The overturning of Roe v Wade is nothing short of a modern-day miracle. Almost 50 years ago, the US Supreme Court ‘discovered’ a ‘right’ to abort unborn babies in the nation’s Constitution: an unlikely feat given that the Constitution was written in 1787 by people with a Bible-soaked worldview!
Despite the media’s viral claims, last week’s Dobbs v Jackson ruling didn’t ‘take away women’s rights’ — it simply returned the regulation of abortion back where it belongs: to the legislative chambers of America’s 50 states. That is precisely the status quo in Australia.
If the reaction to Roe here in Australia tell us anything, it is this: the voice of Christians on this issue is sorely needed. It’s time for the Australian church to talk much more openly about abortion.
Of course, abortion can be a sensitive issue for all sorts of reasons. Among the most obvious: there are women in our midst burdened by guilt for a decision they made to abort their baby. Sometimes these decisions have been made in extremely difficult circumstances, even under duress.
But as Christians, we carry a gospel of forgiveness and reconciliation. Christ died for these sins just as he died for all others, and he welcomes all who repent into his arms of love, where our shame is swallowed up and we can walk in newness of life.
The gospel of grace, therefore, also enables us to talk about an issue like abortion without euphemisms, and without papering over the truth.
The truth is that in Australia, between 70,000 and 100,000 unborn children are killed in abortions every year. At least 95 per cent of these are for elective reasons — i.e. not due to the reasons often given in defence of abortion such as sexual assault, fetal abnormality, or medical danger.
Due to radical legislation passed in recent years, in Queensland, Victoria and the ACT, abortions can now take place right up to the moment of birth for any reason. Most states have no bans on partial birth abortions, and right around Australia, there is no legal protection for babies who are born in failed abortions: they are simply left to die.
Following the overturning of Roe, Australia is now an outlier. Our abortion laws are radical and embarrassing. Instead of a mother’s womb being the safest place on earth, in Australia especially it is now one of the most dangerous places to live for God’s precious image-bearers.
A major objection raised since the overturning of Roe is that pro-lifers are only interested in protecting life before birth — that we care little what happens to the baby or her mother beyond that.
Actually, the statistics suggest otherwise. In the United States, there are around 2,500 pregnancy support centres — around four for every one abortion clinic. These centres provide prenatal care, free baby formula, free nappies, free clothes, free car seats and cots, and love and support for expecting mothers.
Pro-lifers also provide free daycare, free meals, free groceries, free counselling and a network of support through pro-life centres, inner-city missions and local churches. (Sadly, many of these venues have been vandalised or firebombed in recent weeks).
This amazing work doesn’t just take place in America. Similar services exist across Australia — so reach out to donate or volunteer today! More can always be done to support expecting mothers, but this shouldn’t be reason for Christians to fear speaking up in defence of life. It is possible to love both mother and baby!
This was the legacy of the early church. The early Christians believed that every human life has equal and intrinsic worth since we are all made in the image of God. And they walked Rome’s streets and scoured the city’s trash heaps to rescue the babies that had been discarded by those who didn’t know better.
Within centuries, Emperor Valentinian, a Christian, had outlawed infanticide. From then until recent decades, abortion became a taboo in the West. Sadly, it is now seen as a ‘human right’.
As followers of Jesus, we can make a difference again. By voting for pro-life parties like Australian Christians, journeying with mothers, and donating and volunteering our time, we can nurture a culture of life and make abortion unthinkable once more.