By Y Bonesteele
During the pandemic, women were able to access abortion pills in the U.S. and other countries without going to a clinic or doctor and without an ultrasound. In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) temporarily lifted its restrictions on the abortion pill, mifepristone (Mifeprex), allowing it to be sent through the mail without an in-person consultation.
Those who oppose continuing this policy point to the need for in-person visits for the mother-to-be to have medical oversight to accurately assess gestational age, as taking the medicine in the second trimester could lead to hemorrhaging or surgery. Taking an ultrasound also makes a huge difference for mothers making decisions on whether to keep their baby or not.
“Providing crucial information to a woman considering abortion, ultrasounds are sometimes the difference between life and death for a preborn child,” says Dr. Christina Francis, a board-certified OB/GYN and chair of the board of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG). “Ultrasounds are the best way to determine the gestational age of the preborn child and can only be carried out in-person—not through telemedicine visits free of in-person consultation.”
A Changing Culture
According to a study by Pew Research, 59% of U.S. adults say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases; 39% say it should be illegal in all or most cases. “Around three-quarters of White evangelical Protestants (77%) say it should be illegal in all or most cases, while 21% say it should be legal in at least most instances. By comparison, a 63% majority of White Protestants who are not evangelical say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.”Fewer than half of U.S. women who've had abortions (41%) believe churches are prepared to help with decisions about unwanted pregnancies, according to Lifeway Research. Click To Tweet
The world is changing even in “Christian” worldviews and the sanctity of life of a preborn baby is no longer acknowledged by some. The church should be there to help women make decisions, but in a 2015 Lifeway Research study, among women who have had an abortion, “two-thirds (65%) say church members judge single women who are pregnant; a majority (54%) think churches oversimplify decisions about pregnancy options; fewer than half (41%) believe churches are prepared to help with decisions about unwanted pregnancies; and only 3 in 10 think churches give accurate advice about pregnancy options.”
This list of statistics can provide the answers to how to approach women thinking about abortion, helping them save a life.
Come with Comfort, not Condemnation
Making a decision to abort your baby isn’t an easy one. It’s not one that most women decide on quickly and without thought. Churches and ministry leaders need to address a new mom with comfort, not condemnation if the topic of abortion comes up.Churches and ministry leaders need to address a new mom with comfort, not condemnation if the topic of abortion comes up. — Y Bonesteele Click To Tweet
As the woman makes her decision, hopefully we as leaders have given them every piece of love, wisdom and advice with an assuring tone as best as we could. God ultimately is judge, and we are not; so let’s speak with truth and love.
It is easy to simply talk about being pro-life and the inherent value and dignity of every human life created in God’s image. But babies change our lives forever. Having a baby is a responsibility that holds weight. Let’s not oversimplify the challenges of having one, whether you put one up for adoption or decide to raise one.
Even teenagers are wise enough to realize that, so be prepared to tell the truth and the whole truth. Because in the end, truth wins. Yes, there will be complications, but with an abortion, there are also permanent complications. Oversimplifying the situation will only make things worse. Listen well to the concerns of the new mother and help her understand you understand the weight of her decision.
Pastors and ministry leaders aren’t always prepared to react well and know what to say and do in cases of crisis, such as teenage or unplanned pregnancies. We must be proactive and not reactive and be already preparing a folder of Scripture verses, options, adoption agencies, mentor moms, counselors, and other resources available when needed.With the sanctity of life on our hands, let’s not clumsily go about things. Let's be prepared so that new mom knows this is important to us and to God. — Y Bonesteele Click To Tweet
It might be too late if we need to say, “Let me find out more information for you” or odd to have someone sit there as you Google verses or counseling help. With the sanctity of life on our hands, let’s not clumsily go about things. Let’s be prepared so that new mom knows this is important to us and to God.
Give Accurate Advice
Even if we have a folder of information, be sure it’s updated. Make sure your information is correct and useful—medically, legally, socially, and of course, biblically. Make sure you have accurate advice to persuade your member to give birth and dissuade her from an abortion. Without accurate advice, we will sound like fools. Let’s choose to do our due diligence in finding the appropriate information for those in our church with the resources in our city and community.
Especially now, when abortion pills are so easily available online, legally or illegally, we must have the right tools and tone to save that unborn life. A pandemic has shown us how precious life can be. Let’s learn to help our members make wise decisions for their lives and the life of that unborn baby for God’s purposes and glory.
Y is an editorial coordinator at Lifeway Christian Resources. She has her M.Div. from Talbot School of Theology with an emphasis in Evangelism and Discipleship.