A Better Way To End Abortion In America

A Better Way To End Abortion In America January 31, 2019

 

Christians in America are stuck on a problem they can’t seem to solve.

It’s a problem that unites nearly all of us together. In fact, other than Jesus himself, no other topic or issue so completely unites Christians than this. I’m talking about abortion, of course.

But we’ve been stuck on how to solve this problem since 1973.

  1. Seriously.

Has anyone ever told you the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

For over 40 years now Christians in America have been trying to stop abortions in this country doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting a different result.

That’s insane.

My wife teaches 7th grade Math. Whenever a student gets stuck on a problem, they usually raise their hand and ask for help.

I think we need to do that now.

Why? Because after two terms of Reagan, two terms of George W.Bush, and a Republican-majority congress at various times over the last 40 years, virtually zero progress has been made.

[Read more about that HERE]

The evidence is clear: A political solution to abortion isn’t working.

But most Christians are totally unaware that there was already a Pro-Life Movement that actually DID significantly reduce the abortion rate in America, and they did it without politics.

Back in the 1800’s abortion was so rampant that ads ran in the newspapers for them. The abortion rate, adjusted per capita for increased population, was higher than what we experienced after the Roe vs Wade decision.


In the book, “Abortion in America” this time between 1840 and 1880 is referred to as “The Great Upsurge of Abortion,” and estimates are that at least 20 percent of pregnancies were ending in induced abortion during that time in history.

Another book, “The Great Crime of the Nineteenth Century,” by Edmund Hale, claimed two-thirds of pregnancies during the mid-to-late 1800’s ended in induced abortions.

It was a dark time.

As you might expect, the Christian church of the day was determined to end abortion, or at least to slow it down.

By 1910 they successfully cut the national abortion rate in half.

How did they do it?

Simply put, Christians created a movement where pregnant women were provided with positive alternatives to abortion.

They focused on helping young women in poor communities, including prostitutes, who found themselves in trouble.

They came alongside these women and encouraged them to carry their children full-term. Then they helped them to find adoptive parents for their unborn child.

Or, they simply stood by these women and committed themselves to providing childcare to help them finish school, or find work so they could keep their child.

By putting the Gospel into practice, these followers of Jesus transformed their society from within – one person at a time.

It was led by Christians. It was accomplished by loving our neighbor as Jesus commanded. It did not rely on the passage of laws or elected officials.

If our passion is to end abortion in our nation, the best way to do this is to circumvent political processes which, to date, have proven ineffective, and devote ourselves to loving our neighbor as Jesus commanded.

As long as we continue to put our hope in politicians we will never end abortion in this nation. To continue to seek out a political solution is the very definition of insanity.

But, If we commit ourselves to sharing the love of Christ with those around us, we might just discover that Jesus was right all along about how to change our world for the better.

-kg

PS: Believe it or not, the abortion rates in the United States are steadily declining according to a number of sources.

And, Roe vs Wade will probably never be overturned by the Supreme Court due to a long list of Constitutional and Common Law grounds. But if we are successful in transforming the hearts of people around us, it won’t matter what laws are on the books.

*This post is excerpted from my book “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb

 

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. 

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Random_Lurker

    I’m glad to see someone discussing the real issue – what ACTUALLY WORKS. If you’re looking for things that work, outlawing abortion isn’t it. Many studies in many countries (including the US) over many decades have proven this: making abortion illegal does not significantly decrease the number of abortions that are performed. All it does it drive them underground.

    So what does work? The most effective thing is a combination of easy access to birth control and sex education. An abortion is, after all, an unwanted pregnancy, so tools that allow women to only become pregnant when they WANT to will naturally result in fewer abortions. This is why abortion rates in the US have been declining – because Obamacare increased contraceptive access in 2014. The second element – sex education – is just as important. This has also been proven here in the US. Teens with comprehensive sex ed wait longer to have sex, and many choose to become abstinent. That’s right, sex education increases abstinence. It seems that giving them all the info on what they are about to get into makes them a lot less likely to want to get into it! Abstinence-only education, on the other hand, does not prepare them with that information, and teen pregnancy rates – and thus abortions – go up. Why are Christians so keen on a program that increases the number of abortions?

    Yet, for decades the pro-life movement has been heavily against both of these things. It’s not new information, it goes back to the ’90s, and has only been getting more and more proof since then. If pro-lifers wanted to, they could throw their cultural weight behind these two solutions, and drop abortion rates by 50% or more. They never have. It’s almost as if stopping abortions from happening isn’t their real goal…

    I’ll let another Patheos poster say more:
    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

  • Iain Lovejoy

    It’s not quite true that political solutions to abortion don’t exist. They do, and have proven their effectiveness time and time again. In addition to access to contraception and early and frank sex education which Random Lurker mentions below (and how is that not political?) all of the following very political measures can have a dramatic effect:
    – Increased education generally, which greatly reduces unplanned in particular teenage pregnancy
    – access to free healthcare for pregnant mothers, for childbirth and babies
    – outlawing discrimination on grounds of pregnancy in education and employment
    – legal rights to breastfeed etc in public
    – generous paid maternity and paternity leave
    – state subsidised childcare
    – rights to part time and flexible working and time off for family emergencies etc for parents
    The above is a very political programme for the tackling of abortion but one which, ironically, would give supposed “pro life” politicians who purportedly put abortion above all other issues fits of the vapours.

  • a movement to provide pregnant women with positive alternatives to abortion.

    That’s the hard way. (I could go on about how the hard way is what political leadership would like you to pursue, but that’s a tangent.) You should focus on the cause, not the symptom. With this approach, you’d be working with pro-choice advocates, which would be a refreshing change.

    This article summarizes this simple approach. It predicts an eventual reduction in abortions of 90%.
    https://valerietarico.com/2015/09/11/if-the-anti-abortion-frenzy-were-actually-about-abortion-what-a-serious-anti-abortion-movement-would-actually-look-like/

  • Valerie Marshall

    In addition to education, paid maternity and paternity leave, more affordable childcare, etc., you could always also increase the ready availability of contraception …

  • ashpenaz

    The “pro-life” movement is about shaming women for having sex. Full stop. For them, pregnancy is the badge of shame a woman must wear for her licentiousness.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    If today’s Harlot of Babylon ‘christian’ churches actually practiced the Gospel … what a wonderful world we’d be living in.

  • Brandon Roberts

    i can see your point.

  • Diana Sinclair

    I’d like to read the historical accounts of all the abortions done in the 1800’s – I am sure they weren’t safe and many (or even most) women died or were permanently damaged by the procedure. Roe v. Wade made safe abortion legal. What the church also needs to accept is its part in making even birth control “immoral” – it was also illegal until well into the 20th century. In fact, women couldn’t access it without a husband’s approval until around 1968. As a person who was raised in traditional, conservative churches, the abortion/birth control issue has always been about controlling women’s sexual lives; their financial lives and their personal freedoms. And as I was being admonished to be “pure” and “save myself” for marriage, my male friends and brothers were encouraged to go out and sew wild oats. Because even in the times were “good Christians” in the 1800’s were helping single mothers have and/or keep their babies, they were also complicit in marginalizing them from “proper” society.

  • lagibby

    @Iain Lovejoy: If we start with Mr. Giles’ recommendation to follow the commandment to love each other, then we will find the political will to support and enact your very sensible solutions, both in the private and public sector (because both are necessary).
    Ashpenaz’s comment below is right on the money too. Much anti-abortion agitation is anti-woman; it’s a form of compulsory pregnancy.
    Obviously, we need the political solutions to support pregnant women, mothers, babies and fathers. But the only way to stop the anti-woman rhetoric and punitive withholding of reproductive healthcare is to base our ideologies and behavior — our politics — on the command to “Love one another as I have loved you.”
    In fact, abortion wouldn’t be the only political problem we could solve if we really asked, “What would Jesus do?”

  • Connie Beane

    This author is clearly a “kinder, gentler” version of anti-abortionist, but he still wants what most American anti-abortionists want: to increase the number of babies born, babies that will be available for adoption by childless couples who are finding it ever more difficult and expensive to go outside of the U.S. to find “suitable” babies–babies who are healthy, the right color, and the right gender.

    The author says absolutely nothing about the most effective way to prevent abortions: by preventing unwanted pregnancies. Because it isn’t pregnancies he wants to stop, it’s abortion.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    It’s the same with most social ills, including poverty etc: if everyone loved their neighbour as themselves, you wouldn’t need to legislate, as all would share everything in common anyway, but people don’t , so you need the political solutions.

  • Keith- I love what you say here. Thanks for this. I think that Jesus and the gospel is our only hope, and we are awakening to that.

  • Nanaverm

    Before the advent of the American Medical Ass’n founded in 1847, women had the option of “restoring their periods” in the initial stages of pregnancy before “quickening”, or perceived movement of the fetus. Herbal abortifacients were commonly known and used without stigma or guilt.

  • billwald

    No mention of the net cost in public funds. Money is the pragmatic civic god of this world. How about paying every woman the standard work week (40 hours) at minimum wage for “child care” until the child turns 18 and an additional buck an hour for each additional kid? That should solve our “low wage worker” problem without needing any alien low wage workers.

  • Leonard Nolt

    The definition of insanity is, “the state of being mentally ill,” NOT, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” That popular comment is a lie. How many times did people protest slavery until finally one day the slaves were freed? The same with getting women the right to vote. “If at first you don’t suceed try and try again” was a popular saying when I was a child. People who do the same thing over and over again can become quite skilled at what they are doing be it playing a musical instrument or neurosurgery, and that bring very different results. So maybe you should think for a moment about some of these popular comments and ask yourself if they’re true before repeating them

  • Bill Mantis

    Personally, I’m not in favor of “ending” abortion entirely. I assume there will always be specific circumstances where the overwhelming proportion of people will agree that it is a morally justifiable option.

    On the other hand, I fully support efforts to reduce the rate of abortion. And it turns accomplishing that goal is quite simple: make abortion legal.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-care/abortion-rates-go-down-when-countries-make-it-legal-report-n858476

  • Dennis

    I am a Christian and believe that abortion is wrong in most cases. However, I have to be honest and say that I don’t understand the position held by many Christians that we need to abolish ALL abortions in the USA. Here are some cases in which I think a case can be made that an abortion would be appropriate: fetal deformity requiring life support, life of mother is at stake (e.g. dead fetus stays in body), pregnancy due to incest or rape. You may not be convinced by some of these reasons (like incest and rape) because you would say that the mother could put up the baby for adoption. I’ll grant you that, but realize that some women would be living a life of hell in the pregnancy and birth of a baby conceived through incest or rape because you would be forcing them to think about that event for their entire pregnancy. But can you honestly say that ALL of the other reasons are invalid? In the case of deformity, what do we owe severely deformed infants who may be viable outside the womb, when those infants are unwanted by their mothers and born against the will of the doctors? If all abortions are outlawed by the government, then you are condemning the parents of a severely deformed child to a lifetime of medical bills and possible financial bankruptcy, and you are condemning the child to a poor quality of life with a lot of pain. Therefore, it seems to me that Christians should not push for a TOTAL ban on abortions.

  • Spirit Plumber

    Seems sensible, but abortion is a good way to get people to the polls and vote against their wallet, which is why the Republicans will keep thundering about it and do nothing about it.

  • onlein

    The focus, instead, should be on men behaving irresponsibly. Us guys are responsible for all unwanted, problem pregnancies. We could solve the problem if we behaved responsibly. If there have been 60 million abortions since the law change, there have been at least 30 million or more men behaving badly–unless there have been many men behaving badly in a serial manner. Religious men especially should take a pledge to never, or never again, leave a woman on her own with an unwanted pregnancy. That should do it.

    More realistically, we need to increase, firm up, programs like SNAP, WIC, TANF, Medicaid and have paid time off for pregnancies, if needed, and for parental leave to raise an infant.

    Studies show that over half of the woman who resort to abortion have been pressured to do so by significant others, including the man responsible for the pregnancy who in some cases is the father of the young woman or teen. Such a deal.

  • katie99

    He’s clearly using it as a framing device, not espousing it as a universal truth.

  • katie99

    I heartily agree that greater support for women with children will lead to fewer abortions. And there are political solutions to this, in addition to the call to love thy neighbor. The Life News link is, amusingly, the only one of the three you provided that quotes this point from the Guttmacher study: “The continent with the largest drop was Europe, falling a full 79 percent, according to the report.” What does Europe have that we don’t? In addition to much better sex ed in most European countries, they have all KINDS of government-sponsored social programs that provide parents with the support they need. They have generous parental leave policies, subsidized childcare, universal healthcare, far more generous welfare programs, quality education even in poorer neighborhoods, and on and on. In other words, a pregnant woman in most European countries isn’t staring down a lifetime of extreme hardship if she has a baby when she’s not financially ready and/or doesn’t have familial support.

    And the other reason Europe’s abortion rate is likely so much lower, quality sex education, brings me to a question for you, Mr. Giles: you linked to three articles that relied on the Guttmacher research for the conclusion that there are fewer abortions now, but that research finds the main cause of the reduction is access to contraception, not care from the community. What is your take on contraception access as a means for reducing abortion?

  • Leonard Nolt

    Makes no difference.

  • Michael Lum

    Respectfully, I don’t believe the author said the abortions of the 1800’s were in any way safe. You are comparing apples to oranges when you move to the church’s (read: Catholics) stand on birth control. Masogeny in any form is sad and certainly not the biblical model of marriage where each is to “submit” to each other and to the Lord. The Bible never says there is one set of rules for young ladies and another for young men. I’m sorry your experience was so negative in your family–however, that is not the biblical model..it is purely cultural “garbage”. In addressing abortion–there is frankly no such thing as “safe abortion”. Those we minister to and have as dear friends who have gone through it will tell you it causes lifelong emotional damage. Our job (as the body of Christ) is to love them, but to speak up for life and be willing to support and encourage in anyway possible. Peace,

  • Claire

    But all those things would hinder the anti-choice goal of making women financially dependent on a husband again, Ian. Can’t have that.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Except for a few rare and unfortunate circumstances, it is generally precisely financial dependence (or social stigma inflicted by the same people wanting to inflict that dependence) that creates the demand for abortion in the first place.