Abortion Isn’t the Only Reproductive Issue for Christians to Care About

I have a post on Think Christian about how the Christian preoccupation with abortion has limited and skewed our ability to respond effectively to new reproductive technologies. From my post:

Forty years after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains a dividing line in the culture wars and a central sociopolitical issue for many Christians. Unfortunately, decades of divisive, oversimplified debate around abortion have left Christians ill-equipped to engage in effective discourse and empathetic counsel around technologies that offer parents the promise of healthy biological children. Christians too often fall back on well-worn abortion arguments, around the appropriate limits on freedom of choice and the moral status of embryos, for example, when they are responding to technologies such as IVF and pre-embryonic genetic screening.

Head over to Think Christian to read the rest. If you have any comments, please leave them there instead of here, as the Think Christian editors are interested in reader feedback.

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About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.

  • Mona Higgins

    I’ve often wondered how Christians can be against abortion but FOR infertility drugs, artificial insemination, birth control, etc….. I am a Christian and I am pro-choice. By the way, many pro-lifers support the death penalty. I really don’t get it.

    • Jeannie

      I think (even hope) that those who support the death penalty see a difference between an adult who has committed a heinous crime and a fetus in the womb who has done nothing except be conceived. Surely that is a reasonable and logical distinction to make. I think it is possible for a Christian to approve of the state’s right to impose the ultimate punishment on a criminal. I’m not saying that I personally “support the death penalty,” and I would worry about anyone who was gleeful about it; it’s a very serious matter that should be treated with extreme gravity. I also know (though I’m not American and am no expert on the U.S. legal system) that when you look at stats around the race and socioeconomic status of most of those who are executed, there are grievous injustices done — so the argument that we should end the practice for that reason alone is a valid one, in my opinion. But I do think that being against abortion can be compatible with approving of the state’s jurisdiction to impose the death penalty.

      Re your other points: I think there is a difference between preventing a pregnancy (via birth control) and ending one (via abortion). Also I see no inherent contradiction between being anti-abortion and being accepting of reproductive technologies like infertility drugs: not wanting to end a pregnancy surely does not mean that I’m not permitted to want to cause one.

      I don’t want to oversimplify these issues because (as the original post makes clear) there is often too much black-and-white argument, lines drawn in the sand, etc. However, to suggest that someone (Christian or otherwise) who is against abortion is also *obliged* to be against capital punishment, reproductive technologies, and birth control does not make sense to me.

      • DaveP

        > I think there is a difference between preventing a pregnancy (via birth control) and ending one (via abortion).

        Maybe a way to linguisitically highlight the difference is to call everything before implantation “preproductive”, and everything afterward “reproductive”.

        “Preproductive technologies”: birth control, in-vitro fertilization, pre-embryonic genetic screening, etc.

        “Reproductive technologies”: amniocentesis, abortion, etc.

        That might help eliminate “abortion noise” from any debate over preproductive technologies.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    Read it over at TC, loved it, left a comment there yesterday!