life speech or argument on a number of occasions because people in my life who know my story always assume I am pro-life because of the choice I made to place for adoption. I was Pro-Life - to my limited understanding of it - up until I experienced a crisis, unwed pregnancy in early adulthood. I chose to carry the pregnancy full term & place my baby for adoption. Not because I was still Pro-Life. But because I researched abortion and the risks with that choice are great. I wasn’t willing to put my fertility nor my life at risk with that decision. [Full disclosure: Had the abortion pill been an option during that time with more limited risks, I might have taken than option.]
People flippantly say “have the baby and place it for adoption!” That is their solution. I saw a social media post about all of the agencies that provide some support for new mothers with babies that they didn’t abort. I’ve volunteered for agencies like this and they care more for the unborn than they do about the mother. The newborns get all of the focus and care with diapers and formula and clothes. That support ends though. The consequences of forcing this woman to carry a child to term - is a life sentence and commitment to this child she may not be ready to make. So, are you going to be there with her until that child turns 18?
I know there are some sweet, tender souls out there who talk about how barbaric abortion is. The abortion pill is not - yet the state I live in also blocks access to that. If you are so concerned about these “babies” and the barbaric nature of abortion, get laws passed that require anesthesia so there is no pain - or govern the procedure itself. The Scripture I quoted earlier, the mother was given a drink that induced the death / miscarriage. This is different from the abortion medical procedure that exists today.
I will say that many of the attitudes that have been thrown towards these women and the keyboard solutions thrown out there for the women are equally barbaric - just in a different way.
People who throw out that adoption solution have absolutely ZERO idea of what they are asking that woman to do. Those putting legislation into place forcing / limiting options have zero idea of what they are doing and more often than not have faced this crisis themselves - or have had to live with the consequences.
I am both adopted and a birth mother and I can tell you both have profoundly affected me in ways I still struggle with today to even describe. Suicide rate is extremely high among birth mothers. Addiction and PTSD are extremely high among adoptees.
Not enough detail for you. Ok let me tell you what you are asking that woman to do when you throw out the adoption solution to her:
She goes to a free clinic for a pregnancy test. If she’s lucky, it’s NOT a right to life clinic. If she’s not lucky, she will take the test and then be forced to watch an abortion on video while listening to dialogue that guilt trips her into a decision before she is given her results. (That horrible, graphic video still causes me nightmares today - it was one of the worst experiences of the whole thing.) Then a volunteer will give her their phone number and say they are there to listen or talk - but as she will soon discover, they really aren’t.
She carries a pregnancy to term. For many, especially a first time pregnancy, this is no small nor casual feat. It’s scary - even when you’re in the best possible scenario and you want the child and you’re married and have someone going through it with you. It’s a big deal. Tons of extra care, extra doctor visits, extra vitamins, extra precautions, extra expenses.
If she’s in a “Christian” community, you are asking her to endure an emotional confrontation with her parents that she can never be ready for. They may surprise her. Insist on abortion or be disowned. Or, they insist on keeping the child, I’ve talked to women who wanted to place and the father of the baby - his family insisted she keep the baby with zero offer of marriage or support - just the fact that they weren’t going to let her give their blood away to strangers. It happens more often than you think. (My advice is ALWAYS don’t tell the father or his family - refuse to name the father - DNA can sort it out later if need be. I wish I had never told the sperm donor of the child I placed for adoption. He denied to his family that he was the father and the next point happened.)
If she’s in Christian circles, then here is where the load you’re asking her to carry compounds a hundred fold. She endures the disgrace and shame from family, fair-weather friends, and rumors. Harassing phone calls. Nasty notes left on her windshield. And lots of assumptions about her promiscuity and openness to physical encounters either during the pregnancy with remarks like “hey we could have sex and not have to worry about you getting pregnant.” And then assumptions made forever thereafter by everyone aware of this part of her story.
Friends, family and even her own doctor and staff - even though it is against privacy policies - will give her number out to people they know who want to adopt. She will have to change her phone number because her phone won’t stop ringing with hopeful adoptive parents wanting her baby. I could have sold my baby for a million dollars - no joke! It was crazy!
If she’s going through an adoption agency, she is more than likely being lied to, threatened and fed NCFA rhetoric about the non-existent, insignificant part she has to play in this whole thing. She will be told she can pass on medical information that she painstakingly puts together every year only to find out years later not only was it not passed on, but when the adoptive family asked for it, they were told the agency had no information. (As in, the birth mom didn’t care enough to ever check back for updates or pass along the information.)
You are asking her to leave the hospital after all of that with empty arms that will haunt her with a very specific kind of grief for the rest of her life. A grief that never lets go & forever reminds her that she chose this. It’s a self-inflicted grief poured on top of a plate of trauma of the entire ordeal in the months that led up to this. Emotional detachment that makes her completely unaware of the damage she’s causing to the people who dare stay by her side or love her. And that people will judge her for said detachment. Something that just can’t be fixed, She will just have to be made aware of it & then work ten times harder to go through the motions to compensate for it with a constant fear of failing those she loves most.
We can’t force decisions that we don’t have to live with on other people and leave them to figure out how to live with these limited options and life thereafter. This is why I am pro-choice. I am a patriot. I relish my freedom to believe as I believe and embrace the faith I choose. I refuse to support anything that legislates taking the same rights to choose away from anyone by legislating a belief system. If you don’t like abortion, then don’t get one! But stop trying to control the lives of others by bullying them in the name of your belief system with a guidebook which really doesn’t back your position up anyway!
Not everyone can survive a choice to place for adoption.
Not everyone can survive being forced to be a parent when either they don’t want to be or are not ready for.
Not everyone can survive abortion as their choice.
But the right to make the choice that’s best for oneself should be an inalienable right of every person in our country as long as it does no harm to a living, breathing human. (That does NOT include something with potential to be living, breathing.)
I live in Texas which recently passed the heartbeat and trigger laws. Same state whose leaders specifically target transgenders, etc. This is not done from a place of love. This is fear… of people different from us .. or a fear of just being uncomfortable .. take your pick. I used to be proud to be a Texan. Not so much anymore.Someone told me that everything is bigger in Texas except the hearts of the religious right and the “Evil 3 Shiny Amigos” administering policy for our state. I can see why someone would say that.
We can’t shortcut or direct and legislate our soul saving directive! It doesn’t work that way. We have to be in relationship with people. We have to love God and love the people. . . the way Jesus loves them. It is by our love that others will know Christ - not our political policies.
What we are clearly commanded to do is love. I am going to love these mothers no matter what they’re done to get to this point; no matter what they choose to do to move beyond this point. I am not going to die on a hill for the unborn at the expense of the living, breathing mothers hosting them. I am going to love them no matter what they’ve done to get to this point or what they choose to do in order to move forward. My prayer is that others I encounter will want to know Christ because I was able to shine a light on Him and love them in a way that begins to open their hearts to the transformation that only God can have a hand in.
John 13:35 “For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”
They will know us by our love. Not by our labels. Not by our hashtags. Not by what legislation we pass, support - or don’t. Not by our opinions. Not by what we say.
Imagine with me for a few minutes:
Your governor just posted high praise for the SCOTUS opinion overturning Roe v Wade.
This is how people respond:
“We’ve never held the right to convenience. That’s (a woman’s decision to make her own choices) disgusting!”
“You play, you pay!” (interesting those were all men who made this comment)
“Birth control is so much more humane.”
“Citizens / our taxes don’t have to pay for it (abortion)”
“It’s now a level playing field. In abortion one person always dies. Let the woman take her chances.”
“Many families would love to adopt that sweet baby.”
“Jesus has more power!”
“This is definitely Good Friday.”
“Give it time. They’ll just get gunned down in school.”
“They do have a say (over their own bodies). It’s called abstinence and contraception. Take personal responsibility.”
“The parents should marry and raise their offspring. It’s their own flesh and blood.”
“Nothing screams ‘Freedom’ like being forced to carry a rapist’s baby.
Ok, now. Your daughter - let’s call her Kara - is an exceptional student. She rarely, if ever, gets into trouble. She’s social. She spends a lot of time with her friends. You know them all and their parents and you think she’s safe. She wants to be a doctor. She is college bound, probably with a scholarship. She’ll certainly be in the Top 10 of her high school class.
You’re relaxing this evening. Your Kara comes in and needs to talk to you. She tells you she went to a party a couple of months or so ago that she lied to you about. You are trying not to get angry about that as you let her finish your story. She explains she was drinking and she has lost time. She doesn’t remember anything. She woke up the next morning naked and alone in a strange bedroom at the house of the party she attended. She was too scared to say anything, so she didn’t.
She’s shaking and tears fill her eyes as she continues on. “But now, I’m pregnant. I want to have an abortion.”
And you live in Texas where abortion is now illegal. It’s even illegal to transport someone to another state to get an abortion. And this how your friends, neighbors, community, your state responds:
“Kara does not have the right to convenience. Kara’s desire to have an abortion is disgusting!”
“Kara plays, Kara pays!”?
“Birth control is so much more humane, Kara.”
“Who is going to pay for this abortion, Kara?”
“Kara, you’ll just have to take your chances, even if it threatens your life.”
“Many families would love to adopt that sweet baby, Kara.”
“Jesus has more power!”
“This is definitely Good Friday.”
“Give it time. Your kid will get gunned down in school.”
“You had a choice. It’s called abstinence and contraception. Now you don’t have one. Take personal responsibility.”
“You should marry this guy - once we find him - and raise your offspring. It’s your own flesh and blood.”
Dramatic? Maybe. Absurd. Most definitely! Welcome to Texas!
Please know this: Not all Christians embrace the “Religious Right” or their legislated religion. There are those of us who don’t direct our wagons to that path - even if we are Christians living in Texas.
Oh, and if that is your daughter one day? Do the most natural thing a parent can do. Lead with love. Love her & do what love leads you to do next.
If we could go back in time, my parents could tell you that they were Pro-Life in every way … until I got pregnant - I was 21. They did what their love for me led them to advise me to do. I was just stubborn and went a different way.
And it’s NOT a way I would readily recommend.. to anyone. Also, I wouldn’t wish the circumstance of crisis pregnancy on anyone or anyone’s family members - especially in today’s political, militant climate brought to you courtesy by the religious right.
I’m sorry for anyone who has read this today who is among those persecuted, marginalized or disenfranchised by Christians. Please know that humans are flawed. And the things done with harsh judgment and a lack of love is not of God no matter how many times his name is brought up in doing so.
God is love. If it’s not in the spirit of love, it’s not from the spirit of God. Please don’t judge God by the flawed delivery of judgment by misguided humans.
Only God knows your heart and He’s the only one who will know you - or not - on judgment day - and that is what truly matters.
They don’t get to have a say. I don’t get to have a say.
My prayer is that ultimately, Jesus will know you & me both.
Wow, you really touched my heart with this.
A friend was talking about it this weekend, from a different view. And the thing is there is no easy answer like you say. Because until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, you know nothing.