29 January 2007

Abortion as Racism?

In my current employment, I deal frequently with issues concerning sexual activity and its consequences, including teenage pregnancy. Hence, John Piper's recent sermon entitled "When Is Abortion Racism?" caught my eye especially. A few of the statistics raised in the article include the following:

1. Since 1973, black mothers have undergone approximately 13 million abortions.
2. Black women comprise 13% of the female population of the United States, but account for nearly 36% of abortions. Latino-Hispanic women make up another 13% of the femal population, and account for another 20% of all aboritons received in the United States.
3. Planned Parenthood is the leading provider of abortions in the United States, and nearly 80% of Planned parenthood clinics have been located (or relocated) to minority communities.

Piper's sermon clearly presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that forgiveness and love are God's way extended unto all people, for which I am very thankful. But I appreciate Piper's clear statement:

My aim is that those who abhor racism will abhor abortion—“Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9). My aim is that abortion would be as culturally taboo as racism is. My aim is to hasten the day when being publicly pro-choice will be as reprehensible as being publicly racist. My aim is to hasten the day when declaring yourself pro-choice would be like declaring yourself a white supremacist.

My aim is that just as once even though the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case of 1857 held that Black slaves were property without rights as free persons, yet today we view that as unthinkable; so also even though the Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade case of 1973 did not give the unborn the rights of free persons, nevertheless the day may come when that too is viewed as unthinkable. Racism might—and often did—result in the killing of innocent humans; in our history, it often did. But abortion always results in the killing of innocent humans. Between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 Black people were lynched in America. Today more Black babies are killed by white abortionists every three days than all who were lynched in those years (Life Education and Resource Network).

In talking with my co-worker Linda, who has worked for many years with the local crisis pregnancy center, I understand that the situation has been very similar locally as well. What shall we do, brothers, to stem this and end this awful way? And sisters, how shall we love people to the truth in this?

6 comments:

kristen said...

i'm curious about this article because i have read that the high incidence of pregnancy among the non-white (and poor--class is a crucial issue here--perhaps more relevant to why the african-american population has such high statistics than that of skin color--but that goes into a whole other discussion) as an argument for availability of abortion. the course of the argument runs along the class line, actually. until we--as a society--can educate and/or financially stabilize these people, babies that no one can afford to feed (without drug money) will keep being born; therefore, if the christians who preach against abortion do not also preach much much charity (and probably higher taxes), these children will have short and harsh lives anyway.

i am always interested in how the two extreme sides of an argument use the same items to support their view.

there are a ton of assumptions in there--and i hope i have summarized them accurately--but the point in an interesting one. i believe the statistic but i think that perhaps it would be better to help people learn and give them free birth control of some sort than teach them to hate abortions. or maybe one and then the other. how can one bear to have a child they know/fear will simply be abused and raped? it is not at all a simple question. a goal to increase detestation of abortion = good. a goal to actively decrease the causes of "overactive pregancy" = way better.

thegreatknock said...

I'm not entirely certain that you have summarised them accurately...but the fault may be my own in having difficulty understanding your end-point. I have been so struck in the past few weeks, however, as I've been writing a Bible study lesson on parenthood, with the reality that it is God who opens and closes wombs (examples in Hannah, Michal, King Abimelech's whole nation, and so on). Simple but true and deep, when one really grasps the full meaning. Every child on earth is here for a purpose--even if they are unexpected, unwanted by their biological parents, underfed, uneducated...that to me is an incredibly potent reality. And I would hold that the God who overcomes death itself will also overcome the difficulties of that child's life...

I couldn't tell if you were full of faith in this regard--or if instead you have little hope for the body of Christ to meet such need as would arise if abortions were no more. I believe it can be so, and must be so...because regardless of cost, this act of abortion is clearly detestable to our God.

Will it be incredibly complex to move in this direction? Yes. Would it be right? Yes. I'm fairly sure you agree--I think I just lost your meaning or resolution in all the complexities you described...

kristen said...

yes, i do agree it would be both complex and right. it is that i have little hope for the body of Christ to meet the need. . .at this time. after all, it is never discussed from the pulpit--or i have never heard it--and the only complexity i hear in the body's discussion of abortion & its related issues come from people whispering to each other. it is time for our Christian leaders to recognize and address the problems that cause lead to abortion as well as those issues, blessed though the children may be, that come from having kids in truly bad situations.

and i do mean really bad situations, by the way. my husband and i can barely afford to meet our bills as it is but if we were to get pregnant, i know we would be fine. we have supportive family and are connected to the Church.

i guess i feel like legally, roe v. wade will never be completely overturned. but the Power and Love are there to make it unnecessary. let us love the physically and emotionally poor, and they will no longer desire or feel the need for abortion.

Bisell said...

You speak of being struck by the full meaning of "the reality that it is God who opens and closes wombs." I realise you were not speaking with any direct regard to the birth control debate, but I think your words are equally applicable. So I am curious, what are your views with regard to the use of contraceptives?

thegreatknock said...

Regarding contraceptives, as with any other issue, the starting point should be Scripture, to see what we learn there. There are quite a lot of examples of God opening and closing wombs, even in elderly women (Sarah), and the New Testament tells us that all things have placed in subjection to Christ, placed under His feet. Surely, then, birth control also is under His authority to work or not work as He sees fit. (And it does not always work.)

But even if it does work--because of how birth control works, in that it may cause a fertilised egg to be expelled from the woman's body, I have a great moral concern. A fertilised egg possesses DNA which is undeniably different from either the mother or the father. In our present legal system, we use DNA testing to confirm or deny the identity of criminals and victims, using it to distinguish between persons in a court of law. I would suggest our country remain consistent and admit that the fertilised egg, with its own DNA signature, is also a separate individual. And as it is a person, if birth control does indeed expel a living, unique person from the womb of the young mother, then it must be considered abortive and wrong...

There are other contraceptives which do not work in this way, so do not take this as a condemnation of all contraceptive measures. And yet, to return to the reality, God governs all of these.

These are my thoughts just now, and I tried to keep them simple and clear. What do you think?

Bisell said...

I am most certainly in complete agreement with a condemnation of any methods which have the potential to cause the abortion of a living individual. Your words on this are very well said.

But it still leaves us those methods which are purely preventative...

The Catholic church teaches that ' every marital act must be open to the transmission of new life,' and I'm pretty sure I've heard similar arguments from various Protestants as well.

+One of God's earliest commands (to Adam and Eve) was to be fruitful and multiply.

+As you referenced, children are throughout Scripture recognised as a blessing, a sign of God's favour.

+In the New Testament, marriage is made one of the most precious images and models of Christ's love for his church; the marraige act then becomes the image and experience of the essential life-giving quality of Christ's love, as the married couple become participants in the very act of creation.

Point being, might it not be considered wrong to attempt--in any artificial manner--to interfere with the life-giving act which God has clearly made a centerpiece of His creation, in which He allows us to participate in His act of creation, and which He has designated a central channel of his blessings? Might we not say that such attempts at interference serve only to further separate us from God?

These are some of my thoughts, as clearly as I can articulate them at the moment anyhow. What say you?