The Abortion of Meaning

The unspoken reason for BOTH the pro-life and pro-choice stance comes down to our eternal search for MEANING. Let me explain.

The pro-choice argument determines a woman’s meaning falls somewhere in the spectrum of her privacy/safety and her career hopes/dreams. If a woman roots her MEANING toward the side of safety/privacy she may have a moderate view of abortion “rights”. If she places her MEANING more toward the advancement of her career, she would most likely be very progressive in her view and oppose any restrictions on abortion.  I am assuming a lot but let me continue.

The pro-life argument says one thing: All life has meaning, including EVERY new life. The old adage, “only God can make a tree” reminds us life is born from that eternal mystery which moves us toward faith, hope and love. A pro-life person affirms every being God initiates brings with him/her Divine purpose not simply for his/her own life but for the general promotion of human flourishing. There are ZERO illegitimate pregnancies, births, children or people. Every life is a chance to experience God’s glory reflected through His image regardless of whatever less-than-desirable context may have brought it about.

For the Biblically minded Christian, conception is a gift that brings us both wonder and mission. Consider the conception and birth narratives of John the Baptist and Jesus. At John’s birth, his father’s mouth was miraculously opened after he scribbled the name to affirm Elizabeth’s words. The audience wondered, “What then will this child be?” (Luke 1:66). When Christ’s conception is announced to Mary, her simple declaration of faith affirmed readiness for the mission God had assigned without asking her permission: let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). The two neighboring narratives drive home this truth: God is on a mission to do something wonderful THROUGH humanity and we should always embrace it. Conversely, the child-killers in the Bible, the notorious Pharaoh and Herod the Great are both threatened by how new life may adversely affect their status and position. Consider their similarity with some of today’s pro-choice mantras.

The pro-choice side demands total autonomy over one’s being while disregarding science and DNA evidence supporting the individuality of the unborn. They make this argument not out of vicious hate for the unborn, but rather out of a misappropriated source of MEANING (My life matters more). Therefore, there can be no element of Divine purpose in an unplanned conception. Her limited view of Providence forfeits her opportunity to watch God amaze her by bringing good out of what she may have deemed a mistake.

This line of thinking begs a few questions. Did God give us the answer to cancer but her mother ended her chance of life before birth? Did God send us a political mastermind who would have brought peace to war-torn nations but his mother chose to terminate his life in favor of her personal ambitions? We are left to wonder and struggle onward. For those who say, “but some children are born into conditions that eliminate potential,” I would suggest you spend some time discovering what other ways your earth-bound nature builds walls around your life. I speak as someone whose mother’s obstetrician counseled her toward abortion because my conception happened later in her life.

Those who seek to be faithful to scripture regarding the unborn (see Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:15-16, Galatians 1:15), get to experience the mystery of God’s handiwork unfold throughout history. A consistent reading of scripture affirms that God’s purpose continually brings good out of evil. Joseph tells his brothers, “what you meant for evil, God intended for good, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20). Moses’ exile becomes the training ground for leading Israel through the same wilderness for 40 years. Esther’s beauty pageant win aligns her life with a Divine appointment before king Xerxes. Jesus’ death and burial become the seed God plants in the Earth to produce the hope of our personal resurrection. Christians should be pro-life because we are affirmed in scripture to stay hopeful even when darkness abounds (Romans 12:12). We are commanded to pray, “your kingdom come” AND “lead us not into temptation” in the SAME PRAYER because we trust God’s power is stronger than our nefarious appetites. Pauline theology declares we wrestle with sin AND yet stand perfectly justified before God at the same time in order that we may live out the triumph of God’s goodness over our own wickedness (see Romans 7).

My prayer is for the end of abortion because every instance destroys an opportunity for God’s goodness to overcome our badness. Christians embrace the cross, an instrument of death, not because Christ was brutally murdered (he was) but because His death and resurrection illustrated our propensity to misunderstand what God is doing in conditions that seem hopeless. To stand against abortion is to center meaning where it belongs – in the Divine prerogative to do with our lives what He wills, to affirm the universe is not centered on our convenience, comfort, happiness, plans or EVEN personal safety. The skeptic will call this foolishness and fatalism, the Christian calls it faith.