If you say something often enough, perhaps someone will believe it.
At least that’s how the saying goes. This is the tactic that many on the pro-choice side of the abortion debate have seemingly embraced. Keep repeating the narrative that those who oppose abortion are merely concerned with exercising control over female bodies, and the repetition will lend credence to your case. So, when the issue comes up, over and over again pro-choice advocates assert that those within the pro-life cause are simply concerned with control.
This is simply not the case. Certainly, there are men in this world who desire to oppress and control women. History is littered with such wicked men. Yet, just because some have had such motives does not mean all have those motives. It is more honest to say that even though there are some in history who have wickedly sought to oppress women and control their bodies, not everyone who is pro-life and thus opposed to abortion speak, write, and act from such motives. If we are going to make any headway in understanding each other and moving the needle forward in dialogue with those who think differently, we need to respond to the actual positions and arguments of the other side.
If the vast majority of pro-lifers are not interested in controlling female bodies or oppressing women, why do they adamantly oppose abortion? Why organize so strategically? Why give money to support pro-life pregnancy centers? Why fly to Washington D. C. and march for life? The honest answer is not complex, though it is certainly controversial. Simply put, the vast majority of pro-life advocates are interested not in controlling women’s bodies, but in raising their voices in order to protect the innocent life growing within a woman’s body.
On Fox News there was a recent exchange between two news anchors, both female. The issue they were addressing was the presence of President Trump at the March for Life rally in Washington, D. C. Trump is the first sitting president to attend and speak at that event. In discussing Trump’s presence, the first lady, decidedly pro-choice, commented that the government had no right to tell her what she could or could not do with her body. The second lady, clearly pro-life, responded with a penetrating comment. She stated (and I’m paraphrasing since I did not record the audio) that the issue was not that pro-life advocates wanted the government to control women’s bodies but instead wanted to prevent the harm of the human being living within the womb. Indeed, that is as clear as the issue can get.
From a Christian worldview, life begins at conception. From the moment the egg is fertilized, a human being begins to develop. This baby will develop, grow, and come into this world as a divinely-designed image-bearer. This baby, from day one, is created to reflect the God of the universe. Yet, that tiny human being is unable to speak or advocate or plead for its own life while being carried around inside the body of the mother. Therefore, Christians, those who are compelled to speak for the least of these, raise their voices and spend their money and exert their energy in order to protect life. The issue is not controlling a woman’s body. The issue is about defending the body of the unborn infant.
Admittedly, there are complex issues that we need to deal with in the discussion of abortion. Yet, we will not make headway on more complex matters if we cannot speak honestly at the outset. For those who are pro-choice, my plea is simply that you’d deal with the real arguments and positions of pro-life people. The vast majority are not interested in oppressing women but are particularly concerned with protecting the lives of those who live and move and have their being by the grace of God within the body of their earthly mother.
If we are going to repeat any arguments, let’s at least repeat the ones that are honest.