Commentary: It’s unfair to say Christians’ pro-life stance ends at birth

  |  Source: Religion News Service

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WASHINGTON (RNS)—Over the past few weeks, three states—Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee—passed laws restricting or banning abortions. But it was the ban signed into law by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, considered the nation’s most restrictive law, that sent the nation, and notably the social media site Twitter, into a tailspin.

A week before the Alabama ban was made law, actress and activist Alyssa Milano’s now infamous sex strike led the news cycle as she called women to “join (her) by not having sex until (women) get bodily autonomy back.”

Many expressed disapproval of Milano’s strike, noting that the idea of weaponizing women’s bodies to prove a point only further objectifies us, a point I wholeheartedly agree with.

Another Hollywood star, Jim Carrey, took to Twitter this weekend to share artwork depicting Ivey as a baby in the womb being aborted by suction, a portion of her skull caved in by the device. The gruesome picture was accompanied by equally disturbing words: “I think If you’re going to terminate a pregnancy, it should be done sometime before the fetus becomes Governor of Alabama,” Carrey wrote.

Twitter user challenges pro-life people

Parts of the pro-life community, however, were given a surprising opportunity to stand for life inside and outside of the womb.

One Twitter user based in Israel issued a challenge to the pro-life community. She wrote, “Dear Pro-Life friends: what have you personally done to support lower-income single mothers? I’ll wait:”

Although I believe this was a rhetorical question and not truly meant to be answered, by Sunday evening more than 13,000 Twitter users had chimed in to share honest, sincere and precise (it is Twitter, after all) answers to her inquiry.

Pro-life people respond

A user named Barbara wrote: “Great question! Since I am unable to foster, I often babysit for my friends who do. I donate regularly to a foster closet. We help pay bills for people in crisis situations, & my oldest kids help when they are able.”

Joshua Ryan Butler shared: “Became foster parents, which led to adoption. Intentionally worked to build relationship with and support our son’s birth mother. Helped her w/ buying furniture & more when she got out of prison and moved into low-income housing. Hosted & officiated her wedding a few years later. We were part of a movement of 30+ foster/adopt families from our church doing the same, with a network of hundreds in our church supporting us in tangible ways. And 500+ families from churches in our city as broader movement as well. https://www.embraceoregon.org/.”

And Eliza proclaimed: “My church has a ‘store’ that has everything from formula, clothes, toys and shoes for kids and mothers. It’s all volunteer and most of it is lower income single moms or teen moms that come in. My kids and I love helping out there.”

Users shared about starting organizations for teen moms, bringing meals, donating large amounts of money, adopting and so much more. The Twitter thread gives a small picture into the pro-life movement that isn’t often seen or recognized.

Pro-life Christians’ concern for all of life

We as pro-life Christians should be concerned for the unborn, the born, the single mother, the young African-American boy gunned down, the women and children being abused, the elderly man suffering alone and the widow trying to figure out her life after a great loss.

As the tweeter was clearly pointing out by her question, if we are going to be concerned with saving a baby’s life, as we should be, then we ought to be concerned about caring for the mother and child after she chooses life. We should care for people made in the image of God from womb to tomb: Whole life is truly pro-life.

And in many cases, we do all these things.

Christians all over the world serve daily without fanfare, social media posts or public announcements: ordinary service enabled by an extraordinary God.

Why pro-life Christians may be quiet

If we don’t have data to back this up, if we don’t hear about all that people do to support children after they are born, it might have something to do with what Jesus taught us about doing good.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read that Jesus stood on a mountain and preached a sermon that included instructions for how Christians should conduct themselves as they give to those in need. Jesus knew how to pack much into one sentence: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

This statement comes with a warning, a command and a surprising motivation for giving. Jesus warned us not to give in order to earn the praise of other people. Those who draw attention to themselves before doing good works he called hypocrites. Jesus tells us instead not to allow even our right hand to know what the left is doing.

It’s not that we must be secretive. Rather, what should motivate our giving, Jesus tells Christians, is the glory of the Lord, who sees our good works and rewards it.

And that is what many Christians do. Ordinary service. Ordinary life. If the thread proves anything, it helps us get a beautiful glimpse into the transformative work of the Holy Spirit that enables people to love their neighbor in practical ways.

Every movement has areas in which it can grow—but let’s not discount these stories of service. And let us remember that God is always working in ways we don’t often see. Evidently, so are his people.

Trillia Newbell is director of community outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a writer and a speaker. Follow her on Twitter @trillianewbell and learn more about her at trillianewbell.com.

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