Anybody who knows me will know how I feel about the “successfulness” of Christians protesting against laws our nation(s) create that move in the direction culture is heading. (Spoiler alert: I don’t feel they are worthwhile or effective 99.9% of the time).
One of the “issues” people have asked me about in relation to this in the past is abortion – isn’t this an example of an area where a Christian SHOULD take a stand against the laws? I am always slightly amused by the reactions I get when I don’t jump on the bandwagon and agree we should.
And a new study released recently (see here for a summary and a link to the full study – http://www.relevantmagazine.com/reject-apathy/surprising-new-findings-could-re-shape-pro-life-movement) has given me some actual data to give my standard answer some added weight … so here goes:
The place I start is this: whether we are pro-life or pro-choice (which I don’t see how those two options became pitted as opposite in this debate), I think we can all agree that in a perfect world, the number of people terminating unwanted pregnancies would be greatly reduced. In fact, it would be great if there was never another terminated pregnancy ever.
So far are we on the same page?
This is something I believe everyone can agree with. The new report this week indicates that approximately one in every four pregnancies worldwide end in abortion.
This is not good news! And I don’t believe a single person who is “pro-choice” would disagree that this is not an ideal statistic.
Where I have always diverged from the standard “evangelical” reaction to this data is in my response. Almost all the “pro-life” energy has focused on finding ways to convince our governments to change the laws to make abortion illegal or far less accessible.
I have never agreed that this is the best course of action. It appears to me to be a losing battle – and this new study shows that even if we were to be successful in changing our nation’s laws, it would have a negligible effect on abortion rates.
According to the studies, countries where abortion is illegal do not have lower abortion rates. They also don’t have higher abortion rates. The rates are essentially unaffected by the laws of the land. In fact, while the international abortion rate is increasing, most “developed” countries are seeing declining abortion rates. This is in countries where abortions are legal and accessible.
So, what does have the largest impact on abortion rates?
The answer is as simple as the solution is complex; money! Poverty plays the single largest role in contributing to abortions. Lack of money leads to reduced access to contraception, reduced ability to care for a child, reduced access to sexual education … and the list goes on.
And this, for me, has been my answer for years. I am 100% supportive of fighting the root causes that lead to the termination of pregnancies. I simply believe the root cause is unaffected by our laws and that fighting those laws can tend to distract us from finding solutions to the things that actually contribute to and create the conditions that lead to the decision to have an abortion.
Dealing with poverty is much harder than protesting a nation’s laws, but it’s where the action and potential change happens.
Maybe it’s time to adjust our focus?