The Right to Choose: Where I Stand with Abortion

Legislating Morality from the Bench

“When the pro lifers go too far for the pro lifers. America is NOT a theocracy and judges shouldn’t give sermons. American Christians are too lazy to evangelize – they instead pump energy and money into politicians and judges to do it for them thru the law with disastrous results as in Alabama. Evangelize  – share your faith. That can be more powerful and pro life to save lives than legislating from the bench.”

Ron Hall (author), 2023. Facebook Status

The bible instructs believers to love one another, be generous, and go into the nations to share the gospel. (John 13:34, Proverbs 14:31, and Matthew 28:19 paraphrased, respectively.). Nowhere that I can find in the bible does it say to try to change the law. Christians trying to change the law to fit their beliefs can have disastrous results that even their own need to try to clean up.

February 2024 former President Donald Trump had a bit of clean up work to do as he expressed his support for in vitro fertilization or IVF as it’s more widely referred to. An Alabama Supreme Court Judge declared embryos babies which sent the ex-president into an unusual position because IVF is used to bring life and build families. His expression of support was due to the Alabama supreme court decision that cause IVF clinics in Alabama to suspend operations.

“Like the overwhelming majority of Americans, including the vast majority of Republican conservatives, Christians and pro-life Americans, I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious little beautiful baby. I support it,” the former president said in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

(Former President Donald Trump, Rock Hill, South Carolina via Strauss and Rokus, February 2024, CNN)

Leaving the issue of abortion to judges to decide from the bench and electing politicians who appoint judges to the bench in hopes decisions rendered will reflect a pro life position is what I consider legislating morality. Legislating morality in the world’s government isn’t something I have seen as very productive. It can be productive to campaign on.

Campaigning on legislating morality can be productive but actually legislating morality can have unforeseen consequences. You can’t run on the issues at the border if the issues at the border are solved before the election. You can’t run on overturning Roe v. Wade if it’s already been overturned. Running on issues can raise a lot of money but once those issues are solved, things may not be as anticipated. Put simply, “wanting is always better than having.”

“Alabama families losing access to IVF is a direct result of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justices overturning Roe v. Wade,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement Friday.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden Campaign Manager, via Strauss and Rokus, February 2024, CNN

To me at least the IVF decision that has sent the conservative politicians scrambling represents not only the absurdity of far legislating morality has come but also the limitations that come with it. I think many Christians see the appointing of judges and the election of presidents, representatives, and senators as a way out of doing the work of the Gospel themselves.

When the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are considered children under state law, its chief justice had a higher authority in mind. By citing verses from the Bible and Christian theologians in his concurring opinion, Chief Justice Tom Parker alarmed advocates for church-state separation, while delighting religious conservatives who oppose abortion…Human life, Parker wrote, “cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself.”

(Stanley, P. S. a. T. 2024, February 23, WSOC TV).

The Right to Choose and the Responsibility in Choice

I am anti-abortion but not pro-llfe. I believe you can be a Christian and vote Democrat. I believe a woman has the right to choose. I have come to this belief not from ideology but from life experiences. I believe there is power in choice and a responsibility in choice.

A doctor was shot to death outside his abortion clinic here today when a man who prayed for the physician’s soul stepped forward from a group of antiabortion protesters and opened fire, according to police and witnesses…Steve Powell, an employee at an office park where the clinic is located, told reporters that Griffin singled out the physician as his target, chased him and shot him at point-blank range…Powell said the protesters acted strangely after the shooting. “It looked like they were just happy,” he said.

(Booth, March 1993. Washington Post.)

I do not like abortion but I like less the way the Christian right behaves in the Pro Life movement. Bombing abortion clinics, killing abortionists, and killing innocent people in violence against reproductive service facilities are not things I believe in. I consider myself anti-abortion but not Pro Life. I also consider myself a Christian.

I believe you can be a Christian and vote Democrat. I believe voting your conscience may not have a party line. I believe voting and how one votes is a choice – and that is one way we have the right to choose.

I believe a woman has the right to choose. God gave us all free will. I don’t believe that we can legislate morality. I believe free will is powerful – God didn’t pre-program us to make certain choices. I believe the power to choose life is stronger than any mandate to choose life. Being forced to be born seems less desirable than being chosen to be born. 

I don’t like a woman choosing abortion, but I do believe in free will and the right to choose. I’d rather be chosen to be born out of love than forced to be born out of the law and with that comes responsibility. I have often wondered how the children who are forced to be born feel once they are told, how they are treated in relationship to children who were chosen, and ultimately the price others paid for how they got there – was the overturning of Roe v. Wade worth how immigrants were treated at the border, years of racial unrest, and national division? I don’t know. What I know is that there is a responsibility born once the choice is made to choose life.

A responsibility comes out of choice but I believe every Christian believer has a responsibility when it comes to a woman having a choice. A Christian believer has a responsibility to share their faith and support mothers in need once they give birth. Many Christians make political donations and vote for specific candidates as their actions in their quest to stop ‘the murdering of babies’. What if believers behaved differently and spent their money differently?

About 15 years ago, I worked with teenagers in my community. One day a teenage boy I worked with came to me urgently and said his teenage sister was talking about having an abortion and wanted me to talk to her. I scooped her up off the streets of North Nashville and we drove around. I locked my doors and told her I wasn’t going to let her out until she agreed to hold off until talking to a woman from my church. She agreed and 15 years later her son walks the earth.

What I believe would change if believers would share their faith in love with others, resource young mothers with the same money they are donating to politicians, and instead of sign holding-door knocking- voter intimidation actually taking a pregnant woman to lunch and sharing the gospel we would have less abortions. Somehow it’s easier to write a check or spread hate-in-politics than it is to show love and compassion that may result in a baby being born and not aborted. If you are going to write a check, write it to the right people.

Increasing support services for adoption and foster care / budget – As a pro-life state, Tennessee is increasing resources to improve the adoption and foster care system.”

(Hensley, June 2023. The Daily Herald).

States such a Tennessee have promoted adoption and foster care as the answer for babies born since the state lawmakers passed one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation however I do not believe adoption is the only answer to the result of this change (full disclosure, I am adopted and have legally adopted a daughter in Davidson County Chancery Court – I am now a single adoptive male parent). I believe that Christians have a different responsibility ahead of them in the awake of these kinds of laws.

Each month I witness a non profit hold an event for new mothers who may not have the resources to support the baby they just brought into the world. I see baby wipes, diapers, food, strollers, and car seats given out at various events throughout the year. These items don’t come out of thin air. They come out of donations to non profit organizations who have partners in people, companies, and other groups who come together financially to make this possible. The need is great considering more babies are being born now.

About 32,000 more babies are being born annually in the US after the Supreme Court overruled the constitutional right to abortion, an analysis showed.

Butler, Kelsey. November 22, 2023. Bloomberg

I believe that every believer has a responsibility to support the new babies once they are born. New mothers need strollers, car seats, diapers, formula, wipes, and other newborn staples. It’s not just about adoption being touted as the alternative to abortion – that’s one outcome – but mothers should be supported as well. There are organizations out there that do good work in supporting new mothers and I truly hold fast to the belief that Christ followers have a commitment – if they believe in taking the choice away from the bench they must also support the outcome of that action with a choice of their own.

In the end I believe I am anti-abortion but not pro-life. I am a Christian and have voted Democrat (as well as Republican), and believe strongly there is power in the right to choose – a choice that may be predicated on Christian believers showing love and compassion instead of funding politicians and doing political activities. The real choice is the one you’ll make is a believer – will you choose stoke the political flames or will you choose to share your faith and support new mothers?

Works Cited

Strauss, D., & Rokus Brian. (2024, February 23). Trump expresses support for IVF as he calls on Alabama to find solution to issue that has GOP scrambling. CNN.com. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/23/politics/trump-alabama-ivf-ruling

Stanley, P. S. a. T. (2024, February 23). Chief justice’s Christian reasoning in IVF opinion sparks alarm over church-state separation. WSOC TV. https://www.wsoctv.com/news/health/chief-justices/LJNNIYQQUZAV5QWRWLUM27IW5Y/

WashingtonPost.com: Abortion violence. (n.d.). https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/abortviolence/stories/gunn.htm

Herald, J. H. D. (2023, June 9). Legislative Update: Laws passed address abortion, foster care, adoption. The Daily Herald. https://www.columbiadailyherald.com/story/news/local/2023/06/09/legislative-update-laws-passed-address-abortion-foster-care-adoption/70303986007/

Butler, Kelsey. November 22, 2023. Bloomberg – Are you a robot? (2023, November 22). https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-11-22/abortion-bans-raised-annual-us-births-by-32-000-study-shows?embedded-checkout=true