Every year on the Sunday, which was now a few Sundays ago, closest to the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s fateful decision on Roe vs. Wade handed down in 1973, the year our daughter was born, millions of Americans celebrate the sanctity of human life. The reason is well known because the court’s decision established an absolute right of women to seek and procure an abortion, which is the termination of a pregnancy, the taking of the life of the baby in her womb. For the past decade, Orthodox Christians including several bishops, priests, and laity, have joined the March for Life on Washington DC.
Roe vs Wade has taught us many lessons which now govern our lives in ways we can barely perceive. Instead of being one small tool for women’s advancement, abortion opened an abyss, and a lot of unexpected things fell in. It turned out to be an irresistible force, because abortion makes things so much easier for everyone around the pregnant woman, we are told.
Before Roe vs Wade, unplanned pregnancy created many problems for many people, the woman’s lover, her parents, her siblings, her boss, her landlord, her dean, to name a few. Abortion changes the picture instantly: Just go get it taken care of, my dear, and it will be as if it never happened. Women were expected to do the sensible thing and save everyone else a lot of fuss and bother. Overnight, unplanned pregnancy became her private problem, a burden for her to bear alone.
Abortion-rights rhetoric compounded this effect with terms emphasizing her isolation: My body, my rights, my life, my choice. The flip side of all that first-person assertiveness is abandonment. The network of support that once existed had been shattered.
There were a number of beliefs held back then, one by one I have seen them fall over these many years.
“Abortion liberates women.” It has become obvious that women were choosing abortion in sorrow and distress rather than as a daring self-expression. They usually didn’t feel liberated afterwards, but a complex of numbness, sorrow, grief, and relief.
“It’s a woman’s choice.” The court’s decision didn’t add more options to a woman’s plate; it made one option nearly predictable, because it would be overwhelmingly attractive to those with an interest in keeping her life unchanged. In other words, I didn’t have any choice, I had to have an abortion.
“Women have abortions only in extreme circumstances.” Pro-choice leaders say that Americans believe in abortion under only three circumstances: rape, incest, and “my situation.” Under those generous criteria, the numbers of abortions has risen to over 50 million. About 3,500 each day. No one expected this. And now an abortion can be done up till the baby is born……
“Men don’t have any right to a say in her decision.” Of course they do; a father has as much right as a mother to care for his biological child. But the majority of unwed dads, of course, greet this proposition with relief. Another way of phrasing it is, “Men don’t have any obligation to be involved in her problem.” Though he helped to put her in this position!
“It’s just a glob of tissue.” From the time the sperm dissolves in the egg it’s alive and has a unique genetic code never before seen on earth, with 100% human DNA. It’s a different shape, that’s all. I’m a different shape now than when I was at 8 or will be at 70. When did we start discriminating against people based on their shape?
“Every child should be a wanted child.” the unwanted ones were all aborted, to the tune of one abortion for approximately every two to three live births. So how come the rate of reported child abuse is so high? In the early years after Roe vs Wade, there were 60,000 cases of child abuse reported annually. Today there are three million cases reported annually, a fifty-fold increase. The reasons for this increase are debatable, but one thing’s for sure, abortion didn’t prevent it.
Aborting so called, “unwanted” children hasn’t helped. Instead, it’s taught us that an unwanted person has no right to live. A child might be wanted very much during pregnancy, and not-so wanted a few months later when she’s crying in the middle of the night. But abortion has taught us that a child deserves to live only if her parent wants her. This is also carrying over to the ‘unwanted’ elderly!
The love between mother and baby is the icon of human connectedness, and when we complacently assume that one may want to kill the other, something has gone seriously wrong? What if Mary did not love Jesus, her son?
In conclusion, let it be said that abortion hurts. It is a classic example of acting in haste and repenting at leisure. Afterwards, there are a lot of long nights, when she (and family members, such as grandparents), goes through the day the baby would have been born, the anniversary of the abortion, the first “wanted” pregnancy when she feels her baby move, and all the years ahead. But how can she speak of this grief? It’s supposed to be “private” and “personal.” She expects people would say, “Look, it was your decision, stop whining about it.” She may fear that voicing regrets will give fodder to the pro-life movement, whom she has been told is an enemy trying to oppress her. All the insistent language of privacy makes her feel that her grief has no place; it should not intrude on others and disturb them, it should be kept inside. Everyone else has forgotten that she was ever pregnant. It’s time to get over it. So why does she still feel so sad?
Currently President Biden and his administration is in the process of reversing the Trump administration’s limits on abortion and other reproductive health services and expand protections for abortion access. Planned Parenthood, an abortion mill, is ecstatic, thrilled that they will be able to be running to the max to murder new babies with no limits and sell the parts.
Biden, who wants to pass a federal law that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion, is expected to dial back the Trump administration rule and “restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood.” We need to be praying without ceasing.
We Orthodox Christians proclaim, forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation for all those suffering from post-abortion trauma. Let us surround these women with love and support. Let us be there to listen and pray. Let us help women who are pregnant now, to carry their babies to term. Let us help them find a good home, whether their own or another loving couple seeking an adoption. By doing this we help to sanctify all life.